So here we are again! I have had a great response so far, with 15 responses already in hand. I plan to release at least two interviews per week as health and time permits, but it’s great to be back into this, I have to say. As much as I love writing about games, this is the reason I made my blog. I will also link in all SPFBO’s interviews as each one goes in, so you wonderful people can read each one!
I will relate again this is available for every single SPFBO entry for 2018. I want to hear from you all! So come contact me and we’ll get this sorted. I’ll still keep my blog open for any author who wants an interview throughout. Well today we have a new visitor to the Thousand Scar tavern, a debut novelist as of April this year, and like myself she’s a first-time entry into SPFBO. I welcome Kayleigh Nicol!
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
Hi, I’m Kayleigh Nicol! I wrote and self-published Sorcerous Rivalry, a swords & sorcery style fantasy adventure with just a hint of an LBGT romance. Sorcerous Rivalry is my debut novel with (hopefully) many more to come!
How do you develop your plots and characters?
Characters are usually the first and easiest part of any story. If my characters aren’t real enough to pull up a chair and just talk to me, then they aren’t developed enough to go into one of my books. That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with them from time to time, (especially when trying to name them) but most of my stories will start with a few characters even before I have a plot or a world.
My plots are largely character-driven, so often even when I have a rough idea of where I think the story is going, my characters might hijack it and go off a way I wasn’t expecting. I do attempt to sketch out an idea or two before I start a project, but if a better idea comes along while I’m writing, I’ll follow it to see where it goes.
Tell us about your current project.
In Sorcerous Rivalry, magecraft has been outlawed and any known mages have been hunted down. The only hold-outs are the king’s own seven bastards by his mistress, who had hidden her identity as a sorceress. Mage hunters scour the kingdom, searching for the seven mage-born bastards to collect the bounties on their heads.
Reshi has grown up believing himself to be an orphan, only to discover he is the youngest of the seven bastard children. After trying to hide within a quiet village, his identity is discovered by an intense and mysterious mage hunter named Kestral. Reshi flees to the relative safety of his sister—only to discover that his brothers and sisters have begun a battle royale to steal each other’s magic through murder! Reshi and Kestral make an uneasy alliance: Reshi for protection, and Kestral for bounties. But perhaps it could become something more for the both of them.
Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
Reshi is a little wild, a little roguish and a huge flirt. He’s openly bisexual and has an easy manner that can put just about anyone at ease. He’s not a very strong fighter, either physically or magically. In fact, his only magic is shapeshifting and even that is limited to a few small forms. He’d rather talk himself out of a situation, when he can, or cause a diversion and run away when he can’t. Beneath his smiles and flirtations, Reshi hides a dark secret, one he’s reluctant to have brought out into the light.
What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
This isn’t at all original, but it’s the truth: Read Everything! Not just within the genre you want to write in, but everything you can get your hands on.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
There’s a scene in Sorcerous Rivalry that takes place on a rocky plain full of steam vents. When I wrote that scene, I was drawing on a visit to Yellowstone National Park. If you’ve never seen a steam vent or a geyser in real life, you need to go and see them. These are truly marvelous sights and videos or pictures do not do them any justice.
What inspires you to write?
I have always loved to write, but at the same time I’ve always been extremely anxious about sharing my work. Of course, I’ve enjoyed writing it, but will anyone else enjoy reading it? I’ve actually scrapped more than a few manuscripts because I felt they weren’t good enough to share. What finally inspired me to self-publish Sorcerous Rivalry was the support of my family and close friends. I have truly loved seeing the reactions of my readers (love, sadness, anger and shock) and that inspires me to continue writing the next part of the story.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The hardest thing about writing this book was that my family was beginning a cross-country move at the time that I began writing it. For a few nights, the only furniture in our home was just a cooler, an air mattress and my laptop. After that, we drove from the midwest out to Long Island, NY in a rented RV with two greyhounds, two cats, an iguana and a ball python. And I get carsick, so I couldn’t write during the travel, but every night when we stopped at a campsite, I’d break out the laptop and continue writing. After the RV, we actually lived in a hotel room for almost three months before the purchase of our new home went through. I actually finished writing and editing Sorcerous Rivalry while living in the hotel.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite chapter had to be chapter six, where I introduce Reshi’s most badass older sister. I love strong women in fantasy and I looked forward to writing her introduction from almost the moment I began writing the book. I don’t want to give much away, but anyone who loves a warrior woman should really enjoy Kila.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I learned that writing and editing are actually the easy parts. Marketing—getting people to actually notice the book—was (and continues to be) the hard part. It’s like shouting into the internet: “Notice me!” But softly, so you don’t anger the social media gods.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
If something feels off about a character I’m writing, I’ll go back and try to find where I went off-track and why. Maybe I got a motivation confused, or perhaps I wasn’t in the right mood set for that particular voice. If I’m still having trouble, I’ll pull that character out into a short story and give them a personal challenge to see how they’ll react to it. It can be something silly like “go buy Starbucks coffee for a group of friends” or it might be more along the lines of “you’re stranded on an island, what do you do?” These exercises help me isolate the character and get a better feel for what they should be doing within the context of the plot.
What are your future project(s)?
Currently, I am in the midst of first-round edits on Book Two of the Mage-Born Chronicles. It’s slated to visit the editor at the end of July and hopefully (fingers crossed!) find a release date before the end of the year.
I am also in the middle of a series of short stories featuring Reshi’s brothers and sisters which I plan to release as an anthology. I have the rough drafts complete for four of the six siblings and outlines for the remaining short stories, plus one or two bonus stories. This has been a really fun project for me and a great mental break between edits.
In the distant future, I’m hoping to take a trip back in time and write the story of the Great Mage Hunt, a significant event that occurred about thirty years prior to Sorcerous Rivalry. This would take place in the same setting, but with a whole new cast of characters. It’s a distant concept right now, but one I’m pretty excited about.
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
As much as I love writing, my actual ideal career would be working with exotic animals. I volunteered at an aquarium for over five years where I fed, trained and scuba dived with harbor seals, sea lions, penguins and sea otters. I volunteered at a zoo for a little over two years and had the pleasure of working closely with great apes, monkeys, elephants, Australian mammals, cats and all types of birds. However, working in this industry is highly competitive and volunteering costs more than you’d think (gas, uniforms, boots, etc) so for now I only work with horses and other livestock. But don’t get me wrong—I absolutely love goats!
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
My preferred method of contact would either be at through my Goodreads page (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17906784.Kayleigh_Nicol) or on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KayleighNicol5)
You can also find me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kayleigh.nicol.1)
And if Sorcerous Rivalry sounds like a book you might enjoy, please pick up your copy at Amazon!