Confessions of a Writer Tag

When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. My mom loved poetry and creative writing, so it was something she encouraged. She’d give me prompts or a set of words I’d have to include in a story. My dad also helped: he went to stay with his parents for a few months, and, while he was away, we would write a story back and forth to each other. I remember writing the story, but not what it was about, though I’ve been told it was titled “The Magic Umbrella.” The first time I remember actually saying and knowing I wanted to be an author, I was 12. I’ve had other ideas along the way, but writing has been the only constant throughout the years.

What genre do you write?

Thrillers for my full-length novels. I like explosions and guns, and I’m more focused on the plot than the characters, so thrillers work for me. I do have about ten short stories written, all of varying genres. None, surprisingly, are thrillers; most are suspense (a sister-genre of thriller), but I also have a children’s superhero story thrown in for fun.

Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?

Which one? 🙂 I have two WIPs right now. One is in the editing stage and the other is halfway written.

The Grudge is book 2 of a series I’m working on. The main character is NYPD Homicide Detective Matt Carter and his new team who (without giving away spoilers for book 1, Deception) work on technologically-centered cases. The kernel of an idea came about April of 2014, but I started writing in February 2015 (still working on Deception at the time). While I was working my day job in Business Continuity (look it up–it’s a super cool job), we planned an exercise of our plans where a sniper takes out an electrical substation and power starts going out in the area. I learned that if 9 strategically placed substations go down (and one transformer manufacturer, but I left that out for my story’s sake), the entire US could be out of power for 18 months.

Captured is what I’m currently writing. It’s my first co-authored book, writing with my husband, Chris Michaels. He came up with the idea last year, but, since he doesn’t write thrillers, we decided to partner up. It’s about a retired Army veteran, David Castin, coping with his PTSD through nature photography. While he’s trekking through the Amazon rainforest, he sees his old battle buddy, whose supposed death had triggered Castin’s PTSD. When Castin goes to confront him, his friend shoots at him. Castin uncovers a plot within a plot run by his buddy and has to stop him before people get hurt.

What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?

“The Magic Umbrella” is the first one, but I don’t remember much about it. The first things I remember writing were actually poems. I got really into poetry in middle school, even joining a poetry website with my best friend and sharing my poems. One was titled “Life Cycle of a Dryer Sheet.” I wish I could find a copy of it, but it was about–you guessed it–a dryer sheet and its travels through the dryer and on clothes and the like. I submitted it to some poetry collection and got an acceptance letter, but I think parents thought it was a scam (and it probably was–they wanted quite a bit of money for the anthology), but they didn’t have the heart to tell me. But I kept that acceptance letter anyway for motivation.

What’s the best part about writing?

Going back through my manuscript and thinking, “Did I really write that?” (in a good way). That’s either a sign of “I’m hilarious!” and laughing at my own jokes (because, let’s face it, I am hilarious :)) or impressed with it because it sounds like a “real writer” (whatever that is).

What’s the worst part about writing?

Writing. The actual physical act of typing the words is hard. Especially since I have to lay out clues and give out information bits at a time as my characters learn them. Everything I write potentially has an impact 100 pages later, so I sit there, wondering if one route is better than another and trying to map the reactions through the rest of my book. That’s why I have to plan as much as I do (plus, I also just love planning).

What’s the name of your favorite character and why?

Tie between Matt Carter (my main character of my series) and Tony Haren (my first book’s villain). I bestowed on Matt my sense of humor (which we already established is awesome)–or at least the sense of humor I have ten minutes after the joke–and he’s really into comic books and superheroes, which is something I truly wish I  had the time to get into. Haren is based on one of the villains in (nerd alert) Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Gul Dukat. He’s very cynical and very educated, but he always has a smooth tone to his voice and is eloquent in his speeches. And he believes whole-heartedly that what he’s doing is right.

How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?

Since my husband is also a writer (score!), we get a good chunk of time to write because we both recognize the value. That said, I probably get between 10-12 hours a week, but I aim for 5000 words a week, so really, it’s however long it takes me to get that. I try to fit my writing in when I can, so practically, I write mostly at night after work. But I found, after a few days’ vacation, that I get motivation somewhere between 11AM and 2PM. Which is a bummer because I’m at work during that time.

Did you go to college for writing?

Sort of. My major at the University of Houston (go Coogs!) was Management Information Systems, which is a computer degree aimed at the general business population. But I also minored in English, my excuse to take a creative writing course every semester.

What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors or grammar errors?

Spelling. Punctuation has so many contradictory and controversial rules that it’s hard to fault someone for doing it differently than I would have. But spelling. Whew. I catch spelling mistakes all the time on menus at restaurants, and it just bothers me.

What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you?

At a book signing, Joseph Finder told me, “It’s not necessarily the best writers that get published. It’s the most stubborn.” I’m planning to traditionally publish, which is a hard and lengthy process, but holding onto the hope that one day, I could get the chance to talk peer-to-peer with Lee Child, James Rollins, or Joseph Finder keeps me focused on pushing through.

What advice would you give to another writer?

Three thing: Stop talking about wanting to be a writer and just write. Prove it. Your talks about writing won’t get published. But your writing has that chance. When you’re writing your first draft, shut your editor off.Believe me. I know it’s cliché and I know it’s hard. But you have to do it. Your first draft is never going to be perfect, so just get the words on the paper and deal with the mistakes later. You can always make notes to yourself as you write. Read. Read, read, read. In your genre, out of your genre. Just read. Reading helps you learn how to write because you’re learning how authors farther down the line are doing it. You’ll start to notice what works and what doesn’t.

What are your favorite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?

I have found three very helpful resources. When I first started writing, I subscribed to every major writing site I could find, including Writer’s Digest. This site has blogs from authors, editors, and agents. I still get and read their emails and have found them very worthwhile. I also have a writing community on Litopia, a site built for authors of every level. I’ve made a lot of good friend there and know I can ask any question and get encouragement from other authors. Lastly–and this surprised me–Twitter has been an incredible way to connect with other authors. I didn’t expect to find a group of people who talk about writing on social media, but it’s there and it’s very supportive.

Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?

I do a lot outside of writing, but the three I do most consistently is run, read, and hang out with my hubby and cats. Running is one of the few things I’ve found to keep me in shape, and I love getting outside in fresh air. And really just being away from a computer screen is great. And reading, I’ve been doing pretty much since I was born (if you count my mom reading to me then). I read about 40 books a year, from varying genres. Some are friends’ books, others are classics I’m finally getting around to, and most are series I follow closely. I spend a lot of time with my husband and cats chilling around our apartment, so it’s a good thing I like them. 🙂

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I’ve already read about 40 books this year, so it’s hard to choose. I’m going to pick two (because I like to bend the rules): one in my genre and one not. The non-thriller is Steelheart, a young adult fantasy by Brandon Sanderson. It was the first book I’d read by Sanderson and one of the firsts in fantasy. I didn’t expect to get into it, but my husband played the audiobook in the car and I couldn’t pull away from it. My favorite thriller has been The Lincoln Myth by Steve Berry. Usually his books take me two or three weeks to get through, not because they’re bad or slow, but they’re very history-reliant, and history was never my fortè, so there’s a lot of learning happening on my end. But the facts and theories posed were so intriguing, I blew through it in a week.

What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?

Well, crap. Can I answer this December 18th? (For the uniformed, that’s after Mockingjay Part 2 and Star Wars VII come out.) The best I’ve seen so far has probably been Furious 7. I got into the Fast and Furious franchise before Fast Five was released, and I fell in love with the movies and the characters. I have been told that readers are extremely empathetic (because they “live” through so many lives) and was truly upset when Paul Walker died. I’d seen him in so many movies (including those outside of the F&F franchise) and felt like I knew him a little. So Furious 7 was bittersweet. But I’m not ashamed to admit I cried through the last quarter of it.

What’s the best thing you’re watching on television? 

Agents of SHIELD season 3. I didn’t start SHIELD until season 2 was wrapping up on TV, so I binge-watched 1 and had to wait 3 months for season 2 to come out on Netflix and binge-watch it in a week. Castle is also on, one of my two all-time favorite TV shows, but I’m a little skeptical of the season (8) thus far.

What is your favorite book or series of all time?

The Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. Hands down. I have a few other series I follow closely, but Reacher was my first introduction to the thriller book genre (I think Gone Tomorrow was the first one I bought as it was coming out) and I’ve been hooked ever since. Reacher is who I wish I could be (you know, if I were a dude): unafraid, intimidating, and kickass.

Who is your favorite author?

I’ve never really separated series from the authors before, so my knee-jerk response is Lee Child. However, I have five authors I follow very closely: Lee Child, James Rollins, Joseph Finder, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (co-authors), and Steve Berry. From those, I think James Rollins is probably my favorite. I love the way he weaves science through his books, and his Sigma series is how I got the basis for my series’s team. I also really like his writing style.

What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?

Finish writing Captured. If I hit my goals for each week, I should be right on target to finish by December 31st. I’ll also be editing The Grudge, continuing my search for an agent for Deception, and possibly spinning around ideas for book #4, which will be another standalone novel, unless someone pays me to do differently. 🙂

Where else can we find you online?

I have tried to make myself as accessible as possible. I have several social media accounts as well as three short stories published (and free!).

Twitter – @nwilson31
Facebook – nicolewilson31author
Goodreads – some random numbers
Google+ – I really try to use this, but admittedly don’t much
Short stories – bookshelf

Consider yourself tagged!

@chrismichaels84
@zengwyn
@elizanolanpants
@wittewrites
@afhumphrey

To make finding the questions easier, here they are:

When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?
What genre do you write?
Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?
What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?
What’s the best part about writing?
What’s the worst part about writing?
What’s the name of your favorite character and why?
How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?
Did you go to college for writing?
What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors or grammar errors?
What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you?
What advice would you give to another writer?
What are your favorite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?
Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?
What’s the best thing you’re watching on television?
What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?
What is your favorite book or series of all time?
Who is your favorite author?
What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?
Where else can we find you online?

4 thoughts on “Confessions of a Writer Tag

  • December 14, 2015 at 12:12 pm
    Permalink

    Hah! I’m sure the ‘What’s the best thing you’ve watched on TV?’ wasn’t in the original questions. Did you sneak that in, or was it inherited?

    Would love to know what ‘The Magic Umbrella ‘ was all about (apart from a magic umbrella Lol

    It’s lovely you met one of your writing heros- that must’ve been so exciting!

    Reply
    • December 15, 2015 at 9:28 pm
      Permalink

      I inherited the TV question from someone else, but I wasn’t about to drop it! 😀 I wish I remembered what The Magic Umbrella was about, but I’ve forgotten pretty much everything except that my dad and I wrote it together. And yes, I completely, totally fangirled when I met him. Good.Grief. It was amazing. 🙂

      Reply
    • January 3, 2016 at 9:41 pm
      Permalink

      Thank you! 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.