Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Nicky!
How long have you been a writer?
That’s a really good question. In some capacity, I have always been writing. I know, I know, everyone says that! But it’s true. I was given an old, slightly battered typewriter when I was about eleven and I started tapping away at that, writing a trilogy about a quartet of children who get trapped in a magical forest. It was quite a tome in the end and one day I will revisit and rewrite it. I also wrote a story about some very unhappy aliens from Jupiter; I submitted that one to a publisher of children’s books and earned myself my first rejection letter. I started writing romance about eight years ago, when I had the idea for Sophie's Turn.
Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?
Being an author is my career, and I enjoy every minute of it. I write all day, every day while I can, mostly when my boys are at school. Aha, this brings me to my ‘day job’ ~ which is being a mum! I have two adorable boys and my first responsibility is looking after their well being, making sure they’re happy at school, supervising homework, cooking, fixing Band-Aids on gaping wounds and patching up the occasional torn pair of trousers. So I guess I have two jobs, now that I come to think about it. Thank goodness they complement each other! :)
What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.
I’m going to have to lay the blame firmly at Enid Blyton’s door. Her children’s adventure stories were among the first I read, and they made a deep impression. Eventually I branched out onto other children’s authors and by the age of thirteen, I had read pretty much every book in my neighborhood library. Becoming a writer myself was an obvious career choice for me, even if it did take another twenty years to make the ambition a reality. I was thirty-two when I wrote Sophie's Turn, initially for my own pleasure. Having spent months polishing the manuscript, I showed it to friends and acquaintances and began pounding the agent trail in between having two babies. Based on feedback I received, I edited the manuscript from start to finish, polished it and submitted again, but the financial markets crashed and it wasn’t a good time for aspiring authors. In July 2011, I decided to publish Sophie's Turn independently via Kindle, and that was also when I started writing the sequel, Sophie's Run. Self-publishing and building an author platform on social media gave me new insights into the industry and in January 2012, I stumbled across Sapphire Star Publishing on Facebook. I signed Sophie's Turn with Sapphire in February 2012, and Sophie's Run shortly after. Sophie's Turn was published in September 2012 and Sophie's Run has just hit the market this February. So that’s my journey so far… watch this space, I’m only just getting warmed up!
Please give a brief description/storyline about Sophie's Run.
Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…
So she has finally found the man of her dreams; well, she’s seen him, for sure! Yet rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal. Sophie has had enough. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey and eventually gets her life back on track.
What was the inspiration for this story?
The story of Sophie's Run follows on from the first book in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy, Sophie's Turn. Now that I wrote because I have a terminal ‘thing’ for rock stars myself. I don’t know whether it’s the voices or the hair, but they simply turn my head, even now, even today, even as a married woman. Not that I’d ever do anything about this, you understand. But one night, I couldn’t help wondering… what would I do if Jon Bon Jovi proposed to me tomorrow? (I should add that this was eight years ago and I was heavily pregnant, therefore totally hormonal!) The conundrum was born and I spun a story around it… which, eventually, turned into Sophie's Turn and the sequel, Sophie's Run.
How did it feel to have your first book published?
Amazing. Emotional. Overwhelming. I cried when I received the paperbacks and held my baby in my hands for the first time. I cried when I first saw Sophie's Turn on Amazon. And I definitely cried when I read my first review; the reader had really adored the story and ‘got’ Sophie, and her thoughts and feedback moved me in a way that I hadn’t anticipated. Incidentally, that’s still the best bit about being an author: when readers get in touch and share their thoughts!
Do you write books for a specific genre?
I write “Romance that Rocks Your World.” My genre is contemporary romance, or chick lit, but I always have that ‘rock star’ element in there to turn a love story into a little bit of a modern fairy tale.
What genres are your favorites? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?
I love reading, full stop. I couldn’t list all the genres I do read, but I don’t often read Horror or Sci Fi. Some of my favorite books include Catherine Alliott’s The Old-Girl Network and Ghostwritten by David Mitchell. I have also read most everything that John Grisham has ever written, I am partial to a bit of crime (Lee Child and Sue Grafton being firm favorites) and in terms of romance, I enjoy Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, Talli Roland… the list is very long indeed!
Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?
I am lucky to have a dedicated office which is where I do most of my writing. However, I also like to roam the house and right now, I am sitting on the sofa in the lounge. Very occasionally, I write in bed!
How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?
That’s a fabulous question! Surprisingly, perhaps, the idea is usually a tiny nugget, a single thought, a question, an interaction that I may have seen in a coffee shop or a bus, something that intrigued me and got my quite overactive imagination going. Sophie's Turn was conceived when I found myself wondering what I would do if a rock star ever proposed to me, after all these years of me dreaming about it (and with me being very much in love and very much married to my wonderful husband!). Last weekend, I was in a pizza restaurant with my family and amused myself by speculating about some very odd interpersonal dynamics between a couple at the table next door. I jot these nuggets down in my ideas notebook and one day, they might serve as the catalyst for a book, or a scene or subplot.
When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?
I am organized to the point of obsession, and it won’t surprise you to hear that I have a strict schedule for writing. I write in the morning, from about nine a.m. until about one p.m., while the boys are at school. I don’t often answer the phone, and I certainly don’t check email or do any social networking while I write. However. I have been known to get up in the middle of the night and write, fast and furious, a scene or an entire chapter simply because the thoughts needed to get out of my head and onto the screen. In an alternative universe, I’d love to be able to write whenever the fancy takes me, but at the moment, I write while I can.
What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, what aspects do you struggle with the most?
I simply love writing, and I adore it when the characters become so real in my head that they take charge of the story, embellishing or sometimes altering my carefully planned plot. Take Tim and Sophie’s engagement party in Sophie's Turn ~ I hadn’t planned for Dan to turn up and mix things around a bit, he did that of his own volition. Similarly, Rachel’s unscheduled swim in the Thames in Sophie's Run was exactly that ~ unscheduled. I had no idea she was going to do that until she was in the water. Those are the best moments. And, weird as that may sound, I don’t really struggle with any aspect of writing except, perhaps, for keeping it short!
What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?
I love reading, but that’s kind of obvious! I listen to a lot of music and would love to sing in a choir again; I just need to find one where I live now! I bake and cook, and I adore going for walks by the seaside. And very occasionally, I knit!
What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?
Just keep writing. Sounds so simple, right? It is easy, sometimes, to second-guess yourself and your work, wondering if you’re doing it right, writing the right thing in a good, unique, captivating style. That’s a really dangerous avenue to go down, and one that can freeze you up entirely. So when you write, write, and keep writing. Leave the worrying about style and genre and suspense and jokes until you have a first draft in your hands.
What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?
Absolutely the most amazingly gratifying thing for me as a writer is hearing from readers. I get prickly goosebumps of joy when somebody tweets me to tell me that they’re this far into Sophie's Turn or Sophie's Run and they can’t wait to see what happens next. I smile for hours when I see a fresh review for one of my books on Amazon or Goodreads. One of the most fantastic moments I’ve had recently was when a reader opened a review with “I really didn’t think I would like this book but I read it anyway,” or words to that effect. The reader listed all the reasons why she didn’t think she’d like Sophie's Turn and my heart sank a little with each line. I can take criticism, of course, but it still affects me, just a little bit. However, the most unexpected thing happened ~ this reader concluded that Sophie's Turn was different, and she absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait to read the next book. I did a mad dance around the house! To have grabbed somebody’s attention and got them reading the book despite their initial skepticism, and to have them walk away in love with Sophie and Dan… what an accomplishment. That kind of thing makes my day. My year!
How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?
Most of my interaction with readers and fans happens through social media. A lot of readers twitter with me or leave me comments on Facebook, and I also get messages via Goodreads. A few readers have found my email address on my blog, and I adore it when they take the time to email me. I’m a pretty chatty and open person, so I love to hear from you all! I twitter as @WellsNicky and I am on Facebook as Nicky Wells and Nicky Wells (Author) so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like. :)
Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?
Ah. Well. Now, that’s a really tricky question! Obviously, as the disclaimer says, my books are entirely a work of fiction and the product of my imagination. However, imagination needs fuel and that fuel invariably comes from real life events. Have I met a rock star? Yes, I have met several rock stars, but nobody massively famous. Have I done the things that Sophie does with Dan? Romance, going on tour, spending nights in hotels? Sadly, not, although once upon a time I would have jumped at the chance, just like Sophie did. So my stories have their roots in real-life events, however small or insignificant, which I alter, expand and develop into a glamorous modern fairy tale because that’s what rocks my world.
What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?
To begin with, there was a writer of children’s books by the name of Enid Blyton who inspired me to write when I was still a child myself. In terms of my current work, I think I have to pay tribute to writers like Jill Mansell and Sophie Kinsella and, of course, Helen Fielding. In fact, I can pinpoint the moment when I first thought that ‘one day, I want to write a book as funny as hers’, and that was while I was reading Catherine Alliott’s The Old-Girl Network. That scene when Polly is at the Tube station with yesterday’s underwear peeking out the bottom of her trouser leg… priceless. That really inspired me to get writing myself.
What is your definition of success as a writer?
My definition of success as a writer…hm. May I offer an iterative answer here? My first criterion is obviously reader feedback and reaction to my books. When I first published Sophie's Turn independently, my measure of success was whether even just one person would love it. As it turned out, more than one person loved it, and that was enough to spurn me on to write the next book. Over time, more and more reviews rolled in; word was spreading and is continuing to spread, and that’s good news. I hope the same will happen for Sophie's Run! My second, and very personal, success criterion is having found a publisher who believes in my work. And lastly, I suppose, sales are a success criterion. Obviously, I’d love to sell millions of books one day!
Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?
I am currently writing the final book in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. Titled Sophie's Encore, it is due for release in September 2013. This book will bring the grand finale to the story of Sophie and Dan but I don’t want to give away any spoilers so… you’ll have to wait a little longer! :)
Thank you Nicky for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and for sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career with us!
About The Author
Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.
Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress, the second and third parts of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook. Nicky is a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, loveahappyending.com and has joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Nicky also has author pages at Sapphire Star Publishing and, of course, Goodreads.
SAPPHIRE STAR PUBLISHING - AUTHOR PAGE
Sophie's Run ~ Nicky Wells ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ RABT
Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway
Win An eBook Copy of Sophie's Run
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sophie's Run by Nicky Wells
Book 2: Rock Star Romance Trilogy
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Publication Date: February 7, 2013
Format: Paperback - 422 pages / Kindle - 597 KB / Nook - 478 KB
Genre: Contemporary Romance
BUY THE BOOK: Sophie's Run
BUY THE TRILOGY: Rock Star Romance Trilogy
Book 1: Sophie's Turn
Book 2: Sophie's Run
Book 3: Sophie's Encore - publication in Sept. 2013
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Reading Addiction Blog Tours.
Who says that the road towards true love is straight and even? Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.
So she has finally found the man of her dreams! Well… she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet. But she misses her opportunity, and then her life goes crazy. Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal.
Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey eventually gets her life back on track.
My Book Review:
Welcome back to Sophie's world! When we last saw twenty-eight year old Sophie Penhalligan in Sophie's Turn, she had two men propose to her, and she had to make a decision of which guy would win her heart. Sophie accepted the proposal of hunky rock star Dan Hunter, but the engagement was short lived. Now in Sophie's Run, the second book of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy, Sophie is once again on a madcap journey of self-discovery to find out what she really wants out of life and to find her real Mr. Right.
Just when I thought author Nicky Wells couldn't top Sophie's adventures of finding love in the first book of the trilogy, she turns around and rocks our world with another sassy tale. Written in the first person narrative, Sophie's story picks up where it left off in the Sophie's Turn, with Sophie once again taking the reader on another crazy adventure to find her true love. The reader gets a chance to catch up with Sophie, Dan and best friend Rachel. Plus there is a sexy new love interest named Steve who causes a thunder and lightning moment when Sophie meets him. There are some issues and obstacles that Sophie has to overcome: a fire destroys her flat on her birthday; her pesky ex-rock star fiance keeps getting in the way of her new romance; missed opportunities to hook up with Steve; and an act of betrayal by her best friend Rachel is the last straw that sends Sophie on the run. Sophie embarks on a secret journey to get her life back on track ... with more zany escapades and misadventures that will keep the reader laughing as they turn the page.
With a great cast of characters who are realistic, engaging, with flaws and issues, and who are easy to relate to; witty dialogue and interactions; a richly descriptive and detailed setting in Germany; more passionate romance scenes; and a thoroughly entertaining storyline that takes the reader on a wild roller coaster ride; Sophie's Run is one heck of a fun read! But hold the presses ... author Nicky Wells keeps her readers hanging on and wanting more with another cliffhanger ending that will be continued in the third book of the trilogy, Sophie's Encore!
RATING: 5 STARS *****