**Author Peek** Interview with Barbara Nickless
DEAD STOP, Sydney Rose Parnell Series Book 2
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a full-time writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.
I was made in Japan, born in Guam and now live in Colorado where I’m very fortunate to work as a full-time writer. When I’m not chained to my desk, I love to hike, read, hang out with my family, and cook.
1. What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
Creating characters. People are endlessly fascinating, and writing gives me a chance to dip beneath the surface of people I know or have met or even watched on television, trying to understand what makes them tick. Every person is a mishmash of nature and nurture, of expected traits and startlingly contradictions.
2. If you were to choose one superpower, what would it be?
When I was a poor college student hitchhiking through the British Isles, I kept losing things. On the train, at the bottom of my backpack, in the hostel. I wanted the gift of finding things. Now I want the same superpower. But not only would I use it to find my car keys, I’d broaden the concept to include helping others find things they’ve lost—from a stray pet to their heart’s desire.
3. Do you ever get stuck when you’re writing a book? What do you do to get “unstuck”?
I get stuck every five minutes or so (!), usually when I’m trying to figure out a plot problem or devise a twist. That’s when I ‘put on my thinking cap,’ as my mother used to say. The famous screenwriter/playwright David Mamet said any plot problem is solvable if you’re willing to put in the time and hard work to figure it out. When I get really, truly stuck, I turn my mind to something completely different in order to give my subconscious a chance to weigh in. I think it was Stephen King who talked about the man in the basement who is always hard at work—we just need to open the channel for him to show us what he’s come up with.
4. What is your least favorite part of writing?
The blank page. It terrifies me, sitting alone with only my own thoughts for company. I’ll do anything to fill that void: laundry, Netflix, scrubbing floors. But in the end, a novel only gets written if you can get over that hurdle. A lot of magic waits on the other side.
5. If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
I just got back from more than three wonderful weeks in Morocco, a country with a very different culture from our own. The food was amazing—always fresh and wonderfully spiced. I’d like to try my own hand at making a tagine (or tajine), the Moroccan dish named for the covered clay dish in which it’s cooked. A tagine is made with vegetables, sometimes couscous, and often a kind of meat. I even had goat-meat tagine while I was in southern Morocco, although I wouldn’t try that at home.
6. What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process?
I wish I’d learned to set boundaries so that I’d begun writing seriously at a younger age. I have so many stories I want to write, and I worry I’ll run out of time!
7. What is most difficult for you to write? Characters, conflict or emotions? Why?
Ironically, conflict is the most difficult element for me. I love when a story has heart, and often people/characters have the greatest heart after they’ve been through a lot of turmoil and struggle. But I hate hurting my characters or pitting them against each other. I want everyone to get along!
8. A penguin walks into your office, right now, wearing a sombrero. What does he say to you and why is he here?
“Sweetie, you need to lay off the single malt.” Actually, he’d tell me to remember what’s important in life. Despite the traumas we sometimes experience, it’s important to try to bring a spark of joy into our daily lives. And to not take ourselves too seriously.
9. If you could wave a magic wand, what ill in the world would you solve and why?
I’d love to wave away the desire of some people to get everyone to think the way they think. Watching ordinary Moroccans go about their daily business was no different from watching ordinary Americans—most of us don’t want to get embroiled in politics or religion, and we certainly don’t want to be told how we should live our lives. We just want a chance to lead healthy, productive, normal lives and to give our children the same opportunity.
10. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
After Dead Stop comes the third book in the Sydney Parnell series, Ambush. It will be published by Thomas & Mercer in November 2018. You can find my books on digital sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as in bookstores like Tattered Cover and Hooked on Books.
Be sure to come back to learn more about Barbara’s novel, DEAD STOP, on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog.
Links to Barbara’s website, blog, books, etc.
I’d love to hear from readers! Please check out my blog and website at www.barbaranickless.com. Or connect with me on Twitter–@BarbaraNickless or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/barbarannickless/.
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Barbara will give away a Kindle version of either Blood on the Tacks (Book 1) or Dead Stop (Book 2) to one lucky reader who comments on her **Author Peek** or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs.
Thanks, Barbara, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!