Monday, November 6, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Nikki Trionfo

Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?

For two years my husband and I couldn’t have kids. At the ripe old age of 23, I figured I needed a backup plan, so I decided to write a book. After a handful of fertility treatments, my body got things figured out. I went on to have five kids, attending writing groups regularly during each pregnancy. I wrote slowly. I finished my first book when I was 27. I finished it again when I was 31. It was better the second time, really. I wrote Shatter after that.


How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I used to write primarily during naptime and occasionally before bed, staying up much too late. I’ve experimented with early morning writing. Unfortunately, my kids have an internal time bomb that explodes the second I wake up, even if it’s 5 a.m., bringing them all from their rooms in a cranky nightmare of childcare needs. My youngest started kindergarten this year, and now I get to write while he’s gone. I miss him, but I love the time.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or some other method of getting your words down?

Laptop if I can get it. For drafting only, I have a Neo, which is an AA battery-operated machine that allows me to generate text. It’s awesome because it doesn’t allow for time-wasting internet surfing. I carry a small notebook in my purse at all times so I can jot down ideas or write out a scene waiting in a doctor’s office. If I get stuck on a story, I brainstorm with paper and pencil, usually listing out very stupid plot ideas until I get one I like, which I circle. I draw arrows on my brainstorming pages as if I will reference the pages later. I don’t though. I mostly use the brainstorming to shift my paradigm of the story and then write from that paradigm.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

Favorite: editing!
Least favorite: writing!
I know. I don’t really like writing. I like having written. There’s a difference.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

I wanted to write a book with a lot of spark. Something like my favorite TV show, Veronica Mars. Something edgy, with conspiracy and a smart female lead and emotion desperate enough to push my characters to their limits.

Get the Book at Amazon

While nursing an infant at my daughter’s soccer game, I saw a teen girl eyeing a group of guys who both allured and frightened her. The guys in my past who were most alluring and frightening were gang members. As I sat there, I imagined an event so powerful that a smart, shy girl would approach dangerous, alluring teens. That event was the death of Salem’s sister, Carrie, which sparked the novel, SHATTER. I wrote it in two years, edited and queried for a year, edited for a year with a former agent who gave it to editors (some of whom held onto it for a year), and got an offer from Cedar Fort three weeks after they received it.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I’m an active participant in writers’ groups, both in person and online, and attend book signings and community literary events. That was my start to marketing. Having a group of friends gave me the courage to start a writing webinar called #50FIRSTCHAPTERS, available free on YouTube. That webinar got me a mailing list of proto-fans that I called on when Shatter released, asking them to share Shatter on social media. With their support, I reached #1 in two Amazon categories, print and digital. I only stayed at #1 for a few days and you might think that a shortstop there doesn’t gain much, but actually a stat like #1 is extremely helpful. I reference that ranking all over my Facebook page, my website, and my bio when I present at libraries and conferences—opportunities that come up more often because my bio reads well, having sales to cite as well as leadership positions in Storymakers Conference plus a grand prize win in a first chapter contest. The point is that marketing starts small and builds as you be honest and public about your successes. Marketing is no place for modesty.  

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

For me, as a mom, I made a firm commitment to do the publishing side of my career correctly (i.e., spending lots of time on it) without cutting off my kids completely. Shatter published in May and I took the entire summer to play with my kids, plan my author lessons, present to teen readers and adult writers all over Utah and California, give a podcast interview, broadcast a new writing webinar, etc. I didn’t write for nearly six months. It felt like the right decision for me. Now that school is back in session, I’m working on a YA coming-of-age romance and a “comedic mystery of romantic proportions.” I made up that genre all by myself, lol.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

Man, what don’t I have on the back burner! I want to write sci-fi. Like, hard-core, super-sciencey sci-fi. Before I became an author, I taught physics and chemistry to eighth graders. I got an honorable mention in Writers of the Future for a time-travel sci-fi horror that I’d love to expand into a novel. I want to write chick-lit that’s hysterical and one of those middle-grade slice-of-life stories that will make me cry all over my laptop. I want to stick with young adult mysteries and have a whole slew of them for fans to choose from. And romance. Novella-length romance. Sweet romance. Spicy romance. I basically want reincarnation and a forever laptop.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

Listen, go get a career that pays the bills and that gives you plenty of life to experience. Meanwhile, writing will always be there, like the air you breathe that you sometimes take for granted, wishing it could be sweeter or warmer or more stirring. It simply is. Stories are like that. They are effortless in their abundance. They exist inside you as a sustaining force. They may pay the bills someday and they may not, but that’s a terrible thing on which to judge writing. Writing is still art, even in the 21st century.

***
A Question for Kathryn:

I’ve “only” written three novels and sort of can’t imagine having written twelve books! What keeps your drive to write alive? Or is it “just” a day job at this point?

Great question! I actually had my first book published by a traditional publisher in 2002, went back to school a few years after that, graduated with a degree in Mass Communication, and then tried and failed to find a job in journalism. If you remember, about the year 2009, jobs at the newspaper were being cut right and left.

Suffice it to say, I bought the rights back to that first book (with the help of my brother) and decided to start my own writing business. All of my books have come after that, and I have been able to help 22 writers write and publish their books through my company, Idea Creations Press

I guess you could say that I love working for myself, and I love to create new characters and new worlds. I don't think writing or publishing will ever become a 'day' job for me, I love it too much!

Thanks for the question!

***







Reactions:

0 comments :

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment.