Author Interview with Nicole Cunniff

Introducing an author from “Forbidden Rites.”

1.      What genre are your books?

I write mostly urban fantasy as well as some dystopian fiction.

2.      What draws you to this genre?

I don’t have much interest in non-fiction, I like to get away from reality, even if it is just in my mind and only for a little while. I really like to write stories that have supernatural elements because they stretch the imagination and allow me to believe – however briefly- in the unbelievable.

3.      What project are you working on at the moment?

me
Copyright © Nicole Cunniff

I have 3 novels in the works as well as flash fiction stories that I write weekly for my website. The novel I am currently spending most of my time on is still very much in the beginning stages, and is one of the more difficult things I’ve written.

4.      What’s it about?

It takes place in France (This is part of the difficulty I mentioned), and without going too far into detail, is about a woman who discovers a past life that she lived, in the house she just inherited. Some mystery, some murder, some romance. Should be pretty interesting…I hope.

5.      Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special?

My main character in this story doesn’t actually have any special abilities. She is a pretty average woman who decided to accept her inheritance after the relationship she was in became abusive. She is starting fresh, moving to a new country, and starting new friendships. Now, her past life was a bit more intense, she lived in 1600’s France as a witch; her journey to discover this life is a bit of a crazy ride.

6.      Have you written anything else?

The story for the FWG Anthology will be my first published work, but I write frequently none the less. I write a story every week for my website, which I call flash fictions because most of them are between 500-1500 words. I do have a few stories on my website that are short story length that I release in pieces. I also submitted a novelette to a writing contest; which was about a woman discovering another world existed, inhabited by the Fae who took her sister. She went on a journey to rescue her and discovered things about herself along the way.

7.      What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I would say that I strive to achieve what all writers do – success. I want to be able to write for a living; I want to create stories that let people escape from their day to day lives. I want my stories to inspire people like so many writers have done for me throughout the years.

8.      Which writers inspire you?

Wow, there are so many inspiring writers out there that choosing a few is difficult. I do have a hand full that I look up to, Karen Marie Moning would probably be number one on my list. Her series – The Fever Series, is absolute perfection to me. It is a work of fiction, but is so pact full of insight and wisdom that it struck a chord deep within me.  Other inspiring authors are Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, and Kristin Cashore. One thing that I find inspiring in all of these women is the fact that they put quality above quantity. They have no fear of pushing a deadline to make each story the very best it can be.

9.      When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

Well, I’ve always been an avid reader, but to be honest, writing isn’t something that I actually considered until I was out of high school. It was one of those moments where I was debating on going to college and if I decided to go, what would I major in, what would I do with my life? I believe it was a friend, or maybe a relative, who asked me why I didn’t try writing my own stories.

I’m not sure if anyone else has had this happen to them, but it was as if once the idea was mentioned I couldn’t shake it, I knew I had to give it a try. I’ve written little bits since then, started novels and put them aside to start others. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I truly got serious about it though; I started going to college to earn an English degree, wanting to improve my writing and expand my knowledge. Now, I write as often as I can, but probably not as often as I should. My story in this anthology will be my first published, but I hope it won’t be the last.

For me, reading is an escape, and I would say this is a big reason I write as well. Writing the stories that pile up in my head is a way for me to go on a journey, but I also hope that it will provide someone else with a short escape from their ordinary lives as well.

10.  Do you have a special time or place to write?

Honestly, just whenever I have time. I work a full time job, have children, and go to school. Most of the time I find myself writing in the morning on the weekends, and if I write during the week it’s for a very short time before I go to sleep or on my lunch breaks at work.

11.  Where do you get your inspiration?

Is it lame to say the stories just come to me? I’ll find myself thinking about something or other and have this moment of –oh my god, how cool would it be if…

Other times, when I’m actually trying to find something new to write about, I find inspiration in everything around me. Whether that be nature, a show, a book, a day dream, or even pictures and art.

12.  Do you work on an outline or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you?

Short stories that I’ve written tend to be done by just running with the idea. With those, there’s not a lot of planning involved for me and I often get surprised by where the story ends up myself. Since I haven’t actually finished a novel I don’t really have a set process for this yet. I’ve been experimenting with outlining, but I usually get too excited by the story and start writing way ahead of when I should. Most times I have to put the writing aside and do more research before I can continue.

13.  Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you overcome it?

Ugh, yes. It happens often for me. I have this habit of becoming totally obsessed with something and then weeks or months later it fizzles. Though it happens with other interests as well, so it may not be specifically writers block…Maybe creative block?

So when I go through one of my – I’m totally not feeling this right now- phases, I try to just let it ride. I always come back to my writing in the end, and usually have so many new ideas after taking a break.

14.  What is the hardest thing for you about writing?

Finishing a story is the hardest thing for me about writing. I usually end up switching between a few projects because I get stuck on the slow parts, especially in novel length stories. I get bored and always want to get back to writing the action and the drama, which is usually when I switch over to one of my other writing projects.

15.  How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?

Since I have yet to publish any, I don’t have any insights into marketing yet.

16.  How much research do you do?

I would say that depends on the story. My short stories and most of the small pieces I have posted to my website have little to no research. One of the novels I’m currently working on and mentioned earlier needs quite a bit. Since it takes place in a country I’ve never been to I have to research the land, history, buildings, customs, etc.

17.  Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

My computer, so far. I find my handwriting gets too sloppy trying to get my thoughts out on paper. I type much faster than I write, and it makes it easy for editing as well, being able to cut passages and keep them for later if I wish.

I have been toying with the idea of writing a novel longhand to see if it helps me focus more and get rid of distractions. I may just do that with this novel I’m working on based in France.

18.  What are some of your favorite books/authors?

As I sit here and stare at my book shelves I see at least 20 different authors, all of these are books I can’t bear to part with, so choosing favorites are hard. I think I’ll have choose books by those writers I mentioned earlier that inspire me. The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning will always be at the top, the Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs, Kate and Curren books by Illona Andrews, and Graceling by Kristin Cashore to name a few. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling will always be a favorite as well, I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve read those.

19.  Are you currently reading any books?

Yes! Currently reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. They are amazing by the way, definitely recommend them!

20.  How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Come check out my website – nicolecunniff.com – I regularly post flash fictions and updates about anything new I’m working on. If you like my facebook page I share all of my flash fictions there as well.

Website: nicolecunniff.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicolecunniffwriter/

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