Debut – The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy
Genre – Middle Grade
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer. When I grew up, I even went to graduate school to be one, and then sort of… forgot. A few years ago, I realized I was approaching forty and still had the same dream I’d had since I was nine, I just had gray hair now to go along with it. I figured I’d be eighty, still “wanting to be a writer” if I didn’t do something about it.
I started writing like my life depended on it – and now, a few years later, I have an agent, a two-book deal with Razorbill, and an addiction to reading and writing middle grade books.
I have two sons, who in an act of self-preservation have learned to cook their own dinners, a Scottish photographer husband who has learned to love putting together author websites and book trailers and reading early drafts of children’s books. I am living my dream. I think nine-year-old Nikki would be proud.
Notes from a YA Debutante
It was totally worth the multiple knife-fights I had with my less-battle-skilled middle grade debut author friends to win a spot as one of Badass Bookie’s 2012 debutantes! My dress was originally full-length, but part of the hem was hacked off during one of the fights, and I had to eat a few dozen of the truffles to even out the hem. (Oh, the sacrifices I make for art – and fashion.)
That brings us to one of the most important ingredients of my writing journey, the thing that enabled me to overcome years of rejections, months of waiting to hear back from agents, and epic novel-length revision letters from my editor: chocolate.
Specifically, Lindt dark chocolate (with orange) bars.
No, my greatest inspiration isn’t my family (even though my two kids are responsible for quite a few of the stranger plotlines in my manuscripts), or great works of children’s literature (unless you count Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
When I’m writing, I make sure that there’s a bar of chocolate next to the keyboard, along with a cup of hot tea to wash it down. When I’m waiting for revision notes or words from editors, I bake, mostly chocolate chip cookies, but I’ve been known to move on to more difficult chocolate-based recipes. (I’m a “stress baker.” True Story: One night, when my husband came in from work, he saw three batches of cookies, two dozen muffins and a cake on the kitchen counter. His face turned white as he gasped out: “Who died?” No one. I was waiting for word on a contract.) In the winter, I add hot chocolate to the mix, and in the summer, chocolate ice cream.
This creates a problem, commonly referred to as “Writer’s Butt.” So I drag myself away from the writing desk three days a week to teach a half-dozen Zumba aerobics/dance classes. Zumba is the work-out equivalent of a karaoke party with your fifty best friends. So much fun!
Of course, when people ask how a Zumba instructor can be, um, less than thin with all the working out? The answer is, of course, chocolate.
Sigh. I wish I liked celery or something.
(Okay, that’s a lie. I would never leave you, my sweet, dark, luscious chocolate bar. Never. Especially not for celery.)
Did I mention that I wrote a book about addictive, enchanted sweets? You’re probably wondering where I got the inspiration. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out!
Thank you to Badass Bookie! I’d curtsey, but I ate a few too many truffles off my gown to do it without flashing my writer’s butt. J
Bookie's Note: That's quite an addiction you got there Nikki... A GOOD ADDICTION! I wish I lived in your household, it sounds like H E A V E N! We never bake cookies at my house, we just buy them and they're never as nice :( Lindt is great but have you tried the seashells??? I LOVE CHOCOLATE SEASHELLS! Come back tomorrow for the second half of Nikki's feature and a giveaway, lovelies!
Badass Bookie xx