Today I am very lucky to be interviewing Nikki Rae, author of the paranormal/romance Sunshine Series. The third and final book Sun Damage comes out on Friday and I’ll be running a giveaway along with a guest post by Nikki on Monday, but before all that happens I’m asking Nikki about reading, writing, and her wonderful series.
Where did the idea for The Sunshine Series come from?
The initial idea for The Sunshine Series came out of a trip I took with my family when I was 14 or 15. I got sun poisoning on that trip, and I was stuck inside for the whole vacation. I started to wonder what would happen to someone if they got sun poisoning every time they went into the sun, and the story and characters took off from there.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series? Are you someone who plans out all the details of their stories or do you work it out as you go along and see what new things you think of on the way?
I do a little of both. I never plot out the entire thing because for me, writing a book is like watching a movie. It isn’t as exciting getting to certain parts if I already know what’s going to happen. So as you can imagine, my first drafts are really, really sloppy and I have to edit and revise a lot, but that’s when I start to really learn new things.
What was it about this genre that drew you in?
I’ve always loved vampires and I’ve always loved stories that dealt with difficult subject matter. It was a no-brainer to push the two ideas together.
Was there a certain author or book that made you want to start writing, or was it just a dream you’ve always had?
I can’t name one specific book that made me want to write because I think it’s pretty much anything I’ve ever read leading up to becoming an “official” writer. Reading for me was a means of escape and a way to not feel alone. Once I realized this in writers like Edgar Allan Poe, Ellen Hopkins, Anne Rice and Augusten Burroughs, I wanted to be that for people as well.
Is there any author now that has influenced how/what you write?
Again, I feel like every time I read something it influences how I read and how I write. I learn because I read as a writer. I find out what techniques certain authors use and I try to mimic them, or I find things I don’t like and never want to try out.
You started writing Sunshine in high school, having just finished the series and looking at where you are now you must be proud. How have the public reacted to your series?
Yes. Beyond proud of how far the story and how far I have come. The public, for the most part, seems to like the series. Most of the feedback I get is really positive and even sometimes goes deeper than “I liked this book”, which is really amazing to see.
Are you a person who scours reviews to see people’s opinions? Do you obsess over negative ones or do you take them as a chance to improve your work?
I try to read every review but I think that’s because I’m a workshop person. I like feedback. Positive or negative, it teaches me what to work on for next time. I used to get upset over bad reviews, but now they don’t really bother me. What’s important is that people are reading and thinking about what I wrote.
There is a strong music connection through the series, not only with Sophie’s band but each chapter opens with lyrics. Is this your type of music? Do you get any inspiration and motivation from music and lyrics?
Oh yes. Most of the music is what I listen to on a daily basis, but a few bands are favorites of Sophie’s, Myles’, or Jades. Music plays an extremely important role in this series and I found myself not being able to write without it, which is completely out of the ordinary for me. I found that the more music I listened to, the easier it was to slip into Sophie’s voice.
Do you have a certain process or any quirks when writing? Did you have any routines or do anything in particular when writing the series you didn’t realise you were doing?
I drink a lot of tea. Like, more than any one human being should consume in one day. When I’m writing, if my mug isn’t full, I get thrown off for some reason and I have to make more tea. It’s really weird.
What book/s are you currently reading?
Right now I’m reading Switch by Janelle Stalder and The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Marakami.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
The Sandman Series. It’s such an amazing and complex idea and I love it so much.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write! Also, make friends who like to write. They’re good to have because writing is such a solitary thing and it’s nice to be part of a community and have people to bounce ideas off of, read your work, and give you honest advice. Other than that, read a lot. Research your options as to publishing, and have fun. Try to remember when things are hard that you do it because you love it and it’s worth doing. Your ideas are special and no one can tell you different. : )
You can check out all about Nikki and her series with the links below, and don’t forget to check back for the release day blitz and my review of Sun Damage on Friday, plus Nikki’s guest post and giveaway on Monday!