Dirty Dozen Blog Tour 2015

I’m excited to welcome Nic Starr to the blog today as part of the Dirty Dozen Blog Tour. Don’t forget to leave a comment so you’re entered into a drawing for a prize package that includes an ebook from each author on the tour.

Nic: I’m so excited to be part of the blog hop. Thanks for having me on your blog, Jeff. I can’t wait to meet you in October.

AE Via: Do you fully outline a book? Or do you sit and let the thoughts flow as you type?
Nic: I’m definitely a planner. In fact, the thought of writing without a high level outlines gives me the heebies. I usually start with a vague idea of the story, including the main characters and plot, which I then flesh out before I start putting down words. The first step is to brainstorm key events or milestones (captured in a mind map). I then translate these into scenes in the writing software I use. This forms the high-level plan and writing begins. However, I believe in being fluid as I write. The story will evolve and may deviate from the outline, and at times like that, I just go with the flow.

Aisling Mancy: Describe your writing style in five words and what about that style sets you apart from other authors in your genre(s)?
Nic: Sweet, comforting, character-driven, heartwarming, contemporary

I’m don’t believe I am unique in my writing style, but I also don’t think that’s a bad thing. I write the type of stories I like to read, so I’m happy to find these types of stories from other authors. Long live heartwarming, romantic stories with happy endings!

NicStarr-More thanaFriend

Nic’s latest, More Than a Friend, comes out October 7. You can learn more on Nic’s website.

Alexa Land: What are you currently working on, and what can we expect from you in 2016?
Nic: I’m currently working on a few books. I’m in edits for a Christmas story titled The Proof is in the Pudding. Watch out for it in December. The first work-in-progress is book three in my Heroes series. It’s called Patrick’s Savior. The second is Rustic MemoryRustic is a new series. It’s set in Australia, my first set of novels that take place in my own country. The first book is Rustic Melody, and the story largely takes place in Armidale, a country town in NSW. It is followed by Rustic Memory (the one I’m writing now), and finally, Rustic Moments.

So 2016 should see the release of the three Rustic stories, between January and March, hopefully followed by Patrick’s Savior.

I also have a queue of stories waiting to be written, including a few that are partly complete and will be released in 2016.

Carter Quinn: What’s the answer to the one question no interviewer has ever asked?
Nic: Yes, it is natural.

Jeff Adams: When you’re stuck on a story, what do you do to get the words flowing again?
Nic: Inspiration comes from many places – luckily – so I haven’t been caught up with writer’s block *touch wood*. The most useful tool I find to get a story ‘un-stuck’ is to talk about it. I have a critique partner, someone I can explain my issues to, who usually asks me a whole lot of questions that end up clarifying the direction I need to take – it turns out I usually know the answer myself but I’m not thinking in the right way. Often asking what, why and how, tells me where I need to be headed.

If I’m feeling unmotivated, it can help to acknowledge that, and do something else for a while to clear my head, rather than staring at my screen in frustration.

Sometimes reading a great book gets me inspired to write again. I finish a wonderful story and can’t wait to get to the computer and start writing my own. I’m also a fan of sprinting. I write in timed blocks and track how many words I write to encourage myself.

LE Frank: What’s your favorite scene from your own work, and the one that’s lingered longest from someone else’s?
Nic: Now that’s definitely a hard one. I have a number of favourite scenes from my own stories, each for very different reasons. I’ll pick one though, and go with a scene from Andrew’s Promise. Andrew and his best friend Tanner are out at a bar. Events happen that force both of them to face their feelings. I like this scene because Tanner finally stands up for himself and what he wants, and Drew admits his feelings at last. However, the events in this scene trigger the beginning of their separation.

In terms of someone else’s work, it would be the last few pages of the epilogue in Memorizing You by Dan Skinner. I won’t give specifics because I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone who hasn’t read it, but that ending has stuck with me because it drew such an emotional response. I’m talking sobbing tears that resulted in a headache and a lingering melancholy for days. If you haven’t read the story, I highly recommend it.

Morticia Knight: What is your favorite genre to read? Least favorite?
Nic: I’m a contemporary girl, through and through. I would say 80% of what I read is contemporary m/m romance. I throw in a dash of BDSM, paranormal and the like, to spice things up a bit, but can’t help going back to what I love the best. Least favourite is a difficult one. I don’t read a lot of historical or sci-fi, but interestingly enough, the last couple I read I really enjoyed. But these are probably the genres I don’t actively seek out.

Nic Starr: Tell us about your writing environment and where your writing time fits into your daily or weekly schedule?
Nic: Wow. This is weird to be answering my own question. I usually write at a desk in my bedroom where I’m surrounded by everything I need – notebooks, inspiration pics, technology. My dog is usually asleep at my feet and keeps me company. When I’m writing in the day, the room is light and bright. My window has a lovely green outlook, and directly outside is a grevillea that is always covered in gorgeous flowers with eastern rosellas feeding. However, the daytime hours are usually devoted to things other than writing unfortunately.

Most of my writing happens in the evening. Once the dinner hour is over, the kids usually escape to their rooms, and I abandon my hubby to spend some time getting words down. I’ve tried using the laptop in the family room but it’s just too distracting.

Nicole Dennis: How do you manage all of your new plot bunnies and what is your process to work on one?
Nic: I love plot bunnies. They come at the strangest times! As soon as I have an idea, I capture it in my iPhone Notes app. That way it isn’t lost. Because believe me, there’s so much stuff going on in my head, I can’t remember anything from one day to the next! My dad called it CRAFT’s disease (Can’t Remember A Fucking Thing). Anyway, I keep a list of all ideas so I don’t lose them. It may be a simple paragraph of an idea, or a photograph or article, I find inspirational. Every now and then, I review the list to decide what I want to work on next.

I’ve tried making a writing schedule with a detailed plan, but found it difficult to manage. However, I do review what I’m working on and have a high-level order. There are currently twelve stories in the queue. Now I need to find a few more hours in my day to write them! I do try to give balance and variety, by alternating new stories with follow-ups in series, some novels and some novellas.

TM Smith: What keeps you focused when writing?
Nic: Big picture, I focus on the end result. It’s so exciting to imagine typing the words ‘THE END” (although, when I think about it, I’ve never actually typed those words) and knowing that shortly I’ll have a new story to bring to my readers.

On the smaller scale, I stay focused by getting lost in my story and in the lives of the characters. I live and breathe them for the duration of the writing process.

Tempeste O’Riley: In a perfect world, would you write full time? If so, would it ll be mm/LGBT or would there be some mf in there too?
Nic: I’d love to write full-time, probably because I’m over the corporate career, and don’t like to spend my days working in an office anymore. I was lucky enough to be able to work less at the evil day job this year, and hoped this would be the start of a full-time writing career. However, that was easier said than done. While I do have more time to write, life has taken a turn that meant I have other things I need to focus on.

In terms of genre, I’m sticking to m/m. It’s what I love and I have a list of story ideas as long as my arm. But I never say never. Who knows? One day the inspiration might strike to write something else. I’m not sure about m/f because I don’t feel the passion for it, but maybe YA dystopian, because that would keep my teenage daughter happy.

Wade Kelly: What influenced your decision to write in this genre?
Nic: Quite simply, I write in the genre I like to read. Before I started writing, I was an avid reader and devoured m/m books by the hundreds and hundreds. I meet some authors in the genre, who questioned my statement that I wasn’t a writer. Over coffee one day, I was challenged to give it a go, so I did and the rest is history. Thanks NR Walker!

See you in October!

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter and my blog. I’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.