Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Nita Round – Nita has been writing all of her life in one form or another, and loves telling stories. In fact, her head is so full of stories she is grateful to let them out to play. Once out, more stories jump in to fill the space. She lives in the heart of England with her wife and their King Charles Cavalier, Rosie.
Thanks so much, Nita, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Nita Round: I always wanted to be a writer, even as a small child, but I come from a practical family and writing was never a real possibility. I went to college, then university, got myself a degree and a “proper job” before I joined the family business.
I wrote my first novel (600,000 words) but it has only ever seen the inside of a desk drawer. Maybe, one day, it will be rewritten.
JSC: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
NR: I’ve always written, but not always fiction, and not always for public consumption. When I was a child I always said I wanted to be a writer and I wrote countless short stories that I packed away and most of them are forgotten. When I was five or six years old they always about horses, but by the time I was seven those horses either grew wings or horns. I think the first one of those I remember was called, “Falling off Pegasus.”
As to whether I am good at it, well we’ll have to wait and see. Regal Crest keep saying yes, so I’m happy with that.
JSC: If you could create a new holiday, what would it be?
NR: Oh yes, every Monday would be renamed and rebadged as a holiday. I’d call it Ginday, but vodkaday or wineday would be just as good. Then Tuesday could be the international day of the hangover.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
NR: I’m not sure how I would describe my style, it will vary I think, depending on the story. Genre-wise I tend to look at speculative fiction in the widest sense. So, urban fantasy, ghost stories, post-apocalyptic fiction, space ships, and swords and sorcery. I guess I write the story that comes to me, no matter what it is. I do like monsters though, so something nasty will be lurking somewhere.
JSC: Were you a voracious reader as a child?
NR: Yes. But I didn’t read as much fiction as I do now. I read lots of entries in encyclopedias for school essays, and I read all of the classics like, “The Count of Monte Cristo,” or, “The hobbit,” and “The three musketeers.” I spent a lot of time in the library too, escaping work, and reading more fiction.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
NR: My first publishing success was a short story, “Dreams come true.” It was one of the winning entries in a short story competition run by DIVA magazine in association with Xcite publishing. So, something at the erotic end was called for. Several more erotic short stories followed for Xcite.
JSC: What fantasy realm would you choose to live in and why?
NR: Oh I would be a Middle Earth Hobbit. You sit around all day smoking weed in a pipe, eating and chilling out. It is so laid back I’d like that. As long as I can take my wife.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
NR: My head is always full of stories, and years ago I used to write down the ideas and file them. There was one problem. As soon as the story made it to paper it lost its relevance and I never regained the magic of the initial idea. Now I let the ideas stew for a few months and wait for one to become dominant. At this point if I don’t let it out then it’ll drive me insane. I think it’s the stewing process that makes the whole thing work, and it tends to come out quite quick once released.
I never plan a story. There is no outline, and no plot. Most of the time I have nothing more than an opening scene, or a character, other than the stewed mess in my head. I write what I have down long hand, and always written with a fountain pen. I write a scene, or a chapter, and then I type it up. Usually the following morning before I walk the dog. By the time I return from the walk I have the next bit ready to write. Or at least the fresh air gives me something to think about, and dream about.
Once the story is up and running I start writing notes on to flipcharts. These are them taped around the office until most surfaces are covered with sheets of A2 paper, and all with my scrawl. When I get to ¾ done then I start the chapter summaries, make notes, draw sketches etc and then wrap the whole thing up.
On the whole, it is a chaotic process. Probably wrong, but it works for me so far.
JSC: Would you visit the future or the past, and why?
NR: I’d like to go everywhere. If pressed, I think I would like to go into the future, and drop in every hundred years for a few thousand years just to see how we manage. If we manage. Given current progress I am not sure there will be many folk around. I’d like to know if we cure cancer and control diseases. Are people still starving and homeless? Do we still make war over the things we dig from the ground? And most important of all, will I be able to afford a glass of wine?
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
NR: There are several projects underway, but by the time this is published, “The Ghost of Emily Tapper” will be live and I will be neck deep in edits for “Fresh Start.”
My newest work is called “A Touch of Truth: Raven, Fire and Ice.” Imagine an age of steam and airships. A version of earth where paranormal abilities are not so unusual, and the woman most suitable for crime fighting is a Psychometrist called Lucinda Ravensburgh. Unfortunately, the story seems to be heading in a different direction to the one planned.
And now for Nita’s new book: Knight’s Sacrifice:
For most people, running a funeral home is a dull and conservative line of work, but when Catherine Samuels inherits the family business she discovers that it is anything but straightforward. For a start, the dead do not always stay dead, they sit up, and they bite. In this strange world, Catherine needs help, and that comes in the form of Cassandra (Cassie) Evans, a heavily armed problem solver, knowledgeable in all things arcane and undead.
Cassie, however, hates her posting to Catherine Samuels. Her charge knows nothing of family, her heritage, nor her duty as the sole remaining caretaker of The Gate, a sentient construct that guards the way to hell and stops the inhabitants of Hell finding their way to the land of the living. Anyone who does not understand the importance of this duty is a liability. Catherine is a liability. Except that Cassie finds an unsettling attraction developing between them that she neither expects nor wants. Duty first, there is no room for emotional entanglements, and certainly not with a woman who rejects all that Cassie thinks is important.
When Catherine finds herself on the brink of losing everything, Cassie, her family, and even life itself, then she must awaken. She must become The Samuel, The Gate Keeper and guard the way between the living and the dead. To make it safe she must travel to hell, with the warrior that she has chosen, and there, if they survive, she must heal the problems of the Gate before all hell breaks loose.
Nita has been writing all of her life in one form or another, and loves telling stories. In fact, her head is so full of stories she is grateful to let them out to play. Once out, more stories jump in to fill the space. She lives in the heart of England with her wife and their King Charles Cavalier, Rosie.
When not writing, she loves being outdoors in the garden, walking the dog on the heathland and forests of Cannock Chase, or visiting site of places of interest and national heritage. Any other free time is spent reading, cooking, and drinking wine. She likes making flavoured alcohol and her damson gin has been blamed for many a headache. No one has learned to say no though.
Social media: Nita Round can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and even has a channel on You-tube.
Web site: www.nitaround.com