Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Author Interview: NIKKI DUNCAN

Good morning, booklovers! Today we are joined by romantic suspense author Nikki Duncan. She's here to chat with us about her new novel Scent of Persuasion, coming May 4th from Samhain! Welcome, Nikki! (Applause!)

What inspired you to write your current release?

I’m not really certain where the idea came from. I knew a wanted a second Sensory Ops book, and I knew I wanted to model the heroine after one of my friends. That’s all I knew. And then all of a sudden, I’d come up with the idea of using DNA based perfume as the murder weapon, or someone made a comment that led me to it. Either way, it became so much more complex almost instantly. It was a blast to write.

How important is the setting/world in your books?

Since I write contemporary it’s not as huge a part as in say a historical, but I still try to make sure the reader is rooted in their surroundings. In SCENT OF PERSUASION, my upcoming release, the settings are actually a source of conflict for my heroine. One, she’s not really an escort, so hanging out in an escort mansion is odd. Second, the world she’s stepped into has tossed her into the world of fundraiser attending, white collar executives—a world that nearly shattered her and sent her running. So, I guess it’s a pretty big deal. I hadn’t really thought of that before. I just wrote.

What drives your books? Is it the hero, the heroine, the conflict?

Me. I’m a control freak to the very end and regardless how strong willed they are, if what a character wants isn’t going to work for the book I make them change. So far that’s worked for me. Fingers crossed. Another answer would be that it depends on the book. They’re all different for me.

If one of your characters came knocking on your door, how would you react?

I think that would be weird. And totally cool. :) I’d invite them in to chat.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? (Note: this does not have to be your day job if you have one; it can be anything from flapper to astronaut to crime-solving paleontologist.)

A full time stay at home mom who never stressed.

How would you like people to remember you as a writer?

I’ve never been a huge limelight kind of person, at least not intentionally. I think I want people to remember my stories more than me, but if they remember me I want them to remember me for an ability to write sensual and emotional stories that touch a part of them.

What is the best advice you ever got as a writer? The worst? If you could go back in time and give your beginner-writer-self some advice, what would you say?

Best: Don’t be afraid to move on to a new project.

Worst: To keep working that first book.

Advice: I have a friend who was recently struggling with a ms and asked for an opinion on another one. There was something in her tone and eyes that made me ask if she was still excited about the first. It took her some time, but she recently decided she wanted to set that first one aside and move on to something new. I applauded her decision because I did that 4 times before selling my 5th book. Too many writers stick with the first and work it over and over and over

What three things do you absolutely need in order to write?

Characters that already matter to me. Something to drink. Patience from the family.

In ten years, where do you want to be as a writer?

Writing for Samhain, but also writing for a NY house. I would also like to be writing some paranormal suspense stories I have in my head.

What do you think is the most romantic moment ever from a book or movie?

The really long look the hero and heroine share in Last of the Mohicans. When they’re in the fort and she’s nursing someone. He just watches her. No words. No touching. Just intense watching. sigh

What’s next for you/what are you working on now?

I have a treasure hunting story with my editor that I’m hoping she loves as much as I do, but in the meantime I am working on an Empath story for the Sensory Ops series. That was one that I really have enjoyed writing.

Thank you for joining us today, Nikki!

Thanks for having me, Vivi! I also want to mention that anyone signing up for my newsletter will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card. I’ll be having that drawing at the end of the month.

Today, one lucky commenter will win an ebook of Sounds to Die By, the first book in Nikki's exciting Sensory Ops series.


Autumn Jordon said...

Nikki, Your idea about DNA perfume is really intriguing. I loved to read it. The question I have, you said you modeled a character after a friend. Does she or he know and what do they think about you doing so?

Vivant said...

Interesting interview, fascinating concept, and a great title and cover. I'll be looking forward to release date!

Nikki Duncan said...

Autumn, yes the friend knows. She made a comment once that Kami would be the perfect name for a heroine. I thought she was right, though I didn't know at the time my Kami would be an escort. The real Kami though has accepted that only some of the characteristics of herself went into the fictional one and she thinks it's great fun. :)

Vivant, I love love love my cover. I hope you enjoy the book when it comes out May 4th!

Oh, and if you guys want to learn more about Breck and Kami from SCENT OF PERSUASION, I'll be chatting about them tomorrow night at Kris Cook's chat room. www.KrisCook.net.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Nikki! Thanks for the interview! Good advice for your friend--it can be really hard to set aside something you've poured so much into without feeling somehow like you're failing. But I think that often we need to put aside a lot of "tries" before we hit on the success. Thanks again for hanging out!

Nikki Duncan said...

flchen1, it's tough advice to take. Setting aside something you've worked so hard on is very tough, but by doing so you allow yourself to learn something new. You also show yourself that you have more than one project in you. And there's no rule that says you can't go back to a story. Sometimes the idea is just too big for what you're equipped to do at that time. I know I've had those.

Sherry said...

Have you ever had a character talk to you until you had to write them a story? Do you ever start out writing a character as bad then decide to change the in the middle of your writing?

Nikki Duncan said...

Almost all of my characters talk to me, wanting their own story. It's fun.

Hmm... take a bad one and make them good... I almost said no to this, but that's not true. I had a sister in one of the books who was bad once. I didn't change her midway through, but when my editor suggested a few fundamental story changes I changed her then to make it all work better. Now she's wanting her own story, but she's going to have to wait awhile.

booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed reading the post; it was great. I'm adding this series to my wishlist and look forward in reading it.

Tracey D

Cheri said...

I love the long looks shared by the hero and heroine in Last of the Mohicans too. I can't wait to find out how you use DNA based perfume as a murder weapon!


Fun interview. Well done!

Nancy G said...

Nikki you always have such unique ideas. I can't wait for the new one to come out. Please don't enter me in the contest, as I have this one already

Julie said...

Your books are so different! I'm loving the idea of a blind hero, and can't imagine how hard it was to write. Thanks for the chance to win!

Also, Last of the Mohicans never fails to make me cry. ;~;

Vivi Andrews said...

As yet another person who is a total sucker for Last of the Mohicans, I wanted to chime in to thank you for joining us here today, Nikki!

Nikki Duncan said...

Tracey, let me know what you think of it when you've tried it.

Cheri, long looks... *sigh* I hope you enjoy SCENT OF PERSUSAION. It was a fun challenge.

Thanks for stopping in Kelly.

Now Nancy G, I couldn't risk boring people. It's just not in me. :)

Julie, I think I can get through the movie without crying these days, but... wait, no I can't. I do have a crazy need to watch it again though.

Vivi, thanks so much for having me here! It was fun, and I'm glad to find another sucker for LOTM.