I have a little something different for you for this installment of the IWSG, founded and hosted by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh. Fellow insecure writer Jennifer Lane has read and reviewed my latest release, and today she's interviewing me about insecurities & more at my place and posting her review at her place---now that's what I call support!
Nicki Elson (NE): Thanks for being here, Jennifer. I was really, really touched that my book made it to the top of your reading list so fast.
Jennifer Lane (JL): Divine Temptation was fantastic, Nicki! We've already discussed that paranormal isn't my favorite genre, but maybe angels seem more realistic to me than other paranormal creatures, because I really enjoyed it. What was it like for you to anticipate my review, knowing I'm not a big paranormal fan?
NE: I was a bit nervous, but I think more than that I was curious about what your reaction would be. In my opinion, this story is very much based in reality and reads more like a contemporary with paranormal elements than a true paranormal, so my hope was that it would bridge a gap between readers of both genres---and your favorable review tells me that it works for the contemporary crew, because I know you don't give out five stars unless you mean it. Another reason I anxiously anticipated your reaction was because of your psychotherapy expertise. My most important goal in writing is to create real-feeling characters, so I love that you noted their varying shades.
JL: What insecurities came up for you while writing Divine Temptation?
NE: Okay, total honesty---while I'm writing, I don't experience much insecurity. Even when I realize that the words coming out of me at that moment are crap, I have confidence that I'll be able to rework them into something brilliant later on (see the cockiness?). My insecurity usually comes after I have the manuscript polished and am getting ready to send it on---that's when doubt and fear take over. Even though I personally loved this story, I knew it was out of whack with market trends and that the blend of faith, sex, romance, and horror was unusual, so I wasn't sure it would be picked up, and even after it was, I wasn't sure any readers would like it. So it's a relief to see that the few reviews that have come in so far have been positive.
JL: Tell us about some insecurities in your heroine Maggie.
NE: Maggie's biggest insecurity is that she has this need to control everything. She's afraid that if she lets go for one moment, everything will come crashing down. We meet Maggie two years after her divorce---that event forced her to relinquish her tight grip on certain aspects of her life, but instead of learning from it, we find her attempting to build back up a different little universe over which she can exert complete control...except she can't.
JL: Do you see parts of yourself in her character?
NE: Me, controlling? I...I'm working on it, okay?! Actually, I think getting published is the event in my life that's supposed to teach me how to loosen my grasp. The publication process and marketing require a lot of trusting other people to do what they say they're going to do, and that's pretty hard for me, especially when the way of life is that some people won't follow through. So part of giving up control is simply learning to be okay with it when things don't go according to my plan.
JL: What's next for you?
NE: Time will tell...see that? Not trying to control things? Buuut what's been distracting me lately is a contemporary office romance/chick lit. Naughty & funny yet sweet is how I'd describe it, so more in the vein of Three Daves than Divine Temptation. I'm ADD that way.
The best balm for writing insecurities is to have someone enjoy what you've written, and when that approval comes from a writer whose opinion you greatly respect---even better. Thank you Jennifer, for taking the time to let me know what you thought, and thanks to the rest of you too who've been so wonderfully supportive of my writing endeavors. You can read Jennifer's full review at her blog today.