Wednesday, January 14, 2015

YA Wednesday! Author Series ~ Nikki Jefford

Nikki Jefford loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt. Books, travel, TV series, hiking, writing and motorcycle riding are her favorite escapes. She loves meeting people from all walks of life, from around the globe, and wouldn’t trade her French husband in for anyone – not even Spike!

She’s a third generation Alaskan, born & raised in Anchorage, now living in Northern Washington. Crazy about her dog, Cosmo. (Writer’s best friend.) The dark side of humanity fascinates her, so long as it's balanced by humor and romance.

Her favorite TV heroines are Buffy, Veronica Mars, and Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan.

Stay in the new release loop by joining Nikki’s email list:

Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter
Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter (#1)
Northern Bites (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #2)
Stakeout (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #2.5)
Evil Red (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #2.6)
Bad Blood (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #3)
Coming in March
Hunting Season (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #4)
Spellbound Holiday Set (#1-3)
Holiday Magic (A Spellbound Christmas Story)

Coming Soon

Nikki, I am a HUGE fan of your work.
Thank you, Amber. I'm a huge fan of anyone who reads! J


1.      When did you start writing and how did you first publish?

I handwrote my first novel in fifth grade. I used one of those 120 page ruled spiral notebooks and filled the entire thing (front & back).
Entangled (Spellbound Trilogy #1) was self-published in February 2012 on Amazon and the other big online book sellers via Smashwords. Since then, I started publishing directly to sites like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play and iBooks.

I really enjoy YA fantasy and you write some of my favourites.

2.    Are you a huge fantasy fan? Would you ever consider writing contemporary?

That is music to my ears. J I am a HUGE fantasy fan! Total addiction that began with books like Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones and Matilda by Roald Dahl. And movies like: The Never Ending Story, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Princess Bride, Legend, The Secret of NIMH, Ladyhawke and The Last Unicorn.
I’m open to other genres. I read and watch a range of subjects. I have 15,000 words of a contemporary romance novel and even purchased the cover a couple years ago, but fantasy is my first love. If I hit a lull or need a break between series, I’ll revisit that project.

3. What does your writing process look like?
I know for your latest book in the Aurora Sky series you wrote a product but then decided to start over. I find that really admirable. How has that process been?

Movies are filmed out of order. Likewise, my best novel writing takes place when I write the scenes I’m most excited about first then go from there. For example, one of the first scenes I wrote in Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter, Vol. 1 (now free!) was the public bus—hot kiss—scene between Aurora and Fane. That and her initiation as a vampire hunter. They were both incredibly tense—one sexually, the other a life and death situation. Completing those got me pumped and excited about the book and characters. They were defining moments that helped set the overall tone of the novel.
More recently, I began writing books chronologically and—ironically—the process hasn’t gone as smooth.
As you know, the last Aurora Sky book (Hunting Season, Vol. 4 – now available for pre-order) got out from under me. I wrote the entire novel… then rewrote nearly the whole thing again from scratch.
Despite the financial loss and blow to my confidence, I am grateful I wasn’t locked into a release date and could take the time to start fresh, reconnect with the characters and get them back on track.

4. If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your books, who would play your characters?
I can't wait to hear your answers on this!!! :)

This isn’t all going to be age appropriate, but I’m sure Hollywood can do their thing with makeup.
Aurora Sky – Adelaide Kane (I just started watching Reign about Mary, Queen of Scots on NetFlix and am impressed with Adelaide Kane. She has an air of naivety and kindness, yet is unrelenting when push comes to shove).
Dante – Chris Pratt (I could not stop thinking about Dante when I saw Christ Pratt as Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy. They have that same goofy, headstrong nature. They even like to sing fun songs. And he looks like the clean-cut, hottie poster boy.)
Fane Donado – Can we resurrect James Dean? So far I haven’t come across any actors who remind me of Fane. Maybe there’s some undiscovered new talent out there. ;) 
Noel Harper – Lucy Hale
Valerie Ward – Isla Fisher (She has the red hair! I’ve never seen Fisher play a mean part, but she’s got the right look and I’m a fan and I’m sure she could pull Valerie off!)

I really love romance but I really gravitate toward YA romance novels.
5. How hard is it to write romance?

I’m also a romance buff. Writing the romantic bits is the most fun part of the process. They’re my favorite scenes to read and write so long as lives are at stake and/or the world is falling apart. I have A.D.D. big time, which is probably why I’ve never gotten into contemporary romance. The only thing that seems to be keeping couples apart in contemporary romance is poor communication, social status, jobs, and/or family dynamic. It’s very formulated. I like to be surprised.

 Speaking of romance you write one of my favourite book boyfriends and my favourite vampire of all time, FANE!!!!!!!!!!!!
6. What inspired FANE?

Killer! I am so happy to hear that. Fane was inspired by Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I fell for him, HARD, during a back-to-back, binge-watching Buffy marathon in 2011. Then the series was over and no more Spike!
I was at a low point in my life—getting old and going nowhere kind of thing. Joss Whedon reminded me of why I fell in love with storytelling in the first place. He inspired me to put the ideas I thought were too “outlandish” to paper. That the sky was the limit.
For over a decade, I’d tried to be a literary writer, then a historical romance writer. When I returned to my first love: fantasy, the world unfolded before me. It was life altering.
As for Fane, he helped get me through Spike withdrawals.

7. Out of all the characters you write who is the most like you? Who is the least like you?

Probably Graylee Perez from the Spellbound Trilogy. She puts a lot of focus and energy on magic (her passion), the way I’m focused on writing. It can get in the way of personal relationships and come across single-minded. But if someone she cares about is in trouble, she’ll drop everything in a heartbeat and fight to the death. We’re also both food obsessed. Aurora doesn’t care about food. Gray and I are chocoholics who love yummy, bready things. We both leap before we look, which leads to adventure and misadventure. We enjoy language and world travel—though I love the French language, which Gray doesn’t. She’s into Spanish. I’m a Francophile all the way, including a French husband I met and married in France!
On the flip side, the character least like me is Gray’s twin sister, Charlene Perez. I’ve never come close to being suicidal over a boy. I can’t stand selfish, shallow behavior. She does horrible, murderous things for her own benefit with no remorse. She makes Valerie Ward from the Aurora Sky series look like an angel in comparison.

8. What writing advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read at least 50 books a year.
Watch TV series and pay attention to characters and plotlines that grab your attention and keep you hooked. (How can you recreate this effect in your writing?)
Write! At least a few times a week.
Jot down notes, bits of dialogues—whatever comes to mind—in a notebook.
Edit! Nothing comes out perfect the first time. Keep working on your craft and find beta readers who can give you honest and insightful feedback.

9. What are some of your favourite YA reads/authors?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
John Green! (Big love!)
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Grimoire Saga by S.M. Boyce
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

10. What do you have in the works next?

Something I'm super mega excited about: Losing It – a collection of never before published sex scenes from 20 bestselling YA authors. We’re taking fade to dark scenes from previously published YA series and revealing what went on behind closed doors.
Heather Hildenbrand and I organized this collection and it’s been interesting to see the reactions. It pushes a lot of writers outside their comfort zone, but we managed to round up an incredibly talented (and brave!) group. Sex and nudity is a sensitive subject, especially in the U.S. Yet violence is acceptable and I have to see dismembered body parts on the evening news. I’d rather see a boob than a bloody arm any day of the week. Besides, reading about sex is what kept me out of trouble growing up. I’m reading submissions as they come in for the collection and let me say this, readers are in for a real treat!
The Losing It collection releases next month and will be available for pre-order very soon.
Thank you so much for having me, Amber!

Nikki is giving away one audio edition of Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter. Enter here via Rafflecopter or enter HERE  on our Facebook page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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