You’re all cordially invited to join in the fun of the Massive Autumn Book Launch Event (#MABLE) organised by my publisher, Fantastic Books Publishing. The books in the event are hugely discounted, so it’s a great opportunity to try some new and exciting fiction. It began on 17th September and runs to 31st October. And you can sign up to join in the fun here.
I’m posting interviews with the authors here during the event. This one is with Linda Nicklin:
Linda Nicklin is a Lincolnshire based writer. She has written short stories, novels, and plays. She worked for more than thirty years as an Occupational Therapist and later went on to teach O.T. and work as an advisor and freelance trainer. Linda is also a committed environmental activist and was arrested for sitting in the road close to 10 Downing Street in 2019. She says that her night in a police cell will definitely crop up in a future novel.
- Did some specific event trigger the creation of Storm Girl or, alternatively, was this a project you’d been considering for some time?
The main characters, Angel and Raph have been with me for years. I just needed to find a way to tell their story. As they developed, I placed them in different settings and pushed and pulled other characters around them so that I could create the best space for them to grow. And once I began to really understand the climate crisis and the extremes of inequality in society, I knew I had found their place and their struggle.
- Most works of fiction have themes either at their heart or subtly roving beneath the surface for the more analytical reader; what were your themes here, and why do they matter to you?
As I’ve already mentioned, the climate crisis and extreme inequality are themes in Storm Girl, but other themes include resistance, the resilience of older people and the power of women. And on a smaller level I included some upcycle repairing, foraging, and survival techniques. I wanted Angel to fight like a woman- fierce, fast, and to defend the ones she loves. There’s no red mist in Storm Girl, no testosterone, no celebration, just a woman doing what she must do. I also included some caricatures of some well-known people, but I’m not going to tell you who!
- Is Storm Girl your first created book or do you have others both published and/or awaiting publication?
Storm Girl is my first published novel. My first one ‘Stepping from the Shade’ is lost in a Word version of the 1980’s. The book that I’m currently working on is very exciting, but then I would say that wouldn’t I. It’s about too-big-to-fail private companies who are running global politics by fabricating secrets and then blackmailing politicians and their families.
- When did you start writing and what prompted you to choose words as your creative medium?
I’ve always wanted to write, and when life gave me to space to surface above the ‘must do’s’ to the ‘dreams and wishes’ I did a variety of courses. I finally came to a place about ten years ago where my mind told me to ‘put up or shut up’ and I started writing.
I chose ‘word’ because I’m not musical and I can’t sing, and I needed to ‘find my voice’.
- To what extent does genre guide your treatment of story/subject?
I don’t feel a need to tick any particular boxes. Genres are there to make it easy for book sellers to decide which shelf to put a book on.
- Do you plot, or are you a ‘pantster’ writing without a definite plan, and why do you use this method of construction?
Oh, seat of the pants every time! It’s much more exciting. I’ve walked many a mile wondering how I was going to get my character out of that fix! And then using my phone to record ideas that pop into my head. It works in cars and trains, but you do have other things to concentrate on. I did miss my train stop once and was about 40 minutes late for a meeting. There’s something about travelling that sparks my imagination.
- What, if any, input did you have in the design of the book cover, and is such collaboration important to you?
I love the Storm Girl cover! I asked for Angel to be a silhouette with a scarf like lightning and the rest is down to Ramon Marett’s magic.
- English is a temperamental language; how important is it for an author to understand its rules?
Each to their own but if you want to argue the merits of the oxford comma ours will be a very short conversation.
Having worked for years in local government I think I am still reacting against passive- paragraph-long punctuation-lacking sentences that cautiously say very little.
I’m more concerned about meaning and storytelling than I am rules. But then I am the kind of person who reads the end of a book first. I know that some people find that shocking, but my justification is that I need to prepare myself if my heart is going to be broken.
I read somewhere ‘get it writ then get it right.’ I like that because I get joy from the ‘get it writ’ part and warm satisfaction from the ‘get it right’.
I went to a girls school in the 1960’s which had very low expectations for its pupils and where grammar wasn’t really taught. Or perhaps I wasn’t really listening. In Storm girl I sunk my school building – Angel goes over it on her canoe trip to York. That gave me, and my school friends a great deal of joy.
- Finally, bearing in mind the wide choice of self-publishing platforms now available, what made you choose Fantastic Books Publishing as your route to the reading public?
I knew next to nothing about the publishing world when I finished writing Storm Girl and I am eternally grateful that Fantastic Books saw some merit in my writing. I learned an immense during the editing and publishing process and I’m really proud to be a part of MABLE.