This Sunday’s “An Author’s Desk” guest is Nikki Andrews. Nikki is a very special guest because she is my editor extraordinaire at Champagne Books. Why extraordinaire? Because when Nikki’s finished editing, I know the story is the best that it can be. Nikki is the standard by which I judge editors. Nikki is also an extraordinary author of cozy mysteries and sci fi. Here’s Nikki in her own words …
“And what do you want to be when you grow up, little girl?” “A cowboy.” Note, I emphatically did not want to be a cowgirl. Later, when the question became, “What would you like to do for a living?” my answer was specific, even if I had no idea how to make it happen. “I want to read.” Many years passed, but I’ve finally reached my goal. I’m now happily working as an editor for two independent publishers as well as freelance. My great joy is working with writers like you, Rita, and being midwife to some wonderful books. My only regret is that sometimes I have to write a rejection, but even then I try to offer suggestions to help the writer improve.
The first thing you should notice about where I write is that it’s flanked by windows. One window looks over my backyard garden and into the woods that separate me from my neighbors. The other has a view of our small stock pond, frequented mostly by frogs, deer, foxes, a wide assortment of birds, and the rare fisher cat. In an ideal world, I’d write on paper with my back propped against a tree, but the realities of creaky old bones and a plethora of no-see-ums have driven me indoors. Still, I need these windows to the natural world when I write. Other than that, I prefer silence. No music, TV, or company. I guess I’m easily distracted. Oh, look, a purple finch!
You might also be able to see the little brown horse on the top shelf. She represents my muse, a buckskin mare named Irish. Irish has been my companion, guide, mentor, and salvation for more years than I care to admit.
I have a bit of a split personality when it comes to my writing style. I start out as a total pantser, with almost no idea where my story will go. Like Ray Bradbury, I follow my characters down the hall, typing madly. Later I write a brief synopsis and a sketchy outline, neither of which rule for very long. I have very persnickety characters with quite definite ideas of what I should write.
Two projects vie for my attention at the moment. Both are sequels to Framed. In the longer one, A Thousand Words, the women of Brush & Bevel gallery find themselves investigating the death of a journalist, and in Oil & Water, an art show in Lobster Cove, ME, (a shared universe created by The Wild Rose Press) leads to mayhem and intrigue. Both stories feature the New England quirks I’ve come to know and love, with a bit of humor thrown into the mix.
And one day I will get back to my series about saving the universe with music, motor racing, and cyclically-gendered alien time travelers. So many stories!
Framed, Nikki’s featured story is a cozy mystery published by The Wild Rose Press (April, 2014). According to Nikki, “The best job-job I ever had was working at an art/framing gallery for nine years. Alas, there was no Chowdah Bowl nearby. The staff, customers, artists and neighbors of that shop serve as models for Framed, but I altered, amended, added, subtracted, invented and blended freely. No artists were harmed in the writing of this novel.”
Framed by Nikki Andrews (The Wild Rose Press, 2014)
When a long-lost painting turns up at Brush & Bevel, a decade-old mystery is reawakened. What really happened to artist Jerry Berger and his model Abby Bingham? Was it a murder-suicide, as the police proclaim, or was it something far more sinister?
Gallery owner Ginny Brent and her loyal staffers, Sue Bradley and Elsie Kimball, each take a different path to unravel the mystery. Together, their discoveries start to form a cohesive whole. But as they get closer to the solution, they discover to their horror that art is not the only thing that can be framed.
Thank you, Nikki, for visiting and sharing your story and your book. Tomorrow, A week of Ancient Plagues Rita Bay