Today I’m delighted to feature debut author Nikki Smith. When I met Nikki last July her publication day seemed a long way off, but not any longer. Yesterday finally saw All in Her Head launched into the world, so congratulations Nikki! I sincerely hope that the prevailing crisis is over by July so that I can say hello again this year.
Nikki Smith studied English Literature at Birmingham University, before pursuing a career in finance, working in a variety of different companies including an investment bank and a trampoline park. She always had a passion for writing and in 2017 she had a ‘now or never’ moment and applied for a Curtis Brown Creative 3 month writing course which she absolutely loved. Later that year she had a short story published in the Writer’s Forum Magazine, and submitted the opening chapters of her novel to a competition where she won the opportunity to be mentored by the author Amanda Reynolds. She lives near Guildford with her husband, two daughters and a very friendly Burmese cat called Saffi.
Over to Nikki
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Pachelbel’s Canon because it makes me remember my wedding day – I walked down the aisle to it.
Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto 2nd Movement – it was played at a funeral of someone I was close to and apart from being such an incredibly beautiful piece of music, it reminds me that you should make the most of life because it’s too short.
Electric Dreams by Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder because it takes me back to being a teenager in the 1980s.
Mr Brightside by The Killers. I love this song so much I put a reference to it into All In My Head.
Africa by Toto because it always reminds me of how big the world it, that there are so many places that I haven’t seen that I want to visit.
What 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
Twitter – I started using twitter a few years before I got my book deal and I’ve found the writing community to be so supportive, I honestly don’t think I’d have been motivated to keep going through some of the awful first drafts without the support of some of the people on there. Writing can be quite a lonely business each day, so having friends on twitter can really help you feel less isolated – I’m sharing a house at the Harrogate Festival this year with some lovely ladies I first met on twitter before we met in person at a hotel last year.
My lovely agent, Sophie Lambert. She has been so supportive of me since I started the whole writing process and without her guidance and input I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Dark chocolate – it’s my guilty pleasure. If there’s any in my house, I eat it. A friend bought me chocolate tasting afternoon at Hotel Chocolat and it was one of the best presents I’ve ever had!
Sunshine. After the weather we’ve had over the past few months I’ve realised how much I miss it!!
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
That it is better to try and fail than never try at all. And that each failure gets you a little bit closer to where you want to be, so it’s not really a failure at all.
Don’t worry if you don’t feel that you fit in. I read an amazing piece of advice from Matt Haig that really resonated with me where he said ‘Never be cool. Never try and be cool. Never worry what the cool people think. Head for the warm people. Life is warmth. You’ll be cool when you’re dead.’
That life is not a race, it’s more of a marathon. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t first to achieve something – sometimes the best results can come later on down the track when you’re ready.
That just because someone is the loudest in the room doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about.
Always be kind.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I’m very allergic to mosquito bites – I swell up like a balloon if I’m bitten.
I hate eggs – fried, poached, scrambled, boiled – they literally make me retch.
I’m terrified of daddy-long-legs. One got in my hair when I was little and I can still remember the feeling of it trying to get out. I can’t stand them!
I’m very short sighted – the world is one big fuzzy blur unless I’m wearing my contact lenses or glasses.
I did a sky dive when I turned 40 – something I’d wanted to do for years but had been too scared to. It was both absolutely terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure. I don’t think I’d have got out of the plane if I hadn’t been strapped to someone (it was a tandem jump) but once I was falling, I loved it. I’m quite tempted to do it again!
Tell us 5 things you’d like to do or achieve.
I’d love to have my novel made into a TV series or a film.
I’d like to mentor someone who is trying to write their first novel. The author Amanda Reynolds was kind enough to do this for me. I can still remember where I was when she phoned me to tell me I’d won the competition she was running. It was so, so helpful and the whole process helped me to secure my agent. I don’t feel I’ve had enough experience to do this yet, but at some point, I’d like to do this.
I’d like to own a house by the sea somewhere – I love the sound of waves and would love to walk on a beach every day.
I’d really like to own a dog – when I was working full time in an office I never thought it was fair to own one, but now I’m working from home more I’d really to get one – I’m just not sure how my cat would take to it!
I’d love to travel to Uganda to see Gorillas in the wild. It’s on my bucket list.
Many thanks for joining us today Nikki. I hope you had a great publication day yesterday?Pachelbel’s Canon is a beautiful piece of music, one of my favourites, and a lovely memory for you. Good to see a positive shout out for social media too, here’s hoping Harrogate is an option this year. I love the advice to your younger self – we’ve all been in a room with that ‘loud’ person! I’m half with you on eggs, I can eat them providing the yolk is soft – very soft or else I’m afraid I’m retching too. Sincerely hope you get to tick off the items on your ‘likes’ list. Walking your dog on that beach everyday would be wonderful.
Her life is a pack of lies. But what if she is the liar?
Alison is more alone than she’s ever been. She is convinced that her ex-husband Jack is following her. She is certain she recognises the strange woman who keeps approaching her at work.
She knows she has a good reason to be afraid. But she can’t remember why.
Then the mention of one name brings a whole lifetime of memories rushing back in.
Alison feels like she’s losing her mind . . . but it could just lead her to the truth.
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