Today is old friends day. You have met Jodi, from WOW! many times, and with her today is Lisa de Nikolits, who visited back in March of last year and is back to tell us of her newest book. So I ask in helping me give these ladies a warm Welcome Back to CMash Reads!! Friends……Ms. Lisa de Nikolits!
LISA de NIKOLITS
Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.
Her first novel, The Hungry Mirror, won the 2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and was long-listed for a ReLit Award. Her second novel, West of Wawa won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was one ofChatelaine’s four Editor’s Picks. Lisa has also written poetry, short stories, magazine articles and children’s books. She also spent many years as the art director for fashion magazines around the world.
Connect with Lisa at these sites:
Q&A with Lisa
-Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Yes and no! In general, whenever my writing has drawn too closely from my own experiences, my editors have deemed the prose banal or the character vacuous! So I might take a kernel of my experience and develop things from there. For example, I art direct magazines in my day job and I took a lot of the scenarios and things I heard or saw while at work for my novel The Hungry Mirror, but I created fictitious characters and their fictitious responses to those events and I created a story and plot that didn’t exist in real life.
I don’t tend to draw from current events – well, that’s to say I haven’t done so to this point! I am very open to stories; I welcome them to come to me from any and all avenues. I do view everything in my life as having potential for a story’s beginning; I test things almost subconsciously and see if anything worthy can come of it.
If we look at A Glittering Chaos, it all started because my husband bumped into a German woman in the elevator in Las Vegas and she couldn’t speak English. He came back and told me and I thought ‘wow, imagine being in Vegas and not be able to speak English…’ And it all burgeoned from there: the imagine if… I tried to imagine the worst possible consequence and work backwards from there.
-Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I go back and forth! If we look at A Glittering Chaos, I started off with my husband’s chance encounter with the German woman and I wondered what the worst possible consequence could be, as a result of her not being able to speak English. Obviously it would be that she was murdered but I liked her (and by ‘her’ I mean my character, as I never met the elevator woman) and so I didn’t want to kill her or have her die.
So… she comes out of it alive but what has she lost? And what has she gained? And how is her life different and what did she learn and how did she grow?
Those are the most important questions I ask myself when crafting a story and I go back and forth with what happens and how it happens.
I was fortunate to receive some excellent feedback from an editor who said I had way too much in the book and he outlined what he thought would make for a good novel. I had my doubts, I didn’t think there was enough there but I went on trust and it worked out just fine.
I tend to overplot, overplan and work in too many things. I’ve had to learn the hard way (i.e. rewriting and rewriting and more rewriting) to take it out.
-Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I like to wear a hat. The hat changes! That’s my only idiosyncrasy.
I have quite a taxing day job and I work a lot of long hours there, so I don’t have a routine per se.
I try to write for an hour or so every night (and the timing on that varies) and I get up early on the weekends and try to do as much as I can. My writing motto is ‘Do One Thing A Day’– whether it’s write a blog post or do a bit for my novel or read something on the style of writing, I try to do just one thing a day. That way I feel as if at least I am doing what I can, I am taking a step forward every day, even a small step.
-Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
I’d love writing to be my full time job! That said, not many novelists can support themselves in this way; I recently read that there are twenty novelists in Canada who do this for their day job.
I am a magazine art director and I’ve worked all around the world on different magazines. I was Senior Art Director for marie claire South African, Art Director of Vogue Living Australia and am currently the art director of Canadian Health and Lifestyle magazine and Cosmetics magazine.
I’ve chatted to a lot of fellow writers and I feel that I am very fortunate in having such a different day job to my writing because I’m not burnt out when I get home; I’m not tired of words. My writing is an escape into a completely different world and it feels fresh and exciting at the end of a long day.
I would hate to design pages all day and then have to come home and design more pages – and for me, that’s what it would be like to write by day and then try to write by night too.
A lot of writers who write by day have told me that they struggle to get motivated to write when they get home and so I think I’m very lucky to have such a different job – each fuels off the energy generated by the other – I think I’m a better art director too, because I write! And not to mention the wealth of stories that I come across in my day job!
-Who are some of your favorite authors?
I’d like to answer this question as being “which authors would you like to write like?”
Anakana Schofield (Malarky), Lisa Moore (February), Harry Crews (Body and Feast of Snakes), John Steinbeck (Cannery Row and East of Eden), Edeet Ravel (Wall of Light and Ten Thousand Lovers), Liz Worth (Eleven Eleven, PostApoc), Gordon (Cosmo), Stuart Ross (Farmer Gloomy’s New Hybrid).
-What are you reading now?
Because one review recently likened my book to Madame Bovary (the review is posted on my website), I reread that very recently and highly recommend it. I read the latest Lee Childs (A Wanted Man), Denise Mina (Gods and Beasts), Girlfriend In A Coma (Douglas Coupland), I read the latest novel by Rosemary McCracken (Black Water) and thoroughly enjoyed it and I read the vivid and poetic PostApoc by Liz Worth which haunted me for days. I’ve got Drunk Mom (Jowita Bydlowska) lined up, along with Dirty Bird (Keir Lowther). As you can see, I like to mix it up!
I am very much looking forward to the follow-up book by D.J. McIntosh, author of The Witch of Babylon (Penguin). Her second novel, The Book Of Stolen Tales is due to launch soon and I can’t wait! It’s great when you find authors you love to follow.
I read a lot of poetry because I think that’s the best writing; it’s so succinct and so powerful. I tweet a quote every day from a poem that inspires my writing.
I loved Probably Inevitable by Matthew Tierney and I am currently enjoying Exaltation in Cadmium Red by Sonia di Placido and Come Late to the Love of Birds by Sandra Kasturi.
-Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I am! I have another novel due out next year; The Witchdoctor’s Bones. This novel has a bunch of tourists travelling through Namibia; it’s all very Agatha Christie-like! This novel is due to be launched in 2014.
I am also working on another novel: Between The Cracks She Fell and I am at about 40 000 words. I aim to have the first draft of this novel completed by year end. This one’s about a young woman who loses her job and her home and takes up residence in an abandoned old school. It’s being a lot of fun to write!
-Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
I have it all worked out, with pictures too!
Melusine (protagonist): Jean Tripplehorn
Kateri (long lost sister): Michelle Pfeiffer
Juditha Estima (psychic): Jennifer Connelly
Hans Meier (husband): William Hurt (about ten or fifteen years ago)
Jonas Meier (young Josh Hartnett)
Gunther (Harvey Keitel)
-Would you rather read or watch TV/movie?
I have a mini routine for this! I like to watch a TV or a movie on Friday nights – Friday night is TV night! I don’t watch a lot of TV in general; I watch CSI Las Vegas, Criminal Minds, The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family. My husband and I sometimes watch all four on a Friday night! I write most nights and therefore don’t have much time for TV, and I try to read a bit every night too. Sometimes it’s nice to watch a movie or TV on a Sunday night too but only if I’ve done enough writing (and reading). Fortunately my husband is very understanding of my commitment to writing and he happily watches a lot of sport by himself or plays his lap steel or works on his photographs.
Pancakes! And chocolate (any kind except for dark chocolate). I have a very sweet tooth and could happily eat cake for breakfast, pancakes for lunch and chocolate for supper!
I’d like to answer this with beverages plural! I love Tim Horton’s coffee. When they first introduced their new Extra Large size I was appalled, I thought who on earth could consume that much coffee (or tea)? It looks close to a liter of liquid! Now I’m ashamed to say that I can easily drink two of them in a day! I love Oolong tea and I drink a lot of that. I love a white wine spritzer with soda water at the end of the day and I love Black Velvet Toasted Caramel Flavoured Whisky. Again you can see the sweet tooth coming into play! And I love Crystal Lite Tangerine Grapefruit.
Thank you very much for having me as a guest on your blog and I most sincerely hope your readers will give A Glittering Chaos a try!
ABOUT THE BOOK
A terrific, smart, funny and incredibly wise story about marriage, secrets and lies and unusual sexual proclivities.
A German woman in her early-forties insists on accompanying her husband to Las Vegas, where he has a business conference. Unknown to her the conference is a pretext; he’s there to find a psychic who will help him contact his sister who vanished at fourteen.
A key theme is how one person’s psychiatric problems can move like a destructive whirlwind through other people’s lives and within the confines of a curious and shifting family dynamic.
Melusine (protagonist) is a passionate and creative woman with a high tolerance for the eccentric expressions of human frailty. From suppressed wife and librarian to nude model; to writer of an erotic Sapphic novella; and finally to pastry chef and adoptive mother of a baby boy, she has a good sense of self-discovery-she embraces her erotic desires with self-love after she realises, with surprise, that she even has an erotic self.
A Glittering Chaos is a novel about empowerment and new beginnings at every stage of life, with a diverse cast of unconventional characters of all ages and sexual orientations who find themselves in intriguingly unusual situations.
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Inanna Publishing (May 30, 2013)
THANKS TO JODI AT WOW!,
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