Interview with Nicole Underhill

What are you working on next?
Next I will be working on book six of TLOPH series. It is going to be a little more morbid and a little more funny.
I have this wicked doctor in my head who has a talent for splicing things together.
Who are your favorite authors?
This question is tough. Honestly I am easily hooked but it's TOUGH to keep my interest. I think some authors get a deal and start having to push out books that are just bland. Or life happens. I mean I read my own stuff I was trying to force and think, what in the hell did you even put this down for Nik Gawd! Suck City!" If it helps I bought Fifty Shades and didn't finish it.
I've never read Twilight.
I loved the Hunger Games.
Who is the hot blonde with the seelie and unseelie books? Those got me for a while. The next one lost me.
The Alaska chick that does the end of the world books? Good stuff there.
I think that is what pushed me to write my stuff. No one wrote what I wanted to read. So I published it.
There I fixed it.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Ha! Well I live in paradise so that doesn't hurt. I often have insomnia, so if I wake up, I jump out of bed in the middle of the night. If I don't I lay there and torture myself with things gone by and things I could have done better. That is obviously no fun so I write. I do my best stuff in the middle of the night during a bout of wakiness. (that should be a word)
The house is quiet and the tropical birds have all shut up and I can really pull on characters and get them to speak to me.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Hmmm. I am a speardiver and I love to shoot photos down here in the Florida Keys. My beloved is gone a lot and its no fun going alone so if he is gone I often just write. You know 18 hours a day sometimes. I have thought about getting an assistant so I have someone to do things with.
I think most people find me antisocial and I can't advocate going to bars. I like to garden the tropical plants but find that if you don't keep up with pests its all in for nothing. Seems like a waste to me. Oh homebrewing. I love homebrewing. Tasty IPA. Gawd, maybe I should get more hobbies huh?
Dork!
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Tough to say. Usually they roll by on FB or I hear a tidbit about them. I like to peek inside and read a bit. If they keep my attention I buy them.
I have thousands of books in my IPad I probably will never get to unless I have a terrible accident.
Most of my reading I do in the bathroom or late at night trying to turn the brain off.
God forbid I find a new app to play that pushes the pile deeper.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a poem. It was so very long and I believe it was about this girl who lost her love. She was young and stupid and thought it was the end of the world so she tried to kill herself. Searing sounds of what has past, vanishing like the hour glass.

Youth is wasted on the young isn't it?
Sigh.
What is your writing process?
Its painful really.
I just start writing. I often don't have a title or names for characters. My fingers just go and they reveal themselves. I keep a long file of notes. Things I want to add and change. This way I don't stop pushing or lose thoughts. I finish the book, I think finishing the first time is the most important part of writing. Finish the book. Push though. What you have is some bland piece of garbage that needs serious attention but you are ready for the next step. (Jesus what did I eat today?) Then I go back to the beginning and add flavor and lust and human qualities and detail adding my notes from my notes file.
I use Scrivener and its made all the difference.
I went from a year to edit to weeks.
Editing sux!!!!!!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I think maybe it was Jack London, White Fang.
I think it was probably a little too depressing for my fragile state.
The most memorable thing was the spit crackling and freezing before it hit the ground because it was so cold and that was how they could tell what temperature it was.
Actually I am not sure I remember a heck of a lot else about that book.
Oh Rasputin, written by the daughter! Now there was a book, possibly before White Fang. And you have to love a box full of penis after a century. Who doesn't love penis in a box? But it was dark and how these characters could be so blood thirsty and for no good reason was so valid to me. It was a dusty old hardcover with golden gilt. I can still remember how it smelled all musty and filthy in my mind. A guilty pleasure I probably shouldn't have been reading.
How do you approach cover design?
Two words- Gabrielle Long.
She's a bad mo fo. I tell her what I have in my brain and she makes it happen. She is very interesting. One of those cosplay chicks. I met her on that Devian Art site. She was between jobs and said she would take the work. I was probably horrible to work with and didn't understand the process so I am sure it was taxing for her.
Every time I don't listen to her advice I regret it and we end up doing it her way.
Very interesting person, she is incapable of caring what people think. Such a rare quality in a female.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in Michigan. We were poor in a mostly well-off town, and everything we ate was grown or killed. We canned and froze everything we could to make it through the winter. My dad would fish and hunt. He would come get us in the middle of the night to help track the deer. We ate rabbit and venison, squirrel sometimes. I would pull weeds that were bigger than I was. My mom went back to work when we were old enough and in school. We had a little more money then but they drove an hour each way, everyday for 30 years. They were so exhausted they rarely came to my volleyball games or track and swim meets. My dad seemed angry all the time. My mother tired. I didn't feel like I had a lot of family support. I felt like a burden mostly and would cling to people who showed interest in me. It seemed miserable and I never understood why they did it but now I realize that this is just what people did back then. You get married, check. You have kids, check. You work hard, check. You are exhausted, check. You retire with what is left of you, check. They are good down to Earth people and worked hard to provide a life for us. I don't think most people can say that about their parents, planet wide. But to this day I have zero interest in having that life and honestly I am not sure which one of us was wrong.
Describe your desk
My desk is a reclining chair ten feet from the ocean. My desk is an overstuffed brown leather couch with baseball stitching ten feet from a 75 inch big screen. My desk is the kitchen counter while I am standing so I can't say I've been sitting all day. Sometimes I go to a tropical hangout and write by the pool or at the corner of a bar. I listen to the tourists and locals chat and tell stories. Listen to the locals bitch about the crazy politics. Sometimes I will get a crazy idea for something in the book. Sometimes it makes me glad to be back home again, which is all I need. An attempt at being social. Ha!
What do your fans mean to you?
I have fans?
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think the greatest joy is creating a world where I fit in. A world where the characters may be crazy or evil or delusional but somehow they all know me and we belong together. The comforts of home.
Published 2014-03-01.
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