Interview with Elizabeth Nicolson

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in many locations which include Winnipeg Manitoba, Barrie Ontario, Mirimichi New Brunswick and Baden Baden Germany. I guess it's no coincidence that many of my characters are travellers of some kind.
When did you first start writing?
I have been a lover of words and books as long as I can remember. Even before I learned how to print as a young child I ‘pretended’ to write. There was something magical about putting a pen or pencil to paper and just going through the motions of making squiggles. As a child I wrote short stories which are long since gone, but serious writing didn’t start until the eighties when I began my first novel.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I saw an author on Canada AM one morning who sparked my interest in the idea of being an indie author. The traditional route had become frustrating, and I’m not getting any younger. What did I have to lose?
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There’s no better feeling than getting that next sentence or paragraph just right. You feel it down to your very bones that it is a thing of beauty. I find writing pulls me into a meditative process where time has no meaning. Any of life’s trials or difficulties prior to a session of writing seem to melt away and afterwards don’t seem as daunting or all consuming. Writing is wonderful therapy.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have many favorite authors. Some of the classic writers are Shakespeare, John Milton, Homer, Euripides, and Chaucer. Other more modern authors include Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and Dylan Thomas. Among today’s authors I am partial to Dan Simmons, Michael Crichton, Dr. Seuss, and Isaac Asimov . There are many more; too numerous to list.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a regular day job and I take care of my Mom. That takes up quite a bit of time. There are two spoiled felines Chewy and Chaucer who also demand time. I also read, garden and try to keep my hand practiced in Ancient Egyptian Grammar. Any down time I have is spent watching documentaries and the odd sitcom.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was ten years old and it was about colonising the moon. Of course that was back in the sixties when the Apollo program was in full swing and the moon was in everyone’s imagination.
What is your writing process?
A fledgling idea will occur to me and then I’ll mull it over and change it as new thoughts come up. If the idea keeps coming back to me and keeps evolving, only then will I make some notes and start to flesh it out. It may sit in the idea pile for a while and by the time I get back to it, it will have changed again. Once the characters and some of the plot are set down then I start the first draft. If the idea has aged for a while all aspects of the story seem to flow better. Once the first draft is done I’ll set it aside for a month or so. After some time away from it any problems become more apparent and easier to fix. Then I print it out and start the real work -- rewriting. There could be several rewrites.
How do you approach cover design?
I give it to the professionals. While I appreciate art, I am not equipped to perform it.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kobo and a Kindle. I can’t seem to choose between the two as I find there are pros and cons with each.
Describe your desk
I have a small writing area so I selected a three tier desk. The top tier holds a TV, DVD player and sound system. I find I write better with background noise -- for some reason I can concentrate better. The second tier holds my eBook readers, and favourite critter pictures. The main writing area holds my laptop, external hard drive, a jar of pens/pencils, and a white board/ cork board that I have found extremely valuable for quick notes and reminders. In truth I could fit everything into a good sized suitcase which I find somehow comforting. Being someone who has lost almost everything twice in life the fewer and smaller possessions I have, the better I feel.
What are you working on next?
I have several projects on the go at all times. I’m working on a third Monstrum book in first draft. I also have another book which should be complete within the next six months. It deals with three time periods which eventually work together.
Published 2015-01-07.
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