Interview with Nicola L. C. Talbot

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No, I've been writing ever since I was a kid, but it was probably an adventure yarn.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I expect it was probably a Beatrix Potter story. I'm not sure what sort of impact it had on me other than to fire my imagination.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a friend who is an excellent artist. She reads the story and together we come up with ideas for a cover image.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I think probably: "Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien (although that might count as three rather than one) because it's a great adventure yarn; "The Big Sleep" by Raymond Chandler because it's a well-written mix of humour and hardboiled detective fiction; "Red Harvest" by Dashiell Hammett because it's taut well-written hardboiled detective fiction; "Ice Station Zebra" by Alistair MacLean because it's a good, fast-paced action story; and "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen because it's witty and a good observation of human behaviour.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Sony PRS-600
Describe your desk
Cluttered.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a seaside town on the South Downs (part of the south coast of England). I don't know if that had any influence on my writing, although hearing the fog horn on a dark winter's night certainly stimulates a child's imagination!
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have a novel due out in 2014 that's speculative crime fiction set in a retro world of gangsters and corrupt city police. I wrote the first draft in 1992, but went back to it over 10 years later and completely rewrote it after finishing a creative writing course at the University of East Anglia. I then revised it during the follow-on diploma course and it formed the major part of my final portfolio.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I already had some experience in the publishing world as a production editor and have a fair bit of experience using LaTeX (Lamport's format of Knuth's TeX typesetting system). I have some on-line tutorials that seemed popular and I was aware that there was an interest in printed versions of them, so I decided to give print-on-demand a try. A lot of modern books are poorly typeset (even those produced by the big publishing companies) so I decided to use the imprint that I'd used for my text books to also produce my fiction books. That way I have complete control over my books. (At least for the printed versions. It's harder to have that level of control over ebooks.)
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Mostly computer programming, writing (La)TeX code or reading.
Where does the title "I've Heard the Mermaid Sing" come from?
A line from T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". ("I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.")
Published 2013-11-23.
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Books by This Author

The Private Enemy
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 142,680. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Fenland Detective Inspector Hadley is called in to investigate the death of the Earl of Wynherne, but in this retro world of gangsters and corrupt city police a wrong move could destroy the fragile alliances and trigger war after thirty years of uneasy peace.
I've Heard the Mermaid Sing
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,540. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Crime
It's 1929 and Albert Sternheimer, a yegg (jewel thief) from St Louis, is travelling on the RMS Aquitania with a case of stolen jewels, but unknown to him there's someone else on board with an interest in him and the contents of his case.