Author Interview: Lee Nichols

Lee Nichols was born in Marblehead, Mass., raised in Santa Barbara, and now lives in Yarmouth, Maine. Which is probably why the four years she attended Hampshire College in Amherst, where she studied history and psychology, made her antsy. It was much too far from the ocean. She is the author of five novels for adults and the HAUNTING EMMA series for young adults. She is married to novelist Joel Naftali, who sometimes writes as Joel N. Ross, and they have one son.


Before writing DECEPTION, you wrote several adult novels. What made you want to write a YA novel and what was that transition like?

I originally conceived of DECEPTION as an adult novel, but the more I worked with it, the more I realized it was better suited for YA. I just kept making the character younger and younger. I love reading YA, and if I love reading something, I start to want to write it. It felt like a very natural transition for me.

Paranormal YA is of course very popular right now, are there any series out there that are your favorites?

I was lucky enough to get blurbs from some of my favorite authors: Carrie Jones, who’s writing the wonderful NEED series and Claudia Gray who’s EVERNIGHT series is so great. I also really enjoyed Cassandra Clare’s MORTAL INSTRUMENTS.

DECEPTION is the first book of the HAUNTING EMMA Series - can you give us any quick teasers about what's in store for Emma and Bennett in later books?

In book two, BETRAYAL (March 2011), Emma really lets loose with her powers and Bennett starts to turn into a serious bad boy. In POSSESSION (Fall 2011), ghosts start possessing kids at Emma’s school.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

After I co-wrote my first non-fiction book with my husband. I just thought, this is way better than my cruddy administrative assistant job.

What's your writing regimen like? Do you outline and plot everything out or does the story unfold as you write?

I’m a serious, scene-by-scene outliner. Not that I never surprise myself with what’s happening, or don’t allow things to unfold naturally, but my outline keeps me from having writer’s block and makes it easier for me to maintain a writing schedule.

How important is music to your writing? Do you have a soundtrack or are there any artists you want to give a shout out to?

I’m incapable of concentrating with music in the background, I can’t even listen to classical. And when I wrote DECEPTION, I had a three-year-old son, so I didn’t really want to be listening to the kind of music Emma would like with him around. I found myself playing CDs in the car on the way to pick him up from preschool that would inspire me. One song I really loved was Bob Schneider’s C’MON BABY. The video kind of sucks and so does the name, for that matter, but I love this song and I think it perfectly encapsulates Emma’s feelings about discovering how special and dangerous she is.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers out there?

One thing I do suggest, that most people don’t, is to start with non-fiction. A lot more non-fiction is published each year than fiction and it’s a much easier market to break into. And in between writing those books, you can pursue your dream in fiction.

If you had to have a different career, other than writing, what would you do?

If I hadn’t started writing, I probably would’ve gone back to music school and gotten a teaching degree. That cruddy administrative assistant job made me realize I had to do something creative. Either that, I would’ve become a librarian, because I love books.

What are you reading right now?

After a huge run of only reading YA novels, I’m back to adult fiction and just really enjoyed STAY, by Allie Larkin and SHELTER ME, by Juliette Fay.

1. In a perfect world, there would be no BP oil spill.
2. Most people would be surprised to find out that I don’t own a TV, even though I watch tons of it on Hulu.
3. Gollum is my favorite fictional character because I couldn’t think of anything else.
4. I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for my mother and husband.
5. When I'm not writing, I’m reading to myself or my son. Or I could be walking the dogs. Or eating. Sleep is good too.

Thanks Lee!  Check out her website.

I have one more copy of Deception for one lucky commenter!  Make sure to leave your email address so I know how to get you a copy of the book!

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Krista Van Dolzer said...

Great interview. And that's interesting advice, to try to break into non-fiction first. If only I knew anything about writing (and researching) non-fiction... :)


Jess said...

Great interview- Ms. Nichols sounds incredibly nice and down to Earth (I've had my share of cruddy administrative jobs as well)!

I don't know if I'm eligible to win a copy of DECEPTION (I recently won a copy of another book), but would love to get it. Again, it's always nice to read about the author behind a book, so thanks.

Jess said...

woops--email address is aycockj(at)gmail(dot)com

sheri downing said...

Very informative. I read any and every genre I can get my hands on, and as a mother of a 10 year old daughter, I love to give her recommendations. Your interview gave me some that I will definitely pick up. Thanks!

Creepy Query Girl said...

awesome awesome interview! Thanks for sharing! 'Deception' is already on my waiting list and now I'm even more excited to read it:) Thanks!

Sarah N Fisk said...

I've been wanting to read this book! Thanks for the interview. It's funny, my favorite parts of these interviews are the fill-in-the-blank types of questions that usually have nothing to do with the book itself!

Meredith McCardle said...

What a great interview. I never thought of doing such a detailed outline, but I've been suffering from horrible writer's block lately, so I am 100% going to try this. Thank you so much!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great interview! I found it interesting that Lee has written in nf, adult and now YA...Are picture books in your future, Lee?

sharonkmayhew at gmail dot com

donnas said...

Great interview. I would love to be included. Thanks for taking the time and sharing today!

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Trakena Prevost said...

This seems like a really amazing book and story. I look forward to reading it.

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

So want to read this one. Loved he interview

Unknown said...

veela-valoom said...

I want! You should cheer me up with a lovely book.

Email is cassilee85 AT hotmail DOT com

mariska said...

I'm sooooo want to read this book for quite some times ! count me in :)

uniquas at ymail dot com

throuthehaze said...

Great interview! I would love to read this book :)
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

buddyt said...

The tip to start writing non-fiction first is very interesting,

I have never seen an author suggest that before.

I suppose that presumes that one has in depth knowledge of the subject you are writing about else it would seem to be even more daunting than fiction.

If the giveaway is open worldwide, then please enter me.


Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Helena Carlo said...

I've already got the book - pre-ordered it and picked it up on Tuesday. It's SO good!
Great interview though. She has a lot of advice I've never heard anywhere else, especially about writing non-fiction. Thanks!

Jessy said...

I don't think I could pick up non-fiction. It doesn't interest me at all.

I've read some fantastic reviews of Deception and can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

Thanks for the interview

Harley May said...

This is a great interview! Thanks to both of you for putting it up.

You can email me at
harleymaywrites at gmail dot com

Latoya Alloway said...

I love this interview! Very inciteful. I particularly appreciate the comments on writing non-fiction before fiction and ideas from your writing regimen. Thank you. I hope I win your book.

Tina said...

I like when authors talk about their writing process/regimen. It's very fascinating.


liu said...

I love to listen music, but I can't do anything... I can't concentrate myself too xD
Good to see this interview.

l.i.l.i.u.m [at] hotmail [dot] com

k_sunshine1977 said...

great interview....the more i hear about this book, the more i want to read it!

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

Marg @ Clockwork Reverie said...

Nice interview. I'm becoming more and more interested in this book. And thanks for the giveaway!


Unknown said...

I'm glad to see your getting back to reading adult fiction! After about 10 YA's in a row, I have to go back to the older stuff, just for variety.


Ladytink_534 said...

Lol, I'm just the opposite on the TV situation. I own four TV's but we don't have cable. They're for movies and my husband's video games. I'd love a copy of this book!


Claire Dawn said...

Nice interview.

Deception was one of the books that piqued my interest on my quest for hot summer reads.

Caitlin said...

Thanks so much for the interview! I've heard a lot of good thinks about the book :D