Friday, October 23, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of Lisa de Nikolits, author of Between The Cracks She Fell

Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? 

It was never a choice. I thought I was Emily Brontë reincarnated and that it was my destiny.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands? 

The demands are endless but there is only one that matters, and that is improving. The rest of the demands don’t count. You push them aside and ask yourself every single day, what have I done today, to make myself a better writer? The rest of the list gets prioritized in descending order of importance but improving is the only demand that never gives up and it’s the only demand that counts.

The perks are reading to a crowd. That’s a real high for me. And then selling a book!

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like? 

I am traditionally published and I just got lucky with my publisher. After countless rejections, I got a tip to contact my publisher and now we have book Number Five together! So I really got lucky. It’s fantastic writing a book knowing that you have an interested publisher. More than three quarters of the angst is taken care of. It makes life much easier!

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.) 

Here’s how I look at it. I can sigh and bemoan my fate that I’m not with a huge publishing house, that I’m not a New York Times Bestseller list, that I can’t live off my writing. Or I can be hugely grateful for my loyal and supportive small press publisher, who has always believed in me, who will move the print date of my book forward if it means I can join a reading group to promote the book. The book world really is a glass half empty half full world and it’s incredibly easy to slip into the negative litany of why aren’t I bigger etc, but then you only end up making yourself (and your family) unhappy and that’s not fair. So when I find myself wishing for a bit more of this or that, I stop myself and recalibrate my thinking — I rethink things in terms of me, where I am what, what I am doing, and then I become grounded again.  

 Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you? 

They know that I need to do this, in order to be happy. Not working on my writing makes me unhappy and then no one’s happy! I have always been a workaholic to use a clichéd term, so really, its nothing new. When I was starting out as an art director, I worked twelve, fourteen-hour days, so working hard is just something I do. It’s part of who I am and those who love me understand that. It’s kind of a non-negotiable part of the deal!

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process? 

I was invited to read at a Farmer’s Market. I thought okay, why not? I went along with my über-patient husband and we found the market situated in a deserted parking lot behind a bunch of unhappy industrial buildings. There were three or four tables set up, with a stand with a mic in the middle of them. I looked at my husband and I asked, “Can we leave? Please can we just leave?”

And he told me about being a banjo player with a band and the times when they would play to the bartender all night and he told me to get out there and read like there was a crowd of thousands.

So I did. I read to the soap table, the trinket table, the strawberries table and gluten-free table. And I sold one book.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

I have an author page on Facebook, a personal page on Facebook, I am on Twitter a lot, Pinterest, Instagram, I have a website and of course, Goodreads. And I am also on LinkedIn. I do find them all very effective when used collaboratively and without expectation. Expectation is me expecting to sell x amount of books correlating to x amounts of posts on this or that site and I don’t think any one thing can do that – people love to point fingers at people who have done exactly that but then again, how many people actually do win the lottery? I’m not a cynic, I’m a realist!

I am also on two writing sites, Scriggler and Wattpad and I use those not as promotional tools but as places to have fun, post short stories or poems that I write to keep myself fresh and in the writing game. I think that if you see social media in terms of end results, it will be disappointing and feel like a lot of hard work. But if you have fun with it, then at the very least you are getting a good sense of camaraderie and fellowship and picking up good tips and feeling like you are part of a community. Social media is a great community and that’s primarily why I hang on the sites that I do.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you? 

I try not to think about sales! That may sound ridiculous but when I started out doing this, I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to make a living off it. Maybe one day that will come my way but I’m not counting on it. So I don’t focus on sales. I focus on the writing, the camaraderie, and the great and wonderful feeling of having a book out in the world.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about? 

That I am a published author! This is book Number Five and I tell you, it never gets old, that I am a published writer! That pretty much makes me want to skip like a kid every day!

Can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way? 

Seeing my stories in print makes up for everything. Even reading at a Farmer’s Market to soap and strawberries. I often think that if the situation of The Walking Dead was actually to happen, that I’d take a copy of each of my books with me, because they are my contribution to this world, they are the works that I am extraordinarily delighted to have created.

About The Book

Title: Between The Cracks She Fell
Author: Lisa de Nikolits
Publisher: Inanna Publications
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Format: Paperback / PDF
Pages: 350
ISBN: 978-1771332255
Genre: Suspense Thriller

Buy The Book:

Discuss this book at our PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

The award-winning author of the Hungry MirrorWest of WawaGlittering Chaos and The Witchdoctor's Bones delivers an original and riveting new novel about societal betrayal, familial loss and religious jihad. A suspenseful and lyrical read, Between The Cracks She Fell is a powerful - first person narrative about the explosive consequences of betrayal, survival in troubled times and the pervasiveness of religious domination.

When Joss finds herself having to make mortgage payments without help from her depressed, stoner boyfriend who has just moved out, and the company she works for folds leaving her suddenly unemployed, she is forced to sell her house, on which she takes a financial loss. She decides to camp out in a vacant complex of school buildings to give herself time to decide what to do next. It turns out the building is used by a gang of teenagers for wild, drug-fueled parties and Jess soon finds herself both repelled by their charismatic evil leader, as well as sexually attracted to him. She knows he is dangerous even before she finds his girlfriend's dead and violently abused body in the school library. During this time, she meets and befriends two other people in difficulty: Emma, a narcissistic thief living with her dog in a stolen car and Ashley, a young homosexual who is heartbroken by the fact that he has been expelled from the Jehovah's Witness church because he is gay. When her former boyfriend reappears as a born again Christian, Joss is immersed in a journal she found that contains the thoughts of a Muslim teenager who becomes increasingly radicalized. Her struggle to understand her former boyfriend and this young man's spiritual quests prepare her to make some hard decisions about her future. Between The Cracks She Fell is about a woman who falls off the grid and the explosive consequences of betrayal, survival in troubled times, and the pervasiveness of religious domination.

Book Excerpt:


I reached my destination with no great sense of joy but at least I wasn't crying.

A purple, red and black pentagram marked the path ahead of me and the sea of grass rolled this way and that and my throat closed and my eyes stung but I swallowed the tears.

I tried to pretend I was Gibreel Farishta, a hero bigger than me; that tuneless soloist tumbling out og thin air; what an entrance, yaar.

First you have to die. Ho ji! Ho ji! How to ever smile again, if first you won't cry?

But there would be no more crying for me. My former life was dead. I needed to escape for a while, hide out and then, once I got my energy back. I would figure out what came next.

Right now all I could say was that I was alive, and that is the point I guess, much like Gibreel, standing, with pigs falling out of his face and no God to help him.

I held my arms aloft and waded through the knotty field, as if paddling through an upward flowing river, pushing forward against the current.

The summer offered shoulder-high fragrant grasses laced with thistles and weeds and despite the misfortunes of past events, I was not blind to the beauty of the tiny lilac flowers or the red roses that grew wild and free.

I could see the buildings in the distances. It had been a while since I had seen them but they sprawled low at the other end of the playing fields, just as I remembered.

I had packed for the task at hand; knife, bottled water, flashlight, pillow. Kind of funny really, how natural this solution felt, like it was some kind of okay. It wasn't the first time I'd purposefully left the grid; my first solo adventure had taken place when I was eleven. Tired of school, friends, mother, swimming lessons, and tuck shop lunches, I hid out in a farmer's shed, armed with books and apples and bars of chocolate. i stayed for two nights and two days, sleeping in a hairy horse blanket that I shook free of cobwebs and drew close around me, breathing in that rich scent of dry sage, dust, leather, sweat and all the other good things that horses smell of. I returned home when I ran out of food and reading material. Mum was furious but I wasn't sorry; I'd done what I needed to do and it was the same this time, although there was less choice in a sense, as I had in fact lost my house to the bank and my job to the recession and my boyfriend to a nervous breakdown.

I could think of no other way to heal, to regroup and to find the solo me that I could rely on. I had made a mistake, relying on Shayne but I would get over that. I would get over everything.

Book Trailer:

About The Author

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 ling-listed for a Relit Award. Her second novel, West of Wawa, won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was one of Chatelaine's four Editor's Picks. West of Wawa is available in bookstores and online.

Her third novel, A Glittering Chaos, launched in Spring 2013 to reader and review acclaim, and is about murder, madness, illicit love and poetry.

Her fourth novel, The Witchdoctor's Bones was launched Spring 2014 to reader and literary acclaim. The Witchdoctor's Bones is a thriller about the darkest secrets of African evil; the novel seamlessly weaves witchcraft and ancient folklore into a plot of loss, passion and intrigue and a holiday becomes a test of moral character.

Her fifth novel, Between The Cracks She Fell, was published in Fall 2015 and has been called "a whirligig-ride into the dark recesses of "what-next?" It is a compelling and multi-layered penetrating and twisty tale of insurrection."

"A lyrical and deeply moving examination of emotional pain and faith on a collision course with organized religion. Lisa de Nikolits highly believable and human characters are outsiders struggling to find meaning, and perhaps hope, in contemporary urban society. With a deft and confident clarity of style, she explores the complex interplay of faith, crime and social isolation. Highly recommended." - M.H. Callway, award-winning author of Windigo Fire (Seraphim Editions). 

Connect with Lisa:

The Mesdames of Mayhem:

Virtual Book Tour Event Page

1 comment:

Lisa de Nikolits said...

Thank you very much for having me as a guest today! I very much hope your readers enjoy the post!