S.K. Nicholls is a Florida regional crime romp author who writes a Private Investigator Series. Naked Alliances is the first book in the Naked Eye Series. She moved from a small town in Georgia to Central Florida, twenty years ago, thereby earning the title of Florida Native. A Registered Nurse and former Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, (S.A.N.E.), she has a special interest in sex-trafficking. Social issues are at the forefront of her writing and, in this instance, are tinged with humor. She is owned by a jolly old pug and an Australian cattle dog that also functions as a barometer. Her family has owned and operated a nudist resort in Central Florida since 1964. When she’s not writing, she can be found tracking down Snorlaxes, wandering city parks with the homeless, or sipping margaritas on the bow of a boat. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Florida Writer’s Association and Writers of Central Florida…or Thereabouts.
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?
I had so much to say, but nobody would listen to me so I started writing it down. Finally, after reading some of my work, friends said I should try to sell it. I did, and haven’t stopped writing.
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?
Being your own boss has pluses and minuses.
I like that I can set my own hours, vape at my desk, eat and drink at my desk, work naked, not comb my hair or wear make-up, close the window to the sights and sounds of the city and focus undistracted…or take a break and go play Pokemon Go in a park whether it’s three o’clock in the afternoon, or three o’clock in the morning (with clothes on.).
Being my own boss. I’m driven by passion enough to accomplish what I set out to do, but the demands of writing and marketing on my time are much greater than most people realize. It took two months of manic writing to finish the first draft. It took two years of slaving over a manuscript with beta readers and editors (cause you’re on their time, not yours) to complete Naked Alliances.
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 tried the traditional publishing route with this book, but opted to independently publish after the 200th rejection letter in six months. It was a lot of work querying those agents and sending off manuscripts and partials. In consideration of the fact that agents typically are only able to accept 4-6 books a year, and there are 200,000 books a year published on Amazon. The math just seemed to work out better for self-publishing.
Self-publishing is really not self-publishing. It takes a whole team to get the book from start to finish, but you are required to pull together that team. My team is located all over the world and that is the joy of social media. My cover artist is in the Philippines, editor is in Ireland, formatter is in South Africa, publicist is in Tennessee, and beta readers are scattered from coast to coast and across the pond. All of them are coordinated by moi, and I am at their mercy. CreateSpace’s design team did not work so well for my first book that was divided into many parts, needed special fonts for handwritten letters and fleurons. It was months of back and forth via emails with their team. I tried them again with this book, chose a simple plan with a template, and it was a breeze.
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?
My husband is super supportive in every way and loves to read. My daughter and grandchildren can’t fathom why I don’t have time to take the kids to theme parks on a regular basis, or have them spend the weekends with me often. It’s a challenge to balance family obligations with writing. People don’t understand the demands on your time when you “don’t work”.
Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
My husband feeds the dogs. They get super excited, barking and running in circles, when he comes home from work. I can go out and come back and they barely greet me. Sometimes they just lay there as if they haven’t noticed I’m home.
Are your plants actually still alive?
The ones I plant in The Jungle (what I call my tropical back yard) do very well under irrigation. House plants never last two weeks. Most of the ones on the lanai have died, but I still have a bonsai, and a couple of palms, and one begonia out there.
Don’t ask me about my bird. I think he starved to death. (It could have been that he was just old…I’m afraid we’ll never really know, but his food was awful low on that terrible day.)
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
I don’t answer the phone when I’m writing, my husband feeds me frozen pizza (the only thing he knows how to cook), and I fired my boss.
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
We had a young man living with us who was trying to straighten out his life. He was doing very well, had a good job, had paid back all his debts, made his amends to people he had caused harm to, and was saving money for a truck to start his own business. His work ethic was fabulous and he helped us so very much around the house and lawns. He had a great sense of humor and gave me a world of support. Sadly, just about the time I was getting ready to start the publishing process, he hopped on his boss’ racing dirt bike, hit a palm tree, and snapped his neck. We lost him July 12th. For three weeks I stayed in the bed and cried. I couldn’t get anything done. I had just lost my father. My depression was deep. I was accomplishing nothing. Then I started playing Pokemon Go, getting out to city parks in the sunshine, socializing with people his age and those older and wiser than me. It helped me get back on track.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
My blog has been instrumental is getting me connected to dedicated people in the industry. Facebook keeps me laughing through the pains. Twitter is an obnoxious spam feed that I haven’t quite grasped.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
With my first one, EReaderNewsToday and discounting the book were about the only way I found to garner readers beyond my blogger friends. I did very well with sales in that way. With Naked Alliances, I am doing a blog tour and have hired a publicist, Maryglenn McCombs, to assist with marketing. It’s still a lot of work, but it’s too early to tell what’s going to happen.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
I DON’T LIKE HOW SOME PEOPLE PREJUDGE INDEPENDENT AUTHORS’ ABILITIES TO WRITE BEFORE THEY’VE READ THE WORK!
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…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?
I like being able to surprise readers who doubt the self-published. I work hard to put a quality product out on the market and when people recognize my efforts I am thrilled.
Audience and readers are everything to a writer…at least this one. Yes, the story is my baby, but when it is well received, it makes an author’s world brighter.
If readers are entertain by my work and feel that they have had opportunity to think deeply on social issues, I am satisfied.
If you are a writer, never give up. If you are a reader, tell us what you think when you’ve read our work. I read all reviews personally so that I may continually write what people are wanting to read. Naked Alliances is Book One in the Naked Eye Series, your feedback is crucial. And thank you for your support. Peace, and keep the faith.