Meet Nicki J Markus!
Mett Nicki J Markus…author, linguist, editor, and so much more. To get to know Australian author Nicki J Markus a little better, she agreed to an interview. Look for the interview below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within this post.
Nicki J Markus was born in England in 1982, but has lived in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband since 2007. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Nicki launched her writing career in 2011 and writes under two pen names: Nicki J Markus (M/F) and Asta Idonea (M/M). Nicki has worked as an editor and proof-reader since 2012, completing work for several online publishers and indie authors.
When not writing and editing, she enjoys many other pursuits such as: reading, music, theatre, cinema, photography, sketching, and cross stitch. She also has a keen interest in history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel.
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolamarkus
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus
My currently available works are two M/M short stories in the Wayward Ink Publishing anthologies Stranded and A Likely Story.
Previously, I had two novellas—Day-Walker and Time Keepers—published through Silver Publishing, but they are currently unavailable since the publisher closed its doors. I may look at re-releasing them in the future, perhaps with some changes.
I am a few short weeks away from completing the final edits on my new M/F fantasy-mythology trilogy. I am going to be self-publishing this work and will have more news on that in the next few months.
Book Details and Blurb:
Suspend rational thought.Leave logic at the door.Be ready to roll your eyes and pick your jaw up from your lap.
The tales in A Likely Story don’t let truth get in the way of telling a good yarn.
They might push your buttons or make you laugh.They may make you scoff or spit out your coffee.You might even scratch your head in disbelief.Whatever your reaction, the one thing the …more
ebook, 231 pages
Published December 19th 2014 by Wayward Ink Publishing
original titleA Likely Story
The boys in this collection of short stories have most definitely been left STRANDED!
They’ve been shipwrecked and abandoned. Marooned and cast away.And left helpless and high and dry.
But you should never underestimate the tenacity of the human heart…
Craving Stains by Alina Popescu
Say Cheese by Michael P. Thomas
Standby by Kim Fielding
The Raider by Asta Idonea
The Buckle by Rob Colton
Ari by Nephylim
Opposites Attract by Lily G. Blunt
Out of Order by Eric Gober
Dating for Deafies by Nikka Michaels
One Snowy Night by Louise Lyons
The Climb by kirifox
Did You Leave Any For Me by Sarah Hayes
Sweetness and Strength by J.N. Olsen
Predominantly paranormal and fantasy for M/F, but I also write some contemporary and historical pieces in M/M.
Contests and Giveaways:
1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, Nicki J Markus) is an PDF copy of one of my previously published paranormal/horror short stories: Awaken to the Night. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt word/phrase highlighted in green. Collect all the words/phrases from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.
• When did you start writing?
I guess you could say I started writing properly, with a view to actually publishing, in 2011. Prior to that, I wrote for my own pleasure and penned a number of fan fics centred on films and television series such as Van Helsing, Red Dwarf, Alias etc.
• Were you a reader as a child?
Absolutely! My mother has a favourite story of how she would ask my younger sister and I want we wanted to do when she had time to play with us. My sister would invariably call for the Barbie dolls, whereas I would always ask to read a book. And that love of reading has stayed with me all my life. By the time I reached my teens, I swapped from modern writers to the classics and devoured Jane Austen, Dickens, Dostoevsky… and then since my twenties I tend to read a mix of classics and new works. I’m not a fan of chick lit or true crime, but otherwise I read from most genres, with a particular focus on literary fiction and paranormal/fantasy.
• Where do you draw inspiration from?
Often from other sources, be it book, film, or theatre. My current work-in-progress is a fantasy trilogy based around Norse mythology. I have a great love of mythology in general and the Norse tales in particular. I had been rereading them this year and they became the stepping stone that led me to imagine the characters and storyline of this series. Obviously things happening in my own life can also play a part, and this fantasy trilogy is no exception—this story has more personal meaning for me than any of my previous works. Quite often an idea takes root in my mind because I’ve watched or read something, and then I’ve begun to wonder what would happen if things in that story were changed or approached from a different angle. That gives you the springboard and a plot and characters grow from there.
• Favourite genres to write in and why?
The majority of my work is paranormal/fantasy. It’s a genre I love to both write and read because of its escapism. Vampires are my favourite supernatural creature, so I always enjoy writing them. I have a great fear of death and growing old, so for me vampirism is the ultimate aspiration!🙂 I love how in these genres you can explore deep issues under the guise of an amazingly different world full of danger and excitement.
• Title or characters or plot? Which comes first?
Honestly, it depends. With my fantasy trilogy it went characters-plot-title, but with an M/M short story I have just submitted for an anthology call, it was plot-title-characters. It can vary depending on where the initial idea came from. Perhaps I fell in love with a character in a book and wanted to do my own take on something similar; or maybe I was inspired by the plot of a film and had an idea for adapting it into something new.
• Do you have a favourite character that you have written?
Oh yes! Again, from my fantasy trilogy. The trick here is not to reveal too much because his real identity is a secret until partway through Book One. Let’s just say, he’s an anti-hero. He’s mischievous, and a bit of a bad boy, but deep down he cares deeply and is trying to do the right thing, battling his inner demons. I can understand my heroine being in love with him—I’m head over heels for him myself.
• Favourite book/story you have read as an adult
Oh, wow, that’s tough because there are so, so many. In classics, firm favourites are Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and Eugene Onegin by Pushkin (I can read those again and again and love them just as much each time). In more modern works, any of the Saint Germain books by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (so well-written, and a compelling hero), anything by Murakami, and then there are recent books I’ve adored such as Joanne M. Harris’ Gospel of Loki or the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. There are the books you love all your life, and then there are those that really speak to you and mean a lot in the moment you read them because of your personal situation at the time, but perhaps when you go back to them later they don’t have the same impact a second time. To pick just one… sorry, I just can’t do it!
• Do you have a certain regimen that you follow as a writer?
Yes and no. I don’t have a set time of day to write—I simply write when I have the freedom to do so—but I do like a particular environment: I prefer to be home alone, sat in my study, and have complete quiet. Usually I love music; just not when I’m writing.
• Do you have a specific writing style?
Not especially. I tend to write in third person, but I have been known to stray into first person from time to time when it feels right for the story. I like descriptive and varied language-use and vocabulary too. I don’t approve of the way some people these days believe language and grammar usage has to be dumbed-down for e-book readers—I really don’t think they are any less intelligent than print readers.
• What’s the hardest part of writing your books?
Letting go! I work as a freelance editor and proof-reader and I find it hard to leave my own prose alone at times. If I wasn’t strict with myself, I’d keep on tweaking sentences forever and nothing would ever get submitted or published.
• If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your first book?
I’d like to think I’ve grown as a writer over the last 3-4 years. My first published longer work was a novella called Day-Walker, and although it got decent reviews, looking back now there is a lot I would change. The rights to that work returned to me last year when the publisher it was contracted to closed, and I am giving serious thought to reworking it into a full-length novel because I truly feel I could do more with it now than when I first wrote it. Watch this space!
• If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor/has the biggest influence on you?
I would say Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is a big influence, because I so admire her prose and the way she can describe characters and scenes. She’s certainly who I aspire to be like one day.
• What book are you reading now?
At present, I am reading The Idiot by Dostoevsky and a book on learning to read and write Old Norse.
• What is your favourite AUS/NZ stories and favourite Australian/New Zealand movies?
The first Australian film that struck a chord with me was Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I still love that movie today—it’s both very funny and yet incredibly poignant. More recent, I was very impressed with The Little Death. In terms of Australian writers, I admire Peter Carey and Tim Winton, and I loved the recent novel Burial Rites from new Australian author, Hannah Kent.
• What’s your favourite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?
Here in South Australia, it would be the Barossa Valley. It’s a lovely day out to just mooch around the wineries and enjoy the local food and wine. My husband and I got married at a winery there too, so it has added importance for us because of that.
Going back to my old ‘own country’, I always loved wandering the West End in London. It’s great to live here in Australia, but I do miss London at times—I was always happy there amidst theatre and bookstores.
• What are your current projects?
Well, my fantasy trilogy is just undergoing final edits. I started off looking for a publisher, but then decided to self-publish this one. It’s my first time going that route, so a bit of a learning curve, but I hope to release the three books in a one volume omnibus edition in a few months’ time. Keep an eye on my blog and social media for news on that! Afterwards, I hope to rework and rerelease my previous two novellas, Day-Walker and Time-Keepers. Meanwhile, with my M/M writing, I have submitted two more short stories for anthology calls, and if my works are accepted, they will be published in March and June respectively. After that, I may extend one of them into a follow-up novella as I still feel I have more to say about those characters and their story.