Today at Author Stalker, we have the awesome Nikita Slater! She writes awesome romance with some dark themes. If you haven’t already, please check her out.
Me: Congratulations on your new book, Scarred Queen. Awesome cover!!! How do you select the names of your characters?
Nik: Thank you! I get my character names from a mix of sources. Reyes, the name of my lead male character in Scarred Queen, means Kings or royalty in Spanish. I wanted a strong name with meaning behind it since he is the leader of a powerful cartel. Many of the female names I get from women who inspire me. And if I’m really stumped with names I’ll google “popular baby names from the 80’s” LOL.
Me: What did you edit out of this book?
Nik: The idea hit from out of nowhere about the rise of a powerful mafia wife with a tragic background. I had to strike the right balance between making Casey’s character vulnerable with a past that could crack any normal human being and a present filled with passion, the promise of strength and the rise of power. I ended up editing out a few scenes that didn’t strike that balance and could have made her seem too weak when she needed to become a powerhouse.
Me: Have you had an inspiration strike you at the oddest places or most inopportune times? If you did, did you start writing it down immediately? Please tell us for which book.
Nik: Always! I almost never stop writing and inspiration is always hitting me. I would say the absolute worst place is the shower because I literally cannot write while I’m in the shower. At least when I’m in bed or at the gym I can write on my phone, but I can’t write in the shower. I’ve tried dictation, but it feels so awkward! This happens for every book I write, especially once I get well into the book, usually around the 2/3 point and start writing like a demon.
Me: In all of your books, what was your hardest scene to write? If given the opportunity to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books?
Nik: The hardest scenes for me to write are the getting-to-know-you type scenes. I like to write more of an adrenaline fuelled rush from beginning to end where they have lot’s of steamy sex and people get maimed and murdered, but.. you know… with plot, LOL. I’m learning to slow myself down a bit, build suspense and back story as well as maintain my crazy.
I think now that my writing has matured I would love to go back and revise some of my earlier works. I do intend to make a few of my earlier novellas longer.
Me: How do you come up with such characters? What’s your inspiration?
Nik: Everything and everyone around me. I love people, movies, books and travelling. I soak in the world and let everything inspire me. I met a woman in passing while I was buying dog food. She was tall, curvy, confident and had the most stunning tattoos and piercings. Her hair was huge and dyed bright purple and she wore this crazy rockabilly outfit. I was like, she is SO going in a book! I rushed home and wrote down every detail I could think of and wrote out two chapters of a book all based around what this random woman looked like.
Me: How do you handle when people (like a child’s teacher, grandma’s friend, neighbor, coworker, etc.) find out that you are an author and an author who writes some themes that some people frown upon (dark, sexual, controversial…)?
Nik: I was controversial long before I started publishing. My hair is usually some shade of purple/pink/green, I wear leather and ripped jeans and I have many visible tattoos. Before I wrote full-time I worked in group homes and on the streets as an advocate. Grandma loves me just the way I am and is just as likely to give her friend the finger if she disapproves. I’m confident and unapologetic in who I am and I work to ensure other women feel the same about themselves.
Me: A friend promised me bodily harm if I don’t get the scoop on In His Sights. What can you tell us about this book?
Nik: Okay, that actually made me laugh out loud! I don’t want to say too much… but I can give away what has been outlined in the previous books in the Fire & Vice series. In His Sights, the 7th book in this series, is about Mack Hudson, a bounty hunter who falls for Lucy Miller. Lucy is the sister of Jane Sitnikov and sister-in-law of notorious Russian mob boss, Vladimir Sitnikov. Lucy and Jane both come from an Amish background and Lucy is staying in the city on her Rumspringa, a right-of-passage and chance for Amish youth to get to experience the outside world. This book is a whole lot of Mack’s dark, bitter attitude clashing with Lucy’s inexperience and burgeoning thirst for adventure and fun.
Me: What is your writing Kryptonite?
Nik: Distractions. I find it very difficult to recover from distractions and unfortunately this world is filed with them. Good example… I’m hot and heavy into writing a sex scene, my music is blasting and I’m down and dirty, then BAM, I look over and my 11-year-old son is standing there waiting to ask a question. Everything screeches to a halt and I am SOOOO out of the zone it’s not even funny. There’s no going back to a sex scene like that when you have to switch to mom mode.
Me: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer? Do you have any interesting quirks or writing rituals?
Nik: OMG, that’s a terrible question! Hahaha, I love all my stuff. I couldn’t possibly give up coffee, wine, FB, nail polish, long chats with my editor, admin or author bestie. Nope. I love all my stuff way too much to go giving it up. I’d give up spiders though to become a better writer. Is that a good enough sacrifice?
I have a list of things I have to check before I can settle into a good writing session. I’m a little bit obsessive so if I don’t check these things then they bother me until I do. I check messenger, FB, Goodreads, Amazon and a few author support sites. This usually takes about 15-30 minutes unless there’s a discussion I NEED to be part of, then longer. Now back to your question about giving stuff up…
Me: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists or C) Epic settings
Nik: I believe that there needs to be a combination of all three. I try to weave them throughout my story and then when I’m finished I go back and try to layer the story again with more depth so I’m hitting each one again. For example, with Scarred Queen, I wanted Casey to be one of the strongest, most in depth characters I’ve ever written. I wanted the readers to know her to her core. To understand her every action and reaction, even if her actions seemed wrong. I also wanted that book to have some amazing, gorgeous scenery set primarily in Miami and Bolivia, but also touching down in Venezuela and Mexico. And of course, all of my books tend to have some crazy plot twists. Scarred Queen is no exception.
Me: What is the funniest typo you’ve ever written?
Nik: Okay, this one wasn’t a book typo, although I assure you there have been plenty of those. This was a text typo I sent to my ex-husband several years ago. I was trying to light the BBQ so I could have dinner ready for him when he got home and I kept failing. He was still at work and I meant to text him, “I’m hopeless at BBQ’ing” but it autocorrected to “I’m topless BBQ’ing”. So he texted back, “I’m on my way home NOW and some of the guys want to come over too”. I was deeply confused until I reread the original text.
Me: What are two of your favorite covers of all time?
Nik: I absolutely love the Scarred Queen cover. The artist worked with me to incorporate different elements of the book and it turned out even better than I’d hoped. And my other favourite cover is Bound by Blood. I just loved the sexiness of the cover, the tension and the body language between the models. The artist worked with me again to add Russian mob tattoos to the male model so the overall feel would be more authentic.
Me: If you can choose 1 book of yours to be made into a movie, which one would it be? Which actors do you want to represent your characters?
Nik: Probably Driven by Desire. That book was just so much fun to write, with so much crazy action, I’d love to see how it would translate to a movie! Ummm, I would have to say Jason Momoa for the male lead and myself for the female. I think we could really bring some of those scenes alive!
Me: Can you tell us about any new books/projects you are working on?
Nik: Besides In His Sights, I’m working on a top secret novella that I’m going to release when it’s ready. I’m also working on a second book to Because You’re Mine, which will again release when it’s ready. And my next big release after In His Sights will be titled Capturing Victory, which will hopefully release in late summer.
Me: Any last thoughts for readers?
Nik: For those of you that have read and loved my books, thank you so much for sticking with me and peeking into my crazy brain! I’ve loved every moment of this crazy, awesome writing train. For those that haven’t read me, I hope you give me a try! Thank you so much for the interview!
Me: Thank you for doing this interview. I hope you come back again.
You can stalk Nikita on the following:
Nikita’s Underworld: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1853193748048614/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/slaternikita/
Nikita’s website: nikitaslater.com
Nikita’s newsletter: http://nikitaslater.com/#newsletter