Author of the Month - Nikki Rae Sunday Feature: Guest PostSunday, March 15, 2015
"Author of the Month" is a new feature that I have recently created to honour my favourite authors who have written some of the best books I have ever read.
For the entire month of March, I am proud to feature Nikki Rae, author of one of my personal favourite novels, The Donor as Dreamland Teenage Fantasy’s author of the month! My first exposure to Nikki’s work was through Netgalley. Getting The Donor approved on my request list was one of the best thing that has happened in my reader’s life! Overwhelmed with adoration and excitement, I had sent my first fan mail to Nikki and she was so friendly in her replies, I swear it was a celebrity meet and greet moment. In conjunction with her new release of Animal, I have decided to feature Nikki Rae for the entire month of March! Stay tuned for more interesting features!
Without further ado,
Nikki Rae is an independent author who lives in New Jersey. She explores human nature through fiction, concentrating on making the imaginary as real as possible. Her genres of choice are mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely.
Author Blog: http://nikkixrae.blogspot.com/
Editing Website: http://metamorphosiseditingservices.b.
A lot of people ask me if I always wanted to be a writer.
The truth is, until I got to college, I never even thought about it.
I started my college experience like most people: undeclared. And after floating around in computer science, biology, and public speaking, I landed in the Fine Arts major.
I wasn’t sure if art was what I wanted to do, either. I knew that I liked painting. I liked to draw. I liked to think of an image that was complete and beautiful in my mind and watch as it came to life in front of me. But I felt like I was wearing a disguise half of the time. There were people in those classes that wanted their work in exhibitions, whereas I liked to draw naked ladies and tried to get them as real as possible.
But I had already been at my community college for three years, and I was decent at art, so I stuck with it for the rest of my time there.
My last year at that school, I took creative writing as an elective. I liked making up stories, and I needed the requirement met in order to move on to the next school so I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. It was in this class that I realized writing was a lot like drawing or painting, I just didn’t have to spend a million dollars on supplies or ruin my clothes.
I find that when I write stories or approach drawing a particular thing, I start out the same way: I lay down the groundwork. I make small pencil sketches, I take notes, I make sure that these will be things that will ultimately get covered up by shading or editing.
The goal is often the same for me as well: draw the best picture I can, write the best story I can, make it as real as possible.
I wrote the very first draft of my first book, Sunshine, when I was fifteen. I used two red notebooks, and filled them until the story was over. I never thought anyone would see it besides me.
Looking back on my process now, I realize that I was laying out the story, not telling it. If someone were to take those notebooks and compare them to the finished product the way it is today, they would think they were reading two different stories.
That’s because after I became serious about writing, I took the story and layered it. Artists use that term sometimes. I think. I covered up my sketch marks with editing, completely cutting things out, adding whole chapters and back stories that weren’t part of the original. Shading, adding color, making it come alive.
I wanted the characters in Sunshine to be as real as possible, the same as I wanted my models in my drawings to look realistic. Most art is fiction. Most art, you have to envision, believe in so much that it becomes a living, breathing thing. My characters have flaws, struggles, and they don’t automatically fall in love because I saw that a real person would most likely react the same way. I had to take it a step further when I added supernatural creatures in; I had to work that much harder. Those things didn’t exist anywhere so there was no reference picture, just me.
A lot of people my age are graduating now, and I still have a year left because of how much time I spent at community college. Most of my credits were Fine Art credits, which only count for electives when you switch your major to Creative Writing, which is what I did. My friends poke fun at it, saying that if I hadn’t “wasted” four years at a school that should have taken two, drawing pretty pictures and looking at nude models, I would have graduated already.
But the thing is, I didn’t waste my time. I didn’t waste any of it.
If I hadn’t learned the fundamentals of how to sketch a still life, I wouldn’t know how to plot out my stories or envision my characters. If I hadn’t taken painting, I wouldn’t know how to mix colors, or how to add symbolism sublely. If I hadn’t taken ceramics, I wouldn’t know how to keep two pieces of clay from coming apart, and I wouldn’t know how to balance what goes on in the story and what kinds of people tell it.
But most importantly, if I didn’t take all of those art classes, I wouldn’t know how to do what’s most important to me: creating something real--alive--out of nothing.
All art is living. It doesn’t matter what tools you use.