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Adam Interviews...Nikki Elizabeth!


Hello again!

It's time for you to get a cup of your favorite beverage, put the email on "out of office," and turn off the texts, because I have another fantastic author for you to meet!


In 2007, Nikki Elizabeth caught the writing bug when she published her first article in a local

newspaper. That opportunity as a student journalist sparked a writing career that has led her to working with newspapers, magazines, and major corporations. From lifestyle pieces to digital advertising copy, Nikki has worn many hats throughout her career, but she never lost sight of a passion for novel writing. After five years in the corporate world, she decided to bring her creative aspirations to life. Her debut novel, Industrialized, Part One: Experiment, launches in April 2024.


Find her at


Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Wars, hands down. I'm a sucker for that soundtrack, and the pew pews and zooms just keep my inner child engaged.



A book that pleasantly surprised you?

I recently read Poison for Breakfast by Lemony Snicket. I grew up reading A Series of Unfortunate Events and have two tattoos to commemorate my love of the series. The idea of a short philosophy book for adults in Snicket's distinct style was intriguing, and it has been on my to-be-read list for ages. It delivered! I was pleasantly surprised to find that his style is as playful as ever.


Coffee, tea, or cacao?

Usually, I opt for coffee over tea – I need that caffeine! I do love both, though, and I often get a taste of both with a solid dirty chai.


Do you write novels, novellas, short stories, episodic fiction, poems, screenplays, or something else?

I have a novella out now and a novel coming out in April, plus several work-in-progress novels to keep me busy. At my day job, I write press releases, ad copy, commercial scripts, articles, and literally anything else a business might need to function. For my side hustle, I'm a travel writer. I always joke that I'm just writing around the clock!


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I always wanted to be a mortuary archaeologist, first and foremost. Then, I got to college and realized the field was dead. (Bah dum tss.) On a serious note, I always envisioned myself working as an archaeologist and writing on the side. When I began seriously assessing how I wanted to make a living, oddly enough, writing seemed to be my most promising career path. I had a full ride to college thanks to my score on the ACT writing test, and I'd spent the past seven years working as a student journalist, so I also had a job offer at the local newspaper. I decided to major in communications.


What's funny is that I have been writing fiction books since eighth grade. Between that time and high school graduation, I wrote five full manuscripts. I also had a few works in progress, including one I couldn't stop thinking about. So I started working as a journalist, then a magazine writer and editor, then a travel writer, and finally fell into corporate communications and content marketing. While I built a writing career, that one work-in-progress manuscript stayed in my mind. I wanted to be writing that, not these boring press releases and ghostwritten articles.


That was a really long-winded way to say, "this just sort of happened," but it did. I naturally built my adulthood around writing as my childhood love of fiction continued to flourish. Bringing my fiction works to readers beyond my circle is simply the culmination of an entire life's journey.



Is there a trope you find yourself going back to in multiple works? Or one you avoid?

I keep falling back on this redemption thing… I don't know how to describe it! A character in Industrialized, Part One: Experiment does something horrific to the main character, but I gave them a redemption arc in Part Two: Execution. (For anyone who has read the story, no. Titus is not the recipient of that arc.) I think it will surprise readers when the book comes out, but I also have a secret story coming out around Thanksgiving that unabashedly uses a similar trope. I suppose I want to believe that cruel people can see the errors of their ways, work to receive forgiveness, and live happily ever after. It's an odd romanticization of human nature, though, because I also believe some things are beyond forgiveness. The main character of Industrialized? I'd never be able to forgive and forget like she ultimately chose to.


What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. It's a children's book, but it's my all-time favorite comfort book.


What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

One of my current works-in-progress is a historical fiction that ultimately ends in Oberlin, Ohio. The town has a rich history, and locals were famous for their abolitionist stance. I spent a weekend there talking to historians and touring the local buildings with my boyfriend and mom!


Industrialized, Part One: Experiment comes out in April 2024, but I went to Southern California twice while I was working on it to capture the essence of the landscape where my characters live.


During my last visit, I caught a flight up the coast to visit Monterey's Cannery Row and John Steinbeck's hometown. It was such a shock to go from the heat in SoCal to the cold of the Central Coast!


What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?

Oddly enough, John Steinbeck. I never enjoyed his work when I had to read it for school. It was downright painful to get through. Then I read The Chrysanthemums as a young adult, and his work's beauty and simplicity just clicked. I started tearing through it ravenously.


What are common traps for aspiring writers?

For one, calling yourself an aspiring writer! Bestie, all you gotta do is sit down and write. Bam! You're a writer. Don't ever devalue your work.


Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Absolutely! I'm a pretty emotionally consistent gal. It's monotonous, really. I love living vicariously through my characters.


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I'm a creative type, so I like to have fun. I play violin and guitar, and I also love to belly dance. I studied raqs sharqi for a few years when I was younger and performed locally, but now I just belly dance to stay fit and impress people at parties. I like to paint sometimes, and I've even dipped my toes into digital drawing and animation.


Who shot first, Han or Greedo?

Han. Come on, it's not even a debate! I mean, it is, but don't get me started…

 

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

As a reporter, I wrote a story for the Americans with Disabilities Act's 25th anniversary. I worked with the local board of developmental disabilities, and they put me in front of a panel of people who were self-advocates – wheelchair users, autistic individuals, and so on. I remember one autistic young man blurted, "You're the reporter?! You're so young!" I laughed it off and promised that my age wouldn't impact the story. The gist of the conversation is that while the ADA is great, we still have work to do as a society. We as individuals still have a ways to go with calling out "otherness," too. One wheelchair user told me an anecdote about a woman approaching her at the bus stop and telling her how "inspiring" she was. She said, "Those comments make me so uncomfortable. What's inspirational about me? I'm literally just a person sitting down."


Long story short, my desk phone was ringing for weeks after that story was published. My first call was from the young man I interviewed – he apologized for equating my age with a lack of experience. I told him I took no offense and asked if he enjoyed the story. He did! Then his mother called me and started crying, thanking me for giving her son that space to share his story. "I had no idea he was so eloquent! Nobody has ever given him a platform to speak like that before." Other self-advocates called, families of people with disabilities wrote to me… this one little article turned into a huge conversation. It was wild to me that a thousand words or so on a piece of paper could make such an impact.


I'm not someone to jam a moral into every story I write, but I absolutely enjoy challenging my readers' perspectives. I love forcing people to confront their own biases and ask questions. Part of that goes back to my work as a reporter when I saw firsthand how language can inspire or incite people.


What is your preferred format?

As a reader, I love holding a book, but I'm getting more and more into ebooks – I know that's how indies like me keep the lights on! I don't mind audiobooks, but I'm particular about narration. I narrate my own audiobooks, so godspeed to my listeners who are about to spend over ten hours with my obnoxious Rustbelt accent.


How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have seven unpublished manuscripts sitting in my files. Two are being polished for launch in the next year. I have two half-finished books that I'm working through slowly but surely, and I must have a million just-barely-started drafts waiting for me to breathe life into them.


What does literary success look like to you?

Literary success is readership. The fact that people are allowing your words to occupy their world for a moment in time, even if they don't finish the book… that's magic!


What do you have coming next?

Closer to the winter of 2024, I'll share a novel called Peace on Earth & Mercy Mild. It follows Mercy Mild Harker, a businesswoman from the big city who goes to her small hometown for the holidays. Oh, and she's a vampire with a big adventure ahead of her. Industrialized, Part Two: Execution will follow that, continuing Kristina's story as she and her co-conspirators face the repercussions of the world they've created. In the future, I have a historical fiction and a fantasy horror to share with my readers. While I shift genres often, my signature flourish of dark elements and haunting themes permeate every story I write.

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