Authors, Interviews

Author Interview: Jean Nicole Rivers

THE WRITING PART

Jean Nicole Rivers

Q. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Briefly, about yourself?

I have always loved to write, even as a child and I always aspired to become a novelist. The Unwanted is the second book in a series called, Black Water Tales.

Q. What genre are is/your book(s)?

New adult, psychological horror.

Q. What draws you to this genre?

To me, horror feels more real than any other genre. I have always preferred real and true, no matter how dirty or uncomfortable. The situations in horror, life or death, kill or die, save them or save myself are the closest we come to seeing who we truly are in the deepest places of our psychic and physical being and this is what produces that oh so well-known adrenaline pump that hooks people to the horror book or screen, not allowing them to look away. Living those moments over and over has the power to give us a true glimpse into the mirror and sometimes, ironically enough, that is the most frightening thing of all.

Q. Briefly, what led up to the last book? Also, please describe the book in one sentence.

When Blaire goes to help the children of St. Sebastian orphanage, it will be her that soon needs the help.

Soon after completing my first book, The Secret Keepers. I found myself watching an inordinate amount of documentaries and I came across one on orphanages in other countries and what I learned was frightening. I don’t much care for jump scare horror, I prefer horror that chills one to the core that makes you question, not what’s in the closet but what’s in the mirror. This documentary on the deplorable conditions of the facilities and the failing health of the children haunted me, how could things like this still be happening all around us? And while I was intrigued, I was not yet fully inspired to write the book, writing the book still hadn’t occurred to me. It wasn’t until one evening after watching this documentary when I woke in the middle of the night and there they were, those children who were severely malnourished and abused among other things, all standing by my bedside looking down on me. When I woke the next morning, I knew that I had to tell their story.

Q. What was the time frame for writing your last book?

There were four years between my last book, The Secret Keepers and my new book, The Unwanted. Writing my outline takes approx. two weeks, then another six weeks to write my rough draft, a couple of months for my first edit and a couple more months for further edits and that is if I am working on my book full time but once you add “life” in, the timeframe can get lengthy.

Q. How much research do you do?

It depends on what I am writing. Many things I write from personal experience. My new book that I am currently working on, The Sandman (working title), is requiring me to do a bit more research than usual and I have purchased several books on the underlying subjects and plan on talking to a couple of health professionals in order to make sure that my characters are authentic.

Q. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I measure more in hours per day than word count. I try to write for at least two hours a day, but I always wish that I could write more.

Q. What is the easiest thing about writing?

The easiest thing about writing a book is coming up with the idea. We all have tons of great ideas for books, right? The issues come AFTER we have the great idea.

Q. What motivates you to write?

I don’t know that it’s a motivation so much as a compulsion. Naturally, I am always composing stories and filling my head with little facts and characters and I have to get them out. I have to tell their stories or they will drive me nuts. I am a writer because it is an inevitable extension of my being. Some people decide to be writers because they want to write; I was never given the option.

Q. When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

I have been writing all of my life, but I only got serious about it approximately six years ago. I always wanted to be a writer, but in my younger years, lacked the discipline to bring that dream to fruition. Six years ago, I woke up one day and decided that it was time.

Q. Where do you write from?

My writing takes place mostly in my home office, complete with comfy teal chair and fluffy white blanket.

THE WORKING REGIME

Q. What do you prefer: Pen or Computer? And how do you stay organized (any methods, systems, tools you use)?

Computer definitely, my handwriting is terrible. Right now, I stay organized with several different electronic folders on my computer, but I am currently developing a writing software called Simply Stylus (@simplystylus) which is aimed at helping writers, outline, organize and write their novel.

Q. How do you relax?

When I am not writing, I am reading or watching Netflix.

Q. How did you find your agent?

Currently, I am not signed with an agent.

Q. What were your few biggest learning experience (s) or surprises throughout the publishing process?

One of the biggest lessons was really all of the work and the huge difference there is between the creative side of writing a book and the business side of marketing a book and making sales. The two are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum, yet you must master both in order to be successful.

Q. What would you have done differently if you could do it again?

I don’t know that there is much that I could have done differently as you do the best you can with what you know at the time but moving forward I am constantly perfecting my writing skills and adding more third party editing processes. Also, I am always learning about how to better market my books and make more sales.

Q. Something personal about you people may be surpised to know?

I am a Golden Girls fanatic! I own every single season on DVD and I have watched every episode at least 30 times. It’s my elderly dream life.

Q. What’s next? What are you working on at the moment?

I just finished the rough draft of my next novel, The Sandman (working title) and I am SUPER excited. It is currently with beta readers and I am SOOOOO anxious to get it back so that I can start on the first edit.

THE READING PART

Q. Do you re-read books? One book that you would read again and again?

I don’t re-read books. There are just too many phenomenal books out there that I have yet to get to for me to read the same one more than once.

Q. Your influences/favorite authors?

Some of my favorite authors include Toni Morrison and Stephen King. Stephen King is a masterful storyteller and has some of the most wicked tales anyone could imagine. Toni Morrison has tamed the beast that is the English language and it bends at her hand. Though those are my favorite authors, some of my favorite books include, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Virgin Suicides and We Need to Talk About Kevin, each of these books are visually elaborate and offer you a more intimate relationship with the characters than many others provide.

Q. What book are you reading at present?

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Creepy.

Q. Best piece of writing advice we haven’t discussed?

I can’t recall who said it, but, “Writers write.”

Q. Website(s)?


Check out more about Jean Nicole Rivers, for a start, books written by him:

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