Today let's give a warm welcome to Nix Whittaker. Tell us a little about yourself
I was born in South Africa with snakes and other creepy critters. When I was a young girl I moved with my family to New Zealand. A very different place. There are hardly any critters at all. But at least it was safe from political turmoil. It also opened up opportunities for me. Being able to go to University and living on my own were things just not achievable in South Africa, unless you have money. I started writing because I ran out of things to read. I didn’t really get anywhere until a few years ago. Mostly I didn’t believe in myself. I had to dust off my ego and admit I have a story inside me people would like to read.
I think sometimes we are our toughest critics. Have you been given any helpful advice? If so What?
The best advice I’ve gotten was from a fellow self published author. He told me that you don’t have to know everything when you start. You just become an expert on the next thing you need. This allowed me to take away most of the hurdles to writing and just start.
I know I have learned so much between the publication of my first and second book. Currently, what are you working on?
I have two projects at the moment. I’m working on a four book series and I’m only half way through. But I got the urge to start another project and I’m almost done with my very first mystery novel. Exciting to try new things.
What has been the most difficult thing you have struggled with since you began a career in writing?
Finishing a book. I have about five hundred stories that I’ve started and never finished. I didn’t have enough confidence as I am dyslexic and I thought that meant I could never reach the bar. It was only when I realized I had just as much skill as other authors that I brought myself to finish my first novel. I’ve written 9 since then.
Who designed the artwork for your cover? Or did you design it yourself?
I design my own book covers. I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you have some skills and an artist’s eye. I did think about going into art but that is an even harder gig than writing to get into. All I had to do was teach myself how to use photoshop. I now sell covers to other authors.
Nix, one thing we have to deal with as an author is negative criticism, no one can please everyone. How do you handle criticism when it comes to your writing?
I’m terrible. I want to see what I can learn and where I can improve. Usually I don’t read bad reviews because they annoy me. Mostly because they don’t get what I’m trying to do. Or it is something I don’t intend to change. One of the criticisms I usually get is the need for more detail. I’m dyslexic and reading even one word takes colossal effort so when I read I skip over bits that aren’t important otherwise I would never finish it. When I write I write only the parts I normally read. I hate all that fluff in books that don’t help with the story line or the characters but sounds super pretty and sophisticated. That’s nice for some but not for me. Otherwise I always get good reviews but even those I avoid as I nitpick and wonder if they are just being nice.
Is there something you learned from writing your first book?
How to finish a book. I always struggled. In my first book I decided not to write one of my precious babies that I had been sweating over for years. Instead I took one of my throw away ideas. I didn’t have to be perfect so that allowed me finish it as I only had to write it, I didn’t need a master piece.
Nix, which do you find more challenging inventing the hero or the villain? Why?
Villain every time. My recent mystery novel. I had the bad guy all planned out and his motivations and then I started writing him and realized he was too evil to be the big bad. He was obvious. I kept him but I wrote in another bad guy who in the end was a better fit.
How many times do you think you read your book before going to print?
It feels like a million but it really is about ten times. Even then I re-read my books every year and make changes. I don’t think I’ll have it completely perfect until a decade after I’m in my grave.
Nix thanks for sharing with us. Happy Reading!!