Theale resident and writer, Nicky Clifford, launches her debut novel, Never Again, on October 21st and her dream of seeing her book in print finally becomes reality.
Never Again has received warm reviews ahead of publication and looks set to storm its way up the Amazon charts in romantic fiction.
I approached Nicky, wondering if she would be interested in answering a few questions about herself for all us readers and to my utter delight…Nicky said YES!!
Please continue reading to find out more about this most talented lady.
1. Nicky, where do I start? I feel I should be sketching you not asking you questions…You are such a talented poet, writer, artist. Where, please share, does the inspiration for it all come from?
I have always had this innate drive within me to write. When I was younger, it was my way of expressing emotions which I couldn’t otherwise have made sense of. Both my parents penned a good poem and my dad wrote his way around the world when he was 20. So I guess you could say it’s in my genes! As for my sketches, I only started drawing a few months ago to illustrate my poems. I can’t believe how much I am enjoying it; my mum is the real artist in the family.
2. I read that you regret not starting out earlier in your writing career. What was the moment that triggered the change over from corporate to what appears to be a way more relaxed approach to life?
Initially it was lack of confidence that kept me from pursuing a career in writing, and then I was a single parent supporting two children so I had to stick to what I knew. I left the corporate world about six years ago. It was a scary step to take, but I honestly think I had completely burnt out. I love the change in pace and having more time for my writing.
3. You now work for the vicar. Why is it I have images of Dawn French in my mind?
It did actually make me smile when I started working for the vicar because the Vicar of Dibley is exactly who I pictured, and I have to say that there was never a dull moment working at The Rectory. However, since we first spoke, I have changed jobs and now work part-time for a local charity which helps autistic children and young people improve their social, communication and independence skills.
4. Bring us through a day in the life of Nicky Clifford?
My days vary greatly so there is no set pattern, but a day without any interruptions might go pretty much like this:
I start my day with a smoothie to charge up my energy! I then spend about one hour on social media catching up on retweeting and Facebook notifications. Next, I generally get all the boring household type admin out of the way so I can then reward myself with doing writerly things.
At the moment, most of my time is spent perfecting the formatting of the paperback version of Never Again, sorting out marketing materials and completing interviews with wonderful book bloggers such as Mairéad (*am blushing*). Although I am really enjoying this process, I can’t wait to get back to immersing myself in my next novel.
In addition to lunch and chill out time, I reluctantly squeeze in household chores before I make dinner. Finally, my husband and I watch TV or read, although we are about to start dancing lessons, so Strictly, eat your heart out!
5. As a writer, I’m assuming you also read a lot. Can you share with us the 5 greatest literary influences in your life?
I love reading:
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton ignited my imagination at an early age and fanned the flames of my passion for telling stories.
The Road Less Travelled by Scott M Peck gave me real insight into how I tick.
Philippa Gregory’s many books make history come alive, which certainly wasn’t the case when I sat staring out of the window in history lessons at school!
Jodi Picoult – I so admire her writing – not just the way she writes and how she so cleverly weaves emotions through her words, but the insight she gives into impossibly difficult situations.
The Language of Letting Go is a daily reader which inspires me each day.
6. Your poetry is very meaningful and seems to catch the moments we all have in life. Can you share one with us here now?
‘I was Quite Trendy…Once’ sums up what it felt like to be a mum with young children, ie no time for me! I always thought I would be a natural mum and take everything in my stride. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
I found juggling a house and two young boys completely and utterly exhausting. One particularly fraught day, I caught sight of myself in the reflection of a shop window as I pushed the pram, whilst trying to keep track of my toddler. I was honestly horrified. I looked about 50 (which ironically is the age I am just turning!); I looked harassed and unkempt and was wearing an old pair of leggings, a baggy T shirt and no make-up with my hair held up in a scrunchy – far removed from the unattached version of me on a night out!
Hence my poem was born!
My faded old leggings have gone at the knee
My socks do not match, I don’t recognise me
The ‘charm’ I exuded, has faded to ‘nag’
I argue, I snap, I’m a grumpy old bag
To read more of this very witty poem follow the link:
7. As a writer, you speak about achieving publication in a non-traditional path. What path did you take to getting your novels published?
I did try the traditional publishing route first, however, I knew that there was very little chance of being accepted as Literary Agents receive hundreds of submissions each week. So I decided to self-publish, which has been a whole new journey in itself.
I am extremely fortunate as the author Caroline James very kindly took me under her wing and has been invaluable in guiding me through the minefield of self-publishing.
8. A romantic at heart I’m guessing, there seems to be a lot of love in everything you write. Who would be your favourite writers of romance, old and new?
Jane Green, Caroline James and Erica James write wonderful, lose-yourself-in-them romances.
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a firm favourite – nothing, of course, to do with the image of Colin Firth and that rather wet white shirt!
9. Your latest novel, Never Again, is about Harriet Anderson and her struggle to regain balance in her life. Can you tell us a little about the novel?
I am fascinated by people and how they tick. Harriet has had to deal with a lot of trauma in a short space of time so it made sense to send her somewhere far away from the pressures of daily life.
Having spent four months working in a hotel in Wengen in the Swiss Alps, I decided it was just the place that Harriet needed to go to recuperate and move her life forward.
But then, of course, she meets Philippe Smith, the mysterious crime writer. Inevitably, Philippe also has a past that is snapping ferociously at his heels.
To a certain extent, everyone’s past shapes the person they are today, however, it is when that past catches up with the present day that challenges can arise. That is exactly what happens to Harriet and Philippe; their budding romance is led a merry dance by shadows from their pasts that persist in hunting them down.
I love the ‘will they, won’t they’ swings of a romance. I also love a happy ending. I will leave you to read to ‘The End’ of ‘Never Again’ to find out whether Philippe and Harriet find theirs.
Quick Fire Round:
9. Name 5 items to be found in the bottom of your handbag
- Notepad and Pen
- Decaf Coffee
- Hand Cream
- Nakd Bars
10. 5 favourite movies
- Pretty Woman
- Bridget Jones Diary
- Love Actually
- Notting Hill
- The Holiday
11. Paper book or Reader?
12. Beach walk or Country Hike?
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Nicky for being so informative and honest in all her answers. Nicky was an absolute pleasure to have on my blog and I truly wish her all the best with her debut novel Never Again.
To find out more about Nicky: http://nickyclifford.com/
To purchase/pre-order Never Again :http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01L1ME222
You can also follow Nicky on: