Diversions, Wrong Turns, and Road Blocks

In which I examine the way life turns out …and not.

When I started college, I was a drama major. I have always loved to act. I put on plays as a kid, performed wherever I could (although I would take back that dance thing I did in junior high), and was even paid once for acting in a play in Los Angeles. Acting excited me. My professors in college told me I had real talent. So why didn’t I continue> I changed colleges more than once, and I had no real support from home. So I did the practical thing and became a German lit major. (Yes, I can hear your laughter from here.

I have always loved language–the way it works, the way you can play with it. It helps that I grew up bilingual–Hungarian and English. I took Latin in high school and won the foreign language award my senior year (and the drama award–see the first paragraph). German I started in college and spent my junior year in Göttingen. I started Japanese as a senior in college. My plan was to go to Japan to teach English there. Enter the love life.

Met my husband who asked me to go to grad school with him. So I did. Ended up getting a teaching German degree. He ended up with a PhD in robotics. So we moved to New Mexico where he could pursue his career. And since there is a high demand for German teachers in New Mexico (sarcasm font here) I stayed home with the twins.

But I needed to do something. That’s when I remembered stories. I have always loved reading and I’ve always had stories in my head. Now was the time to write them. So I did. Even was published by major NY publishing houses.

But now? The road has taken me somewhere I didn’t expect to be. Those “falling rock” signs? They’re true. The choice is either to backtrack a little and take the other way, or go around and see what’s ahead. Either way, it wasn’t what I expected and both paths are scary. But it’s also exciting, liberating, and freeing.You can’t see down the road, but you sure can get excited about it.

But stopping is not an option.


Books I’m reading now:

Writing tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark (Okay, so I’m not learning anything new from it, but sometimes it just feels good to read something and say, “Yup, I’m doing that.”)


Nicole Winters–Debut YA Author

Today I’m thrilled to have Nicole Winters here with her new book The Jock and the Fat Chick. It comes out today!JockFatChick Best QualityThis YA Romance sounds funny and fantastic. Just look at this summary:

No one ever said high school was easy. In this hilarious and heartwarming debut, one high school senior has to ask himself how much he’s willing to give up in order to fit in. Kevin seems to have it all: he’s popular, good looking, and on his way to scoring a college hockey scholarship. However, he’s keeping two big secrets. The first is that he failed an assignment and is now forced to take the most embarrassing course ever–domestic tech. The second is that he is falling for his domestic tech classmate, Claire. As far as Kevin is concerned, Claire does have it all: she’s funny, smart, beautiful, and confident. But she’s off-limits. Because Kevin knows what happens when someone in his group dares to date a girl who isn’t a cheerleader, and there’s no way he is going to put himself—or Claire—through that. But steering clear of the girl of his dreams is a lot harder than Kevin thought…especially when a cooking project they are paired together for provides the perfect opportunity for things to heat up between them outside the classroom….

To help you get to know Nicole better, I’ve asked her some questions. She even included some links to some of the things she mentions in her answers.

Do you have any must-haves while writing?

Nicole: I suffer from chilblains so I must have heat, otherwise, it’s like typing with frostbitten fingers—very painful. Also, a good cuppa tea. Top Choice: Yorkshire Gold, orange pekoe with a splash of 2%. “Let’s have a proper brew”   http://www.yorkshiretea.co.uk/products/tea/yorkshire-tea-gold.php

About your title: yours or the editor’s?

Nicole: Coming up with titles is weird for me, it’s like playing darts. Either I miss the board completely, or it’s a bullseye. In this case, the title was mine.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Nicole: I liked writing Claire and Kevin equally. Kevin, because he transforms from being physically and emotionally starved to nurturing himself and standing in his truth. Claire was fun because she knows who she is, where she is going, and loves the skin she’s in. They’re also two characters who love to laugh, so writing scenes with them together were pretty fun.

How did you celebrate “getting the call?”

Nicole: It was one of those beautiful winter days — no snow, no wind, the sun was shining — and after telling close friends and family, I shoveled off the balcony, grabbed a few blankets, my cat, a cup of tea, and enjoyed a gourmet cookie from The Chocolateria. http://www.thechocolateria.ca/#/HOME-01-00/

Who are your non-writer influences?

Nicole: Non-writer, huh? Hmm… I like Marie Forlio (http://www.marieforleo.com) for her videos and practical advice. I love her tagline: “Stay on your game; because the world needs that special gift that only you have.” I also like British illusionist and mentalist, Derren Brown.( http://derrenbrown.co.uk) What a showman, I’d love to see him perform live.

If you could sit down and have dinner with 5 dead authors (who would not appear in zombie form, but in their whole body selves), whom would you invite to the table?


Nicole: Dorothy Parker, Charles Dickens, Virginia Wolf, Lucy Maud Montgomery, David Foster Wallace

Which ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?


What is in your To Read Pile that you are dying to start or upcoming release you can’t wait for?

Nicole: Julie Murphy’s DUMPLIN’; Ron Rash’s ABOVE THE WATERFALL; Tommy Hays’ WHAT I CAME TO TELL YOU; John Dufresne’s NO REGRETS, COYOTE; Amy Willoughby-Buke’s OUT ACROSS THE NOWHERE; Gale Deitch’s A FINE FIX (And the list goes on; not enough time!)

If you could choose a superpower what would it be and why?

Nicole: It’d be the ability to stop time. I could read all those books on the stack, and I’d write all those stories piling up in my head. Hmm… maybe this is how James Patterson cranks out so many books in a year?

What’s next for you?

Nicole: Going back and polishing other novels (I hope to break into the middle-grade market) and I am delving into the world of magicians and magic (close-up, parlor, stage, illusions) for my next YA adventure, working title, THE CONJURER.


Nicole Winters Photo
Nicole Winters

If that’s not enough for you, here’s a brief bio:

As a C average student with a learning disability, Nicole was herself a reluctant reader. That changed when, at the age of twelve, she was assigned S. E. Hinton’s classic YA novel The Outsiders. After devouring the book in a single sitting, Nicole came to understand how the right story can capture the imagination and enthusiasm of anyone – reluctant reader or otherwise. From there, Nicole gravitated towards tales of adventure, suspense, romance and horror. Her works focus on human relationships and the personal journeys of the characters, creating stories she hopes will excite and inspire readers. Nicole enjoys traveling the world, but calls Toronto home. She is the author of TT Full Throttle (a YA road racing novel) and is currently at work on her third novel, The Conjurer.

Website: http://nicolewintersauthor.com/blog

Twitter: @nicolewintersya

Facebook: The Jock and the Fat Chick

Facebook: Nicole Author Page

I thank Nicole for appearing here, and wish her much success with her career. May the debut strike the imagination of readers everywhere.


Books I’m reading now:

How to Get Lucky: 13 techniques for discovering and taking advantage of life’s good breaks by Max Gunther