Hello, friends! Today I have the pleasure of interviewing author Samantha Nicklaus. Samantha is a young and rising star in the literary world. Samantha Nicklaus is a New York born and Tallahassee based writer. She graduated from Florida State University in 2017 with a Bachelors Degree in History with a minor in Psychology. She has always been a writer, but got more serious about it after winning her first National Novel Writing Month in 2011. Her first self-published novella, Prison 917, was released this past August. She loves reading, writing, video games, Disney movies, and spends too much of her time watching Netflix.
If you’d like to check her out on social media or learn more about her works, you can do so through these sites:
Alright! So let’s get started with the interview!
1) Were there any particular books/events that inspired you to start writing?
Nothing comes to mind. In my elementary school, we always did creative writing exercises, writing little stories with prompts. I sort of just started there, and haven’t really stopped.
2) What is your writing background?
I don’t know how much of a “background” I have. I’ve won a few poetry contests and writing contests, but nothing I remember well enough to talk about. My first self published work just came out this August, a novella titled Prison 917.
3) What is your writing process? Is it a set process or more fluid? What inspires you?
My writing process is a bit all over the place. Generally I have a story idea, work it over in my head for a while, then just start writing. I usually write until I either get bored or I lose track of the plot, then I stop to make a breakdown of what I want to happen. That’s just a word document with 1, 2, 3 listed out with events I want to include. I very rarely write a story in chronological order. I get inspiration from a lot of different places, but usually it starts with an idea for a character and I kind of work from there with things like, “okay, if that sort of person was in this situation, what would happen?” and I mull that over until I think of an interesting situation that fits the character.
4) What advice do you have for new/aspiring writers?
I generally shy away from giving advice, because honestly I think that writing advice (and advice, in general) comes from a really personal place. People preach that “write a little every day” stuff, or the “never start a story with a character waking up!” or weird little things like that. If I had to give writing advice, it would be to do literally whatever you want. Don’t worry about how you write or what you write, just do what you enjoy. There are plenty of “bad” books that have gotten popular enough for movie deals. Don’t sweat what everyone thinks; just go with what you like.
5) Do you draw inspiration from pop culture (TV Shows, Video Games, Movies, etc), and if so, which ones?
I’m sure that I do, but nothing specific comes to mind. I think that Tanya Huff has influenced me a lot though. I have a collection of her short stories and they are funny. The thing that gets me about them though is that they aren’t made to be funny, they all have messages in them, the comedy is an afterthought. She writes stories about a thief falling in love with a mercenary and its funny. A story about a wizard being split into two different people, and it’s funny. My stories did get a lot funnier after reading her work. I realized that a story doesn’t have to be all about the jokes, there can be a fantasy or dystopian plot and it can also be funny.
6) You’re trapped on an island, but are allowed to bring one person, one food item, and one object. What are your choices?
Whether the goal is to get off the island or survive on the island, I would bring my dad. He would have shelter and clean water in no time. As far as food goes; peanut butter. It makes me sick after a while, but I think it’s the best food to have around. And object? Probably a book, but I couldn’t name which one. Way too hard to pick!
7) What drew you to your genres in general?
I want to have a deep and insightful reason, but honestly, it’s laziness. Prison 917 is a break from my usual, which is fantasy. I’ve been writing fantasy for a while now, and have two novel length works in progress I hope to get out in 2018. I started with fantasy because I get to be lazy. Magic is my favorite thing in the world. Scifi you have to research and know things, history you have to be sure of what you’re writing. Fantasy? Never. If I need a character out of a scene, they can jump on a magic carpet and be out of the way. As long as the rules of magic are consistent in that world, I can do pretty much anything I want and explain it away as magic.
8) What project have you enjoyed working on the most?
I enjoy working on all of my works in progress, but I think the one I have gotten the least frustrated with is Prison 456, which is in the final stages of editing and should be out in the next few months. This is my second novella, and I knew where I wanted the story to go, so it was really easy to write. Even editing so far has been quick and painless.
9) What is the deciding factor on whether or not to pursue a project?
My interest in it. That’s the only thing that matters to me. I have a work in progress that could be done by now, and is probably 95% written, but I was working on Prison 917 and Prison 456 and was so passionate about those projects that I haven’t touched anything else. National Novel Writing Month is coming up, and I have a story prepared to start for that as well. I skip around between works in progress a lot. Whatever has me excited is what I work on and what I keep working on.
Thank you for the lovely interview, Samantha! It was great getting to learn a bit about your unique writing process. I hope you all enjoyed learning about her as much as I did. I have no doubt that she has a very bright future ahead of her!