I am excited to have on a fellow Echelon Press author today, Kieryn Nicolas, who is an amazing young woman. She wrote her first book when she was fourteen, published it, and now at the ripe old age of seventeen has two novels out! Kieryn is the author of the young adult novels, Rain and Flawless Ruins, as well as the short story, Poison Ivy.
Sitting down with Kieryn Nicolas
Q: Your first book, Rain, was published when you were fifteen. How did you come up with the idea?
A: The idea for Rain started with a dream containing Australia, hotel balconies, and segways. I only kept one of those elements once I started writing on that train of thought, and replaced the other two with friendship and spies.
Q: How did you instinctively “know” how to write a novel well enough for a publisher to accept?
A: I’m not sure it was so instinctive–I read a lot when I was younger, and it might have been a monkey see, monkey do deal. I think my style definitely takes pointers from my favorite authors.
Q: Where did you meet your publisher, Echelon Press?
A: I attended the Write Stuff conference in Allentown, PA, in 2009, and was lucky enough to have a pitch session with Karen Syed, the president & CEO of Echelon.
Q: Tell us about your newest book, Flawless Ruins? Is there a sequel in sight?
A: Flawless Ruins is about a dystopian society–it’s “perfect” because there are no men, just these things called Likes. Or, at least, there aren’t supposed to be any men… (Also, everyone has great hair.) There may or may not be a sequel. (Oh, the suspense.)
Q: Being that you wrote and published your first book by fifteen (something few achieve!) what do you see yourself doing at 30?
A: Traveling! I want to go everywhere, and I’m pretty sure that’ll take a while. But that also means I see myself making enough money to fund my wander-inclined soul, so I suppose I’ll have to work hard to get that best seller & movie deal secured by then. 🙂
Q: You visit schools, clubs, and organizations to talk about writing and encouraging others in the writing craft. How do you handle public speaking and what’s this experience been like?
A: I love public speaking. It’s an opportunity to communicate in-person with large groups of people, and an opportunity to really be heard (usually because they give me a microphone). I’m strange in the nerves department–public speaking doesn’t really phase me, but I tend to freeze up when ordering lunch at Subway. But strangeness aside, being a guest author at schools, libraries, and conventions has been wonderful, and probably my favorite aspect of being an author. You know, aside from the writing part.
Q: How do you balance school life and work with writing novels?
A: Not well. (At least not this year.) Sleep often gets sacrificed.
Q: In brief, share your novel writing process with us? Do you outline or “just write by the seat of your pants”?
A: When I first get an idea, I let it roll around in my mind for a few days. Then I write down everything in my mind, because I’m a visual person and like to see an idea before I plan it. Which I do–plan it, that is. I spew a somewhat-outline somewhat-draft into a word doc in semi-chronological order, not worrying about punctuation or capitalization or silly things like that. After that I start the real premier-pharmacy.com/product/keflex/ first draft, going from beginning to end.
Q: Tell us your favorite books!
A: I love Harry Potter (is that surprising?). I’m also a fan of books by Holly Black, Jordan Sonnenblick, Robin Benway, and many others.
Q: Wow. You are also a black belt! Does the word “overachiever” ever get applied to you? Seriously, what’s been your road to being a black belt?
A: I actually started Taekwondo as research for Rain, as Mel (the main character) was well-versed in hand-to-hand combat and self-defense and I…wasn’t. (Note the past tense. 🙂 After years of training and a very intense test I earned my black belt (this was September of last year).
Q: Can you share what writing project you’re working on now?
A: The manuscript I recently completed (and am revising) is a contemporary mystery of sorts. It deals with friendship and misconceptions…and cars. I had to learn a lot about cars.
Q: How do you promote your books?
A: I’m fairly active on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, though my favorite form of “promotion” is actually talking to people, like at conventions and speaking engagements.
Q: In three words describe your writing!
A: Like I’m talking.
Q: What else do you do when you’re not writing, tackling homework (or unsuspecting people in Taekwondo), and terrorizing your parents with your newly obtained driver’s license?
A: Sleep. (Sometimes.) And I love watching (good) TV with my sister–currently we’re addicted to Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Supernatural. (I also never miss an episode of NCIS.) Spending time with friends also factors into my plans, and I run quite often.
Q: Favorite day of all time?
A: I went to a young writers conference in Sewanee, TN, this past summer, and met some pretty amazing people. One of my favorite memories of all time is of my Sewanee friends and I sitting on blankets at night in the trees outside the dorms reading stories, eating M&Ms, and laughing until our stomachs hurt. So I’m going to go with that day.
Q: If you couldn’t write what would you do instead?
A: I’d learn a lot of foreign languages. Then I’d go to places where these languages are spoken and pretend to be a bumbling tourist. I figure that’s as close to invisibility as one can get, and invisibility would be pretty cool.
Get more about Kieryn!
She lives in Pennsylvania with her parents, younger sister and yellow lab. In addition to being an author, Kieryn is a black belt in Taekwondo, which means you never want to mess with her or her characters. She has also found a new way to terrorize her parents, in the form of a driver’s license. This past January Kieryn traveled to Disney World to do a half marathon with Team in Training and raised $3,000 for blood cancer research and treatment.
When she isn’t writing, Kieryn is fulfilling her duty as Conqueror of Daily Homework Assignments. (AP physics is waiting to pounce after she finishes this bio.) With her course load, college visits, standardized tests, and recent addiction to Doctor Who, writing can sometimes get shuffled down on the To Do List. However, even if it’s finals week she’ll find time, somehow, to work on that New Idea That Just Won’t Let Go. Because if she doesn’t, she might explode.
Kieryn’s favorite aspect of being an author (besides actually writing) is visiting schools, clubs and organizations to talk about writing and to encourage people to pursue their dreams.
Visit her website at www.kierynnicolas.com, blog at www.kierynnicolas.blogspot.com, and twitter @kierynnicolas.
Phil Giunta says
Excellent interview! I had the pleasure of meeting Kieryn at the Allentown Public Library last June and then brought her into my publisher’s SF convention, Farpoint, as a fellow writer guest back in February and again this coming August at Shore Leave. Flawless Ruins was an excellent novel that displayed clear growth in Kieryn’s writing skills and storytelling ability. I look forward to book three! And hey, we’re both Doctor Who fans!
Phil, thanks for sharing about Kieryn – and her amazing writing skills! Cant go wrong with Dr. Who. 🙂
Giacomo Giammatteo says
Great interview, Kieryn. And what an inspiration for young people with a dream to be a writer. Keep writing, and stay happy. Good luck!
Marcy Kennedy says
I’m always so impressed by authors who were brave enough to start in their teens. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t start studying craft or taking it seriously until I hit my mid-20s. I certainly didn’t think of publishing a book that young. Very inspiring interview 🙂
Marcy, thanks for stopping. Yes, I am amazed as well how Kieryn could create and write a book so young. At 14 I think life was one big blur for me! I didnt start writing until my late 20s and then shelved it for 13 years. I dont guess it matters how old we are when we fall in love with fiction writing though, does it? 🙂
Thank you, everyone! This was a fun interview.