Nika Dixon is a freelance writer who graduated with a degree in broadcasting and spent years working in the television industry before expanding her roll to include that of a part-time educator and college professor.
Nika lives in Canada with her husband and son, and when she’s not writing, you can usually find her out riding her motorcycle or playing hockey.
Tell us a little about your latest novel and when and where we can get it.
Second Chances is a contemporary romantic suspense adventure available through Red Rose Publishing and other eBook distributers (Fictionwise, Mobi Pocket, Kindle, All Romance eBooks). It tells the story of Jackson and Casey, who’s childhood friendship has been long lost beneath an angry feud. When Casey’s life is threatened and Jackson becomes a target, they are forced to work together to survive. Old feelings resurface and emotions run hot as their mutual attraction becomes mired in the intricate balance between their past, present and future.
How do you balance the creative process of writing with the demands of public appearances, maintenance of your website, and your family?
I’ve always been very good at multitasking, so for me, balancing the elements isn’t as difficult as it might be for others. I find that you have to make time – just like you would for anything. Most of my writing is done at night after my son has gone to bed, but on weekends, I use as much time as I can. A good part of Second Chances was composed while sitting on the front lawn watching my son ride his bicycle around in front of our house. Chapters were completed between setting up the wading pool, adjusting bike helmet straps, patching up boo-boo’s and making hot-dogs.
I’m a blackberry addict, so emails and public updates are easy to do when I’m on the go or at the office. Being a web designer by trade, I maintain my own website and blog, and have recently become overly addicted to Twitter.
And after saying all that, I should probably mention how fantastic my husband is. Without his support I’d never have completed more than the opening paragraph!
Give us an example of a day in the writing life of. Do you stick to a schedule of X amount of hours writing, editing, answering email, etc.?
About the great ‘rule’ debate: we are told you can’t do this and you can’t write that. But it is stepping outside the lines that gets many authors noticed and eventually published. What are your opinions on the rules?
I believe that if the story is true, the rules shouldn’t matter. With romance, there seems to be an additional list of what we can and can’t do. Take the unspoken guideline that a majority of the story should be written from the heroine’s point of view, for example.
Personally, I believe that you can not reach the ultimate level of true love without giving the hero a chance to be born anew, too. Why can we not write a romance novel with equal time given to both hero and heroine? I have written romance driven stories entirely in the hero’s point of view, and received nothing but rave reviews. Many commented that it would not have been as potent if I had included the heroine’s point of view. Her actions, her voice, her tone carried her emotions through the story, but it was the hero’s thoughts that gave it the power it needed.
To me, a great story is one that sucks me so thoroughly into the world created, I can’t hear the phone ringing, don’t feel the passage of time, an am unable to stop turning the page until the tale is completed. If you can wield that kind of power by breaking a few rules, then I say go for it!
What music do you listen to when you write? Has a song inspired you to write?
Music is my muse! Many of my story ideas come when I’m in the car with the music cranked, or riding my motorcycle with the MP3 player playing out my travel soundtrack.
I’ve often grasped an idea, a plot point, a character flittering at the edge of my consciousness, and the only way I can grab hold of it is to play the same song over and over until the idea clarifies enough for me to write it down.
For genre or style, I will listen to just about anything that catches my interest. Country music, folk, classical, punk, rock and roll. For the longest time the only thing I could write to was Nickelback (much to my husband’s dismay).
Do you have a favorite show on TV that helps in moving your muse?
I am 110% addicted to Stargate Atlantis. I don’t know exactly why (maybe all those sexy alpha-males on the show) or what exactly it is that calls to me (great plots, fantastic writing), but my hubby calls it my drug. I’ve even become so entranced as to write quite a few Fan Fiction stories based on the series. I’ve watched repeats and repeats of repeats and I never tire of it.
If you could collaborate with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?
My all time favourite author, hands down, is Stephen King. There is something incredible to be said about a man who, by putting words to paper, has forced me to avoid walking over sewer grates for most of my life. I will purposely walk around them, much to my hubby’s amusement, all because I truly fear what will happen if I get to close. And clowns? Well that’s another issue all together.
Although now that I’ve said that, it doesn’t seem like a very romantic author to want to connect with, does it? But then again, maybe that would be the reason to pair up. You’ll get a story that will scare the pants off you, but you’ll have a strong, sexy alpha-male to keep you safe and warm along the way!
What are your thoughts on promotion for books?
Book promotions is a difficult subject these days, what with all the various forms of media and technology out there! Now with the mass saturation of the internet, writers need to embrace the power of Web 2.0. Social Networking is free and easy, but the volume of opportunity is daunting. I’m already blogging regularly on my own site (nikadixon.com) which cross posts to my Live Journal website, and I Twitter daily. My emails all contain a signature file that links to my online sites, and I’m slowly linking my blog in through other websites so more people can find me faster.
I do believe in consistency of promotion, and truth in your fan base. If your readers like you, and stick with you, they’re going to tell their friends about you. I think word-of-mouth is the best promotion an author could ever ask for.
What advice do you have for authors who haven’t quite gotten their manuscript to the next level, which for most is publishing?
There are two pieces of advice I give anyone who asks what to do next—be persistent, and enter contests!
With my first book, it took nearly four years to complete the process through to the release date. Some people do it faster, others take longer. There is a lot of waiting involved in getting your work out there, but when the day finally comes, all the agony falls away and you’re left doing a happy snoopy dance in honour of your now published work!
Secondly, enter contests! Almost every chapter of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) runs a yearly contest. In most of these contests, the finalists “win” the opportunity to have their manuscript read by a publisher or agent. This is a fantastic way to get bragging rights for all those query letters, and an even better way to get to the top of a pile and submit your work to an industry publisher. Do a little research and find the contest that fits your genre or writing style, and enter, enter, enter!