A little bit of bio – who are you, where do you come from and where are you based?
I’m Nell Dixon, a Black Country author, married to the same man for over twenty-seven years. I have three daughters, a tank of tropical fish and a cactus called Spike. Winner of the RNA’s prestigious Romance Prize in 2007 and 2010, I write warm-hearted contemporary romance for a number of publishers in the US and the UK including Myrmidon Press, Samhain Publishing, Little Black Dress, Astraea Press, E-Scape Press and Freya’s Bower.
Who is your favourite author of all time and which book do you wish you had written?
Have you a writing routine? Do you write a la Cartland, dictating to a minion whilst lying on a chaise longe sipping champagne? Or, is the reality a garden shed or a corner of the living room?
Sadly, no chaise longe. I have a small office just off the first floor landing of my home. It doesn’t have a door so my family frequently clump up the stairs to interrupt me. I write mainly in the evenings and at weekends.
When were you first gripped by the writing bug – was it a gradual realisation or always a burning ambition? Which authors, if any, were influential in fuelling this desire?
I have always written from the age of four when I first learned to read, the writing came soon after. I used to make up stories and get my Dad to write them down. Growing up I read anything and everything. Some of my favourite authors were Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton and Elinor Brent-Dyer.
When did you make your first serious foray into writing? What did you write? Has your style of writing changed significantly since then? If you could go back, would you do anything differently?
I had my first poem published when I was eleven. My local paper gave me a postal order which I thought was amazing. I sent them so many poems after that, most of which they bought, that I had my own little spot. I finished my first book when I was seventeen. I loved Andre Norton so it was very sci-fi. Now I write quirky romantic comedy or contemporary romance with a twist of humour and a dollop of suspense.
We all know the world of traditional publishing can be brutal in its rejection and fragile egos are routinely shattered. Have you ever experienced this? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with it?
I had loads of rejections, and indeed still get some. I hope my writing is always improving and I know that what I write may not be every editor’s cup of tea. If I get a rejection I just keep polishing up that story and send it right back out there to someone else.
Ebook platforms such as Kindle and Smashwords are playing a major role in changing the face of publishing. Is this a good thing and do you feel that traditional publishers and agents have had it their own way for far too long?
I think it’s great that readers have so much choice now. I love finding new authors to read and my kindle has widened the kinds of books I read enormously.
Do you feel ebooks will continue to escalate in popularity?
I think so. Anything that gives people easy access to books has to be a fantastic thing no matter what the format.
What books have you written? Have you a particular favourite? What/who inspired it?
I’ve written sixteen books now. I like to think that the latest book is always my best one. I do have some favourites though, simply because they were so much fun to write. Animal Instincts, the book that won the Romance Prize in 2010 is a favourite. Not just of mine but also for readers – everyone loves Dave, the foul mouthed parrot.
Do you feel the best is yet to come? What inspires your writing in general?
I always hope the best is yet to come. I get inspiration from life, reading the paper, eavesdropping on conversations and watching TV.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I have an idea for a new series in my head. My last series – The Cornish set New Bay stories has been popular with readers and I enjoy writing stand alone stories that have recurring characters. It’s like catching up with old friends.
What do you like/dislike most about writing?
I love it when a story comes to life, like magic. I hate the days when it’s like wading through treacle, in the dark with sharks circling.
Anything you would like to crow about?
I’m British so am rubbish at crowing about anything really!
When I was an aspiring author, I longed to know ‘the secrets’ of other authors. What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Did anyone ever share a particularly valuable insight or piece of advice with you and, if so, can you share it with us?
My advice to all aspiring writers is to read as much as you can, read widely and then sit down and write. Write even when it’s hard and you’re tired and you really should be scrubbing the toilet or feeding the cat not staring at a blank page waiting for words to come. Just write.
Read more about Nell on:
Twitter as @nelldixon
Nell’s latest release is Be My Hero http://www.amazon.com/Be-My-Hero-ebook/dp/B0095MYT24/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1
Nathalie Mayer is thirty-four. On the surface she is an attractive, happy, single, successful woman running her own bridal business. Despite her line of work and her obvious delight in other people’s weddings, including that of her twin brother, Nate. Nathalie has always declared that a settled relationship is not for her. There has only ever been one man whom Nathalie felt she could love.
Evan Davies is back in town after a six year absence. Last time he was here, he and Nathalie had tentatively begun to take their friendship to a different level. Now he’s home again and has the reason for his sudden departure from six years ago with him – his daughter, Polly.
Nell, thank you for a wonderful interview!