Welcome author Nicki J Markus to my blog.
What genre(s) do you write in? Tell us about your books.
I have two pen names: one for my mainstream works and one for my MM (gay romance) stories. In mainstream, my works so far have all been within paranormal and fantasy; however, my MM stories vary from contemporary to historical to paranormal to sci-fi. I don’t want to confine myself to a single genre, even though that might be better in terms of personal brand and promoting my stories, because I prefer to follow my inspiration and write whatever stories and characters come to me.
What book are you promoting right now? What is it about?
March is a busy month for me with three MM releases. Two are anthology shorts, but the third is a collection of six of my short stories, all based on fairytales or myths. The stories interconnect as the protagonists in each all work at the same financial investment firm, and several of the tales revolve around the work masquerade ball. Here is the blurb:
Six fairytales and myths experience a contemporary MM twist in this collection of stories set within the world of a financial investment firm, proving that sometimes the mundane can be magical too.
Dragged Into Love (Þrymskviða)
When Theo’s landlord steals a prized guitar in lieu of rent owed, he informs Theo he will return the instrument on one condition: he wants a date with Theo’s twin sister.
Love’s Code (Ariadne and Theseus)
Andre must pass the examination if he wants to keep his job. However, he is distracted by his unspoken love for fellow programmer, Eren.
Guessing Games (Rumplestiltskin)
Sasha told a little white lie in his job interview and it won him the role. Only now he is faced with a pile of work he doesn’t know how to complete.
Assignations and Ultimatums (The Strange Elopement of Tinirau)
Hunter and Ross are in love, but Ross’ father keeps trying to set him up with undesirable, yet powerful, older men, the latest of whom happens to be Ross’ boss.
Lost and Found (Cinderella)
Cillian is dreading the work masquerade ball, but once there he finds himself romanced by a dashing stranger, only to flee when he discovers the man’s identity.
A Debt is a Debt (Beauty and the Beast)
Dunstan Griffin is not a man to let a debt slide, so when debtor Alfred Siskin offers the EA services of his son, Wynn, in lieu of payment, Dunstan accepts.
How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
The idea for Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods first came to me when Wayward Ink Publishing opened a survey for readers and writers to choose the themes for the next two anthology releases. Stories based on fairytales and/or myths was one of the options, and the one to which I gave my vote. But sadly I must have been in the minority since it was not one of the two finally selected. Feeling a bit saddened by this, I nevertheless began to mull over ideas in my head, thinking of which fairytales I would like to adapt to a contemporary MM setting should the opportunity present itself in the future. When I realised I had several good ideas brewing, I decided I didn’t need to wait for an open call: I could create my own anthology.
Tell us about your writing process.
Since I work from home these days, I can organise my day as I choose. However, I tend to start with editing work in the morning and afternoon, and then I take a little time for writing late afternoon/early evening. I’m not a big planner. For shorts I just do character outlines of a few sentences and note key plot points; then I start typing. With longer works, I write full character profiles, but I still only make vague plot notes as I prefer to see where the characters and story take me within the loose framework.
First drafts are always typed, sitting in my study, but I edit in printed copy, sitting in my library/music room. Short stories usually go through two or three versions, followed by a final proofread prior to submission. Novellas and novellas can go up to four drafts before the last proofread.
Where do you get your ideas for your writing?
It can vary. My shorts tend to be written in response to anthology calls, so you get a prompt and work from there. Some I have ideas for straightaway; others I have to mull over for a few days. With my novels and novellas it tends to be more organic. For The Ragnarök Chronicles, the opening lines came to me in a dream and the story grew rapidly from there. Dreams, or thoughts I have as I drift off to sleep, are great sources of inspiration for me. Other times I may watch or read something that sparks an idea or gives birth to a character.
What do you read? What are your favourite books and who are your favourite authors?
I’m pretty widely read. The only genres I avoid are True Crime and Chick Lit. In fiction, I favour classics, modern literary fiction, and paranormal/fantasy. In non-fiction, I love reading about my favourite historical periods (French and American Revolutions, Vikings and Anglo Saxons etc.) and I buy a lot of foreign language learning texts. I also read a lot on mythology and folklore. It’s hard to pick favourite books as my top choices change depending on my mood; however, some of my favourite authors include: Victor Hugo, Dostoevsky, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Milan Kundera, Haruki Murakami, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Clay & Susan Griffith, and Sandor Marai–to name but a few.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Well, I work as a freelance editor, so editing and writing take up the bulk of my day. When I do get free time away from the computer screen, I enjoy: learning languages, theatre, cinema, music (I sing and play some instruments), sketching, reading (naturally), and writing to my pen pals around the world.
If you could travel through time, where would you go and why?
My favourite time period is the Georgian era, going into the Regency. The clothing and manners (I’d be in high society naturally *wink*) appeal, and so much went on during that time in terms of revolution and social upheaval. It fascinates me. I’d visit ‘the colonies’ and meet John André at a soirée during the British Army’s Philadelphia sojourn. He would compose a poem in my honour and we’d dance the night away. Then I’d return to Europe, and at the outbreak of the French Revolution, I’d cross to Paris, renounce my title, and join the Jacobin club to discuss political reform with Robespierre. Narrowly escaping the guillotine, I’d return home to England, meet my very own Mr Darcy, and, despite being in my early 30s by then, he’d whisk me away to his country seat to live happily ever after. The end. 🙂
If you could have dinner with a character from a book, who would you choose and why?
Hannibal Lecter. Dangerous, I know, but he has always intrigued me. Homicidal tendencies aside, he’s my ideal guy: cultured, interested in the arts, and speaks several languages. The meal would be perfect (just don’t ask what you’re eating) and the conversation would be first class. So long as I was able to hold his attention, I might even get out alive after dessert.
What new projects are you working on or are excited about right now?
I have quite a lot on the go at present. I have signed contracts for four more MM shorts and an MM novella, all releasing April-June this year. I have several other shorts (both MM and mainstream) under consideration, which I will hear back on in the coming months. In early March I completed a new mainstream paranormal romance novel, which I am in the process of submitting and for which I hope to find a home soon, and now I am working on two new mainstream paranormal novellas and a couple more MM shorts for anthology calls. So 2016 is looking like a bumper publishing year for me–my biggest yet!
Wow! Sounds like you have a lot going on. I love how you use myths and fairy tales as inspiration for modern stories. Thanks so much for being here today and for sharing your inspirations and process with us.
Author Bio & Links
Nicki was born in England in 1982, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Nicki launched her writing career in 2011. She published works under the pen name Nicki J. Markus through Wicked Nights Publishing and Silver Publishing before both companies closed their doors. Then, in 2015, she self-published some of her mainstream works, including the novellas Time Keepers and Day-Walker and the fantasy novel The Ragnarök Chronicles. She hopes to return to traditional publishing with some new mainstream stories during 2016/2017.
In the world of MM fiction she writes under the pen name Asta Idonea and has had several short stories and novellas published by Wayward Ink Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, and Torquere Press. Her MM works span a wide range of genres from contemporary to fantasy to historical.
Places to connect with Nicki:
Mainstream Fiction – Nicki J. Markus
(works suitable for both teen and adult readers)
MM (Gay Romance) – Asta Idonea
(most works suitable for those 18+yrs only)