Saturday, 15 July 2017

Diana talks to JB Nichols, author of young adult books.

Hello! I am delighted to welcome you to Diana Talks…

First things first I am sure there is a question that you have always longed to be asked. Now is the chance. Ask your own question and answer it!

* Am I going to make a difference for the better to anyone's life? My rock of a husband has Asperger's syndrome, and I know I'm good for him

If your latest bookLoveupmanship’ was adapted into a TV show or a film, who would you like to play the lead role?

* I think a young Mayim Bialik; someone not wildly good looking but enormously self possessed, could play Lynne Jones

What made you choose this genre?

* I'm a young adult at heart

How do you get ideas for plots and characters?

* They were all around me at school; the good, the bad, the beautiful and the redeemable. And the villain was based on a close relative

If, as a one off, (and you could guarantee publication!)  you could write anything you wanted, is there another genre you would love to work with and do you already have a budding plot line in mind?

* I'd like to do a murder story. And yes, I always have plot lines. My problem is with keeping plot lines at bay

Was becoming a writer a conscious decision or something that you drifted into (or even something so compelling that it could not be denied?) How old were you when you first started to write seriously.

* I always had a story to tell. From the first stories my mother ever enthralled me with, I wanted to get on the story creating band wagon

Marmite? Love it or hate it?

* Love it. Pile it on thick

Do you have any rituals and routines when writing? Your favourite cup for example or ‘that’ piece of music...??

* No rituals, no distractions, no music; nothing that would interfere with the sounds, smells and pictures in my head

I promise I won’t tell them the answer to this, but when you are writing, who is more important, your family or your characters?

* My characters. They consume me. I can temporarily switch them off absolutely if I have to though

Other than writing full time, what would be your dream job?

* If not providing an entertaining escape route and guiding anyone who cares to switch on into a different take on the world, I my limit free,  no holds barred dream job would be - ach! I was going to say a pimple popper! But who am I trying to kid? Writing full time is the only dream, because wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, it's all experience to be stored up until it escapes through my finger tips on the keyboard

Coffee or tea? Red or white?

* Coffee. And red wine

How much of your work is planned before you start? Do you have a full draft or let it find its way?

* I usually have an end in mind shortly after doodling with a beginning, otherwise the doodle doesn't get any further. I let it go its own way until I need to steer, and sometimes let my original ending get derailed for a better one

If you had free choice over the font your book is printed in, what font/fonts would you choose?

* Any font that doesn't distract; Plantin, Times Roman, possibly Arial. I once put comic sans on my phone when fiddling around, exploring what could be done. It nearly drove me crazy quite quickly because humour in a font is rarely appropriate and I couldn't  recall the moves I'd made to put it on in the first place. Got there in the end though. It's back on Arial

Imagine that you could get hold of any original source document. What would it be?

* What? Only one? I would probably waste it on something to do with religion, and I'd expect to be disappointed

Have any of your characters ever shocked you and gone off on their own adventure leaving you scratching your head??? If so how did you cope with that!?

* Yes, often. I have to remind myself that they’re my invention, or at least an imagined creation based on observation, so I have to take some responsibility. Sometimes I've had to abandon them to their own devices as they might not go away until I've let them have their head

How much research do you do and do you ever go on research trips?

* I never have gone on a research trip because I mostly stick with what I have experienced naturally. Having said that, I've done voluntary work with the disadvantaged and with victims of crime, and this involves delving into dark minds and dark circumstances which are way beyond my personal experience and stretch my capacity for shock and sadness. It's involved speaking to police officers, lawyers, psychologists and fellow volunteers with their caseloads.

Fiction authors have to contend with real characters invading our stories. Are there any ‘real’ characters you have been tempted to prematurely kill off or ignore because you just don’t like them or they spoil the plot?

* No, so far I've managed to dislike with understanding. Actually it's not even real dislike.  Actually I can't really remember disliking anyone real imaginary. I've hated people, but that's quite different

Are you prepared to go away from the known facts for the sake of the story and if so how do you get around this?

* No, it irritates me when the laws of physics are broken, or historic certainty is overturned - unless a key part of the fiction is explaining why. I would lose trust for an author who did it through ignorance and expected me to go along with it

Do you find that the lines between fact and fiction sometimes become blurred?

* Of course

Have you ever totally hated or fallen in love with one of your characters?

* I'm currently in love with Steve Raven, a kind, considerate psychopath I'm writing about now. And I was a little in love with Lynne Jones in Loveupmanship too. An ugly girl with inexplicable, magic charima a and sex-appeal - I loved her so much it made me cry

What do you enjoy reading for pleasure?

* Garrison Keillor's short stories

What drink would you recommend drinking whilst reading your latest book?

* Coke zero

Last but not least... favourite author?

* Anne Tyler

About Loveupmanship:

Funny and feelgood. A south Wales community is stirred up when Lynne Jones brings Miles, her aristocratic boyfriend home for the summer. The gossips have a field day. Not everyone is pleased - from the murderous Mrs Price to lost, lonely little Mandy. Yet it is a summer of hope, redemption, love and laughter - and everyone gets a magic wish.

© Diana Milne January 2017 ©

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