Sunday, October 30, 2016

Author Interview: Nicky Peacock

I guess I’ve always been a storyteller, not in a ‘liar liar pants on fire’ kind of way, although I do work in advertising! When I was little, kids would crowd around me in the playground and I’d tell them tales of blood soaked horror filled with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and more. Yes, most would consider me a disturbed child, but my playmates couldn’t help themselves, they’d huddle around me every break time like an ancient tribe feeding off the fear; and that’s how I learned that horror stories hold a certain power, no matter what some might say, everyone is addicted to a good scare, especially if it is somewhat rooted safely in unrealistic beings… or are they unrealistic?
Writing was really a natural progression for me. So far I’ve had 35 short stories included in anthologies produced by publishers all over the world; my latest was included in Little Brown Book Group’s Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories. I have two YA series with the publishers, Evernight Teen: Battle of the Undead and The Twisted and The Brave. 

Casey Marie: How did you get the inspiration for Lost in Wonderland?

Nicky Peacock: The inspiration for the book hit me last year. It was Alice in Wonderland's 150th anniversary, and I wanted to write a book that honored the themes without just transposing the whole story into another genre - and Lost in Wonderland was born. I'm currently working on new books in this series based on other children's books.

CM: How does Lost in Wonderland compare to your other novels and short stories?

NP: I currently have just one other series, The Battle of the Undead. These are vampires VS zombies, urban fantasy books. Think True Blood meets The Walking Dead. This series is told purely through the eyes of the main protagonist, a 450 year old vampire called Britannia. Although Lost in Wonderland is told partly through Mouse’s first person narrative, the styles of the two books are very different. The characters are also worlds apart. Vampires are usually pretty old so their personalities are more complex, their skill sets more varied. I enjoy writing both series, and it’s great to be able to change style and narrative whenever you want. I have a short attention span, so when I’m bored with one, I change to the other.

CM: How many books will be in the Twisted and the Brave series?

NP: I’m not sure yet. To be honest that is up to the readers. If the series sells then it will justify my time writing, editing and promoting the books. It’s a horrible thing to say, I know, and I wish I had enough money to be able to write what I want rather than what sells, but the hard truth with most authors is we need to make money. So if you want more books in the series – spread the word about Lost in Wonderland.

CM: What can you tease about book two of the Twisted and the Brave series? Does it have a title or release date yet?

NP: The second book is The Assassin of Oz, and I'm working on a prequel to the series which is inspired by The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I’m working on something else at the moment but I’ve plotted these out ready to go. 

CM: What would the characters of Lost in Wonderland dress up as for Halloween?

NP: Mouse would probably dress up as a witch and Cheshire would be her cat. Rabbit would go for a zombie, she already has the contact lenses for it. Shilo would stay in, he’d be too overwhelmed and frightened by the costumes. Mr Custard isn’t allowed to change outfits, he is an imaginary friend after all! Hatter would be dressed as a 1920s gentleman (he has a thing for that era)

CM: If the characters of Lost in Wonderland had the time to become avid readers, what books would they read?

NP: I think rabbit would enjoy a few historical romances. Cheshire would read Lee Childs’ books and Mouse would be addicted to thrillers – she’d see them as some sort of career handbook! Shilo would really enjoy some David Walliams books and Mr Custard would be drawn to urban fantasy. Hatter would be all about the comedy.

CM: Who is your dream cast for the characters of Lost in Wonderland?

NP: Mouse was always Maisie Williams in my mind – I think she’s great in Game of Thrones.
Hatter – Ian Somerhalder
Rabbit – Elle Fanning
Cheshire – Domhnall Gleeson
Shilo – Shia LaBeouf
Mr Custard – Hugh Jackman

CM: What are your favorite horror/thriller novels? Do you have any favorite horror/thriller authors?

NP: So many authors! And they change depending on my mood. For horror, I read Poppy Z Brite or Richard Laymon. For Paranormal Romance I read Kresley Cole and Christine Feehan. For Urban Fantasy it's Keri Arthur and Patricia Briggs. For thrillers it’s Louise Voss and Mark Edwards. For YA it's Kiera Cass and Cassandra Clare. And for when I'm feeling very brave, I read any paranormal non-fiction book from the publishers, Llewellyn.

CM: If you could co-write a book with any author, dead or alive, who would you want to write with?

NP: I’m always honest in interviews so I’d have to say that I’m too selfish and head strong to write with someone else. Even someone I admired. However, I loved Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books and felt the last in the series was a real let down. I’d work with her to re-write that last book, to give Sookie the farewell she deserved. 

CM: When did you decide that you wanted to become an author?

NP: I’m not sure I ever had that eureka moment. Literary apples didn’t konk me on the head one day. My mum had always wanted to be an author, and I think she passed that onto me at an early age.  I loved writing at school; English was by far my best subject – it just came real easy to me. Especially with reading being a close second love to writing. But it was only back in 2010 that I started to take my dream seriously. I began writing short stories for the anthology market. I'd previously tried writing novels but had always lost interest halfway through. Short stories seemed to be a good way for me to learn how to finish something (something you wouldn't think is a skill, but is) Next thing I knew I had 30 short stories published and an idea for a YA novel series. I think my previous publishing history helped seal the deal with my publishers. By learning my craft through short stories, I'd gain writing skills, experience working with editors, and a social media presence - all of which helped when it came to selling my lone author work.

CM: Aside from The Assassin of Oz, the second book in the Twisted and the Brave series, are you currently working on any projects?

NP: I’m always working on a few manuscripts at one time. I have an idea for another series that is currently worming its way out of my dark, twisted mind – but its top secret! 

I am also plotting the next book in the Battle of the Undead series, Bad Karma

CM: While the Alaskan setting is a major factor of the plot, if you could move the setting of the Twisted and the Brave series, where would you move it to?

NP: It would be difficult to move the setting and keep the Kushtaka as the antagonist. I’m in England, so I do prefer to keep my settings close to home for research purposes, so perhaps rural England, there are plenty of legends of blood thirsty, hairy beasts that walk the moors and woods.

CM: Do you believe in the Kushtaka?

NP: It’s an odd one. Monsters such as vampires, witches and werewolves have a place in every culture round the world. But the Kushtaka is very much confined to Alaska. It’s a big place so there could easily be something unknown lurking in the snow and ice. It’s a scary legend, so it wouldn’t be a pleasant thing to slip out of the cryptozoology files and into reality, but it would make the world a much more interesting place, if that was real, what else could be?.

Thank you so much for having me here today. If you’d like to find me online:

Purchase Links: 

Bad Blood
Lost in Wonderland


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