Author Interview: Niki Brazen
Hello Nikki. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. Thank you for YOUR time! I absolutely adore that you are spotlighting indie authors. It warms my heart, alongside my venti decaf raspberry mocha of course.
Anyone that follows you on Instagram knows you read to your dog. When I hear of people reading to their pets I get visions of kids at the library practicing reading out loud to dogs there just for that purpose. Why do I feel like it doesn’t go as well for you? Ahhh, the library dogs!! They make me smile in the same way that bookmobiles do. Sammy is a 70lb rescue who thinks he is a 10lb lapdog. When I read to him he considers it his mission to pile into my lap and endlessly kiss me, or to lick my laptop. He makes me laugh every single day. Truthfully? I’m a cat person. But 50% of my family wanted a dog…I’m thrilled to admit I am very grateful he came to live with us though. I sincerely hope I’m not causing him PTSD by reading my smut to him.
Why did you choose romance over other genres? I chose romance because I wanted to fill my life with laughter. Romantic comedies seemed like a good fit for that. My day job got pretty heavy and I yearned for something light and kinky to distract my brain from the torture-fest of the last two years. Honestly, I’m not looking to change anyone’s life, or offer any wisdom, or to influence people. I just want to make myself happy. It feels like the whole world is throbbing with heartache and pain, and I think it’s affecting everyone. In fact, the world could use a friend right now. If by some miracle I can be a friend to just one person and make them smile, then I consider that success too!
At this time you are writing novellas. Why did you choose novellas? Do you think you will ever write a full length novel? I chose novellas because I’m American and need instant gratification. I have written two full length novels and it’s a time commitment that I’m not interested in during this season of my life. A novella gives me the freedom to write, edit, and publish in a short amount of time. It’s extremely satisfying.
I am really intrigued by the title His Strawberry Cupcake. The next book coming out, His Honeypot is also a food related title. Why did you choose food related titles? Well…they are less food related and more anatomy related. It’s a cheeky play on what the female main characters like to call their…ahem…intimate parts.
Both of these books also take place in Jewel, Oregon, a town with paranormal elements. Is it at all based off of Jewell, Oregon? Tell us about Jewel. It is VERY loosely based on Jewell, Oregon. I wanted these initial stories to take place in Oregon, close to the coast, because I reside near there. Plus, what a great name for a town! The Jewel in my novellas is quite a bit different though. It’s bigger, and of course full of sexy, supernatural hotties who fall hard and fast for their love interests. Jewel is a hotspot because it’s one of the very few “portal” cities that lead to the Fey world. Shifters, vampires, orcs, ghosts, dreamcasters, you name it, every type of being is drawn to the magic and power leaking from these portals. Even though they are forbidden to enter the Fey world…but that’s a story for book 3!
Do you have an idea for your next novella yet? I have the first five novellas loosely planned out. His Strawberry Cupcake was published in April. His Honeypot will be out soon. The third will be out in July or August. My husband wants me to name that one His Juicy Peach. “Juicy” doesn’t sound very sexy though so I’m leaning more toward something like His Luscious Peach or His Ripe Peach. What do you think? Maybe I should let people vote on Instagram!
Where do you get your ideas? Ever since I was very little, to help me fall asleep at night, I’d imagine myself on grand adventures where naturally I saved the universe. It got me through a tragic childhood and even now, helps me let go of a tough day and sink into the bliss of deep sleep. The seeds for my stories always come from these nocturnal imaginings!
How many of your friends and family members know you are writing romance novellas? How supportive are they? More importantly, who is more supportive, them or your dog? Sammy is definitely my biggest fan! Though he may be tied with my husband. The best part about this entire romance-writing journey has been reading out loud to my partner. We laugh so much and that spills into our intimate life. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for his love and endless support. He’s my hero! Some of my friends know I’m writing romance, and some of my family too. However, very few know my pen name. Honestly, my family and friends are definitely not my audience so I don’t expect them to participate. I think they would all support me no matter what though.
Did you always want to be a writer? Did you ever see yourself writing romance? When I was six I created a newspaper called Jellsibud. I still have that first edition. So, yes, I always wanted to be a writer. I had a decently successful freelance career, but laid it all down for a super long season. Writing was my entire identity and I needed something else for a while. My day job involves creating content but the topic and writing style is vastly different from what I write under my pen name! I didn’t really ever expect to write romance. Once upon a time I hoped to win the Newberry Medal for young adult fantasy…switching to romance is quite the delightful surprise.
Your novellas are sold digitally through Amazon. Do you see any downsides to doing things this way? I’ve really enjoyed the entire process of publishing digitally on Amazon. Because I’m doing this solely for myself without the goal of being a famous author, it takes a ton of pressure off it all. I can just enjoy it. I even relish my mistakes. I accidently uploaded the wrong size cover for His Strawberry Cupcake. It’s short and stout compared to other book covers. It makes me laugh every single time I open up my kindle and see it sitting there all out of size in comparison to the novels surrounding it. My family calls me “fun-size” because I’m so much shorter than them. So, it makes sense that my cover would be the same! To answer your question: for me there has not been a downside to publishing this way. I have no plans for print versions–but you know, plans change so ask me about that in five years.
Who are some of your favorite authors? Anyone specifically influence you? Wow, do you have all day? The biggest influence has been Madeleine L’Engle. I wanted to be her so much as a third grader. Reading A Wrinkle in Time impacted me deeply. Anne Lamott’s advice on writing has always inspired me and given me courage in moments of doubt. I also adore Ilona Andrews, Brandon Sanderson, Andrew Murray, Clive Barker, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Hannah Hurnard. I have favorites in every genre but it’d be boring to listen to me ramble on and on about my faves.
What is the one thing that you wished you knew when you started writing? There’s a phrase that used to resonate with me: it’s easy to write, just slit your wrists and bleed all over the page. To me that meant I needed to put my very essence into everything I wrote. To suffer for it. But I feel so differently now. I would bleed for my family. I would die for my kids. But I want writing to serve me, not the other way around. I wished someone had told me that I could have FUN with writing. That it could be a source of laughter, that the mistakes I make while doing it don’t need to be the end of the world–but another opportunity to laugh and embrace my humanity. I wish I had discovered earlier that I’m more than my writing career, more than my political party, more than my religion. I’m me–a tattooed, quirky, Oxford-comma hating girl who just wants to laugh and find joy in writing and life.
Thank you so much for your time. Your questions were so thoughtful. I can tell that you actually looked at my stuff–and that makes me feel loved. : )
Read His Strawberry Cupcake now on Kindle Unlimited.