A writer like you: Nicole Love
Meet Nicole Love, a suspense writer living in Nashville, TN.
When she isn’t daydreaming about the beauty of the written word, you can find her designing user-centered experiences for major brands such as Lonely Planet, Hulu, Nissan, Infiniti, and Dave Ramsey. She’s a coffee snob, an animal lover, and a mortician's wife.
You’ll love Nicole’s take on how to handle rejection and her reworking of the maxim “write what you know.”
So without further ado, let’s hear from Nicole Love.
Tell us your writing story. How did you become a writer?
My first rejection letter came via snail mail when I was 16 years old. My last came when I turned eighteen.
Growing up, I idolized teenage writer Christopher Paolini, author of The Inheritance Series. If he could write these incredible books during such formative years then I could, too! Naive, yes, but I was full of empathy and hunger for the written word. Writing became a passion of mine in the sixth grade, when I realized I was actually pretty good at it. Well, at least above average. My goal was to write, edit, and find a publisher for my first novel before I graduated high school. Easy peasy, right? At the time, there weren’t a lot of resources available online for writers; it was just after the dot-com boom (and subsequent bust) when I found myself researching the publishing process. So, I went to Barnes & Noble and purchased an armful of books covering editing, querying, and publishing.
One of the hardest lessons a creative person can learn is how to handle rejection. It’s a natural part of the process of creation, but when you’re young and starting out, you don’t understand that. I received 12 rejection letters over the course of a year and a half. The final one crushed me. Scrawled in red ink, in a woman’s handwriting, were the words: “Stop writing!”
So I did, for eight years.
What have you learned from your mistakes along the way?
Now, I’m a decade older and a decade wiser. I’m a user experience (UX) designer by day and a novelist by night. Working as a UX designer has taught me a lot about creative processes and creative thinking. It’s no surprise I ended up in a career that focuses on using empathy to craft stories and influence behavior. It’s a lot like writing, no? I’ve learned how to pick myself up after falling down. I’ve learned how to take criticism and turn it into something better than it was before. I’ve learned that rejection, and thereby criticism, are a critical part of experiencing creative success.
What are your current writing goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
My current manuscript, The River Down Below, marks my fourth—and most promising—manuscript to date. Not only do I have a lot of time and energy invested in it, but I believe in this one in a way I haven’t believed in any manuscript before. Better yet: Others believe in it too. I’ve received critiques from both literary agents and peers alike and all have been supremely positive. All, that is, except concerns regarding the POV. You see, the story came to me from a man’s perspective. Maybe it’s because most of the thriller novels I read are from a male POV. Maybe it’s because I was so excited about the story that I overlooked the power of a strategic narrative. Whatever the case, I now know what I have to do: Re-work my novel from the ground up, in a woman’s perspective. AKA: A lot of freaking work! Will it be tough? Obviously. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.
So, my goal for 2019 is to re-write The River Down Below and finally get it into the hands of my beta readers.
Tell us about your books. Where can we find them?
Until my novel is ready for public consumption, my work can be found in Z Publishing’s “Tennessee’s Emerging Writers” anthology. Pretty exciting! They’ve published an excerpt of The River Down Below (entitled “Heights”) in this compilation, alongside some other very talented writers’ works. The anthology is available through Amazon and directly from Z Publishing’s website.
What writing advice would you give other writers like yourself?
Growing up, I was told to “write what you know”. Well, I don’t believe in that. In the case of thriller and suspense novels, writing what you know is boring. If I followed that advice, I would be writing a how-to book instead of a dark novel. Now I like to employ the phrase “write what you fear”. There’s a certain level of discomfort packed into that phrase. In order for your readers to feel, you first have to feel. The sentiment of pouring your heart onto paper has never been more real than when you’re writing engulfed in emotion. When that emotion is fear and you have the gift of empathy—which I believe all writers have—you break down the barrier between yourself and the reader. You’re vulnerable, but that’s when the best stories are birthed. Be uncomfortable, be vulnerable, and write your heart out, dear writer!
Where can we connect with you?
These days I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter with a robust writing community. I blog and post updates to my novel on my website, as well as my Goodreads author page. As we say in the south: Don’t be a stranger! I love connecting with other authors who share the same struggles and successes.
My FREE THE WRITER takeaway is to write what I’m afraid to write. That is what will impact readers the most, because as Nicole says, if I feel it, they’ll feel it.
If you have more questions for Nicole, share them in the comments below. I’m sure great things are ahead for Nicole with her manuscript rewrite and her inspiring goals.
To free the writer today, let’s write what we fear.
And don’t forget to have a great time,