Could you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m Wendy Nikel, a Texas-born, Midwestern-raised teacher-turned-homeschool-mom currently living in Utah. I enjoy coffee, road trips, photography, and board games. I wrote a lot while I was growing up, but just recently returned to it as an adult.
Who are some writers that inspire you? Do you enjoy reading the classics or do you tend to read more contemporary writers?
I grew up with a lot of classics: Fitzgerald, Dumas, Austen, the Bronte sisters, du Maurier, and Poe. As far as contemporary writers go, I love the historical mysteries of Kate Morton and Diane Setterfield, the lovely fantasy worlds of Victoria Schwab and Erin Morgenstern, young adult adventures of Neal Shusterman and Kenneth Oppel, and time travel hijinx of Jodi Taylor.
What have you written? Where can we buy or see your books?
In January, my time travel novella, THE CONTINUUM, was published by World Weaver Press, with a sequel scheduled for publication later this year. It’s the story of a professional time traveler who finds herself out of her element when she’s sent a hundred years into the future to hunt down a secret agent who’s gone AWOL.
I’ve also had short stories published in Daily Science Fiction, Nature: Futures, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, and in various ezines and anthologies. A full list is available on my website HERE.
Give us some insight into your story for the DeadSteam anthology. What makes your story unique? Perhaps you could share a brief excerpt from your story?
What compelled you to write or submit a story to this particular anthology?
On a seaside cliff on the far edge of town, a single gas lamp sent Dr. Lucia Crosswire’s thin shadow cowering into the tangled pines. Her heels crunched steadily along the winding cobblestones, and a well-fed rat darted across the path, screeching at the disturbance to its nocturnal traipsing.
Nighttime strolls along the outskirts of Clifton weren’t generally advisable for an unaccompanied lady, but Lucia wasn’t concerned. With her pistol securely in its strap upon her leather tool belt and her newly invented electroshock weapon at her other hip, she was confident that she’d come out ahead in any altercation. Besides, the townsfolk of Clifton were highly superstitious when it came to the reclusive monks of Mont Saint-Vogel. Rarely did young ne’er-do-wells trespass on the monastery’s hallowed ground and certainly never after dusk.
This is the opening to my story, “The Book of Futures,” about a private investigator in an alternate Victorian-esque era who is summoned to a secretive monastery to determine whether some recent, unexplained goings-on in a locked room are due to supernatural forces or something more mundane.
I’ve always loved libraries and rare books, and when I read an article about the real-life mystery of books disappearing from Mont Saint-Odile, a French monastery, I knew I wanted to write my own version of the story. And when the submission call came up for DeadSteam, I hoped that this story might be a good fit!
What are you working on at the moment? What’s it about?
I usually have multiple projects in the works, and right now is no exception. I’m polishing up a few flash stories, including a Sleeping Beauty retelling; I’m revising another time travel novella in the same world as THE CONTINUUM; and I’m just about to dive into the second draft of a historical fantasy about a Pony Express rider and a lighthouse keeper on the Pacific coast.
What genre are your books, mainly? Are you new to the dreadpunk or steampunk genre, or have you written in the genre before?
I have dabbled in steampunk previously. I have a series of steampunk short stories published that chronicle the adventures of an airship pilot named Juliet Silver. These can be found in Deep Magic’s Fall 2016 issue, as well as the 2017 and 2018 Young Explorers Adventure Guide from Dreaming Robot Press.
Other steampunk stories of mine include:
“The Blackbird King” – a 100-word drabble at SpeckLit.com
“The Firebringer” – a 2000-word story in Refractions, Vol 1
“Neptune’s Reward” – a 2800-word story at Enchanted Conversations
Where do your ideas come from?
Many of my stories start like this one did: with some bit of history or intriguing “what if” question that then inspires me to explore what might have happened or — in the case of my science fiction stories — what might someday happen.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
In my short stories, I like to just see where the stories take me. Longer works need a bit more organization, though, so I tend to plot-as-I-go. I fill out my outline as I write, always working one main plot point ahead so that I know where I’m going in general terms, but how to get from Point A to Point B is a puzzle I have to work out as I go along.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I’m a managing editor at Flash Fiction Online, which means I read a lot of pre-published work on my computer or phone. When it comes to reading for pleasure, then, I prefer paper books. It’s easier for me to mentally take off the “editor/writer” hat and engross myself in the story.
What book/s are you reading at present?
I’m a member of SFWA, which means this time of year is all about reading for Nebula nominations.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Nikel/e/B00U54R3CY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1518123939&sr=8-1
Book Links: https://www.worldweaverpress.com/store/p139/The_Continuum.html