And it’s that time again! We’ve got one more person to introduce to our readers as the newest member of our blog. The amazing Nicki Bishop has joined our little crew. We interviewed her to find out what makes her tick.
All right Nicki, you know the drill 🙂 When did you know you first wanted to be a writer?
When I was a little girl, I loved to read. It was magical to me, going into the world of Oz and meeting the characters no one else talked about like the Rainbow Girl of Oz (that was my favorite book in the series). I loved all of Lucy Maud’s Avonlea volumes—Anne of the Island, Anne’s House of Dreams, Jane of Lantern Hill, and the Avonlea short stories—not just the novel that birthed the full length feature film. I have always loved characters and their stories. I still do. There’s something about fiction that gives us room to dream, room to be who we are and imagination to discover what strengths may be hidden beneath the surface. I remember many days of junior high with my hot pink and black zebra print five subject notebook—writing. It became a simple grace to walk me through those awkward, middle years.
During my teen years, I took a long break from writing or even thinking about being a writer. It wasn’t until after I was married and started having kids that I revisited that dream. For many years, we had a ladies’ literary group at our church. We got together and wrote essays, poems, letters and stories. We did themed assignments and enjoyed refreshments, each time in a different home. I have a treasure trove of memories from those years together—listening to each woman spill out her heart in her writing—encouraging, inspiring, and precious.
By the time I had my fourth child, my writing journey began. I started seeing characters, and I thought about C.S. Lewis saying it all started with the one character—a faun in the woods. I prayed and asked God what to do with all of it, and that’s when the first novel I plotted out was born. I experienced a creativity explosion (and often still do) of stories and characters coming to me one after another. After talking to several published authors and being blessed with many words of wisdom, I created a plan—just taking one story at a time and working it all the way through to the end. I can only do my part. The rest belongs to God. He’s the One that made me a writer.
That creativity explosion is certainly something every writer looks forward to. Where has it taken you so far? We’d love to hear about your current WIP.
My current story is a modern fairytale. Before writing, I found myself asking the question, “What if the Bride of Christ were a woman?” What challenges does she face? How would others treat her? What would the relationship of Christ and His church look like here on earth?
That’s the way it started in my heart, anyway. It all began one summer when my view of church and community was challenged in an unsettling way, and God showed me that my view of His Church wasn’t big enough. I needed to think outside my four-wall box to embrace His passion and His Bride.
My prayer for this project is that people who may not identify themselves with Christ might come to see how He really views them inside and out. Then, for those who have been walking with Christ for a long time, I hope this story will challenge them to look outside the stained glass and welcome those who seem different.
That sounds fascinating. Love the concept of the stained glass! So, do you have a writing routine?
When you have four kids, there is no “magic writing formula.” Currently, my writing routine consists of a timer and a laptop. I like to get up early and make time to write every day, but if that doesn’t happen I give myself several timed sessions in between loads of laundry and cleaning chores.
One thing that has really helped me is planning the next scene before I sit down to write. Before my next writing session (hopefully the night before), I like to write down what the next few scenes are and what emotions go with those scenes. This takes the guesswork out of the next day’s writing (and also eliminates staring at a blank screen). I don’t wait for the “perfect” sentence to come along, rather I just free write in that scene with that emotion until I hit the place I want to go with the story.
Oooh, that sounds like a great idea. And with this way of approaching your writing, it sounds like you don’t really fit into the neat categories of plotter or pantser.
You’re right–I would definitely call myself a “plantser.” I have to plot out my entire story with the end in mind, and I like to keep a running scene list to keep myself moving. However, along the way, my characters want to make their own choices—some I didn’t expect from the beginning. I think the biggest challenge I’ve had so far in finishing my current story is the input my characters have made on the story itself and what I’ve been surprised by and discovered along the way (after I had planned out the story).
Yeah, sometimes our characters can be pretty bossy, lol. Any advice for writers who are just starting out?
I would definitely encourage anyone interested in writing to give their writing journey to God, choose one attainable goal, and just go for it. Don’t worry about what the people next to you are doing. Don’t worry about milestones you haven’t crossed. Just do you. Be who God made you to be and write the story God put on your heart. Be faithful with that.
One thing God really taught me this year (my first year working outside the home since my first child was born) is “just be faithful.” Be faithful to honor God in the little things, take care of my family, and show up for the stuff my kids will remember. When I do, the writing block gets a chunk knocked out of it every day. When I don’t, might as well forget it.
‘Write the story God put on your heart’ is great advice! What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
Most of my research so far has been in the Bible, reading great fiction, or watching travel videos on YouTube. Research hasn’t gotten too crazy…yet. I like to learn from people (I’m definitely a people-watcher) and from our family trips and travels. There are a few things I would like to branch out and learn or take part in for research. One is pretty crazy, so we’ll see where that takes me. If it happens, I’ll let you know. 😉
And finally, the most important of all questions…if you could eat only one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Kentucky might be considered the gateway to the South, and I enjoy making a southern dessert called Texas Sheet Cake. It’s a Buttermilk Chocolate Cake–the one I tend to bring to family gatherings–completely decadent, made with Hershey’s special dark cocoa and plenty of real butter. Being a lover of all things chocolate, it’s definitely one of my favorite to eat as well. I could serve this up with ice cream or strawberries and cream and live happy!
Thank you, Nicki, for letting us get to know you better. We’re looking forward to more of your writer-ly contributions to the blog!