Monday, 20 February 2012
Author Spotlight - Q&A with Nike Chillemi
STEPH: I don't know much about "Goodbye Noel." What's it about?
NIKE: One of the major themes of Goodbye Noel is second chances...the ability to make something new out of what might be a disaster. As the story opens, the first body is found under a trimmed Christmas tree, the second as they ring in the New Year (1947), the third goes head long out a window. Katrina Lenart, a young pediatric nurse is determined to make it on her own and to be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered. She must escape the killer who has struck again and has to decide if she can she trust Detective Ian Daltry as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies?
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
NIKE: About a year ago, I had the basic story line outlined and about half of it written in a bad first draft. I wrote the second half and cleaned it up in about six months. So, all told about a year of writing to get it into its final form.
STEPH: What was the inspiration for the novel?
NIKE: I've got a really vivid imagination. I just make this stuff up. Really. Stories pop into my head in the weirdest places. I could be sitting in the dentist's chair and I want to make notes on the bib around my neck because I've got a new plot.
STEPH: Katrina is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weaknesses?
NIKE: Her strengths are that she's really intelligent, she's competent, and she thinks for herself. Those were also her weaknesses when it came to men. She scared the daylights out of most men she met. Even though she's considered to perhaps be the prettiest gal in the village of Sanctuary Point, everyone thought she'd wind up a spinster. That is until she discovered a body under a Christmas tree and Detective Ian Daltry came to investigate. A widower with a small daughter, he had no intention of falling in love again, but he can't get her out of his head.
STEPH: What does Ian, the hero, find appealing about Katrina?
NIKE: Ian finds all the things in Katrina that intimidate other men attractive and compelling. In the beginning, she's a hand full to him, but he's one to love a challenge. He has to have a woman who knows her own mind and who could stand up to him if she thinks he's wrong about something. And he's not disappointed in that. Katrina does stand up to him. In fact, in the beginning of the story the sparks fly.
STEPH: What do you hope readers take with them after the reading the story.
NIKE: The idea of second chances is what this book is about. Starting over. Taking a disaster and making something good out of it. On a more spiritual plane, it's about God giving us second chances, and third and fourth.
STEPH: Goodbye Noel is the 2nd book in the Sactuary Point series. What's the underlying theme that ties the series together?
NIKE: The large overarching theme in this series is the idea that love conquers all. Romantic love that leads to marriage, of course. A parent's love for a child, the family's love for its members, love of neighbors, and LOVE. God's love in us. Nothing can defeat pure love.
STEPH: What's your writing space like?
NIKE: Cramped. I have a tiny computer desk with everything I need crammed there. I dream of having a large office with a fine oak desk. Oh, and while I'm dreaming let's put that home-office in a beach house with a veranda that overlooks the ocean.
STEPH: How long have you been writing?
NIKE: I penned my first fully illustrated story when I was a child. It was about horses and actually written in Crayola. In my teens and early twenties I wrote the requisite bad poems filled with angst. My thirteen year old is writing those types of poems now and it touches my heart. I think that's a right of passage for certain female types. I started writing seriously for publication about six years ago. I bumped into Steeple Hill (now Love Inspired) authors Cheryl Wyatt, Margaret Daley, and Janet Tronstad among others and they cheered me on, tirelessly. I took free writing lessons Harlequin offered at the time and still use a version of their suggested character bio sheet. A word to any newbie writers…if there are any free writing workshops or classes offered, take them.
STEPH: Fun question: Do you wear green on St. Patrick's Day?
STEPH: Usually yes. I have a green Vera scarf that was a gift from a wonderful woman who was a mentor to me. I guess a life coach before that term was popular. She taught me to be true to myself. I usually wear that scarf on St. Patrick's Day. Sandy came from poverty and a minority background. She taught herself to become a refined lady. She put herself through college and when widowed, in the second half of her life, realized her dream to work as a RN on The Good Ship Hope. Every St. Patrick's Day I think of her.