Sunday, January 27, 2013

Interview with Nickie Anderson, author of Bright Star and International Giveaway

Enter this awesome giveaway for:
1) An e-copy or print signed copy of Bright Star
2) The entire print trilogy of Across the Universe by Beth Revis (shipped by The Book Depository-As long as TBD ships to your country, you are eligible for this prize)
Which countries does The Book Depository ship to? Click here.
3) $25 Amazon gift certificate!

Now to introduce a talented new writer-- Nickie Anderson and her book, Bright Star.

Bright Star
Goodreads Book Description:
It's bad enough that Sadira Pascal's father doesn't make it home to celebrate her fifteenth birthday. He might be a busy hovership engineer pulling overtime on a new design, but he's always been home for the important things. It's worse when she discovers her father decided to ride on the maiden voyage of his newest ship, the CAS Bright Star, without even telling her. But things really fall apart during Sadira's field trip with her class to observe the hovership launch. Instead of a successful flight, she watches the Bright Star fall out of the sky.

The Central government confirms her father's death, leaving Sadira to pick up the pieces of her former life. While she struggles with her loss, Private Baruj Haddad tries to convince her that her father and the rest of the Bright Star crew are still alive. At first, Sadira doesn't believe there's any hope. But then she stumbles across a message that makes her think maybe, just maybe, her father is still alive. As she digs deeper into the Bright Star's crash, Sadira uncovers secrets about her father's work, secrets that put her and everyone she loves in danger.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

My Amazon Review: Bright Star Review

Author Blurb: Nickie Anderson has her Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, which she's put to good use by writing, reading, and tutoring. She loves cooking (because the cook gets dibs on the food!) as well as jogging and biking (because she has to make up for all of the eating!)
She lives in North Carolina with her husband, where they perpetually renovate their home.

Image of Nickie Anderson
Author Interview 
1. Tell us a little about how you got started as an author and how you came up with the idea for this book.
I've always enjoyed reading and writing. Heck, when I was a kid I'd read the encyclopedia when I got bored.

But I never thought I could be a writer. I mean, a writer? They're like unicorns -- mystical and rare. They weren't real people. It was a pipe dream.

Then my dad passed away last year. It was a real wake-up call. Life is short. I could waste it sitting here, dreaming about being a writer, or I could take a chance and actually WRITE.

So I wrote.

'Bright Star' was inspired by a dream (one of those super-vivid ones that stick around). In my dream, a young boy and girl see a helicopter take off from their military base, and then see the helicopter crash. They want to help the people on board, but none of the adults on the base would help.

This got me wondering -- why wouldn't the adults help? How far would those kids go to reach the helicopter crew? What adventures and adversity would they face on their journey?

The protagonists became a bit older, and the helicopter became a spaceship, but the core of 'Bright Star' came from that dream.

2. I love the sand setting for your novel. Can you tell us a little about how you chose that to be your setting and if you went to a particular location for description purposes? 
 The desert came with the dream. Isn't it nice how our brains sometimes gift-wrap these ideas for us?

I thought about changing the scenery, but the more I thought about a desert setting the more I liked it.

I didn't do any traveling for this story, unfortunately. Maybe next time! I was actually born in the Mojave Desert, though. My earliest childhood memories are of that desert heat and sand.

3. Which author/authors or particular books have inspired you?
Whew, good grief, there's too many to name. I was a serious bookworm as a child, and literally read everything: newspapers, magazines, the back of the cereal box, you name it (remember, this is encyclopedia-reading girl here).

I'm a huge fan of Roald Dahl -- he had a way of writing humor into every line. I also tore through Madeline L'Engle's books as a kid (Calvin O'Keefe is my fictional dream guy!)

Of course, this list wouldn't be complete without Harry Potter. Rowling made that world of magic feel so real that I'm still wondering why my owl forgot my Hogwarts invitation!

4. Where do you get your ideas for characters? In particular, did you steal some characteristics from yourself or people you know for Sadira, the main character? The other character I want to know about is Dr. DeWitt (possibly my favorite character in the whole novel!)
Ideas for characters came from many places. When I sat down to start 'Bright Star', I knew I didn't want one of the impossibly kick-butt heroines I'd been seeing so often in fiction lately. The whole 'strong female protagonist' has been taken way too literally. We're seeing a glut of girls who can slice and dice with a sword, or who have deadly accuracy with a gun.

I wanted to showcase the other side of strength -- that inner strength of personality, of friendship, and of faith. Sadira is that inner strength. The only thing I really have in common with her is a love for math. She's much more serious than me, and more cautious.

Dr. DeWitt is an amalgamation of every awesome school teacher I've had. I think everyone needs a mentor like him, and he provides Sadira with support when she needs it most.

The most fun part of writing the story was discovering the characters. I started off with a rough outline of each person, but the more I wrote, the more clearly I heard their voices (especially Baruj's!) 

5. Tell us a little about the title and cover for your book. How did you go about brainstorming and did anyone else have input?
Oh man, the cover. I spent forever designing it. The Samalut base is set in a futuristic Egypt, so I want to capture a bit of Middle Eastern flair. I wanted to include the desert as well, since it's such an integral part of the story.

The cover went through a couple of iterations, one which was just stars in the background, and another with hoverships (it was terrible). I ended up turning to my husband and my mother-in-law for most of the feedback.

6. A lot of people go into making a novel. Who were your greatest critics?
I am my own worst critic. I think that's because I'm the only person who had to read the first draft of this story :) I got fantastic feedback from my husband, especially on the action-y scenes (thanks, honey!). My editor, Kelly Hashway, also provided amazing insight on how to clean up my writing and close up any plot holes. I had several critiquing partners while editing, and they gave me excellent advice on how to strengthen the story.

7. Without giving too much away, can you tell us a little about what is in store for Sadira and her friends?
The next installment, 'Dark Skies', is due out in April 2013. Sadira's inner strength is going to be tested to the breaking point, and shell have to decide whether to forgive the people who've betrayed her. She'll learn a bit more about her father's work and the Central government, and she'll have to decide how far she's willing to go to be reunited with those she loves.

We'll also see a lot more of Ghazi's character (he's been a ton of fun to write in the sequel).

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  1. Nickie is a great writer. Ty for the give away.

  2. Thank you for another fantastic giveaway! Bright Star has been on my to-read list for ages now, and so i would love to have the chance of reading it. This is certainly an author whose work apeals to me, and so thank you for this post. x

  3. I really enjoyed the interview, and it's so cool you were born in the Mojave. Thanks for the fabulous giveaway! Wishing you much success. :-)

  4. Thanks for the great interview and chance to win!

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  5. omg i've wanted to read that trilogy since the hype began. thanks for the awesome giveaway. Bright star isn't usually the type of book i read, however this does seem quite interesting, a serious read in a sense. i think ima look into it a bit more.

  6. This would be great to win. Thanks for the chance!

  7. thanks for the chance to win :)