Never Again is the debut novel from Author Nicky Clifford. It is my absolute pleasure to meet Nicky and talk about her writing.
Author Nicky Clifford penned poems and short stories when she was a student and writing has always been a passion. A lack of confidence in her novel writing however, led her to follow a different career path in the corporate world of HR & Training. But with her sons in higher education and her husband’s encouragement, Nicky knuckled down and completed three novels. Never Again is the first to be published, to rave reviews.
Tell me a little bit about yourself…
I’m a chatty, tea-drinking, sugar-free cake-eating mum of two living with my husband and teenage boys in the heart of Berkshire, and I’m about to celebrate a big ‘0’ birthday…eek!
What made you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
From the time I could hold a crayon, I have penned poems and short stories. I was always told that I had a ‘lively imagination’; fortunately, with my writing, I can put this particular characteristic to good use. For years I have browsed book shops, stroking the covers and imaging my name emblazoned across the front!
What’s Never Again about?
Never Again opens its pages in the Swiss Alps where Harriet locks eyes with Philippe, a mysterious crime writer. They are both running away from their chaotic lives and find it hard to ignore the attraction bubbling between them. Ghosts from their pasts keep hurling obstacles at their budding romance. It takes a plane ride back to Berkshire in England to discover whether the two of them will find their ‘happy ever after’…
Are there more books in the pipeline?
Yes, a few! Since I embarked on a new life as a single, working parent 13 years ago, I wrote three complete and three half-finished romances, which are now languishing in the depths of my laptop’s memory waiting to be revamped. My next novel begins in a solicitor’s office with the reading of Kitty’s will. There is plenty of mystery and challenges for the various characters connected to Kitty.
You are a successfully published poet – why the change?
Whilst I still write poetry, my ambition since I was old enough to stand, has been to write and publish a book. Over the years, I have dabbled in correspondence writing courses, but the combination of the ‘Write a Novel’ course I attended a few years ago and the resulting writing group that formed, gave me the confidence to transform thousands of words into a published book.
Do you have a special place for writing and dedicate a certain number of hours per day and are you self-disciplined enough to stick to it?
My desk is snuggled away in the corner of our spare bedroom. I pin pieces of paper and photos that inspire me around my writing area, plus lots of post-it notes and reminders! I don’t need a writing schedule as, to be honest, I have to be disciplined not to write! If I followed my heart, I would neglect housework and shopping and other domestic chores (although I admit I do the bare minimum!) as I lose myself for hours at a time in front of my laptop.
From roles in HR for corporate companies to working for a vicar – which do you prefer and why?
That’s an interesting question! When I was younger, I adored the buzz and the opportunities of the corporate world. Now, with a few more lines on my face than I would like, working for the local vicar, looking out at the church and being brought copious mugs of strong decaf by the vicar’s husband, definitely ticks my box.
Tell me about ice-skating and why you love it.
Oh my goodness, it’s that feeling of freedom and gliding – it’s incredible. You don’t realise how much practice it takes to learn just one move, like a one foot turn, and yes, I do have the bruises to show for it! The worse fall I had was when my ice-skate lanced my knee…ouch!
When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?
As well as writing romances, I also love to read them, but I also enjoy historical novels and books where I learn about life through a story being weaved. Some of my favourite authors include Jodi Picoult, JoJo Moyes, Katie Fforde, Erica James and Jane Green. I have also recently discovered a talented author called Caroline James…!
You’re very kind!
You have manuscripts that are possibly going to see the light of day and be published. Do you know the ending to a book when you start to write it? Have you ever changed the ending after you started to write?
I wish I was the type of person who could meticulously map out every chapter, but despite being hyper-organised, my creative brain won’t work like that. I literally place my characters in a location and see what happens next. Whilst with a romance, I know that a happy ending is where the novel is heading, I never quite know how or when it will be accomplished.
How do you come up with your characters, are they based on people you have met or events that have happened in your life?
Sometimes, if someone I meet has particularly quirky characteristics, then it is hard to resist including these in one of my characters! Generally, though, I try to focus on interesting traits and create a character around this. I always spend a lot of time building up my characters’ profiles, their interests, their background, etc – I even surf the internet to find a photo of someone who matches my vision of that character to include in their biog. As for events, there are a few which I sneak into my writing, but I’m not giving anything else away!
Twenty words on why your book should be a reader’s next read…
I think that Emma B books’ review can say this better than I can: “This is a stunning debut novel, and I am sure we will be reading a lot more by this author.”
You are a romance writer – what’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done?
When I went away for the weekend, I left numerous pink post-it notes all over the bedroom with little ‘love you’ and ‘xx’ messages written across the middle…
Have you any advice for author’s beginning their writing journey?
Try to believe in yourself and know that the only way to improve is to keep practising and to keep asking for feedback, as hard as that can be; that over time, you will discover your own individual writing style; to get to ‘The End’, it takes one baby step at a time and keep asking lots of questions; when writing becomes tough, keep writing; and finally, don’t give up on your dream!
What’s next for Nicky Clifford as a writer?
Once Never Again has launched on 21st October, I will no doubt spend the rest of the month dizzy with excitement. Come November, I can’t wait to get my teeth stuck into my next novel as the last year has mostly been about editing, reviewing, publishing and marketing.
Nicky, I wish you every possible success with your writing and am sure that Never Again is going to fly off the shelves, it’s a great read and I hope, the first of many Nicky Clifford books.
Never again is available to buy here: Never Again
You can contact Nicky on the links below:
Facebook: Nicky Clifford Author