Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Final Countdown: Q&A with Nicky Wells

It is my honor on this lucky thirteenth day of November to welcome Nicky Wells back to Princess with a Pen on the official last stop of her blog tour for the rerelease of Sophie’s Turn.  *Jen breaks into slick dance moves yet is glad you cannot see her* I adore Nicky!  She’s so fine, she blows my mind!  So without further ado, here she is!        

Jen!! *Nicky squeals loudly and gives Jen a big hug* Thank you so much for having me on your blog AGAIN today. I am so happy to be here with you on Princess with a Pen and I hope we can spread some joy and sunshine today. Also, I sincerely hope you have those Margaritas ready because we have to celebrate: this interview marks the end of the blog tour for Sophie's Turn and I am delighted that you are the Grand Finale. We will have to have an after-party in true rock star style! But first... the questions:

You were born and raised in Germany?  Did I ever tell you that I spent time in Darmstadt as an exchange student in 1989?  We were so close yet so far from each other!

Darmstadt, wow! *Nicky hustles to Google maps quickly to check the location of Darmstadt relative to Essen, having become woefully ignorant on her native country's geography over the past 20 years* Yes, we were close then! And what an exciting time for you to be over there ~ did you get to witness the Wall coming down? Awesome!

Jen’s Sidebar (I’m fond of sidebars): I was a freshman in college, sitting in my dorm room with eyes glued to the TV and watching history as the wall fell.  I had tears in my eyes, and told my rommie, “You have no idea what this means for Germany.” It still gives me goose bumps!

But I digress. Yes, I was born and raised in Germany, in the town of Essen right in the industrial heartland of the Ruhr. I grew up in a green and leafy suburb and have memories of playing in small but wild woodlands, paddling in brooks, flying kites on fields and generally being a bit of a tom boy. I once sat high up in a cherry tree aiming cherry stones at hapless passers-by; I had terrible aim and missed every time, but it was a thrill-and-half! As a teenager, I appreciated the city delights my home town had to offer: discos and clubs and ice-cream parlours and dancing studios, cinemas and museums and shops. There was  a little bit of everything on offer and it was a great place to grow up. Alas, when I turned 20, I needed to leave. I just *had* to get away. I don't quite know why. I had fearful visions of a tombstone engraved with my name that read, 'Nicky Klippert, born in Essen 18 December 1972, lived in Essen all her life, died in Essen'. That was just too terrifying a prospect. So I upstick'ed and came to England instead.

I know the writing bug bit you at the age of 10.  Do you still have a copy of the little alien story you wrote back then?

*scratches head* Well. I ought to. I know I kept it. However, when my dad passed away in 2001, I had to return home to help my Mum deal with the fall out, including giving up the flat my parents had lived in for well over 30 years. The clear-out was manic and rushed, with furniture being sold, books being donated to the library (my entire collection of over 50 Enid Blyton books!) and boxes being packed with random belongings. We knew that Mum wouldn't have much storage space going forward, and I was limited in what I could take back with me on the plane to England. So ~ I would *like* to say I still have it. I can see it in front of my inner eye, and it is possible that it is languishing in one of the boxes in our attic. I haven't checked because it's been too painful to go into those boxes. BUT! It is well preserved in my head and I could easily write it again. The synopsis?

When the alien's year abroad goes horribly wrong, a group of young earthlings unwittingly but determinedly step in to save the day (and the planet ~ Jupiter, not Earth!)
 You know what?  My friend Cory Edwards has a new film coming out in February with The Weinstein Company called, Escape From Planet Earth.  I think he took your notes!  *Jen is totally kidding Cory*

You know that I have a HUGE crush on Grammy winning rock star, Seal.  Tell me about your celebrity crush and if you had a face-to-face moment, what have you rehearsed to say?

Oh God Jen, I couldn't possibly divulge this; since the writing of Sophie's Turn, this is classified information. Especially as Sophie's Turn is all fiction!!! **clears throat**

That is some SERIOUS hair!

Let's see what I can come up with. My biggest celebrity crush was probably a certain Joey Tempest of rock band, Europe. Remember The Final Countdown? *Jen sings: It’s the final countdown!!!* My God, I had it bad. I even had the hairstyle to match (see attached photo). I taught myself some basic Swedish so I could converse with my future husband in his native language, and I had our wedding all mapped out. (I was thirteen!!).

I did get to meet him for a fleeting moment at a concert in Bielefeld; I had a boyfriend in tow and all the conversation boiled down to was asking for an autograph. I remember Joey laughing but that's all. *sigh*

However. There is more. Not much more, but a little more. Nothing to do with Europe, but everything to do with a band I saw supporting Europe at that same concert in Bielefeld. They were outstanding live and they made a deep impression. They're not very famous, and I don't have a big crush on any of the band members; their music, yes, but not the individuals. Absence of full-on crush didn't stop me from going to see them again when they played near my home town in Germany. On that occasion, I was also in autograph hunting mood and I missed my opportunity because I got delayed at the merchandise desk by a very flirty roady. (LOL, it's all so predictable). When I jokingly complained that I'd missed the band for autographs, he looked at me, took me by the arm (yes, it was *right* as though from a movie) and said, totally deadpan: "Well, let me take you backstage."

Now I *was* supposed to be on my way home again. It was a school night (well, university night) and all that. Then again, I was nineteen and not subject to any kind of curfew. There was the small matter of the pesky boyfriend in attendance, of course. Why do these things happen to me? (I should say that our relationship was on the way out and we were just kinda hanging in there for old time's sake. Although as I write, certain Sophie-parallels can't escape my notice, hmmm!).

Anyhoo, I went along (and boyfriend too) and was introduced to the band. We had beers. I got my autographs. I was told that I was very pretty (*swoon*) and invited to sit down and chat (and boyfriend too). We hung out until the bar chucked us out at 3am!!!! What did we talk about? Anything and everything. Music. Touring. Equipment (musical and male; yes, conversation went the obligatory lewd way after a few too many beers had been had by some, but it was *way* over my head at the time).

It was AWESOME. I have a huge smile even thinking back to that night now. NOTHING happened, I hasten to add. Nothing at all. I went home (with boyfriend), reputation and innocence intact. No regrets. But it was great.

That is awesome!  My hubby, Mike, ounce went backstage to meet the guys from the 80’s band The Outfield.  Do you remember them?  “Josie’s on a vacation far away…”  I cannot believe how much signing we’ve done together already, Nick!  Ha!

You can purchase Nicky's book here

I am a huge fan of Sophie from your breakout novel, Sophie’s Turn.  I love that you are bringing her back for a second and third book too.  Can you give us a little tease of what to expect in the new book and maybe a hint at what you’re cooking up for the last installment?

*blushes* Thank you so much ~ I am so happy that you enjoyed Sophie's Turn! Book 2, Sophie's Run, takes Sophie and Dan on a little detour; well, it has to, otherwise there wouldn't be a book 3, right?  Sophie's Run is out on 7 February 2013 and here's the blurb:

Her famous star remains her rock as life takes her on a little detour

Who says that the road toward true love is straight and even? Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.
So she has finally found the man of her dreams. Well…she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet. When she misses her opportunity, her life goes crazy. Rock star and ex-fiancĂ©, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal. And to top it all, her new boyfriend leaves her lying in the mud.

Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey that eventually gets her life back on track.

Book 3, Sophie's Encore... well, there's a hint in the title! Sophie's Encore comes in three parts: New Beginnings, Falling and Grand Finale. It starts with a ... big event and things progress from there... I can't give away too much as it'll spoil not only Book 3 but also your enjoyment of Book 2! I'm 30,000 words in and hope to have a full draft complete by end of March 2013. The book is due for release in September 2013!!

With the holidays quickly approaching, do you and your family have any traditions you keep going year after year.

Oooh, we certainly do! First of all, we light candles on an advent wreath, one on every one of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. Typically on a Sunday we will also bake cookies and then chat and eat and sing by candlelight in the evening. Doesn't always happen that way but we do try!

On 6 December, we celebrate St Nicholas day. Yes, St Nick ~ his feast day is 6 December! In Germany, the kids put their wellies outside their front door and hope that St Nick will fill them with sweets, nuts and a little treat overnight. I remember watching out of the window myself all night long waiting for the sleigh to appear! My kids put their wellies inside our fire place (as our local foxes are known to make off with abandoned footwear) and we sing songs and hope for the best. It usually works!

Christmas is an elaborate affair as we have to reconcile German and English customs. Here's how that goes. On 24 December, the 'big' day in Germany, we have lots of lovely special food; we light candles and reveal the Christmas tree and hang out stockings. In the afternoon, we usually go the children's service in our local church. Normally we let the children have one present each that night, brought by the Christ Child (uh-huh, in Germany it's usually the Christ Child who brings presents, although Father Christmas features too... it never occurred to me how many customs co-exist until we had kids of our own!), although we are experimenting with what works best and what honours the spirit of Christmas most fully.

On 25 December, the kids wake to a magically filled stocking and a pile of presents under the tree. We have a big breakfast and then we gather round the tree, opening one present at a time, trying it out straightaway. For example, if it's a game, we play it; if it's Lego, we build it; if it's a book we start reading. That way, the present side of things stretches out and we sometimes have to have lunch in the middle!

Nicky, thank you so much for stopping by! You can Find Nicky Wells on TwitterFacebook, and purchase her book here.  Thank you too, to all you fabulous readers who pop by and spend time with me.  Have a wonderful week!
Bless and be blessed,


  1. Delightful, as always. My computer ate my little alien story, am sorry to say.

  2. Hello! Wow, I am in such a party mood. Thank you again, Jen, for hosting the Grand Finale. I feel a definite head-rush of elation coming on. I am particularly happy to be here as you hosted me not once, but TWICE ~ today, and a few weeks ago with the Dan Hunter exclusive. You rock in a serious way, my friend!

    Pj, thanks so much for visiting and commenting. Glad you enjoyed it, but very sorry to hear your computer ate your alien story. Gremlins at work? XXX :-) Rock on!

  3. Aw, Nicky, somehow I can't see you NOT being a tomboy! A lovely post, peeling the layers away to find the inner Nicky. :) I love your Christmas tradition. That's what it should be, family time and bringing people/traditions together. Good luck, sweetie! :) xx

    1. I promise I won't spit cherry stones at people at Festival of Romance!!! Thanks for visiting the Grand Finale stop here on Jen's lovely blog, it's been lovely taking you along for the journey and you are an absolute rock. See you soon! XX

  4. Ah, some lovely stories Nicky - love hearing about the past and what you did, you authograph hunter!! Bet it was fun though and a story to tell the little ones when they are all grown up! Hope this Christmas is really special and ends a wonderful year for you. New Year and a new book to add to your debut novel - I'm sure 2013 is going to be big for you! Lxx

    1. LOL, the stories are all in the books... sort of. Having a hard time keeping my 7yo from reading Sophie's Turn, he's so proud but... it's not *quite* the right material for him. Thank you for visiting here today, Linn, you are just such an amazing supporter. And thanks also for your good wishes ~ I hope you are right!! :-) Take care and rock on. xxx