Interview with Nicole Maddalo Dixon
What genre do you write and why?
I don’t stick to any particular genre, but my current serial falls in the Western genre, though the western organization is attempting to have that changed to American West.
Tell us about your latest book.
I like to refer to my current book as a BioNovel, though no such novel exists. It’s not a western, but a story of two people learning to survive together in the harsh climate of the west amongst crooked politicians and untrustworthy adversaries.
As the story goes: An heiress from New York is sent out west to New Mexico to marry her pre-contracted fiancé, John H. Tunstall.
It’s a situation that leaves her desperate and unhappy until she meets William H. Bonney, a hired-hand who works her fiancé’s land and who will become known as Billy the Kid.
She falls in love with Billy, but the setting is tumultuous as there is a cattle war brewing.
Lucy’s fiancé is murdered, and as a result, this sets off what becomes known as the Lincoln County War.
Lucy’s life is threatened, and so she is hidden away by the very men who are deputized to ride on Tunstall’s side; the Lincoln County Regulators, a posse of regulated men that Billy rides with.
Lucy is brought into the eye of the storm, so to speak, as she must ride out the trails with The Regulators, bearing witness to the bloody violence that ensues during the war.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
Currently I use Twitter, LinkedIn, Constant Contact, Facebook (my favorite), and my website of course. I also have the option to run ads in western magazines, and am a part of the Western Writers of America who do a lot to help promote their authors.
What formats is the book available in?
The book is available in print and eBook.
Who are your favourite authors?
I truly don’t have any favorite authors. I find my books based on word of mouth or by browsing Kindle of local bookstores.
What advice do you have for other writers?
I find that the advice most authors have for fledgling writers is to tell them to keep at it and not lose hope--that it will happen for them. While I tend to agree with this some of this advice, to a degree, my advice is this: Be prepared to do the work. If you’re a true writer, doing the work will be the ultimate test as to whether or not you’re likely to succeed. Simply telling writers it will happen for them is a falsity. Today, with self-publishing available to everyone, that certainly makes it easier, but writers should ask themselves one question: Do I want to be a good or great writer, or a writer who’s merely a hack?
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
Write honestly. Honest writing often makes the best books.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
The best thing is the accomplishment, without a doubt, but a lot of respect comes with being a traditionally published author that I can’t deny I enjoy.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
They can find me on my website: www.nicolemdixonauthor.com ,
Lucy Howard. She’s a socialite who hails from the east, but she has a lot of grit and an amazing attitude--she’s a fighter! I think she’s a fun character who champions Victorian women of the time period.
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
When I wrote this series, I wrote it so that it would be palatable across all demographics, not just the western niche. It’s a contemporary piece with Victorian sensibilities, and I think readers are going to enjoy the fact that the book is written as a fun ride; it’s edgy, has grit and humor, and the bickering that goes on between Lucy “Lucky Lu” Howard and Billy the Kid is irresistible! It truly is not your average “western”.
How long did it take you to write your book?
It took me 3.5 months to physically write the book (I type 100 wpm), but it took me 3 years to come up with the story.
Who designed the cover?
The cover of the first book was designated by the publisher, but Book II should have a cover I had an artist design for me that I feel fits the book’s tone a little better.
Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
That those closest to you are not as supportive as you would like them to be. I don’t believe anyone expects someone they know to actually write a book and have it published. It was also a very lonely business, a fact that is well known in the writing community but only just discovered by me as I worked on it.
Where can a reader purchase your book?
Fortunately, because I’m a traditionally published author, my book is located at most independent bookstores, but of course they can find it at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. They can receive the eBooks through Amazon and B & N, but also Google Play and iTunes/Books. the eBooks are $3.99.
What are you doing to market the book?
I’m making a lot of connections in the western niche, of course, but am also using Twitter and employing Hootsuite for that. I have my website and run ads on Facebook groups set aside for book advertising. I also run ads in the proper magazines.
Who inspires you?
My parents, of course. They’re always behind me 100%, and my husband is a wonderful support system as well. But when it comes to true inspiration I look to myself. After all, it’s me who has to find it in me to keep going.
How do you research your books?
I use the major books readily available on Billy the Kid, and I also use accredited websites for certain information such as clothing and hardware used during that time period. Fortunately I’ve made a lot of connections with those who still operate out in the west who can answer questions for me as well, including some well noted historians.
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
Currently I’m waiting to receive the manuscript for Bandita Book II from the publisher so that I can get started on editing. I began writing Book III, but only managed to get about 25,000 words in before I had to force myself to realize that it would be unwise to proceed without going over the manuscript for Book II. I am also working on a contemporary novella but can’t say when it will be finished.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
I have a love/hate relationship with self-publishing. I like the idea of self-publishing because it removes a lot of red-tape and allows the writer to be in charge of their own vision, whereas publishers have their own ideas and procedures which can get in the way. The problem I have with self-publishing, however, stems from the fact that it allows just anybody to be a writer which creates a lot of white noise when it comes to advertising,
I think it’s a good idea for a writer to exhaust all potential avenues when it comes to traditional publishing because it gives the writer street-cred; the writer is having their work appraised by those who’ve been in the business (though they must be careful who they submit to. There are websites that help writers learn which publishers to look out for called http://pred-ed.com/)
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
Learning how and loving to read inspired me. I’ve been writing since I was six years old.
Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
They do support me now that my writing career is in full swing. They’ve always encouraged me, but writing tends to be one of those dreams that are not easily attainable, and truly, it does take a lot of effort! You have to really want it.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
Who can say? I’ve read so much in my life--I read books, spit them out, then look for the next one. Some aspects of King’s writing have influenced me, it’s fair to say, but only quite minimally.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend my time like most people: I watch television, see my friends, read (of course!), and network, network, network!