About Nicole Luckourt:
Nicole Luckourt professed in her fifth grade autobiography that she would be a writer when she grew up. Though life has taken her on many adventures and detours since that time, she has never abandoned her desire for creating stories and breathing life into the characters and plots in her head. With the publication of Expert Witness, her childhood dream has become a reality. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, two children, and several beloved pets. Her background in the field of psychology inspires her writing and she is thrilled to be able to combine her two passions.
What inspires you to write?
I find inspiration to write in everyday experiences. Watching the news, observing people, or even walking the dog can lead to an idea. Then, the idea grows in my head for a while until I jot it down before I forget it (or don’t write it down and decide it’s better forgotten). For me to seriously entertain a plot for a future novel, the characters and setting have to be something I know I will enjoy writing about. Let’s face it, a book is a significant commitment in terms of time and effort. I won’t decide to write a fiction novel unless I feel passionately about the content. Otherwise, there is no way I would ever finish the book. Even when it’s a story that I’m enthralled with, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that about three-quarters of the way through, I’m looking forward to finishing the book (usually because I have another plot I’m anxious to delve into).
Tell us about your writing process.
I try to dedicate three hours a day to writing during the weekdays. I also have a day job and younger kids, so it doesn’t always happen. And that’s okay. I’ve found the most important part of the process is to write something as often as possible. If I don’t do that, I lose where I’m at in the story, I grow distant from my characters, and I forget where I was going with the scene. I do write from a general outline for each chapter, but I don’t fully develop the scenes in the outline and I let the characters and their actions drive how each scene evolves. If I’m away too long, I have to reread everything I’ve written. I go back over my outline, my character sketches and my research until I feel I can pick up where I left off. Having had to do this before serves as a motivator that prevents me from doing it again.
In addition to a dedicated number of hours per week, I also complete character sketches prior to beginning the book and research any topics that I need to brush up on. My background is in psychology, so developing the characters comes more naturally. For Expert Witness, I consulted with several law enforcement officers to make sure these aspects of the storyline were authentic. It bothers me to read a book that was not well-researched and contains inaccurate information. I never want to be the author who writes that way. With that being said, my editor had some strong comments regarding one scene in Expert Witness (don’t want to include any spoilers), and I’ve learned that there is a balance between accuracy and drama.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to them, but they are in my head. And I move the story in the direction that naturally evolves from knowing them. At times, it does feel as though I’m a spectator. I’ve heard authors say “of course you know where it’s going, you’re writing it.” But I can say that’s not true for me. I have an outline; however, there are times when I’m writing and the scene is playing out in my imagination as I furiously type what I’m seeing. There have been times when I’ve laughed aloud at something that happens and had no prior intentions of putting the humorous interlude in the scene. I think this uncertainty stems from having a strong grasp of your characters and sometimes realizing that what’d you planned might play out another way when you’re visualizing their interactions.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write consistently, write about something that you are interested in, and don’t listen to your inner critic until it’s editing time. The hardest part is finishing the book, so any barriers (within your control) that might prevent you from doing this need to be eliminated in the beginning.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
As I wrote Expert Witness, I read articles, interviews, and books on both self-publishing and obtaining an agent to try to land a traditional publishing deal. In addition, I’ve read fiction written by indie authors for years and have watched their writing careers develop over time. I decided early on that I wanted to give self-publishing a try and didn’t send my manuscript to any agents. I liked the fact that the self-published author retains control over the cover, the content of the book and can market the book how he or she sees fit. Then, I heard about Amazon’s Kindle Scout, in which the author is responsible for editing and the cover, but if the book is selected, Kindle Press publishes and promotes it. I decided I’d enter my novel into the program. My campaign went well for a new author with a small social media following, but the books chosen by Scout the day mine was up for consideration were from much more established authors. After this, I went with plan A and self-published my novel. Scout was a good experience though, and participating in it taught me more about marketing than I ever wanted to know (but should know). The marketing aspect of self-publishing was something I’d underestimated. Even with a well-written and professionally edited book, it’s a challenge to obtain a presence in online selling sites. It’s tricky because in order to get readers to see your book on shopping websites, you have to obtain a high enough sales ranking. However, it’s hard to make enough sales to obtain this sales ranking without any visibility on the site. The most consistent advice given to me is to keep writing. Having more than one book published is an important aspect of marketing and, I’ve been told, one of the most successful aspects. That makes sense to me… and I really just want to write anyway (smile).
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the future of book publishing will be very different than it is now. With sales online increasing and sales in brick-and-mortar bookstores decreasing, more readers will be selecting books based on recommendations through search algorithms or social communications. Consistently, the grow of eBooks will contribute to the continued decline in print books. It is also conceivable that more self-published authors will create publishing companies as well the number of books published by indie authors will also grow.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: romance, young adult, new adult
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.