In the Spotlight | Nicole Leiren

About Nicole Leiren

Described by those who know her best as perky, quirky and effervescent, USA Today Best-Selling author Nicole Leiren likes to have fun -- in life, with her characters and, of course, her readers. She admits to being sassy (just ask her mother!) and inspiration for her characters are drawn from the real-world heroes and heroines she meets while traversing the country.

Nicole enjoys sharing the love, laughter, mystery, and occasionally a touch of the mayhem she forces her characters to endure—all for the reader’s pleasure! Her real-world heroes and heroines will keep you turning the pages until you reach the whodunit or happily ever after (usually both!)

About Nicole as an author

What inspired you to write your first book?

My very first finished novel (still not published lol) was inspired by my fanfic readers. I’d been writing fanfic for many years and their love of my stories and amazing support inspired me to venture out and write my own original story. One book, led to two, and now I have four published novels (with a 5th one due out Summer 2018) and a short story published in the Killer Beach Reads anthology.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?

My first two (and the short story) were contemporary sweet (military) romances and the rest are all cozy mysteries.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Well… LOL – the first one took years. The second one around 6 months and now I can write them in about four. Because I also have a day job, I don’t see myself improving on that 4 month time frame much, but I can live with that for now.

What is your favorite scene that you’ve written?

This is a tough question! If I had to pick one right now, I would say it is in Heroes and Hurricanes (the book that came out before Deadly Dirty Martinis.) There’s a scene where Lilly, Tanner, Bobby and Mandi are all on the pier enjoying pizza when the subject of parents come up. They decided to have a contest to determine who has to buy ice cream. What starts out as fun, soon turns into some serious admissions that they each struggle with the relationship with their fathers. It bonded the group and allowed us more insight into why each of them saw life with a different perspective. Of course, we wrapped it up by lightening the mood again when Lilly shares the name of her father’s band with them. If you want to know why that was so funny, you’ll have to check out Heroes & Hurricanes!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

It probably varies from day to day, but I think what I’d like to share today is that every author has their own unique path to success. What works for one, doesn’t always work for another. The key is to listen, learn, and try to take the bits and pieces that do work for you and incorporate them into your style, your work ethic, and your approach. Remember that publishers (and readers) are looking for a unique voice/perspective on the story being told. If you copy someone else completely…it’s hard to be unique. Be the best YOU that you can be and never give up!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

A heartfelt THANK YOU for taking the time to read my stories, connect with me in person and on social media, for leaving reviews to share how my stories affected you. It is a tremendous gift that you give me when you do that and I’m truly humbled.

How do you beat writer’s block?

LOL, I remind it we are under contract and on deadline and that there’s no time for such things! After that, I put my butt in the chair, my fingers on the keys, and begin to try to figure out what happens next. I use WriteTrack to help keep me on course and it has proven the most valuable tool for helping me complete projects on time or early. That’s probably my greatest weapon against writer’s block!

Are any of your characters based on you?

Those who know me best say they see a little bit of me in each of my characters (esp the heroines/protagonists) LOL Not one of my heroines is a morning person (neither am I) Each one is a little sassy and head strong (people have told me that I am as well 😊) I think it’s only natural that an author’s personality, quirks, or other traits find their way into their main characters (maybe even all of them.) So the short answer to that question is – yes, each one has a little of me in them. 😊

About Nicole’s current recent release, DEADLY DIRTY MARTINIS

What is the book about?

Lilly is settling into her new life in Danger Cove and her dual role as bartender and assistant manager at Smugglers’ Tavern. With the owner, Hope, out on an extended holiday, Lilly is in charge. She’s excited about celebrating Thanksgiving with her new friends when her parents (who left her with her Gram when she was only a few months old) show up at the tavern. The reunion grows even more complicated when the band’s manager is murdered on tavern property and Lilly’s mom is a prime suspect.

How did you come up with the title?

Well….each book in my little part of the Danger Cove world has to have a cocktail drink in it so I spent a lot of time on bartending sites to learn the names of some different alcohols and drinks that I could mesh with something to do with murder/mayhem, etc. AND keep with the theme. We went through a couple different versions before ending up with Deadly Dirty Martinis.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I think that finding the humor in any situation is a key to survival in this crazy thing we call life is a key message we want to get across. The other, perhaps more serious message, is that families aren’t perfect and they aren’t always made up of two parents and/or siblings. Families can be those we find ourselves walking through life with at any given time and have proven they will be there for us through thick and thin (whether we are related by blood or not.) And, finally, forgiveness. Lilly had to find a way to forgive her parents in order to move forward in a relationship with them that SHE wanted. Forgiveness is something we do more for ourselves than the people who might (or might not) be asking for it.

About Nicole as a reader

What book are you reading now?

Do my edits for “Tequila Trouble” count? LOL I’m currently working on that so leisure reading will have to wait. I am looking forward to Dixie Lee Brown’s “Heart of a Seal” which is a due out about 5 weeks!

What books have most influenced your life most?

In my early years, starting with Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were all significant influences in my love of mysteries. As I grew, it was more the authors themselves rather than a singular book which influenced me. Dick Francis, Sara Paretsky, and Lee Child have all played a major role in not only mystery and suspense, but in the art of story telling.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Because I am involved in a writers’ group, an agency group, and a publishing house, there’s never a shortage of amazing authors to read. Some of my favorites include Vanessa M. Knight, Jim Cangany, and (if you like your stories a little steamier lol Measha Stone) They’ve all been around for a little bit, but still relatively new to the scene and definitely worth checking out. They all write different genres – so a little something for everyone!

Because Karan is random

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

There’s this awesome thing called sleep that I enjoy when I can 😊 Okay, I also enjoy going to the gun range with my husband and shooting for target practice fun. We are both about as different as night and day (maybe that’s why I love the whole opposites attract??) so this is something we found we can do together for fun.

Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?

LOL, not sick of them yet so keep ’em coming!

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