This is a chance to learn a bit more about Nix Whittaker, author of the steampunk novel Blazing Blunderbuss.
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About the Author
I started writing when I was a little girl because I ran out of books to read. I lived in a small town on the coast of South Africa and I was terrible at spelling. I didn’t know it but I had dyslexia and since I was a smart kid my teachers thought my spelling was just because I was lazy or something so they told my mother that I should read more. My brothers were nominated my guides and so I started with Science Fiction and High Fantasy. But there aren’t many of those in a small town in the kids section or even in the adult section (which I used to sneak into because children weren’t supposed to read books meant for adults) so it didn’t take long to read out the library of all its good books and so I started writing my own stories.
What I love most about writing is the ability to escape. In real life I’m never going to meet up with a shapeshifting dragon or fly in an airship but in my books I can do that. So far I have lived in the future, I have super powers and I have been a genius at least three times. Oh and every story I have this awesome man that thinks my main character is bloody awesome even though she always has something quirky about her.
The toughest thing about writing is to avoid the Dues Ex Machina (or whatever you want to call it) it is those moments in your book which seem just too contrived. They are the easy way out and when I go back and read I roll my eyes at myself and think, Man, that was lazy. In the Blazing Blunderbuss I had one character that literally fell at their feet and that was just too easy so I wrote him out and threw in another character who was much more real and alive to me. So lazy cliché fall out of the sky plot are really hard to avoid.
The writer I most admire: Sherryl Jordan. I actually met her once when I was young girl and she was visiting schools. She hand writes all her stories even though she has a crippling disease in her hands. Her tough interior was contrasted by just how compassionate she was. If you don’t know Sherryl Jordan she is a New Zealand writer who writes mostly children and Young Adult books and there is always a fantasy element to her stories even the ones set in contemporary times. If you only ever read one of her books it has to be Winter of fire.
My lifelong hero is the Sugar Man, Rodriguez. I’m originally from South Africa and this singer was quite popular there. My parents loved him. But what really shot him up as a lifelong hero was that he didn’t know he was famous. He had written one album put it out and it pretty much fizzled in America. But someone bootlegged it in Africa and he went viral even before viral was a thing. Everyone is South Africa thought he was dead and since there was sanctions and all that communication to the rest of the world was really a thing. So many years later some documentary makers thought they would find out the true story behind the Sugar Man and when they got to America they were surprised to see him alive and working some menial job. He now plays at sold out concerts all over Africa. It makes me think you should never give up as you might not be famous in your home town, you might be famous somewhere else.
If I wasn’t a writer, I would be a teacher. Well, I am a teacher. I teach High School English as my day job. You have to be a special kind of crazy to be a teacher but trust me the kids make it worth it. Even if I made it big with writing I would still like to teach.
Other than writing, I am really good at art. My mother is an artist so I grew up with art all around me. But I realized early on that I’m good at art but I’ll never be great. So I focus more on something I can be great at rather than be just a plain good artist.
When I am writing, I listen to anything. As long as it isn’t silence. I live with my pets so sometimes I crave human voices so music and random tv shows are often playing in the background while I’m writing.
Tinker– Wen Spencer
Moon Called– Patrica Briggs
Restoree– Anne McCaffery
Written in Red– Anne Bishop
Anything to do with super heroes
Modern convenience I can’t live without:
My laptop. We had a power surge and it took out most of my electronics in my house and my laptop was the one thing I would reach for then remember it wasn’t working.
Nobody knows that I am religious. I go to church every Sunday though that seems very unpopular in this day and age.
I wish I could stop eating chocolate but it is just soooo goooood.
Best advice I’ve received: You don’t have to be the expert at everything just about the next thing you have to do.
Worst advice I’ve received: Never fry bacon naked. (Not because I’d try this but because my mother always used it as a joke)
Advice to aspiring authors: Write a bad book first. Finishing a book is probably the hardest thing you have to learn to do. So first write a bad book. Once that is under your belt write a second book and then decide if the bad book is worth publishing. Ask any writer out there who has been writing for years and they say their first book was the worst.
Hara is a brilliant engineer and she is taking the long way home. On the way she stumbles across a man being kidnapped. Things seem to get worse after that as they accidentally steal a pirate airship and uncover a plot to start a world war. Oh, and the man she rescued just happens to be a shapeshifting dragon.