Nicola Furlong survives the travails of writing by playing hockey, gardening and eating chocolate fudge. Her first mystery novel, Teed Off!, features professional golfer and coroner Riley Quinn. Her second, A Hemorrhaging of Souls, is a harrowing tale of blasphemy, insanity, suicide and murder. She has also written six novels in The Church Choir Mysteries series, a multimedia online thriller: www.unnaturalstates.com and two how-to write e-book primers, Youdunit Whodunit! How to Write Mysteries and Self-Publish Your E-Book in Minutes!
As Quillrbiz, she also offers electronic publishing services and produces video marketing trailers for books, houses, campaigns, etc.
Nicola lives in a small seaside town on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Click for more information .
What two or three things would you do differently if you were starting your publishing career today?
Since I’m a mystery author, I would focus on developing one series rather than having a few stand alones. I believe readers enjoy getting to know characters and to follow them and their lives through a number of novels.
What one issue makes you struggle the most as an author? How do you handle it?
The constant fear that what I’m writing may not be published. I consume vast amounts of chocolate fudge.
What is the best writing (or life) advice you have ever heard or wished you had followed? Why?
So many people say write what you know; I say write what you don’t know. Your learning process will result in a more enjoyable experience for you and a more interesting novel for your readers.
Tell us a bit about your current project.
I’m working on The Sisterhood of Shepherds, a feel-good cozy, inspirational fiction series starring three adult sisters, Faith, Hope and Charly Shepherd, who hesitantly answer a personal calling to assist others in atoning for past wrongs.
Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work, or struggle in a particular area such as writers block or angst driven head-banging against walls? Please share some helpful overcoming hints that you’ve discovered.
I often have bouts of doubt and anxiety; however, I usually can dispel them with a energetic bike ride or a game of hockey. The main resolution is always putting my butt on the chair and fingers on the keyboard, each and every day.
What is your favorite source for finding story ideas?
Don’t have a favourite source but get most of my best ideas while biking or gardening. Nothing like a lazy early summer morning strolling about the garden, deadheading, pruning and watering. A perfect setup for discovering a seed or two of creativity.
Have you ever had one of those awkward writer moments you’d like to share with us, the ones wherein you get “the look” from the normals? Example, you stand at a knife display at the sporting goods store and ask the clerk which would be the best to use to disembowel a six foot man…please do tell.
My first novel, Teed Off!, is set during a women’s pro golf tournament. I thought women golfers would love to read it so flogged it at a large golf show. Sadly, my audience’s main reaction was to stare at the paperback, pick it up and then remark, “Oh, it’s a book,” after which they would plunk it back down and disappear.
What piece of writing have you done that you’re particularly proud of and why? (Doesn’t have to be one of your books or even published.)
I wrote paranormal thriller and recently enhanced its story with video, music, sound effects and photographs, turning it into a new online multi-media experience called a Quillr®. The process was a gas, involving hiring 12 actors, finding suitable locations, directing, shooting and editing 50 brief videos/scenes, organizing a fake rock concert and learning tons of new software. It’s available for free at www.unnaturalstates.com as well as an ebook at online bookstores.
Do you have a pet peeve having to do with this biz?
I don’t understand why independent music artists and film makers are lauded for taking risks and financing their own work and enterprising indie authors are snubbed and derided for doing the same.
What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?
Find a title; it sets everything in motion. Without it, I have a tough time moving forward.
What is the most difficult part of pulling together a book? Ex. Do you have saggy middles, soggy characters, soupy plots during your first drafts…if so, how do you shape it up?
It’s all challenging but I’ve spent a lot of time studying authors I admire, reading a few how-to books, thinking and planning my plot points, story elements, characters, etc. Recently, I pulled together all my notes and put them into a brief published primer called Youdunit Whodunit! How to Write Mysteries. Makes starting a new crime novel a lot easier!
Have you received a particularly memorable reader response or peer honor? Please share.
I had a visit from a delightful thirteen year-old fan who enjoyed my novels in the Church Choir Mystery series. She was visiting her grandmother who lived nearby and they both came over. We sat in the garden, sipping iced tea and chatting about the series’ characters but very quickly we focused on my young fan’s favorite highlights: the antics of Gooseberry, the protagonist’s chubby cat!