I first met Nicola at my first book fayre in Llandeilo in 2015 when she arrived at my table and proceeded to unload my first three paperbacks from her rucksack for me to sign. Since then, she saw Tribal Unity Wales dancing at the Lampeter Food Festival and is now a valued and much loved member of the dance tribe. She’s beautiful on the inside and out, and I’m blessed to call her friend. Here’s what happened when I interviewed her….
Hi Nicola! Let’s start with a general one. How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?
I write non-fiction based on family history material, which can involve a lot of research. I don’t usually work to a plan – just have a loose idea of what needs to be done and get on with it. If one line of investigation dries up, I take up another.
I love research! I wanted to be a BBC researcher. Anyway, do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?
My writing ritual is unimaginative and basic – switch on the computer, sit down and contemplate my documents to see what needs doing. Tea and biscuits are usually involved somewhere during the process!
Nothing unimaginative about tea and biscuits, in my opinion. Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.
Ah, that would be telling! I like to keep a certain air of mystery!
Ha ha! I knew you were going to make this tricky! Okay, if you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?
My desert island items would probably be a well-stocked sewing kit, some pens and paper, my comfy bed, a bag of clothes, and a guitar so I can practise chords. This is probably cheating though as the overall total of items is a lot more than 5!
Good choices though. On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?
I would find it hard to take just 5 books – there are so many that I want to read! Anything by Carole Matthews would be good to relax with. I would also take Charmian Hussey’s “The Valley Of Secrets” for the sake of its marvellous descriptions of landscapes and plants, and if I can also take the three volumes of Helen Dunmore’s “Ingo” series which I’ve not yet read, that would be a good mix.
They all sound wonderful. I shall check them out. Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?
If I’m allowed to travel back a little way in time, I’d like to have dinner with Marija Gimbutas, the archaeologist who wrote all those marvellous inspiring books about Stone Age Goddess cultures in Europe.
That would be fascinating, wouldn’t it? On to your current writing projects, what are you working on?
I am currently researching the historical background to my grandmother’s writings concerning a holiday she took in Burma in the early 1900s. It’s a fascinating task!
Other published work…
My list of published work is growing steadily! Currently it consists of:
“Memoirs of a Twentieth Century Homesteader” by my grandfather, Lawrence Nowell, for which I compiled a historical background and various accompanying notes; “Grannie’s Own Picture Book” and “Granny’s Own ABC”; both written and drawn by my grandmother, Ivy Hindley; “Tales For Grandchildren”, by my mother, Olive Cole; and “The Old Woman Who Spun Clouds”, a childrens’ story by myself. And most recently, hot off the press, “Tongas, Doongas and Lilac Blossom”, an account by Ivy Hindley of her trip to Kashmir in 1913.
Thanks so much, Nicola, for taking the time to share with us, and thank you for reading this post. You can find Nicola on Facebook if you’re interested in purchasing a book, or come along to the Literature & Book Fayre, part of Lazzmatazz on 2nd June in Llandovery. See you on Sunday!