Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Sturgill many of you may know her better as conleyswifey, author of Dancing with the Devil which was a 2014 Watty’s award winner.
I was first introduced to Nicole’s writing through her Lone Wolf series of stories, only to discover that she had a raft of other books on Wattpad.
Who am I? Wow… I wish I knew for sure! I’m a wife and mother. I’m a sister. I’m an anxiety ridden woman prone to bouts of depression. I love to laugh. I am a loner but I crave my family. I’m a contradiction…. I’m human.
I understand you have a ball python. I just have to ask, what made you decide to get a snake?
🙁 I no longer have that ball python. He moved on to the great snake jungle in the sky. Honestly, i’d always been a little afraid of snakes until I met Colt. He changed my way of thinking. I held him and he curled around my arm and it was love! 🙂 I’d love to have another!
By my count you have published seventeen of your stories and you have written at least twice that. Where did your love of storytelling and writing come from? When did you first begin writing?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved to read a good story and write a good story.
The first story I really remember writing was when I was about 10 and it was about a blind dog named Rajah who saved a young girl from a fire and found her forever home. I’m not sure where the love of it came from, but I’m very grateful I have it!
Your stories are predominantly Historical Romance or Historical Paranormal. The common element is they are all centered around the pioneering wild west. Why did you choose to write in these two genres? How do you balance the two?
I think i lived a past life in the wild west. I truly do. I connect with that era. The struggles and hardships along with the strength and perseverance really speak to me.
Writing stories set in that era seems come naturally and I don’t have to force it so that’s what I tend to stick with…. and who doesn’t love a hot werewolf/vampire/hunter cowboy?
Of all your books, which one is your favorite and why?
I don’t know if I could pick a favorite! But I’ll have to say the entire ‘Breaking Series’. That was my first time writing something so long and interwoven and those characters truly became my babies and still live on in my head even though those stories are over.
My husband likes to say that I am Brody Atkinson with boobs… if you’ve read ‘The Breaking Series’ then you’ll understand why I’m still uncertain if that’s a compliment or an insult.
What do you most struggle with when writing?
My biggest struggle is keeping myself focused on one story so i can finish it! I have thousands of ideas in my head. It truly is like 1000 movie screens playing between my ears all day and all night and I have to do the best I can to only pick one of those movie screens and tune out the rest.
The struggle is real, y’all!
Do you think that writing on a platform such as Wattpad has helped you grow as a writer?
Wattpad has definitely helped me grow as a writer! Gosh! The readers, for the most part, are amazing and supportive. Some will remember teaching me the difference between then and than because I misused the two terribly. (I blame it on my redneck dialect).
I’ve learned so much about character development and how much detail is too much. That’s why, even though I’m a published author now, I still post everything new I write on wattpad first. I still have plenty of learning and growing left to do
What is your most memorable moment on Wattpad?
I can’t pick out just one in particular but I love when the readers leave comments that test my characters and really delve into the story.
Yes, hearing that the chapter was good is nice but those comments that really get into the flesh and blood of my characters and story line are my favorite… even if i don’t always agree with them!
What advice can you give to those that are just starting out on their online writing journey?
Listen to your readers but stay true to yourself. Your readers can help you to grow and learn but there are some that want to change you, some that want to bring you down and some that just have nothing better to do than be annoying–learn the good readers from the bad readers!
Take constructive criticism and roll with it. But, above all, stay true to what feels right to you. Readers might get angry if you kill a loved character or if your character makes terrible mistakes, but if that’s the story that’s speaking to you then that’s what needs to happen!
Don’t let your readers dictate your story line.
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on a story called ‘Saraphine’. It is about the life of a slave girl in the mid-1850’s. I have high hopes for this one 🙂
What authors and books have most influenced your life?
Jack London was my favorite author when I was a child. I read ‘The Call of the Wild’ until my book absolutely fell apart and I recently read it with my 10 year old son and he loved it as well. I can remember sneaking my grandmothers Cassie Edwards ‘Savage’ books from her closet when i would stay with her and reading them. I remember wanting to create love like that in stories.
Nicole, thank you for your time. It was a pleasure to get to know you better.