When summertime rolls around, I immediately think of cookouts, trips to the beach, vacations to places unknown, and, of course, curling up in the shade somewhere with a frosty favorite and a great book. Life doesn’t get much better than that as far as I’m concerned. Recently, I got into a book that I not only spent a few hours with one lazy summer afternoon, but the better part of a couple of nights, too. Usually, I’m fairly disciplined about turning the lights out at a reasonable hour, but not so while reading Nicole Trope’s fabulous book, THE FAMILY ACROSS THE STREET. Talk about a page turner!! I had to fight with myself to keep from taking a peek at the end to see how it all turned out. I was so impressed with her writing that I reached out to her via cyber space and she was kind enough to respond, and what a nice gal she is! She’s one prolific writer with a long list of books, and, fortunately for us, she has a new one coming out June 21st titled HIS OTHER WIFE. (The links for purchasing all of her books are listed below). I asked her if I could ask her some questions about her writing and she was more than gracious in agreeing to do so. I found her answers quite interesting, and I think you all will, too. So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Nicole Trope.
1). When did you first realize you were a writer?
As with most writers-I was an avid reader first and from a very young age, but at some point, I realised that even when writing my own diary, I was trying to turn it into a story. I knew at the beginning of High School that I wanted to be a writer.
2). How do you come up with a storyline?
It comes from everywhere-the newspaper or television or the internet. I will hear something or see something and suddenly, a series of images appear. If they appear fast enough and I can remember them the next day, then I know I have something. Lots of idea disappear but those that are meant to stay hang around and when I can’t stop thinking about something, I know it will work for a novel.
3). Can you tell us about one of your favorite characters you’ve created and why it’s a favorite?
I love Ruth from ‘The Stepchild’ because she was trying so hard to heal herself and Daniel from ‘The Boy in the Photo’ because he grew from a child to a young boy and had to deal with so much as he figured out who he was. I have a novel coming out at the end of the year called ‘The Foster Family’ and there is a character named Gordon-an older man who breaks my heart. And I love
4). Has anyone been particularly influential in encouraging you to write?
I had a couple of teachers who encouraged me and my mother has always read my work but I did feel like my desire to write made me a slightly weird person growing up. Publishing a novel feels like it is a ‘pie in the sky’ dream but it was a desire that I could never let go of.
5). Please talk a little about dealing with rejection.
I had many, many years of rejections-they piled up- but each time I thought, ‘time to give up and let go’, I would get a rejection where the editor or agent had taken the time to really read the work and thought I had potential. I always took that as a sign to keep going. As a writer you will face rejection for the rest of your career. My editor has rejected some of my ideas and once, a whole book. Readers write reviews that feel like rejections and I always have to remember to step back and not take any of it personally. It boils down to not letting anyone or anything get in the way of you achieving your dream.
6). We all make mistakes throughout our careers. Looking back, is there any one thing in particular you wish you had done differently?
I wish that I had studied writing at university-I think it took me a long time to learn what publishers were looking for and how to actually write a novel-I even got my first agent with a rather badly structured, very short book. He was unable to get it published of course but never gave me any real notes for improvement. I also think I made a big mistake staying with my first publisher for as long as I did. They were not supportive and instead of leaving, I stayed where I was because I was convinced that I was the problem. I wasn’t.
7). What was one of the smartest things you feel you did in furthering your writing career?
Moving to Bookouture-the best thing I’ve ever done. My first publisher was not equipped to deal with the eBook market, which is where my novels work well. Bookouture are leaders in the field and the difference is remarkable. They also have an incredibly supportive way of dealing with their authors. Something simple like returning an email within a few days makes a huge difference. I remember waiting weeks for a reply from my previous publishers. No one is that busy and the message it sends is, ‘you are not important enough.’ At Bookouture all their writers matter.
8). How many drafts do you usually write before submitting the final product?
So many drafts. I usually edit the first few chapters over and again, until I feel that I have the voice of the novel in my head. The characters need to feel real and distinct. Then every chapter is rewritten a couple of times and the whole book twice or more, before I send it to my mother to read. I take time away from the novel then and edit one more time before submitting to my editor. Then it’s edited by the publishers at least four times.
9). Do you know how your book will end when you begin it? If so, does it ever change?
I usually do but it does change and it’s always a lovely surprise when it does. I have just finished a draft of a book for next year and I had a very clear ending in mind, but everything changed without me even thinking about it. It’s a strange and wonderful feeling to be typing and have an idea appear on the page before you have fully processed it.
10). Are you involved with writers’ groups, either virtually or in person?
Not really but Bookouture have an author’s lounge where the writers share information and support and I always find answers to all my questions there.
11). You have a busy life being a wife, mother of three, and a prolific writer. With that rare opportunity when you do have time to yourself, what do you like to do?
I have to say that the writing keeps me on an even keel. If I’m not working on a book, I have a tendency to let my anxiety take over. Turning everything into a story does have its downsides, especially when I am worrying about something. I love the gym and I have a standard poodle named Jax, that I walk twice a day while I listen to podcasts. I am an avid reader as well. I also love a good television drama so have all the streaming services. Nothing beats a good story.
12). Who do you most admire among present day writers, and past writers?
I read quite widely. My favourites are Terry Pratchett, Fay Weldon, Alice Hoffman, Joanna Trollope, Anne Tyler, Carolyn Brown. I like to read books outside my own genre to really take my mind away from my work.
13). Do you have a favorite book that you've written? If so, what makes it your favorite?
The Boy in the Photo- probably because it was the book that led me to leave my old publisher and start looking for someone new. I remember thinking that if I hadn’t found an agent in six months, I would take it as a sign to give up and get another job. It took a couple of days for just about every agency I contacted to request a copy of the manuscript. In the end, the agency route wasn’t for me (I like to have my emails replied to) but the novel found a wonderful home with Bookouture and Christina Demosthenous.
Here’s a little tease from Nicole’s new book, HIS OTHER WIFE. Enjoy!
She has my husband. She has my child. She has my life.
I never thought I would end up here. Alone, in a cold one-bedroom apartment, only seeing my precious daughter once a week.
Another woman is living the life that was once mine. I wish I was still married to my ex-husband, the love of my life. I dream of tucking my five-year-old child into her ballerina bed sheets every night. I miss living in a beautiful house, the perfect family home, with a winding staircase and a sprawling garden.
I’d do anything to be with my family again. To start over and prove to them that I’ve changed, that I won’t lose control like before.
But when I get my second chance, the vicious messages come. The noises at night. The feeling of being watched. It’s happening all over again. I know I’m not going mad, but no one will believe me. I don’t know if I even believe myself.
All I wanted was my life back. But now my life is under threat – and my darling little girl is in danger…
Here are the links to purchase Nicole’s books: