Saturday, September 26, 2015

An Interview with Nikko Lee

[Saturday's normally a guest day here at Beyond Romance. Today I've got something a bit different for you-- an interview with YA (and erotic) author Nikko Lee, conducted by my friend and colleague Jean Roberta. Enjoy! ~ Lisabet]

Hi, Jean. Thanks so much for the interview.

1) Can you tell me a little about your new novel?

WolfCreek is about a gay werewolf who finds strength in what makes him different. Josh finally gets the chance to escape his oppressive pack; but only if he finds it's next leader. As a rare omega werewolf, he alone can find an alpha strong enough to control New England's largest pack.

He teams up with an erratic Amazon in training and a disarming park ranger with a secret. They are no closer to finding a true alpha when a local is mauled to death. In retribution, the Amazons decide to kill Josh's entire pack.

2) Was it hard to switch from writing a sexually-explicit vampire novel to one for new adults?

Most of my published works have been sexually-explicit. I've found a comfy home in writing erotica. In some ways, it was a relief to not have to come up with new and exciting sexy scenes to fill a novel. I think it will be a bigger challenge in the sequel to Wolf Creek when Josh gets a boyfriend who has no problem letting Josh know just how irresistible a werewolf can be. It is a challenge to write sexually charged scenes with a delayed pay-off, but it makes that moment with bodies collide all that much more rewarding.

It was actually a challenge writing about werewolves instead of vampires because I'd been hooked on vampires for so long. I had to figure out a number of things like the mechanics of transformation and the rules of the pack. It was a lot of fun stepping into a whole new mythos.

3) How is your novel (and possibly other recent novels for new adults) different from the classics that used to be in every school library?

I'm still finding my way around the new adult genre. With the rise in popularity of young adult fiction, many adults are finding stories about young people making their way in the world and discovering themselves strike a chord. I don't think we ever stop looking for who we are and where we belong. That stage of separating from your parents and being on your own is such a big step but only the first in a lifelong journey. Admittedly, I haven't been in a high school library in a while so I'm not sure what's on the shelves now. Twenty-five years ago when I was in high school, we were reading Grapes of Wrath and Old Man and the Sea. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of literary gold in these classics. But at the time, their worth was completely lost on me. Those stories weren't what I was experiencing.

Now teens and young adults have a wide array of fiction to get lost in and relate to. The main characters are more relate-able because they are more diverse and go through more diverse and modern experiences. Diversity is something we need more of in all genres of fiction.

4) Has motherhood influenced your writing? If so, in what ways?

Pregnancy had a huge influence on my writing. I published several short stories last year, all with a maternity bent. It's a terrifying time, especially being my first pregnancy. I have an educational background in genetics and spend my work days looking at articles about developmental defects in mice. So I channelled all that worry and hope into my writing.

Ten months into motherhood, I've learned why baby monitors are so popular in horror movies. There is nothing scarier than the thought of hearing something unexpected coming from the monitor in the room where your sweet, defenceless baby is sleeping. Never mind walking up to their closed door or their near motionless and sleeping bodies.

Now as a mother, I read a lot of books with one sentence or even phrase per board page. I can't wait for my daughter to reach an age when she will want to participate in reading - other than by eating the pages.

I'm also very curious about how a fictional mother with an infant would handle any number of fictional challenges from a zombie apocalypse to finding a second chance at love.

5) What inspired your new novel?

Wolf Creek was inspired by a number of short stories and books I was reading at the time and a change in the overall acceptance of gay characters in fiction. The late Jay Lake's Torquing Vacuum made me realize that a gay main character could have adventures that didn't revolve around his or her sexuality. JR Ward's Lover at Last finally consummated a homosexual relationship between two characters that had been building for several novels earlier in the series. Patricia Brigg's Cry Wolf take on the importance of an omega wolf caught my imagination.

Before writing Wolf Creek, I had been writing with an erotic novella about two martial artists coming to terms with their sexuality and falling in love. While writing about the evolution of their sexual relationship and dealing with the consequences of their secret romance was enjoyable, I worried that the story was too much about one character coming out and that there wasn't enough external conflict.

So I kidnapped Josh from that story, made him a werewolf and introduced him to a sidekick character I loved from another trunked novel who made trouble where ever she went.

6) Is there anything else you would like to say?

I'd just like to invite people to check out Wolf Creek. I hope they will fall in love with these characters as much as I did. Although Wolf Creek has some romantic elements, it is more about Josh finding himself and his place in the world. If there is enough interest, I will get to write the sequel in which Josh finds love in a most unexpected foe turned friend who made an appearance in Wolf Creek.


Lisabet Sarai said...

Welcome to Beyond Romance, Nikko and Jean.

I really enjoyed the interview, and wish you great success with Wolf Creek.

Nikko Lee said...

Thanks. I love talking about writing and Wolf Creek.

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