Today Idea City has an interview with UK fantasy author Nicky Peacock. We also have a fun cover reveal for C. Lee's forthcoming middle grade novel so make sure to scroll through the whole post!
Hi, Nicky, what are some of your newest books?
Bad Timing is the second in the Battle of the Undead series and hot on its heels was the free read prequel, Traitors' Gate, which takes the reader back to where it all began. This spring saw the release of my new series with Evernight Teen, The Twisted and the Brave. The first book, Lost in Wonderland is a dark, supernatural thriller.
Tell us about your main characters
Britannia is the heroine in the Battle of the Undead series, she's an old vampire with a dry sense of humor and the kind of violent tendencies that makes her the perfect weapon against a zombie apocalypse. She has an unspoken obsession with perfection, especially when it comes to how she looks and she's spent too much time on her own and needs to learn to rely on others.
Tell us about a main theme. What fired you up to write on this theme?
The main theme is co-operation throughout the books. That only by working with others can you get through impending disaster. I've always believed this in life. I also though it fit really well with vampires as a species. Zombies naturally run in groups, but vampires can be quite solitary in nature. So pitting them against one another with these very different social habits makes for an interesting fight.
Give us your favorite line from your protagonist:
Britannia: "He gave me a sly smile, as if he was trying to get away with something. Like he’d farted and was waiting for me to smell it."
From an antagonist:
Nicholas: "Britannia. I am acutely aware that you hate me. I am equally aware that our survival”—he motioned around us—“is dependent on you not being such a bitch.”
An emblematic, teaser paragraph from Bad Blood:
Nicholas looked thoughtful then nodded. He, of course didn’t want to actually say aloud that I’d had a good idea. “So, how do we get past them?”
I assumed it was a rhetorical question, so I started down to the car park entrance, where most of the zombies were mobbing. I opened the outer door as quietly as possible.
“Ladies first,” Nicholas whispered in my ear.
“I thought we’d agreed I wasn’t a lady.” With that, I shoved him as hard as I could into the throbbing throng of zombies.
What keeps you going when inspiration flags?
Inspiration is my one thing that never flags. I have far too many ideas for stories to write. It's more my time and energy to actually do the writing that I can struggle with. When that happens, I try to change my surroundings. I go somewhere different to write, somewhere I can focus on what I'm doing and not be a slave to the demons of procrastination.
What truly inspires you and fires up your vision?
The vision of my future as a professional full time writer. That's the dream. Like most modern authors I need to maintain a full time job to ensure I have those luxuries in life such as food and shelter. I'd love to not have that worry. To just wake up every day and know that I can do the one thing I love and get enough money from it to live a comfortable life.
Best words of advice you ever received?
You can't please everyone (great advice, especially for writers)
What's meant for you won't pass you by (can make you lazy and fool you into thinking that life owes you something)
Some writing advice to aspiring and new authors?
Join a writers' group. Writing can be a very lonely pursuit, having like-minded people around you can help to motivate you to keep going and inspire you. I run an adult and a YA group in my home town.
Which do you enjoy writing most: action, romance, setting, dialog?
I love writing it all. I'd hate to think that I was weak on one aspect. I am guilty of including more action that most books in my genre, but I think that if the story warrants it, you shouldn't shy away from action scenes.
A hint of what you’re working on next?
I'm currently working on two books. The next book in the Battle of the Undead series, Bad Karma and also the 2nd book in my new series, The Twisted and the Brave, called The Assassin of Oz.
Where to find Nicky on the web:
I’ve always been a storyteller, not in a ‘liar liar pants on fire’ kind of way, although I do work in advertising! When I was little, kids would crowd around me in the playground and I’d tell them tales of blood soaked horror filled with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and more. Yes, most would consider me a disturbed child, but my playmates couldn’t help themselves, they’d huddle around me every break time like an ancient tribe feeding off the fear; and that’s how I learned that horror stories hold a certain power, no matter what some might say, everyone is addicted to a good scare, especially if it is somewhat rooted safely in unrealistic beings… or are they unrealistic?
Writing was really a natural progression for me. So far I’ve had 35 short stories included in anthologies produced by publishers all over the world; my latest was included in Little Brown Book Group’s Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories. I have two YA series with the publishers, Evernight Teen:Battle of the Undead and The Twisted and The Brave. I run a local adult writers’ group called Creative Minds Writing and have been asked by my local library (Corby, Northants, UK) to run a group for budding authors aged 13-25.
And now... drumroll... here's C. Lee's spectacular cover for her upcoming middle grade fantasy Sign of the Green Dragon! It launches on August 3rd, but put it on your Goodreads TBR list right now!
The novel summary:
This hasn’t been the best year for Sam, and it just got worse. Right when he thought he’d found a permanent home, his finicky guardian tells him he’s shipping Sam off to private school. This means Sam won’t bat for his team, and if he doesn’t, Haggarty Elementary won’t win the baseball championship again this year. His two teammates, Joey and Roger, are determined to stash him in their secret cave—at least until he brings in the winning run.
While the boys explore the hideout, an earthquake crumbles a wall, revealing a hidden room—and it’s not empty. A dragon-carved chest opens to reveal a human skeleton, its hand-bones clutching a note with a crudely drawn map. At the top of the map is scribbled, 1859.
Sam, Joey and Roger learn about a treasure lying in wait, if only they can locate something called the Dragon Twin, reveal the truth about an old murder, and return a person named Mei Ling to her ancestors in China.
The boys are up for the challenge. But how? They only have the map showing the way to an old mining town, and some strange symbols they can’t understand. None of them can make sense of the note. Who’s Mei Ling? And what the heck is a Dragon Twin?
With time running out before he’s sent packing, Sam and his friends set out on an adventure that has much higher stakes than any baseball championship—one that gets them into trouble with a modern crime, pits them against ancient Chinese dragons, and reveals the true meaning of treasure for each of them.
In case you haven't read C. Lee's other rollicking Pete Riley books, check them out here!