Nicole Quigley and I met over a year ago at the ACFW Conference in St. Louis. I’m so glad for this Creator-appointed connection, because I keep saying I’m going to stop reading YA and focus on “grown-up” books. So had I not met Nicole, I might not have read her debut novel, Like Moonlight at Low Tide. This one transcends genre. Nicole’s writing touches the heart in those places that need soul-deep healing. I’m so pleased she’s with us today to talk about it.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?
First, tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
I usually read several books at a time over a long period, which means it takes me forever to finish any one book. But when I find one that compels me, I get completely immersed in it – sometimes I even forget to sleep. I’m an all or nothing reader.
I worked on a medical mission trip in Africa. It was thrilling to get to help people in a tangible way and to see immediate results (essentially, the opposite of writing). If I wasn’t writing and could pick a second career, it would be in medicine.
Oooo, that sounds wonderful!
And Three …
I struggled with how to write humor until I realized I could just jot down all the things my dad says on any given day. I keep a voice recorder with me at all times to capture deep thoughts and writing notes, but most of the entries begin with, “Here’s another dadism.”
He has no idea I do this. If he ever reads this interview, I’ll never hear the end of it. “Ooh, Nicole, I just had a good one. Are you recording?”
I think I’d really like your dad.
As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?
Yes! But it wasn’t like any of my other childhood dreams—you know, like going out with Mark Slaughter or flying in the space shuttle. It was more a feeling that I would never truly be who I was called to be until I at least tried to pursue it, never mind what happened. It felt less like a goal and more like gravity drawing me in, even during those years when I tried to ignore it because I didn’t think I had what it took.
Sometimes we take gravity for granted, don’t we? ;o).
Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.
There’s hardly a night that goes by that I don’t stare at the stars, even just for a second. I lived in D.C. for the past decade, and it’s hard to see the stars in a big city like that. Now that I have moved back to Florida, I don’t go to sleep without looking at the night sky.
How wonderful. Having grown up in the D.C. area, myself, I truly appreciate this. When you get out into the “open” it’s amazing the brilliance and shear number of stars you didn’t see between the buildings and beneath the haze. So glad you have a better view, now.
Your main character in Like Moonlight at Low Tide shares this passion. So tell us about this book.
USA Today’s “Happy Ever After” reviewcalled it “a darkly poignant inspirational romance that will linger in the mind well after reading it.”
Oh, wow! What an awesome description!
A high school junior returns to her hometown on the beach, and she has one goal: hide from the bullies who had convinced her she was the ugliest girl in school. But when she is caught sneaking into a neighbor’s pool at night, everything changes. Something is different now that she is sixteen, and the guys and popular girls who once made her life miserable have taken notice. But what if you get everything you ever wanted, and it still isn’t enough to save you?
Having read this extraordinary book, I already know the answer to that question. Hee hee. Highly recommended!
Now, tell us about the journey to getting it published.
I spent years playing with other manuscripts, writing and rewriting the “perfect” first chapter to a dozen projects that I never finished. I then realized the plain truth that writing isn’t a ministry until it’s shared.
Oops. Sorry. Please continue …
I finally mustered the courage to complete and submit two manuscripts, both of which were rejected by publishers over the course of a few years.
When I began writing Like Moonlight at Low Tide, I entered it into the American Christian Fiction Writer’s “Genesis” contest for unpublished authors. Genesis is a tremendous vehicle for writers looking to break into an industry that can so often feel too big to understand. I ended up winning, and I met an amazing Zondervan editor at the ACFW conferencewho believed in the piece.
Yes! That conference is where we met, too.
In three words describe your style of writing.
Intimate, vivid, relatable.
Yes! I’d have to agree.
Tell us how your faith affects your writing?
I don’t think all Christian writers have to write within the Christian genre. But I do think all Christian writers have to write in Christ. G+d is the only reason I can write. His grace is the only thing that can take my imperfect effort and bless someone else with it. His love for people is how I try to love my readers. I know I don’t always get things right, but I try to give Him everything and follow His lead.
And it shows in your work!
If you could interview one character in your book, who would it be and why?
There is a character in the book who commits suicide, and I would interview him to find out why he really did it and what the others could have done to stop him. We experience the story through the eyes of the main character, and she never gets those answers about his death—not fully—because that’s what happens in a suicide. And so I didn’t allow myself to make things up as I wrote it. She was left with questions that all have the same answer: Give it to G+d.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
And what I love about your writing, Nicole, is how authentic it is. I love when authors write characters who are human, and yes, flawed. With that in mind, we want to know your flaws ;o) <hee hee>. Can you share one of the most embarrassing things that’s ever happened to you?
The night before I was to fly home last Christmas (after weeks of endless manuscript revisions mind you!), I locked all of the presents for family and friends in the trunk of my car… with the keys trapped inside… in the second level of an underground basement parking garage where no tow truck could access… and called a friend to take me home so I could get the spare key to my car… and when we drove the 45 minutes to my home, we got sidelined for dinner… but we didn’t realize we forgot to look for the key until we had completed the round trip and were looking at the parking garage with no key in hand… so we drove back to my apartment a second time… and it was then I realized (or so I thought) that the spare key was actually locked in the glove compartment. My loved ones didn’t get gifts that Christmas day. But after laughing through the four-plus hour ordeal, my friend still made me a bridesmaid in her wedding!
Eeek! Now that’s human! So glad you have good friends to laugh with!!!
Now that we know you so well, where can fans keep in touch?
Nicole Quigley is the author of young adult fiction novel Like Moonlight at Low Tide (Zondervan 2012), winner of the American Christian Fiction Writer’s “Genesis” award. Nicole worked as a public relations advisor in Washington, D.C. for more than a decade and is a graduate of Appalachian State University. She recently moved back to her hometown in Anna Maria Island, Florida. Visit her at www.nicolequigleybooks.com.
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