Nike Chillemi is a fellow writer and a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Her candid question and answers provide a valuable glimpse into the world of writing. Thanks Nike for taking the time to write this and give the world a peek behind the curtain of your writing. Nike’s blog is called
I’m obsessed with the crime fiction genre. I read both Christian and secular murder mysteries, police procedurals, and thrillers. It’s one of my main interests. I came to believe the Lord had given me this passion for a reason, and that reason was to write. Who-dunits emerged as a creation of the Christian west. These books have always involved a moral dilemma. Early murder mysteries, such as those written by Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, were often set in an English country parish with a parson as a character. I think I’ve always been intrigued by the fight between good and evil in this genre.
3. What is your greatest success?
I consider having finished three manuscripts a success in and of itself. When I began that seemed almost impossible. My biggest outward success is that I’ve been included in the book and movie reviewing team at The Christian Pulse online magazine. I review a crime fiction novel every month and a movie bi-monthly. My reviews can be found at http://www.thechristianpulse.
4. What is your biggest disappointment?
I’m not disappointed that it’s so hard to break into writing. The more I write, the more learn about the craft of writing. I see that my early efforts were really quite poor, though, even then my voice peeked through. I think my biggest disappointment is that the business seems to be a bit schizophrenic. Some of the advice new writers get is contradictory. It’s hard to know who to listen to. In the end, it’s a lonely business. The age of image of a lone writer bent over a typewriter is kinda true.
5. Who are your favorite authors.
James Scott Bell is one of my favorite Christian authors. I am crazy about his lawyer protagonist Ty Buchanan and can’t wait to read the second book in the series. I was totally taken in by the imagery and character relationships in Robert Liparulo’s Comes A Horseman. And of course there’s Ted Dekker. I read Adam and am now in the middle of his Boneman’s Daughters. Nobody creates tension like he does.
5. Which of your writing projects satisfied you the most?
I started writing my historical romantic murder mystery, Burning Heart, kind of on a whim. But it has consumed me and become a truly gratifying experience. I’ve become enchanted by the post WWII era. It was a time when America had a lotta class and a “can do attitude.”
6. What has been the best advice you’ve been given for writing?
I’ve been told by three separate well known professionals in the industry to “keep writing.” That is the best advice I’ve been given. Six years ago, I was first told I had a unique voice for suspense and that although my work wasn’t ready for publication, I should keep at it. There have been two other “keep writing” comments from publishing professionals, and each one one gets a bit more enthusiastic about my writing.
7. If you could give new writers one piece of advice what would you say?
I’d say write the type of book they’d like to read. If you can’t wait to kick back with the latest chic lit book hot off the presses, I wouldn’t suggest writing a novel where you drop your missionary heroine into the middle of a battle in Afghanistan. If you live in rural Oklahoma, then don’t set your novel in the barrio in New York City, especially not your first novel. Write what you know. If the new writer is a Christian, I’d say without a doubt to start with prayer and ask the Lord what He wants written.
8. Have you had any of your work rejected?
Yes, my first novel, which wasn’t that well written, was rejected by more than one publisher. The second novel I submitted, my contemporary murder mystery, was rejected by one of the niche Christian publishers. It was a very nice letter saying what I had written was a police procedural which wasn’t what a romance publishing house was looking for. That editor wished me well with getting the book published, just not by them. I’m in the process now of trying to find an agent. I’ll be going to my first Christian writing conference this year. People I respect in the industry have advised me to get myself to a conference to become more of a “known quantity” in the industry.
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