- a writer of weird fiction in multiple genres
Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Nikki Nelson-Hicks
Nikki Nelson-Hicks is honored to be described as ‘the lovechild of Flannery O’Connor and H.P. Lovecraft’.
She is often found with too many empty wine glasses for one person.
Nikki, thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
That’s an easy answer. If I could have any animal sidekick, it would be Gef the Talking Mongoose.
Are you familiar with Gef?
A quick lowdown: in 1931, the Irving family moved into a derelict farmhouse near Cashen’s Gap on the Isle of Man. The family began hearing weird noises in the walls. At first, James, the father, thought it was rats and tried to poison it.
And then it started talking. It told the family that his was Gef, he was born in New Dehli in 1852 and was an “extra clever mongoose” with human hands.
Gef would kill rabbits and leave them as a form of rent.
He also was very protective of their daughter, Voirrey, and threw rocks at bullies.
The story eventually made it to the newspapers and soon psychical investigators from England came to research the phenomenon. Harry Price was one of them and so was Nandor Fodor.
Gef kept up his antics until the death of the Father in 1945. Until her death in 2005, Voirrey Irving maintained that Gef was real.
Now, frankly, I have my own theories as to what Gef was BUT that doesn’t really matter here.
What I want is to live in a world where Gef the Talking Mongoose COULD exist. I think that would be awesome!
That is a totally new one. But with my current binging of Ursula Vernon stories, I’m 100 percent behind a world with talking animals that aren’t necessarily ones that humans have tamed.
What do you write? And how did you get started?
First, how I got started:
I started writing to win the love of a man.
My freshman English teacher, Mr. Shearer. I loved him with all the passion a fourteen-year-old virgin could muster.
I started writing stories and would leave them on his desk. Or under the windshield wipers of his truck. To channel my passion in a more constructive way, he got me involved in theatre, specifically in an afterschool program for gifted and talented youth. From there, I went on to another theatre class where I met the boy who would become my husband and father to my children.
So, Mr. Shearer not only ignited the flames of writing but also set me down the road to meet my future family!
Now, what do I write?
I write fantastical stories in all sorts of genres. Horror, science fiction, murder mysteries, pulp noir, steampunk, romance…all the good stuff. Nothing that is ever going to be covered on NPR but…hey. I really believe that genre writers are extremely important in keeping the sanity of our fellow humans. We provide a blanket of comfort, an escape from the hard rocks of reality. I think it’s a sacred duty. We are the Divine Clowns.
I don’t think NPR is against covering genre fiction! It’s been known to make it’s way on there from time to time. From avoiding literary academia, I’ve yet to actually encounter genre-shaming in real life, just a lot of writers with trauma from their time there. I hope we’re in a better time now, where things aren’t derided as “not real literature” because people want to read them — outside of classrooms and people wanting to say they read something to impress people.
What do you like to read?
I’m a voracious reader. I love fiction, non-fiction. Anything, really.
When I was a kid, reading for me was a defense mechanism. I could escape from a home that was, in a word, tense. I could find friends when I was lonely. And I could ignore my pain when I was sick.
Reading to me is magic.
I’m glad that you found a home in books, even when your own home was less inviting. I’m pleased that you’ve stayed friends with them. I’m a huge fan of escapism, and befriending my books.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Write what you know
How boring! I want to explore certain subjects and themes along with my reader. I want to experience it alongside them. We’re both in this ride together.
I completely agree. I’m a *huge* fan of science-fiction and fantasy, so people who stick too close to this mantra are probably not going to be my jam. Then again, imbuing your writing with grains of reality help ground your readers — to some extent.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
HAVE FUN! DON’T THINK! DON’T CARE!The Ferret Chronicles, Writer Ferrets: Chasing the Muse by Richard Bach
I stole this one, but Richard Bach’s novel is a wonderful book about finding and accepting your voice.
Definitely something many writers struggle with! We love overthinking and worrying about what everyone else will like.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
Nikki’s latest work is a collection of short horror stories:
Stone Baby and Other Strange Tales
This is a collection of short stories that involve murder, lies, ghosts, and the apologetic thing that lives under your bed.
Jake Istenhegyi: The Accidental Detective Vol 1 & 2.
This is a pulp noir series set in 1930’s New Orleans with an occult bent.
Jake finds himself fighting voodoo priestesses, golems, cannibal fishmen, boodaddies, blood thirsty alchemists and zombie chickens.
Sherlock Holmes and the Shrieking Pits
Watson comes back from a conference to find that all of London is abuzz about the mysterious disappearance of Sherlock Holmes while on a case. Waiting in Watson’s office is a young man and his assistant who believe they know what happened to Holmes: he was taken by fairies! Watson has other ideas.
The Galvanized Girl is a steampunk alternative history story set in Victorian England.
A mad scientist under the instructions of voices he calls “Angels” uses a destitute crippled orphan to create a Super Soldier. She might have other plans.
RUMBLE – is an action adventure story.
A sketchy corporation has been mining in the Gobi desert. Communications suddenly stop and satellite photos show that the site looks like it has been destroyed. A mercenary group is sent it to find any survivors and to find out what happened.
The Problem at Gruff Springs – is a Weird Western story.
Alan Pinkerton is sent by President Grant to retrieve Confederate gold that has been stolen by Confederate sympathizers who want to restart the war effort. The leads all end in a small desert town known as Gruff Springs, a hole in the wall that has been suddenly revitalized as a miracle mineral water spa. Pinkerton thinks there is something more than water up in those hills and is determined to find out what.
Two actors use their theatrical talents to make a living by performing seances for aristocrats. They are hired by the family friend of an old blood family to rid them of a family curse, The Blood Red Maid. Unfortunately, it turns out the curse is truer than the pair were led to believe.
People often point to the mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe but the question that Amy Angler has is why do all the women in his life die? She thinks she has the answer but needs one more piece of the puzzle to be sure.
Check Nikki Nelson-Hicks out across the web!