How did you become a writer?
I started telling stories at a very young age, and was always an avid reader. My first short story was written when I was in grade two about a family of snow bunnies that came to life. This quickly evolved into writing journals full of thoughts and poems, stage plays for my high school drama classes, and persuasive essays for university on a variety of sociological and environmental topics. I had always wanted to write a full-length book but I never seemed to find the ambition or time to sit down and get one hammered out. The one time I tried was through National Novel Writing Month, and halfway through the writing event, my computer crashed and I lost my manuscript. After that I didn't write for years. I guess I took it very personally!
In December of 2016 following the diagnosis of a medical condition, I decided that I was finally going to sit down and try and write a novel. I was immediately drawn to young adult work as this is a genre I read regularly. I found the process very helpful in managing my expectations about what life was going to be like going forward, and posted the book on the online platform Wattpad. Slowly but surely I started developing a following and it was this community that encouraged me to try again and again to write more stories.
What inspires you to write?
I feel like I find inspiration through many venues: movies, other books, or a television show. I love taking well-worn ideas and throwing my own particular twist on them and I especially enjoy the process of mixing together mystery and romance and creating a new story line that retells an old story or premise. I've even had dreams about new books and ended up writing them down and developing them into either short stories or a piece of freelance work.
On top of that, it's very rewarding to hear when others are able to connect with your work and make the words you've written personal to them. I am always thrilled to hear from my readers and get feedback on how they've adored my stories, the way I've portrayed the characters, or the style I write in.
Could you share some of your challenges as a writer?
I think, like most writers, I struggle sometimes with motivation. Writing is hard, and stretching that imagination muscle can be challenging with so many other things going on in life. I try to make time every day to work on writing, even if I only get a few words down or an idea worked out. Making a conscious effort on a regular basis really helps me to keep going. Plus, I also post many of my first drafts on Wattpad, with a chapter being released once per week. Knowing that someone is out there waiting to see what happens next is a great motivator!
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Be patient! I'm wonderful at giving that advice and terrible at taking it. I have to remind myself all the time that everything doesn't happen on my schedule.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write, write, and write some more. Practice really does help you improve. Ask for feedback from people who will provide you with honest thoughts. Join a community to meet others and also do a ton of reading of all different genres. You may find you like something that you didn't even know would interest you!
What are your current/future projects?
I'm currently working on a young adult story called SKIN. Nijah Rhodes, the main female character, struggles with a condition called dermatillomania, which is characterised by the repeated urge to pick at her body. Mutilating her skin in an almost compulsive way, Nijah covers the holes and scars with layers of thick makeup, shame, and denial in hopes of hiding her face - and herself. Then, for the last semester of senior year, Finn Connolly moves to town with his rockstar looks and worldly experience. Something about him makes Nijah want to show her true face to the world and not let her skin hold her back from experiencing all life has to offer, but she has to decide if she's brave enough to be honest with herself.
After SKIN is finished, I have two other new young adult projects that I'm hoping to get underway, but I'm still working on the details. However, what I can tell you is that one is about a young girl who is exiled to her father's ranch following a suicide attempt, and the other is about two teenagers who fall in love after joining the after-school drama club.
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?
Please feel free to visit me on Wattpad under the name 'morningtides' (http://www.wattpad.com/morningtides), or drop by my website (http://nicolebea.com). You can also send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, pop by my author page on Goodreads, or message me on twitter at nicbeawrites.