Since I’m scheduled to review, The Sharp Edge of a Knife, by D N Giles on Saturday, I felt it would be nice to chat with her today.
D N Giles (Nichole) is also the co-author of Mormon Mishaps and Mischief, but her chosen genre is Edgy YA Fiction. She writes a weekly blog on LDS Writer’s blogck and many others. She’s been published in The Friend magazine, and Highlights. She’s a member of Super Edits critique group, and a good friend of mine.
Nichole, how are you?
NG: Fantastic. I’m so excited about the release of my new book.
KF: Since you write YA Fantasy, The Sharp Edge of a Knife is a departure from that. What inspired you to write this story?
NG: Actually this particular book is based on true events that happened to my grandpa. Not long after he died, my grandma gave me a copy of his life history for Christmas, and I read it all in one day. There were several things about his life that I knew little or nothing about, but this particular incident really stood out to me. I couldn’t seem to let it go. That’s when I knew I had to write about it. It’s almost like my grandpa was in heaven whispering in my ear, telling me to get it done.
KF: As I’ve read this story about Mel, your grandfather, I’ve been impressed by his courage and his humility. Do you think he’d be embarrassed by all the attention? What do you think he’d say about the book?
NG: Probably. He wasn’t the kind of man who liked to talk about things like this. He really never made a big fuss about it, even when it happened. I think it was about all he could stand to talk to newspaper reporters and police and FBI agents. But I’d like to think he’s proud of me and this book, that he’s happy with the way I wrote it and that it’s being published. I feel like he is, so it must be true, right?
KF: I’ve heard biography writers say they felt close to their subjects. Did writing the book bring you closer to him? Tell us about it.
NG: Yes, it absolutely brought me closer to him. There was so much research involved in this, and so many things that none of us really knew. I really feel strongly that I had his help in finding the details and in writing the entire story.
KF: I understand you had the opportunity to interview one of your grandfather’s kidnappers. What was that like? Were you scared?
NG: It was so strange! Totally surreal. It wasn’t really scary because I only talked to him on the phone, and we were hundreds of miles apart, but it was definitely the most unique conversation I’ve ever had. He was actually very nice to me, seemed repentant and regretful. He kept apologizing and telling me how my grandpa changed his life. Only he kept calling him my dad. Which felt strange, but I ended up just going with it rather than correct him. I was all about finding facts.
KF: Your grandfather must have been a great man. In the book, you showed some of that change. Perhaps there was purpose in the experience for him.
I think we all have family traditions and stories that get repeated. When and how did you first hear this story?
NG: Wow. I’m not sure. I remember I was fairly little. And it wasn’t so much a story as it was a statement. Something like, “your grandpa was kidnapped once. That’s why we never pick up hitchhikers” kind of thing. But I have a vague memory of hearing that story on the road as we moved from Nevada to Utah, which means I was probably around six.
KF: I loved the way you portrayed your grandmother. Is she still with us? What if anything has she said about your book?
NG: Yes, my grandma is doing really well, actually, and I hope she sticks around for a long time to come. She was actually the first person to get a copy of my book besides me. She was completely instrumental in helping me research and in telling me her memories of what happened. We dug through her basement one day and found all the newspaper articles and a court subpoena, which was the very beginning of all my research. This book wouldn’t exist without her help. (Hi Grandma!)
KF: (Yes, Sister Peterson, I Drink to your health. You must be very proud of Nichole.)
I’ve read most of your work, and I know you write great fantasy. With the success of Mormon Mishaps, and now this book, do you see yourself writing another one like this? Tell us about what you are working on now.
NG: As far as writing in this genre, we’ll see. This particular book was a labor of love, but also required a lot. With this book, I had to write it because it wouldn’t leave me alone. And if that happens again, I’m sure I’ll have little choice. Otherwise, I’m working on several other things that take up all my writing time.
All my current projects are young adult paranormal or fantasy, and I’m really excited about breaking into the YA market. But the idea of doing a second Mormon Mishaps is not completely out of the question either. We’ll see.
KF: I noticed you’re offering a session with your critique group as a prize in your contest. Tell us about that, and tell us how being a member of a critique group has helped your writing?
NG: Critique groups are so important to the writing process. Other people can help you see important details you missed, can point out obvious plot holes, and just make you an all around better writer and author. My critique group (ahem) is especially great. Spectacular, fantastic, and a complete privilege with whom to be associated. Each member has a specific strength that I’ve come to rely upon to help improve my writing.
KF: Thank you very much, by the way, for the interview. I’m sure others have asked you the standard questions. So I’ll ask just one more. Give us one word that best describes you, and tell us why.
NG: One word? I’m a writer and you’re giving me one word? Hm. How about determined? I was determined to find the details for this book and get it written and published, and now it’s about to launch. Now, I’m determined to move forward with my next few projects and I definitely will.
KF: That’s a good word for you. I’ve seen that determination all the time and you inspire me.
The Sharp edge of the knife can be purchased at Amazon and other fine bookstores. The actual book launch is slated for March 27th at Eborn books in the Provo Towne Center mall, Provo, UT, 1-3 p.m.
She’s promised treats, prize drawings, books, and more. See you there, but stop by here first, and read my book review.
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