Meet the Author
Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.
Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.
This week we are excited to feature one of our original Wordsmithsix members. She is a multi-published author in the Psycho-thriller and horror genre.
Please welcome Nandy Ekle
When did you start writing?
I started writing in junior high. In the 8th grade I actually wrote a book (I’m talking about 80 pages) about a group of kids who found tunnels underneath the school. I really didn’t have a plot, but it was fun for them to explore the tunnels. This was in the middle 70’s. Of course, nothing happened with the story, which is lost somewhere in my childhood. But in the middle 80’s, The Goonies came out on the big screen, and it reminded me of my first writing adventure. After that I wrote a story called The Kiss That Never Was. I’m actually a little embarrassed about that story now because it was so awful, but it was something I wrote, and it had a definite plot, weak as it was. After that, I wrote part of a story about a woman and her boyfriend who were kidnapped, which was also hilariously ridiculous because my kidnapper did not even have a gun.
And I had no concept of “short answer” questions on tests. Once we were assigned to write a short essay about Christmas for English class. But mine was more of a short story about a little girl waking up and feeling the Christmas magic in the air. Needless to say, the teacher advised me to stick a little closer to the assignment instructions.
Why did you choose the genre you write in?
Well, I didn’t choose my genre, it chose me. I write the dark stories, the horrors, psychologicals, thrillers, mysteries. I’ve tried to stick to lighter stories, but there’s always a twist that heads back to the dark side. It’s as if I can’t control it.
And I think I understand where it comes from. I’ve been accused of being an adrenalin junkie, and I guess that’s true. There’s nothing I love more than reading a book, or watching a movie, and a completely unexpected life shattering twist leaves me feeling as if I’ve been punched in the gut. That, my friends, is a fantastic feeling. And I suppose that’s why I try to include that type of twist in my writing.
What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?
The best thing I’ve ever done to help my writing is join a writing group. I had been the person who, even though I’ve been a writer for most of my life, I’ve always felt self-conscious about it. I mean, I’m a grown woman, a grandmother, and I see other worlds and hear characters talking in my head all the time. So the first time I walked in the group and people came up to me and said, “So, what do you write,” I was completely floored. I had never felt that open about it before, and it was absolutely . . . liberating. Then I found the critique group. Not only was I accepted as a writer, I was encouraged, even expected to write more and more words, in more and more creative ways. And that has made all the difference.
What’s your writing routine like?
I’m ashamed to say I really don’t have a set writing routine. As a “pantser,” I write when the whim strikes me. And that means that sometimes there are huge chunks of times between writing sessions. This creates guilt feelings, and that makes me try to force words on a page that have no business being there.
How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?
Getting myself in “the zone” sometimes is harder than others. One thing is to have a character be real to me. I have to do that by getting deep in their heads. One way I do that is to write in first person.
Another thing that helps is listening to music, especially if what I’m writing was inspired by a specific song. I once wrote a story about a wife who suspects her husband is seeing another woman, so she goes to a fortune teller. An old 70’s song by Cher was my inspiration, and I had to listen to the song over and over while I was writing it. To this day, when I hear it, I hear the characters arguing with each other.
Movies and books also inspire me. Also pictures of old houses and true crime stories. Also, an interesting situation or character.
Are you an outliner?
As I mentioned before, I am a “pantser,” which means I write “by the seat of my pants.” I usually have an idea of where I want the story to go and the twist, which is very important to me, but when I do get into “the zone,” anything can happen, and it’s usually better than what I had originally planned. While the rest of my life is very organized, I suppose writing is where I’m actually able to let it go and let it happen. But it’s finding that zone . . .
What has been your biggest writing challenge?
Well, definitely, keeping a writing routine is a challenge. I know the masters say, “the more you write, the more you want to write,” but if I force myself to write, it reads, at least to me, like it was forced. In my case, spontaneity is definitely the best.
What are you working on currently, future?
Currently, I have more than ten short stories going, at least I think they’re going to be short. I have several more started that will be longer than than a short story, but I really don’t plan to make them into a novel. I have two novels completely written in my head, but only about one fourth of the way on a page. And I have countless rewrites and completions to get done. And no number for the ones in my head that have not floated to the top of my story soup and screamed for attention. Besides these are the situations and characters, or even just a glimmer of a twist, and I know there’s a full-blown story there, but just have not been able to put my finger on exactly what it is.
What advice would give to new writers?
Writers write. That’s all I know. Writers write.
Oh, and let go and let it flow.
What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?
The most positive thing advice I can tell writers today is don’t ever let anyone make you feel silly because you like to make up worlds and characters. And find a master to emulate.