Monday, February 6, 2012

Author interview

Ron Nichols, author of “Where The Sky Doesn’t End” a terrific YA novel published last year by Mudfoot Books, a division of Martin Sisters Publishing, LLC, graciously took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions. I’ve attached a link to the first chapter, which will hook you right away. (Disclaimer: we went to high school together.)
Why did you want to write this book?
There were really a couple of reasons. The first is my 10-year-old daughter (at the time) was somewhat negative about her writing homework assignments so I began writing “Where the Sky Doesn’t End” as an exercise to show her how “magical” writing could be. The second reason was to prove to myself that I could string enough sentences together to actually do a book-length work. (Honestly, I had no idea I could actually do it.)

How long did it take you to write it?
Once I envisioned the main characters (and what made them tick) and once I mapped out a general storyline in my mind, it took about three months (at an hour or two most nights) to write. But it took about six or seven years to find a publisher for it!

What was the easiest part to write, and what was the most difficult?
The hardest part for me was writing the part of Aria. Though it was a long time ago, I still remember being an adolescent boy, so relating to Brendan and writing his part was easy – and somewhat autobiographical. And as an older guy, it was pretty easy to relate to all of the male characters. But I’ve never been a girl – so I had to imagine her experiences, frustrations and perspectives. That was tough.

Whose writing style do you think is similar to yours?
(To avoid insulting any other authors out there, I’ll chicken out and avoid naming names.) But someday I’d like to be able to write as well as Gary Paulsen. Regrettably, I know I”ll never be in Paulsen’s league. But the fun for me is trying to improve my game – to get better with every sentence, every paragraph I write from here on out.
Maybe this is just an attempt to justify my lack of literary style, but to me writing an interesting story isn’t as much about style as it is about heart – understanding and empathizing with your characters – and then simply getting out of the way and letting them channel their story through you. Because if you think about it, none of us read Twain to read Twain. We read Twain to find out if Huck and Jim will succeed in their quest or if Tom and Becky make it out of the cave. At the end of the day, it’s all about the characters – created by talented authors.

Where can we buy the book?, Barnes and and it can be ordered by other retail outlets through Martin Sisters Publishing.

What’s your next project?
I have another YA adventure manuscript completed that I’m currently shopping around. It’s a geologically plausible novel about discovering diamonds in central Arkansas. And I’m about half-way through a political satire manuscript – that will surely raise a few eyebrows if ever finds ink.

Is there anything you would like to add?
To anyone who reads my book, let me say “thank you.” As mortal beings the most precious commodity we have is time. I am honored by anyone who would spend some of that precious commodity reading my story. My hope is that readers will conclude after reading “Where the Sky Doesn’t End,” that is was time well spent.
Write soon,


  1. Mary--These were great questions, that really prompted the author to reflect.

  2. I agree, Mary! Those were great questions. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about the creative process behind "subject, verb, direct object -- repeat" as related to my work of love. Keep up the great work!

  3. Great interview, Mary. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Ron.