Interview with Nikki Lockwood – The Author of the ‘Curse of Stone’.
What inspired you to write this book?
This idea actually came to me in a dream that was persistent over several weeks. It was Gabriel’s character that was in the dream, and his brothers. Their curse and existence were intriguing and complex, and then when the girl came into the picture (in my dream) I knew there was a story to be told here.
Can you tell me about the book?
When a strange man starts following her, and weird things start occurring, she turns to her best friend, Jamie, who is secretly a werewolf and knows more than he is telling her.
When the great-aunt appears, things start to spiral further into danger. Danielle doesn’t know that she is being hunted by an ancient demon, and minions of evil are coming for her.
Enter Gabriel. A cursed man – and a gargoyle, he is searching for his healer – the one human female destined to break his curse. He must find her before evil does.
It’s really the old tale of good versus evil, but they are racing against the clock.
What does the title mean?
Curse of Stone has a complex meaning. It relates to an actual curse that becomes known in the book. The curse is about three stones, hence curse of stone. Three stones, one of blood, one of light, and one bound. The one of blood is the healer or the main character, Danielle. The one of light is a precious gem (stone) not of earth’s realm and is the necklace mentioned in the book. The one bound that relates to the man cursed in stone – and the second male character, Gabriel, who is a gargoyle. To understand how they interrelate you’ll need to read the book.
Were the characters inspired by real people?
Yes and no. To be honest, the character of Jamie is based on a person I once knew (obviously not with the same name). But his personality is based on several people.
Gabriel is not based on a real person, but his mannerism and the way he carries himself was inspired by a real person.
The character of Radu is inspired by a legendary folk tale from an Eastern European country. Researching that legend was incredibly fascinating and brining him to life in a different way from his legends was extremely rewarding.
Do you have a favourite character in the book?
From the perspective of writing the characters, at the start it was Gabriel. However, after developing the characters in-depth, Jamie was my favourite character to write.
How many hours a day do you write?
On weekdays, I write on average between 6-9 hours a day. On the weekends is when I try to do my editing, reflection, proofreads, plotting, and character or storyline research.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
That I know my characters inside and out before they even get to the page. But from a technical viewpoint, when I am writing I cannot hold a conversation with anyone because my mind is so in the zone that I cannot focus on anything but the story in which I am telling.
What do you think comes first, the plot or characters?
It depends on whether you are writing a character-driven story or a plot-driven story. For me I would say even when a story idea strikes, I tend to focus on who the characters are that are carrying/telling the story, then I will plot out what I want to happen – however the characters can take the story away from the original plot as well, which isn’t a bad thing.
How do you develop your characters?
I love developing my characters, it is so much fun. For ‘Curse of Stone’ I created a character book that has each character’s biography, background, quirks, and storylines in it, as well as drawings or photos of physical features that I wanted for each. The book is about 100 pages long as it has characters in it that weren’t in the first book but will be arriving in either book 2 or 3.
My methods for character development are intense. I can tell you everything about them, most of which never hits the page. I do this because I want to have my characters authentically respond and react to situations, with language specific to them. I’m not going to give away all my secrets here.
How much world building did you do before writing this book?
Because it is set in a city, there wasn’t much world building to do. However, I did have to think about the layout and complexity of getting around the city to each location in the book. So, I guess I did a bit.
What was the hardest scene to write?
This is an interesting question. If I were answering this generically, it would be any intimate or lovey-dovey scenes because I get squeamish writing them. However, the hardest scene to write was the funeral scene and then the final chapters.
What surprised you the most while writing this book?
The character of Velkan. Originally, he was going to be the main character’s main love interest and then would form a love triangle with another, but as Jamie’s character voice became stronger and more complex, Velkan’s character became not what I had originally planned and that surprised me.
If your book was turned into a movie, what celebrities would play your characters?
To be honest, I have given this a bit of thought already – not saying that it would ever happen, but it’s fun to think about. If it were to be made into a movie, I wouldn’t want any well-known actors or actresses to portray my characters – unless it was a background character.
I have set people in mind for the main characters and even the additional characters. I won’t say anything more except that I saw them on Instagram.
Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
When you are in the nitty gritty of writing your story, you are extremely focused, and it is mentally exhausting. Some days, when I have been writing since dawn, I am exhausted by three or five in the afternoon and literally cannot do anything else that would stimulate my brain. So, I watch a movie – one that I have seen before so I am not as interested.
I guess it’s important to keep good health, take moments to breath and take in your surroundings, eat good food, stay away from negative stimuli, believe in your story, practice your craft, and get a good night’s sleep – however that last one I cannot claim I do, as I suffer from insomnia and barely get 1-3 hours’ sleep a night.
Yes, so eat well, live well, take breaks, and sleep, because being mentally exhausted is just as taxing on the body as being physically exhausted.
How do you deal with reviews, do you read them?
I love reviews – good and bad. Critical reviews make writers better at their craft and I know that may not be a common opinion but who else can give you brutally honest feedback than a disgruntled reader. I haven’t received any negative feedback about ‘Curse of Stone’ yet but have received complimentary reviews so far.
What can we expect in book two of this series? Any snippets you can share about the future of the characters?
I have an array of wonderfully crafted new creatures to introduce. More plots twists. In book two, the readers will get to know Gabriel’s story more, as well as some of the other werewolves.
There will just be more explanation and the ‘why’ of certain characters.
The second book takes the characters out of the city of Estermoore and into different realms, so the world building for the second and third books is more elaborate.
I know those who have read the book are wondering what happens to Jamie, well, I have something lined up for his character – but I am not willing to give out any details yet.
What are you working on right now? Could you share any details with readers?
I have just finished the editing and publishing of an anthology of works by our local writers’ group. I have my non-fiction book coming out shortly about Africa, which I have been working on for the past five years.
I have finished a new standalone novel that is really cool, and I have several other manuscripts on the go.
Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
I am on Instagram @nikkinzwriter; Twitter @nikkinzwriter; Facebook @nikkilockwoodnz; and I also have a website and blog www.nikkilockwood.com. And yes, I will respond to legitimate comments and questions, not spam or irrelevant nonsense.
‘Curse of Stone‘ is available in paperback and e-book formats on Amazon.com.