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Most Popular Question

What is your next book and when will it be out?

I am currently working on the Royal Scandals books, which are written under my alter ego, Nicole Burnham. Details on those books are available at www.nicoleburnham.com.

At present, I don't have a date for my next new young adult book. However, in the coming months I plan to update Goddess Games, which is currently out-of-print, and to issue both a new paperback version and an e-book version.


Questions About the Royally Jacked Series

Will there be another book about Valerie Winslow following Royally Jacked, Spin Control, and Do-Over?

It's certainly a possibility, because I have a blast writing about Valerie. At the moment, another Valerie book is up in the air while I finish other projects. I'll be sure to post to my blog and send out an e-newsletter the moment I know one way or another. If you want to be sure you get the news, you can subscribe to the e-newsletter. NOTE: I do not sell or distribute my email newsletter list. I hate spam as much as you do.

In the meantime, if you are missing any of the books in the Valerie series, Simon & Schuster has released the trilogy in a single volume, titled Royally Crushed.

Also, there is a free short story called Reality Check available on Smashwords. It features Val's friend Jules Jackson, and gives a quick peek into Jules' wacky thoughts on romance.

Why haven't you made a movie about Valerie? Or maybe a mini-series?

I'd love to see Val on-screen. However, I'm not a movie producer, nor am I in television, so it's not entirely up to me! I do have an agent who handles these things, however, so it's always a possibility that a movie or TV show will be made in the future. If this happens, I will post the info to my website ASAP.

What is the order of the Valerie books? Do they have to be read in order?

In order, the books are Royally Jacked, Spin Control, and Do-Over. They don't have to be read in order, but since the books take place sequentially, you'll end up having some plot twists spoiled if you read them out of order. It all depends on whether you're the type of person who hates spoilers or not.

If you want an easy way to read the stories in order, Simon & Schuster has issued the trilogy in a single volume with the title Royally Crushed.

Finally, there is Reality Check, which is a free short story available about Val's friend Jules Jackson. I wrote it in response to reader requests for more about Jules, and it is available for free here. It can be read at any time without spoilers for the other books.

Is Valerie really you?

My first response to this question: HA HA HA HA HA!

My second (real) response: No.

Is Schwerinborg a real country?

No. However, I used to live in Germany and I've spent time in many other European countries, so I based a lot of Schwerinborg's characteristics on what I observed while I was there.


Questions About Other Books

Are you planning a sequel to Sticky Fingers? What about a sequel to Scary Beautiful?

Though I haven't completely ruled it out, no sequel is currently planned to either of these books. At the moment I'm busy working on other projects.

Is Vista Verde (the setting of Scary Beautiful) a real town? I think I've heard of it but I can't find it on a map.

The town of Vista Verde is fictional. I made it up and set it near the real town of Boulder, Colorado. However, there is a real ranch called Vista Verde that's near Steamboat Springs, Colorado (quite a drive from Boulder.) I didn't know about the ranch when I created the fictional town, so the town is not meant to be in any way connected to the ranch. Cool coincidence, though!

Are Framingham and Natick (the setting of Sticky Fingers) real towns?

Yes, they are both suburbs of Boston. Most of the places in Sticky Fingers (the Natick Mall, the roads, the restaurants, the town of Holliston) are also real. However, the high school that Jenna, Scott, Courtney, and Mat attend in Framingham is fictional.

Will there be a sequel to Goddess Games? I want to see how Claire, Drew, and Seneca's new relationships work out.

I never say never...but no, I don't plan to write a sequel to Goddess Games.

How can I get copies of the Silhouette Romances you wrote under the name Nicole Burnham? I can't seem to find them in bookstores.

The Silhouette Romances are available as e-books, but are otherwise out of print in the United States (though they continue to pop up in foreign editions around the world.)


Questions About Writing

Do you base your stories on your real life? If not, where do you get your ideas?

The stories I write are fiction. However, I pick up ideas from everyday life—a newspaper article, something I see on the news, or just overhearing conversations—and then asking myself, "What if...?" and letting my imagination wander. I also get ideas from out of the blue (in other words, I daydream a lot.) For me, the easy part of writing books is coming up with ideas. They're everywhere.

I want to write books someday. What advice do you have?

First and foremost, read everything you can get your hands on. I learned the most about writing simply by reading broadly, and by figuring out what I like and don't like. It's important to pay attention to why a book does or doesn't work for you. Something else to do: write a little every day. It gets you in the habit. You don't have to show it to anyone, but the more you write, the more you'll improve. Finally, don't be afraid to take a heavier class load in English and Literature classes. Literature because it gives you the chance to read and discuss great books, and English because it's important to know the basics of language and proper usage. Then you need to sit down and actually WRITE. Don't talk about writing or make grand plans to write. Just write.

How do you get inspired to write?

For me, writing is a career. There are days I don't feel like writing, but I show up at my keyboard and do the work just as anyone would in any other career. (Could you imagine if your local police decided they weren't inspired to fight crime?) If writers waited to be inspired to write, I doubt many books would get finished! That being said, I enjoy my job immensely so I'm quite happy to show up and work.

I did what you said and wrote a story. Could you read it and let me know what you think? What about just a few general comments? If you like it, could you show it to your editor and/or agent?

That's fantastic! So many people say they want to write, but they never get around to doing it. That alone puts you one giant step ahead of the game. Unfortunately, I get a ton of requests to read unpublished work, and if I did it for some people I'd feel obligated to do it for everyone. That means I wouldn't have time to write, to eat, to sleep...well, you get the idea. So, no, I'm sorry to say that I can't read your work, give you comments, or show it to my editor or agent.

There are also a lot of legal reasons why I can't read unpublished works by other writers. What if you write about a character named Jane and I read it, then I have a book with a character named Jane, so you decide that I must've stolen your stuff, because there's no way I would have come up with a character named Jane on my own? Not that you'd ever do that, but others might. You see how this can get me into major trouble.


Questions About Everything Else

How can I get a list of all your books?

Download my current booklist here as a PDF. It's formatted to be easy to take along with you to the bookstore or library.

Are you currently on any social networking sites?

I am fairly active on Twitter, and also now have pages on Facebook, and Google+.

At present, I'm not on other social networking sites. It's tough enough keeping up with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. If you want to keep in touch with me or hear the latest news, the best ways are to sign up for my e-newsletter or check my blog.

Do you do booksignings or visit schools/libraries/bookclubs?

Yes. The best place to find out about upcoming plans is to visit my Events page. I list all appearances there as soon as they're confirmed.

If you are interested in having me appear at your school or library (if you're a teacher or librarian) or if you're a reader and you'd like me to do a call-in question and answer session with your book club, email me here.

How can I get autographed copies of your books?

I try to sign books in stores whenever I travel. Check my Events page for a list of stores that regularly carry signed titles. If a store near you isn't on that list, then check my blog. If I'm traveling and have visited stores and signed copies recently, that will be listed there.

Still no luck? You can snail mail me and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with two first-class stamps, and I'll use that self-addressed, stamped envelope to send you an autographed bookplate for any of your books. A bookplate is a sticker that I sign, then you peel the backing and place it inside your book, and then it's just as if I signed it.

When you mail me, be sure to include a note letting me know the book title(s) for which you'd like to receive a bookplate. (In other words: In an envelope addressed to me, please send a SECOND envelope you address to yourself, and put two stamps on it. When I get it, I'll mail that second envelope back to you with the bookplate(s) inside. Got it?)

I don't have an e-reader. How do I read your digital books (eBooks)?

Digital books can be read on nearly any tablet, computer, or smartphone. All you need is the appropriate app for the device. To read Kindle-formatted books, visit Amazon's Free Kindle Reading Apps page to get started. To read books formatted for the Nook, visit Barnes & Noble's Nook Apps page. Either way you go, you simply choose the app that matches your device, download it, and start reading.

Do you design your own book covers?

Nope. I can barely draw a stick figure. Book covers are done by the publisher, and that's a good thing for me!

Your website rules. Did you design it yourself?

Nope. As with the book covers, some things are better left to professionals. My site is designed by xuni.com.


Have a question for Niki that's not answered here? Drop her an email, or post your question as a comment on Niki's blog.