I had the pleasure of interviewing Vancouver Island based author Nikki Tate. While she has a home in Vancouver Island, Nikki is an author of the world. An incredibly diverse woman, I was greatly intrigued by her vast number of interests, which she channels into writing on many different platforms. From non-fiction books, articles, essays, and speeches, to fictional stories for teens and children, there is little that Nikki has not done. In addition to writing, Nikki was also a bookseller in Victoria, a professional storyteller, and is an all around outdoors person. With so much life experience, I was excited to delve into her challenges and inspirations.
In addition to your well-known children’s and teen fiction stories, you actively write blog posts to several websites. What made you decide to explore this creative writing outlet? Would you recommend it to other writers, or aspiring writers?
I’ve been writing blog posts since the beginning of blogs. I have always processed the world through writing – either recording experiences and trying to capture the world on the page or creating fictional stories that reflect (and reflect on) the world around me in ways that non-fiction can’t. I’m constantly looking to find new ways to understand the world, to share experience, to entertain, and stimulate thought and conversation. For all writers it’s important to keep exploring, pushing, questioning, experimenting, trying new media, new forms. The number one thing that a writer can do is write.
Looking through your posts, I found that you lead an incredibly well-rounded life. What do you enjoy doing the most when you are not writing? How has this diverse exposure to the world influenced your writing, if at all?
When I’m not writing I love travelling, climbing, hiking, cycling, visiting museums, theatre, visual art, storytelling, leading workshops, sailing… While most of those activities involve turning outward and embracing the world, I am by nature an introvert, so I also enjoy spending time alone, reading, thinking, and journaling. All those activities mean I never run out of things to write about and pretty much everything I do eventually winds up being used somewhere. My challenge isn’t ‘what should I write about next’ it’s, ‘will I live long enough to tackle the top 100 subjects on my list?
It appears that you enjoy challenging yourself over many platforms day to day. Which piece of writing was the most mentally challenging for you to create? Why did it push you to this extent?
One of the most challenging books I’ve ever written is one that’s coming out with Holiday House (working title, Home Base: A Mother-Daughter Story). It’s a picture book with very few words and that manuscript was one of the most difficult I’ve ever had to write. How do you tell the story of a mother and a daughter, capture the essence of their lives together, shed some light on the worlds of women working as bricklayers and girls striving to be top notch pitchers, and send a message of ‘go, girl – you’ve got this, follow your dreams – live the life you want to live’ without saying any of that message-y bit in so many words… all in 150 words. Every project, at some point, makes me want to throw my hands up and pick a different profession. But I know, eventually, miraculously, I’ll find my way to the end of the project and that in fact, I don’t want to be doing anything else.
I quickly felt I knew Nikki’s essence. Made clear by her compelling voice in our interview, I found her belief in pushing your own comfort zone to be inspiring. She advised writers to “get out there and get a life. It doesn’t really matter what you do, but do it with gusto!” Inspiration requires variety, whether in writing or life generally. Nikki motivates people every day, through her writing and lifestyle to try things that they’ve never done before. By opening yourself up to the world, you open yourself up to new opportunity for growth. Perhaps by starting a conversation with a Guild Member like Nikki, or pursuing a new style of writing. Every journey will be different!
If you’d like to look into one of Nikki’s many interests you can find out about workshops, retreats, and her online writing group at Nikki Tate Loves Books on Facebook.