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  • Nikky Lee

10 Questions with Nikki Moyes

Nikki Moyes writes YA fiction and her first book, If I Wake was published in 2016. She was born in Victoria and has moved around Australia amassing an eclectic range of occupations including tallship watch leader, apiarist, rose farm hand, and sandwich artist. In her spare time she learns tissu, static trapeze, and aerial hoop (she couldn't decide on one) in case she needs to run off and join the circus.

Nikki and her brother have also created a series of ‘blank books’ under the pen name Gimmicky Pseudonym.

Books by Nikki Moyes including If I Wake, The Keeper, The Halfling, The Castle, Kokoda Trek, and Gimmicky Pseudonym’s Blank Book series.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you call home and what do you write?

I’m an Australian writer. I’ve lived all over the country, but I currently live in the northern-most capital city, Darwin. Darwin is in the tropics so we don’t get the normal four seasons. There is no such thing as winter. We have the Wet Season and the Dry Season. It’s always hot (we think an overnight low of 20C/68F is cold) and in the Wet Season it gets extremely humid (up to 100% humidity), but at least the weather is always consistent.

I mostly write Young Adult speculative fiction although I have also written a non-fiction book.

2. What drew you to that particular genre/age group?

I’ve loved YA fiction since I started reading it in high school. The genre tends to be very direct, have a point without being preachy, and it’s an age of new experiences and hope so it can be quite fun to write.

3. What’s your best known work?

If I Wake is my first published book and best-seller. It’s turning five years old this year. It’s a YA Magical Realism story about bullying, depression, suicide, hope and time-travel.

If I Wake in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio.

4. What inspired you to write it?

I remember reading Thirteen Reasons Why in my early twenties and having mixed feelings about it. It was exciting to see a YA story about suicide, but on the other hand the premise of ‘you’ll be sorry when I’m dead’ is harmful. Having experienced depression firsthand, I wanted to write a story that could start a conversation about mental health in a hopeful way.

5. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter, panster or somewhere in between? How do you research?

I’m somewhere in between. I kind of let the ideas percolate in my head for a while and then roughly map out chapter titles. The rest is mostly pantsing. If I Wake involved time-travel so a fair amount of research was required. I sent time looking through books at the library and also watched a few movies to give me inspiration for each location. The thing with research is that you always end up with more information than what fits neatly into the story. For example, Pompeii has ancient graffiti penises everywhere but I couldn’t work that into my plot. I mostly researched an era before I dived into writing each historical chapter.

6. What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve researched for your writing?

For my non-fiction book Kokoda Trek, I trekked a ridiculously steep and muddy jungle track through Papua New Guinea. It was around 100 kms long and the scene of a months-long battle between heavily out-numbered Australian troops trying to hold off the Japanese advance in 1942. My grandad had been over there during WWII as a translator. His job was to capture and translate Japanese documents. I’ve included some of the documents and translations in the book, as well as photos of the track. We did the trek over ten days, including one rest day and two short days. Three of our group had to be evacuated by helicopter, including our trek leader who contracted typhoid despite being vaccinated…

7. What’s the most personal story/scene you’ve written and why?

Kokoda Trek was told from my point of view, so I guess you could say it’s the most personal, but I put more emotion into If I Wake. Being a story about bullying and depression, I drew on my own experiences, scattering tiny pieces of myself throughout the scenes without it actually being me. Because of that, the story has resonated with many readers who were also bullied at school.

8. Who are your literary influences? In what way?

As a teen, I grew up reading books by Tamora Piece (Tortall series) and John Marsden (Tomorrow When the War Began series). I was surrounded by books such as Little House on the Prairie, The Hobbit, and Anne of Green Gables (although my favourite book by that author is The Blue Castle). My writing has been shaped by all the stories I have consumed throughout my life.

9. What books are on your bedside table right now?

So, so very many. According to Goodreads, I have about 150 books on my to-read pile. I’m currently reading an Australian romance called Rocky Road to Love.

10. Last and most important, where can we find your books/stories?

My books can be found in print and ebook at all major online retailers. If I Wake is also available as an audiobook. For anyone short on funds, you can always request that your local library get a copy of any of my books. If you sign up to my newsletter, you will receive a free short story The Halfling—

Follow Nikki on these platforms!


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