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Wednesday, 19 December 2007
Getting to Know Nikki Leigh
Topic: Author Interview
  Nikki Leigh the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Creative, independent and supportive

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

The people that I've asked, said very positive things. Usually, creative, sharing, helpful, independent and driven.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Learning more about a wide variety of topics and anything that is associated with the ocean.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

My cat Shadow has been with me for almost 6 years. He's a gray bobtail and he is very independent. Muze has been with me for 2 years and he's a tiger strip. He lays curled up beside me while I'm working and he's included in Book Promo 101 and 201. Also, my blog Muze's Musings is named after Muze.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

Probably the first time I stuck my feet in the sand at the beach. The first time I held each of my books in my hands is a very close second.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

There have been many embarrassing moments throughout my life. I'm not sure I can think of one specific "most embarrassing" memory, but it would have to be during my school days when I was always the tallest kid in the class and I had braces for 5 years.

7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I've been managing and reorganizing businesses since I was 19 and I still do some of that work. I have also done promotional work for a wide variety of businesses and I still do that. Anything at this point, would involve management and promotion of products, services and author promotion.

8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Nikki Leigh is from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She was a small town gal who gained some level of success as an award winning fiction and non fiction author. The people and places she wrote about were meant to touch the core of your being and help you learn about other places and times.

She worked to help other people learn and do more. Her love of the ocean and lighthouses was evident in her home, her photos and her writing. She leaves behind two cats who are spoiled rotten, but they loved her. She also leaves her father, mother, brother, two grandmothers, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Nikki Leigh the writer:

9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

That was probably the evening when I finished the first draft for my first book. The next day I was attending the Virginia Festival of the Book for the first time. I had the most fascinating conversation in my mind on the ride to the event. I felt so confident about "being a writer" until I got near the event. At that point I felt very unqualified and like a "wannabe". By that evening, I was excited about getting that first novel published and I went home to compile and mail 50 query letters and synopsis to various agents.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I'm working on the first draft for Book Promo 201, the second book in my author promotional series. In addition, I'm beginning research for the second book in my Cape Hatteras mystery series. There are several short stories that I need to finish and I'm reworking my first book for re-release in 2008. When that's finished, I need to start writing the next book in the historic Misty Cove series.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I plan to finish the books mentioned above and there are a number of Cape Hatteras books that I really want to write. Also, when the Misty Cove series is finished, I have a new heroine that will have her own mystery series. Over the last two years, I had 10 of my own books released and I ghostwrote 8 books for others. I'm working to shift into more promotional work for my income, so that I can focus more writing efforts on my books.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

Most weeks I write about 60-80 hours a week. That fluctuates depending on how much promotional work I'm doing for myself and others. I check my email in the morning and respond to everything that needs my attention. I write mid to late morning, most the afternoon and most of the evenings. Some nights I write until 9 or 10 and occasionally I shut down the computer and work on research. On rare evenings, I shut down the computer and read someone else's books. Each weekend, I write articles for an ongoing website client. I also work on a forum for about an hour each day. My writing day activities depend on whether I'm working on one of my projects or a book for a client.

13.  Why do you write?

Writing and promotion are two of my favorite creative outlets. I mention in my Book Promo books that we can and should be as creative in our promotion as we are in our writing. For all those years that I "put off" writing, promotional work was my best creative outlet. I did drafting work for nine years and that was another creative outlet, but then I changed jobs. I love writing because it gives me that creative outlet and it gives me a way to share the stories racing around in my mind. It lets other people visit the settings I love and to meet the characters that I've created. What more could I want?

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

That's tough. There are some things about many authors that inspire me and it all revolves around what they accomplish in their work. Just a couple of examples: Jon Jefferson (Jefferson Bass) and the way he creates the vivid setting and characters. Jeffrey Deaver and the way he keeps the reader guessing till the very end and even though I'm always shocked, it makes perfect sense when I get there. Danielle Steel and the way she touches the heartstrings of her readers, I also like the way she weaves historic events into some of her books. Maeve Binchy is another author that creates a very vivid setting and characters that we care about. These are just a few, but there are many many more. The funny thing is that there are things I would do differently in these writers' books, but I also admire many of the things they do. I guess that means its not blond loyalty and admiration.

15.  How do you define your writing?

Define my writing, that another good question. What if I tell you what I aim to create in my writing? In my fiction, I strive to create a setting that is real to the reader and characters they will care about or hate - depending on which characters. I want to get them emotionally involved in the story. In my author promotional books, I want to share the information and experiences that I've gathered in a way that speaks to the reader, not speaks over their head or down to them. Speaking to the reader is much more helpful than talking down to them. My business books are written in the same style and I've gotten great reviews about the easy to understand style and that they are packed with useful information.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

"I traveled to many interesting and vivid places through the pages of Nikki Leigh's books and I felt like I was "in the story" with the characters who became my friends."

Nikki Leigh the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

Nikki Leigh website -

Business website - (my real name is Shri Henkel)

Self Promotion Pages at Inspired Author -

Blog Tour Website -

I have quite a few blogs, but my main blog is

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

The most direct place to contact me is or one my main blog

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

I have books released under two names, so I'll list them separately.

Books Released Under "Shri Henkel"

365 Foolish Mistakes Smart Managers Make

How to Open a Financially Successful Pizza and Sub Shop

Non Commercial Food Service Manager's Handbook

Successful Meetings: How to Plan, Prepare and Execute Top Notch Business Meetings

(I compiled the 4th edition of the Restaurant Manager's Handbook)


Books Released Under "Nikki Leigh"

Stormy View - contemporary Misty Cove book

Widow's Walk - Misty Cove Chronicles - Book One

Lady Lightkeeper - Misty Cove Chronicles - Book Two

Lilah and the Locket - Cape Hatteras Series - 1954

Book Promo 101 - Learn the Basics of Book Promotion

Journeys of a Lifetime by Members of the Readers Station

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

My novels give you plenty of local and historic authenticity. Anyone who in interested in lighthouses, lifesaving stations, shipwrecks and the ocean will find a lot of accurate history. My heroines are strong and independent. You will watch them grow and become more independent through the pages of my books. My non fiction is all written in an easy to understand style to help you learn more about the various topics.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I think you asked a bunch of great questions to give your readers plenty of ideas about my work. I would like to mention a new site that I'm launching in a few weeks. It is an all new blog tour website. We're going to handle tours in a whole new way. I'm offering special low introductory prices and I'm also offering free promotional opportunities for all members of the site. If you would like to get some exposure for your books, feel free to become a member. If you would like to get more exposure for your books or for a business, read the information about how to become a sponsor (there is no charge). I'd be happy to speak to anyone who is interested in being a member, a featured author or a sponsor. There are plenty of opportunities for everyone. Most of the site is working at this time, but people can register at any time. Please contact me if you would like to discuss being a featured author. We plan to launch our first tours in January and we would love to include you. The address is I would also be happy to add you to my mailing list to make sure you get all the advance information. Email me at and put "mailing list" in the subject line. I'm also available to answer questions at the same address.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007 1:42 AM EST
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