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Eleven Questions with Nicole Given Kurtz

1). How did your writing journey begin?

A: My writing journey began as a child. I would go to bed after watching television, and I would extend and expand those stories as I fell asleep. I would embellish those storylines with my dolls the next day. I was writing fan fiction from an early age, but as soon as I could write, I would write those stories down. My first payment from a written work was in 10th grade when I won a citywide essay contest.

2). Who are your writing inspirations?

A: My earliest writing inspirations was Stephen King and Gwendolyn Brooks, but as I grew older, my fell in love with Sue Grafton and Robert B. Parker, which are mystery authors. I also enjoyed Philip K. Dick and Octavia Butler’s works. Like my works, my writing inspirations are a mashup of various genres.

3). Are you an outliner or a panster?

A: I’ve been a professional author for over 20 years and for 20 years I’ve been a panster! Lately, as I get older and have multiple projects occurring simultaneously, I have begun to outline and structure more of my stories. I have found that the more time I devote outlining and structuring the story, as boring as it can be, the easier it becomes for me to write the story.

4). What are your favorite books?

A: My favorite books are, The Dark Tower, Altered Carbon, Their Eyes Were Watching God, As I Lay Dying, and Rumble Fish.

5). Describe your writing process.

A: My writing process is one I described as patchwork. I keep a notebook and I write scenes or patches of the story. When I have a long stretch of uninterrupted time, I stitch those patchwork of scenes together. If I have outlined the story, this helps with the knitting together of scenes, but if not, it is a little more challenging. I tend to write in a linear fashion, meaning beginning, middle, end. I don’t write straight through, but I am guilty of editing as I go along. I have both alpha and beta readers who read the work after I’ve done my three passes of the work.

When I finish the draft, I sit it aside for either 3 weeks to a month, maybe longer. I will read through it a second time and correct, etc. If it’s ready I send it to alpha readers. Once I get their feedback and correct/revise, it goes to beta readers. After I get their feedback, revise/correct, it goes to the editor or out of submission.

This is why it takes me forever to publish anything.

6). Why did you choose to write speculative fiction?

A: I choose to write speculative fiction because I love reading speculative fiction. It allows for the true expansion of one’s imagination. Nothing confines it. Not time, space, gravity. It’s a wonderful foray into creativeness and I adore it.

7). Tell us a bit about your story.

A: My latest story is about Prentice, an investigative hawk deployed from The Order to the small egg of Gould, a mountain village where a missing girl had been found dead. Hawks investigate strange and difficult situations throughout the Kingdom of Aves because hawks can “see the unseen,” by accessing a unique ability to activate hawk-like vision.

When Prentice arrives and soon discovers that there isn’t just one bird dead, but three. There’s a serial killer operating in Gould, and she has to find the person before she ends up next.

So, it’s a mystery set in the fantasy bird world of Aves.

8). What inspired you to write this story?

A: I love mysteries, and I’ve written a cyberpunk science fiction series, Cybil Lewis, for years. I wanted to write something fantastic, but I was bored with elves and dwarves. Birds intrigue me, and thus Prentice was born.

9). Will there be more stories about this character?

A: The Kingdom of Aves is a novella series. I’m already a third of the way through the second story, A Theft Most Fowl.

10). How do we keep up with all things Nicole Givens Kurtz?

A: You can follow me on Twitter at @nicolegkurtz, on Facebook and support my Patreon at

11). What advice would you give to new writers?

A: My advice to new writers is learn the business aspect before venturing into those waters. I wish I had spent more time evaluating and learning how the business end of writing and publishing worked before throwing my work out there to anyone who would publish it. In a word, READ THE CONTRACT!

Pre-order Nicole Smith's latest novella Kill Three Birds to day from Amazon.

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