Interview with Nike Chillemi

» Posted on May 13, 2011 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview with Nike Chillemi

This week I’m hosting Janelle Mowery with <i>Died in the Wool</i> and Nike Chillemi with <i>Burning Hearts</i>. If you want to enter the drawings, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (May 15th) evening.

Interview with Nike Chillemi:
M: What made you start writing?
N: Very early on writing became a means of self-expression for me. As a very young child, I hand printed books in Crayola and then as a teen, I wrote really horrid poems filled with angst.

M: How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
N: BURNUNG HEARTS is my debut novel which will be out on May 15th. I’ve been writing seriously for publication for over five years. I wrote a suspense novel, a bad one, without any knowledge of the craft and a dear Christian friend, Wesley (the Pup) Cannon, was my editor. I’m laughing to myself, because I’d never written a book and Wes had never edited one. He was fighting cancer and had plenty of time to read. I praise God that he won that battle, but obviously, the book never went anywhere. I started reading Christian writers’ blogs and came upon Cheryl Wyatt. I entered and won one or two of her prompt contests. She told me I had a voice for suspense and should keep at it and introduced me to the Steeple Hill author boards. At that time, Harlequin was giving an online writing course. I went through all the lessons one-by-one and became a member of the Steeple Hill forums. Margaret, that’s where I met you. I spent several years on the Steeple Hill forums while I was learning my craft. I still drop by, especially at holidays. It’s a great place.  
M:  How do you handle rejections?
N:  Well, my first rejection was devastating. But I went crying to my writer friends who assured me they’d been through it and that more rejections would come. And more rejections did come. 
M:  Why do you write?
N:  I hate it when writers way, “they have a calling.” I’ve heard if you tell that to an editor, it’s the fastest way to have your manuscript hit the garbage can. Still, writing is kind of a calling, in the sense that I feel compelled to write books that not only appeal to those in the pews, but also to those who might only have a nominal Christian background, or might’ve left the church. I strive to write novels that entertain, but also pose questions about what our purpose in life might be, and what a relationship with God could mean to a person. 
M:  What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
N:  What free time? I’m a wife, a homeschooling mom, was a pet rescuer, and have a house full of cats and a little dog we just got from the pound. If I had free time, I’d like to lay on a chaise lounge under straw cabana on the beach and read an exciting, seat of the pants, suspense novel.
M:  What are you working on right now?
N:  I’m working on the sequel to BURNING HEARTS. The second in the Sanctuary Point series, GOODBYE NOEL. It’s a Christmas themed suspense novel and will come out in December 2011.
M:  Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
N:  Not intentionally, I just try to write an exciting story with characters the reader will identify with. I’ve noticed Erica Brogna, my Czechoslovakian immigrant heroine in BURNING HEARTS does resemble myself and her mother resembles my Czech grandmother who ran a boarding house, as Erica’s mom does.
M:  Tell us about the book you have out right now.
N:  As this novel emerged, I found my writing style. BURNING HEARTS has an equal measure of suspense, action, and romance, with a hefty dose of humor thrown in. Erica and Lorne fall for each other in a big way almost immediately, but they’re also very committed to seeking justice for the murder victim.
M:  Do you have any advice for other writers?
N:  Yes. Don’t expect the contract to come overnight. Just about every contracted author I know wrote seriously for three to five years before selling a book. If a free online writing course is available, take it. Join a writers group. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) is perhaps the largest and offers the most to the new Christian fiction writer. If the new writer feels his/her writing might be gritty or seat of the pants, join Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). There are many local and regional groups as well. Mostly, get active in these groups and take full advantage of what they offer.
M:  How important is faith in your books?
N:  Faith is essential to my writing. In BURNING HEARTS both Erica and Lorne have had their faith shaken by what has happened in their lives. The story is set in 1946, at the close of WWII. I think America had it’s faith shaken by the brutality of that war. So many of our boys died on foreign soil. It was a loss of innocence for the country.
M:  What themes do you like to write about?
N:  All of my stories have sub-themes. BURNING HEARTS asks questions about how people struggle to overcome tragedy in their lives. Another sub-theme is justice for the victims of violent crimes.
M:  What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
N:  So, far only BURNING HEARTS is out, so I’ll give my favs written by others. One is The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. In Christian suspense, I favor Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand, The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello, the Patrick Bowers series by Steven James. I also read a few terrific secular authors who write compelling thrillers. The Harry Bosch detective series by Michael Connelly, the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series by Robert Crais, and the Gail Connor/Anthony Quintana series by Barbara Parker.  
M:  What is your writing schedule like?N:  Constant. I write every moment I get a chance.