Molly Reviews and Interview: Do It Yourself by Nikky Kaye

Sarah began her DIY education by ditching the biggest tool in her garage—her husband. Now she’s realizing that not just her marriage was boring, beige and transitional, and she’s in over her head.

Luckily, Chris the hot young handyman is teaching her how to screw, drill, and hammer—and also how to use her power tools.

Together they’re updating her wiring and unclogging her pipes. But when Sarah worries that she’s treating Chris like her own personal power tool, what will she do? Will she pull the plug?

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This was a fun story. I enjoyed watching Sarah come out of her shell and gain more confidence in herself after her divorce. I liked how the story to the typical “handy man comes over and bow chicka bow wow” trop and turned it on its ear. There was definitely a handyman and some seriously sexy bow chicka bow ow times in the story. But it was a refreshing change as well. I liked how Chris took his time with Sarah and didn’t throw himself at her from the moment he met her. Both Chris and Sarah made incorrect assumptions about each other and it made for some hysterically awkward scenes. I liked these two together and was happy with how the story ended. The romantic part of me wants to see a sequel where they’re happy together and in a relationship. However the smutty side wants to see more about their fling and doesn’t care if they last forever or not. Either way these two work and I enjoyed the heck out of this story.

Molly: What music, if any do you listen to when you write?
Nikky: Ha! I’m easily distracted, like a kitten with a laser pointer. Chances are that if I listened to songs when writing, the characters would start speaking in lyrics. J If I do listen to music when working, it’s generally classical. I wish I listened to more music in general, but my “listening” for the past few years has revolved around podcasts.
Molly: Are you a full time writer, or part time writer? What was the transition like between part time and full time writer?
Nikky: The caveat to all of this is that I only started writing fiction again in, uh, May? June? 2016. As in—a few months ago.

So if you asked my kids, they would complain that I work ALL THE TIME! Sigh…  I’ve been lucky enough to be a work at home mom for the last five years, and I work for my husband. Working at home is a double-edged sword—generally it means that I’m always working, but I never get anything done!

I have a ton of support, and my husband has been pushing me to get back into writing for a few years now, because he knows how much I used to love it. I always claimed I was too busy, not inspired enough, blah blah blah. But the truth is that I was probably scared and avoiding failure. I had a mental turnaround in spring 2016, and since then I’ve been trying to do it as full-time as possible.

When I’m home and my schedule is “normal” (i.e. not traveling) I try to write about 5-6 hours a day, and then do 1-2 hours of promotion, production, design and other admin stuff at night between 10-12 or so. I have twin boys who have just started half-day kindergarten, so I’m still working out the kinks of a new regular schedule.

The transition between not writing and writing almost full-time has been fine for me, but harder on my family. Honestly, I would love to be always working. I get obsessed with what I’m working on, or researching or planning the next five projects. And I’m really bad at compartmentalizing, so my head is always full of everything.

I have spent a lot of time pretending to be spending time with my family but really they’re doing stuff while I’m on the couch with my laptop—and then everything suffers. I don’t get the quality or quantity of work done that I want and I’m irritated at every interruption. They feel neglected, ignored, pushed aside and not important. In my attempt to try to do it all I’ve basically faffed it all up.

So now I tell my kids that “Mummy is working” for certain hours, which means I might go to the library or somewhere else to write. Then I promise them that after 5pm or so I’m all theirs. Sometimes that requires me to put my laptop and phone in my car, because I can’t be trusted. But they deserve my undivided attention for at least a few hours a day. And I still feel horribly, horribly guilty for taking that time for my own professional and personal development—which is a screwed up thing.

I’ll be honest with you, though. I’m very fortunate that I don’t have to rely on royalties to put food on the table. My kids don’t have cardboard in their shoes (well, unless they’re wearing empty tissue boxes and pretending to be robots). So I have the very real luxury of writing because I want to. I appreciate that. Every. Single. Day.
Molly: Do you have a word count per day you try to hit?
Nikky: I didn’t before, but I do now that I have a plan for world domination (insert evil cackle here). I try to hit at least 2000 words a day in order to keep to a schedule of publication that I’ve set out for myself for the next few months. If I think about the gestalt of what I want to accomplish it is overwhelming, so it’s easier to do the math and break it down.
Molly: When you finish writing a book, how long before you begin writing the next one?
Nikky: I’m lucky that I write very clean copy. To be honest, what you buy and read is more or less my first draft (hiding now). But I do have a fabulous editor that I send everything to, and she fixes any gaffes I make with verb tense and whatnot. By the time I send something to her, I’ve already done the cover and blurb and other admin stuff as well, so then I move on to something else while I wait for her final edits (then I send out ARCs).

I’ve discovered that doing something like a short (takes a few days, transitions my brain) is a good in between thing for me to write while I’m waiting for her to work her magic. Recently I took about a week off of “real” writing (not just outlining or admin stuff), and I found it harder to get into the next book. Like I said, I am easily distracted, so… what was the question again? [Literally! I just went back to edit another answer, then came back to this and blanked out.]

The challenge for myself for the next few months is that I may have multiple things on the go at the same time. My priority is writing a new full-length novel, but I also want to write a few exclusive shorts for my mailing list subscribers (such as a catch-up story with Will and Cassie from Once Should Be Enough) and edit two other full-length novels that I pulled out of storage from the Cretaceous Period.

About Nikky:
Nikky Kaye is almost my real name. I’m a former Film professor who likes more than her movies to be black and white. Sadly, the world doesn’t work that way. I have worked with movie stars, Ivy League brainiacs, and the United Nations—all of which means that I’m familiar with ass-kissing, power struggles, greed and faking it. In my spare time I parent 5 year-old twin boys, serve on the board of an independent cinema, and run a medical consulting company.

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