As part of her tour, Nickie will be awarding two personally autographed print copies of her novel, The Haversham Legacy, to randomly drawn commenters during the tour (international contest). If you want a chance to win, make sure to leave an e-mail address with your comment. And if you'd like to increase your odds, follow Nickie's tour and leave an e-mail address with a comment at other stops.
Nickie Fleming is a Belgian author who writes in English. She has a master’s degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher of languages. She has been fascinated by books since she was a child and no wonder she began to write her own stories at an early age. She finished her first real novel aged 16, which was the first draft of ‘Maria Gonzalez’ (this novel was published later on in a reworked version).
Welcome, Nickie. Please tell us about your current release.
My current release is The Gold Crucifix, a book set in mid 17th century England. During the civil war which tore England apart, a young woman and a young man fall in love. The result is their love-child, Sarah. This one only learns about it when her mother dies, and she tries to find back the father she has never known. She only has a name – Davenport – and a description of his looks.
Sarah goes to work at the local manor house and the Earl, Walter Carey, takes an interest in her. When his younger brother comes over for a visit and obviously fancies Sarah, Walter realizes he has deeper feelings for the girl.
To escape these problems, Sarah leaves Linfield Grange and sets off to London, where she becomes an actress at the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane. There her many talents are recognized by different men, among whom King Charles II.
I’m not going to reveal how the story ends, you’ll find out when you read the book!
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always been fascinated by the 17th century and its history. King Charles II was one of my favorites, as he lead an interesting life and always was a handsome man, according to his portraits and his wax image at Madame Tussaud’s.
Excerpt: (we meet King Charles II, who plays an important role in the plot)
As Hart had predicted the performance went smoothly. When Sarah appeared on the stage, her armpits were wet with transpiration. Nevertheless she said her first lines without the slightest hesitation and then became fully absorbed with her role.
She not once looked into the auditorium and therefore was not aware of the fact that most of the male audience was paying more attention to her than to the actual play.
In the royal box the king and his brother were more attentive than normal. Charles looked more than once at the leading actress, to his brother’s amusement.
“I won’t pretend Shakespeare is my favorite playwright,” the king whispered into James’s ear. “But this Ophelia… She’s a damned good actress and a pretty wench as well. Is she a new acquisition?”
“I don’t know,” James answered.
“Her name is Sarah Davenport,” George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham, interrupted. The duke was one of the gentlemen in the king’s suit. He also was a frequent visitor of the theatre. “She is one of Hart’s new discoveries and he thinks rather well of her.”
“Davenport? Interesting,” Charles commented
He kept silent for a while, completely forgetting the presence of the others. His thoughts lingered away and a secretive smile curled his mouth.
Oh yes, this could become a special occasion indeed…
What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now I’m working on a story set in Victorian times. It is more gothic than my other books and deals with murder and dark secrets. I got the idea for it when I wrote a short story some years ago, and looking back on it I thought I could bring this further to a book. The working title of this story is ‘The Black Coach’, and I hope to get it finished before the end of this year.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I suppose it was already when I was in primary school! I sat in class, feeling bored to death because our teacher spend so much time explaining sums etc. to pupils who did not understand, and so I took out my little notebook and began to invent stories. The teacher read them to the class later on, so I guess that made me an author.
The older I became, the longer those stories were and my first full length novel was already written when I was 16.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, I don’t write full time. I am first a teacher, and I have been working in this profession since I was 22 years of age. I still feel good at this job, as it keeps you up-to-date with everything and I do get along well with my students.
I do my writing at intervals (sometimes we have one or two hours free) and during the weekend, and then the holidays. You know, we teachers never work, we only have holidays (!)
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can write at the most odd places. Sometimes we have a meeting with the other teachers, discussing teaching matters, and suddenly an idea pops up in my mind and I have to develop it. Or I’m sitting in the train, mutating to or from work, and I think of something and then have to find a scrap of paper to note it down.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh, I wanted so many things! At some time I wanted to be a princess, and marry one or other king (Prince Charles was one of my favorites…). I also wanted to be a bestselling author, or an archeologist, a lawyer, an accountant… I did not have a clue when I was younger.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Perhaps that I’m a voracious reader, that I like to travel, like to go to the theatre and musical theatre (my favorite being Phantom of the Opera). I also like skiing, horseback riding, biking, and walking.
Thanks, Nickie! Readers, don't forget to leave an e-mail address if you want to be entered to win one of the giveaways.