Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Interview with children's author Keith Nichols

Children’s’ and YA author Keith Nichols joins me today to chat about his new children’s chapter book Cat Land: Midnight's Gambit. Keith was one of three visitors from Gator House Publishing for a live chat this past Sunday at The Writer’s Chatroom. It was a great time.

Welcome, Keith. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Tacoma Washington and am the youngest son of 16 children. My father was a blacksmith and my mother an artist. I am 43 years old and moved to Missouri 3 years ago, so my wife could be closer to her family.

Please tell us about your current release.
Midnight's Gambit is the first book in the King's Son Trilogy. In it we meet Cat Land's best detective Midnight Panther and his group of friends. After investigating a simple case of missing kittens, Midnight and his partner Ghost discover a sinister plot to take over Cat Land. With the help of their friends they must find out who is behind this plot and try and stop them.

What inspired you to write this book?
I had been looking for a new genre to try writing in and after watching my latest rescue Midnight recover from a serious life-threatening injury and illness I decided to see if I could write a novel with him as the lead character.

Excerpt from Cat Land: Midnight's Gambit:
I was sitting in my office, talking to Ghost about the latest cases we had been on, nothing too important, just the usual run of the mill stuff. There had been a few suspected fish robberies, a couple of catnip thefts, mostly all small stuff. But we didn't mind, it all paid the bills and kept our pouches filled with nip. Ghost had been my partner ever since I opened up my detective agency. He was a good friend and a great investigator. The best cat I have ever known.

It was a damp and rainy day in New Cat Land, and we were both enjoying a cup of catnip tea and a bite of tuna. Ghost liked his raw and fresh, and I preferred mine slightly warm.

“Well, Ghostus,” I said, “we have closed all the open cases we had. Maybe it’s finally a bit of downtime for us.”

Ghost laughed at this and nibbled his tuna a bit. Hearing his nickname used always put him in a good mood. “Oh, I doubt that, Midnight, we have been busy as rats in a cat condo! Although I wouldn't mind the downtime. I would like to get over to the Docks and do some fishing.”

I agreed that this sounded like a great idea. “Fishing sounds much better than sitting in this office talking about previous cases.”

Ghost nodded. “Oh, yeah, but this is the best way we can learn from all we have done.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently working on the next trilogy in the Cat Land Series.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably in 5th grade when I completely failed to follow instructions and instead of writing a one-page story I turned in a 40-page masterpiece written on notebook paper.

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?
I work night shift as a machinist. So, I'm up all night, I get home around 8 or 9 am and sleep all day. I write on weekends or during the week before work.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to write when there is no distractions or stress in my life. I need to have a serious happy zone.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut. But I failed the math test.

Thank you for being a guest today – and this past Sunday – happy writing!

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