Writer's Slot - November
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Nikki Copleston - crime fiction writer
Nikki has learned that natural modesty is not much use to a writer. She is conscientious about her work - she writes every day and when not in front of her computer, her mind revolves around her plot. But she has found that she has also to be active in marketing her book, even if raising her literary profile means taking a few risks.
She now has a blog at nikkicopleston.com, a Facebook page, and she has developed a crime-writers’ workshop for beginners.
Her advice to new writers is to Read, Read, Read! ‘You learn from good writers, become analytical. You also learn not to be too precious about your own words and characters. If they don’t serve the plot, get rid of them!’
One of her grandfathers ran a brewery, the other was a policeman; both have indirectly inspired Nikki Copleston to write. From the gothic and torrid Born on the Wind, written at the age of just fifteen, to the engrossing crime thriller The Price of Silence, she has used what she knows to create fascinating, well-crafted stories.
Nikki was born in Somerset, her roots are here, and her stories are mostly set here. ‘Places inspire me,’ she says. ‘My maternal grandfather lived in this big old house called The Brewery House in Crewkerne. It was later demolished, but at the time, inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites, I wanted to write about the late Victorian era; I wanted to capture the spirit of that place.’ She was disappointed when publishers didn’t immediately snap up Born on the Wind.
‘You need persistence to create work of any quality. You also need to accept challenges like going on the radio or getting involved in events. FWC’s Frome Word festival in September provided just those opportunities.’
On leaving school she qualified as a Librarian in London where she worked in the public library sector. But gradually the pleasure of writing lured her back, and though she wrote in a variety of genres, by her 30s she noticed that crime had become a major theme in her work. Her first DI Lincoln story was 15 years in development from concept to reality, and she received plenty of positive feedback from agents, but no publishing contract.
So, now retired to Somerset, encouraged by her husband, she's taken the e-book route. The Price of Silence can be downloaded from Amazon and is already receiving encouraging reviews. She is currently three-quarters of the way through her second DI Lincoln crime thriller and hopes to make it available in the New Year. The Shame of Innocence is a pacey, contemporary murder story set in the West of England – one that develops her protagonist’s very human and likeable character.
'Read, Read, Read! You learn from good writers' Nikki Copleston's advice to writers
Obviously it’s a discipline she practises herself, judging by the lean and flowing style of her books.