Interview With Author N.J. Walters

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

Thank you for having me as a guest at NFReads. My name is N.J. Walters. I’ve been a full-time author for almost seventeen years and have published more than a hundred romance novels for several different publishers—Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Beyond the Page Publishers, Entangled Publishing, and Evernight Publishing—as well some indie anthologies.

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

All my books come from my imagination, which is often sparked from the things I see and hear and read. That’s part of the fun of being a writer

For example, the idea for my Hades’ Carnival series came after I did one of those online quizzes—What carnival ride would you be? No surprise to me that it was a carousel. I’m not that adventurous. But it got me thinking about the different animals on a carousel and started me asking the “What if?” questions. What if the animals on the carousel were actually ancient shapeshifting warriors trapped in their animal form, cursed by the goddess they served in order to save them from Hades himself? The storylines flowed from there.

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

Life. Inspiration comes from everywhere. I’ve gotten ideas from magazine articles, tv shows, overheard snippets of conversations, random thoughts that pop in out of nowhere. Often as I’m drifting off to sleep at night, I’ll have ideas come to me. I’ve also had them while riding on the bus. It’s often in the interesting combination of several ideas that gets my imagination going.

# How do you deal with creative block?

It was only during the pandemic of 2020 that, for the first time in my career, I didn’t want to write. I’m still working my way out of that. The writing has slowed down but the love for it is slowly coming back. Any day I write is a day to celebrate.

My advice is to be kind to yourself. Take a break and then find what made you love writing in the first place. For me, it’s always been about the characters and allowing them to tell me their stories.

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

I think the biggest mistake any writer can make is thinking that the first draft has to be perfect. Just get the words down. Rewriting and editing is where a book really begins to come together.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

For me, the titles have always come to me at some point while I’m writing the book. It’s the first, and maybe only, chance to catch a reader’s eye, so it should really represent the book. I’ve always had publishers, so many book titles and even series titles have been changed. It’s all about give and take and understand that the publisher wants the same thing you do—to sell books. It’s the same with covers. I’ve been blessed with covers I absolutely love. I’ve also had a few I really didn’t think represented the book well, but you work with what you have. Titles and covers will vary from genre to genre. You need to understand where your book fits in and go from there.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

Honestly, I don’t read that many reviews. That way leads to madness. There will be readers who love and hate the same book. If you need the approval, the bad reviews can be crushing. (I’ve seen it happen to author friends.) This is not an easy business. It’s built around rejection and judgment. This is my way of protecting myself as much as possible. The reviews I do read are usually from review sites I know and respect. A great review can be uplifting, and I have been lucky enough to have many.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

While my technical skills have improved by leaps and bounds over the years, my creation process hasn’t changed much. I’m not a plotter, I’m a pantser. The characters always come to me first. I jot mini character sketches on file cards. (I’m the queen of the file card and end up with stacks of them for every book. The physical visual works for me, but many authors do the same thing with computer programs. Others have white boards or story bibles in binders.) Ideas start to come to me. I might have a possible scene or two by the time I start, but that’s it. Once I have the opening scene in my head I start writing and let the story unfold. I’m often surprised where it takes me. I tried to plot a book once, but it was a disaster. I find it too confining, and I lose the drive to actually write the book.

There’s no right or wrong way to create. It’s unique to every author. Some are morning writers, others do better at night. Some need quiet to create, others work better in chaos or with music. Some plot, some fly by the seat of their pants. Find what works for you and keep doing it that way until it stops working. Then it’s time to shake things up.

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

I’ve always said I’m just taking dictation. The characters tell me their stories. If I’m not satisfied with the book, then readers won’t be either. A writer’s passion and love for the book comes through in the writing.

I write romance, so a happily ever after or happy for now ending is required. (If it doesn’t have that, it falls in another genre.) Other than that, the sky is the limit. I’ve written in many romance subgenres—contemporary, erotic, futuristic, sci-fi, and paranormal. I sometimes mix it up to keep things fresh. While the bulk of my books are paranormal in nature, lucky for me, my readers have embraced other genres from me as well.

# What are your plans for future books?

I’m always thinking about new stories and am currently working on a spinoff from an earlier paranormal series.


N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, assassins, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.





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