The Next Big Thing

Thanks to Laura E. James for tagging me on Facebook to take part in The Next Big Thing. You can read her post for TNBT at Please do go and have a look. Laura is a member of the awesome and talented Romaniacs who are one of the most fun and supportive groups of writers that I have ever met ( as you’ll see if you check out my post about the RNA conference…

As part of The Next Big Thing I’ll be answering ten questions about my work in progress and then tagging five other writers to do the same the following week.

The writers I have chosen (website links included where available) are:

Jane Sprenger (

Alison May (

Karen Aldous (

Elaine Everest (

Ruchita Summer Vasudeva (

Okay, ready? Here goes.

I actually have two books that are works in progress at the moment but today I have chosen to talk about The Nanny’s Revenge.

Q. What is the working title of your next book?

If you know me at all you will be familiar with the title The Nanny’s Revenge because the first chapter was a Top 20 Finalist in this year’s Novelicious Undiscovered competition The chapter and the blurb were put to public vote. I didn’t win any of the top spots but it was a great experience and I was amazed and warmed by the amount of people asking me (both on the site and via private messages) (for a copy) when it was finished… So I thought I’d better get my bum in gear and complete it.

Q. From where did the idea come?

The hero, Matt, who is quite closed down and guarded at the start of the book and very conflicted throughout it, was very strong in my mind for a while before I started writing this. Zoe came into being as the woman I feel Matt needs and deserves but of course she is a person very much in her own right with her own set of motivations and desires, necessary to make her a fully rounded and believable character.

And then came the idea for their story. I knew that I wanted them to ‘live’ together and I knew Matt has kids so when I put it all together the idea of Zoe being the nanny really worked. But there had to be a series of conflicts/ hurdles for them to cross before getting together properly and I wanted an initial ‘hook’ and so the idea of Zoe getting revenge on Matt for something was an idea that appealed. Once I knew Zoe had a younger sister (as do I) that she felt very responsible towards that she felt she’d let down previously by following her ex-boyfriend to the US, I had the perfect motivation for her; Matt had to do something to Melody that Zoe would feel was unforgivable. And so the idea came to life.

At the start of the story Zoe is on the rebound and very raw and some of her anger is misdirected towards Matt yet she doesn’t understand that until much later on, by which time she is already falling for him and his children. I feel quite sorry for her at times! I think that many women will identify with her because most of us have been on the rebound. I also felt that a lot of people will have done something ill-advised in defense of a loved one at some time or another; something that they know is probably wrong but which they feel they are doing for the right reasons at the time.

Some of the ideas for the book were bubbling away for a long time in the back of my mind before I put finger to keypad because when I sit down to write it comes out very quickly.

Phew – that was a long answer wasn’t it? I will try to keep some of my other ones a tad briefer!

Q. Under which genre does your book fall?

I would say it’s a romantic comedy / chick lit. I’ve been told The Nanny’s Revenge has a nice hint of humour to it and though not written trying to be laugh out loud funny there are plenty of light moments to it despite the themes of revenge and duty.

Q: Which actors would you choose to play the part of your characters for a movie?

The inspiration for Matt is Sawyer in Lost, Richard Armitage as Lucas North and the actor Dermot Mulroney. It would be hard to pick one actor to play Matt as to me he’s a person in his own right and doesn’t look entirely like any of those three men. If I had to pick I guess it would be Dermot Mulroney. He has the scar and the broken/crooked nose thing going on which I think gives him his own brand of charm. The only thing is that he has the wrong eye colour and I don’t think he is big enough physically. Matt is well over six feet and built almost like a rugby player and I’m not sure if Mr. Mulroney has enough physical presence (no offence to him, he’s a very handsome guy). I’m a picky one aren’t I?

Zoe’s a difficult one too.  She has black hair and blue eyes and I always think automatically of Katy Perry, whom Matt’s younger brother compares her to in the first chapter. Yet, she’s not Katy Perry, her face is not quite as perfect, she’s a bit quirky and she’s tall, kind of skinny and a bit of a klutz. I’d probably pick Zooey Deschanel to play Zoe. Though I’m not sure I can really picture her and Dermot Mulroney looking right as a couple. 
Let’s hope this book is never optioned as a movie – could you imagine the casting problems I’d have?

Q. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

When Zoe returns to the UK after five years in the States, she finds her younger sister Melody jobless, homeless, dumped and desperate at the hands of the Reilly brothers – but in trying to get revenge, will she instead find love?

Q. Will you self-publish or be represented by an agent?

I’m on the lookout for an agent at the moment, with my completed manuscript The Lost Weekend which has been through the RNA’s New Writers Scheme and which I talked about at a workshop with author Sue Moorcroft at the Festival of Romance 2011.  I’m waiting for responses at the moment. If I don’t manage to get an agent I’ll start submitting straight to publishers and if all else fails I will self publish TLW and The Nanny’s Revenge. I’m determined to get my books out in the world somehow and will not stop until that happens! Saying that, these are not the first books I’ve ever written. I have a few horrors in my bottom draw that I cut my teeth on, which I never intend to unleash upon the world!

Q. How long did it take to write the first draft?

The first draft of this book isn’t finished yet. I’m about seventy per cent of the way through. It’s difficult to quantify how long it’s taken. I started it about two years ago but during that period I’ve also written the whole 100,000 words of The Lost Weekend as well as at least ten short stories (some of which have been shortlisted for competitions), features for the Romantic Novelists Association magazine ‘Romance Matters,’ posts for this blog etc

It’s probably about three months actual writing time if I was working on nothing else and when I focus my energies on a book it tends to get written quite quickly. At the risk of sounding completely nuts, when I write it’s like I’ve already written the whole book in my head and that appears as a film that I’m watching. I then put the visuals down on the page as I’m ‘seeing’ it.  I can’t think of any other way to describe it. Perhaps the men in white coats should cart me away now. Or maybe it’s like the tag line of Spiderman ‘With great power comes great responsibility,’ except for writers it would be, ‘With great writing comes great madness.’ LOL.

Q: With which books within your genre would your story compare?

That’s a hard one. Hmm. I would compare it to books by Sophie Kinsella or Jane Green (her earlier books) but with the romance as more central to the story.

Q: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve sort of answered this one in answer to question two. I need to tell Matt and Zoe’s story and now that I’ve had a positive feedback about it from readers via the Novelicious Comp and know that something in it calls to them, I really need to see this through.

Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There are some deeper issues to this book. Duty. Bereavement and loss. Moving on. These things might make people think about life and how we live it. There’s also some essence of family in it – the loss of the more traditional 2.4 children and being married for life, and how it’s been replaced by the no less valid nuclear family with step children and step parents and the whirlwind of work and kids and trying to have it all; something I have personal experience of.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about my writing and The Nanny’s Revenge (head over to the Novelicious site if you fancy having a taste of it). I would love to hear what you think of it – so please do leave a comment.

Now it’s over to the writers I’ve nominated. I’ll look forward to reading their posts next week.

The guest posts for Writing, Work and Wine With… will be back in a few weeks by popular demand.

Happy writing everyone, Nikki.


11 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing

    • nikkigoodman says:

      Thanks! Well, you do have an advantage over other people as you’ve had a sneak peak of the rest of the book so far (rather than just the first chapter). I’ll keep on it. x

  1. Laura James (@Laura_E_James) says:

    Thank you for such a lovely endorsement, Nikki. This has been good fun and when I answered the questions, it made me re-evaluate my wip and I realise how far removed it is from the original concept. I may be making adjustments…
    Very much looking forward to reading both of your stories – I like to delve into deeper issues too, so they sound absolutely right for me 🙂
    Thank you for joining in with The Next Big Thing. xx

  2. Wendy Loveday says:

    Loved reading your post and I am sure I shall love reading your novel. With an aunt like Sue Moorcroft you can’t go far wrong with the written word. I visualize mine too like films as I am writing, but sometimes things happen that really were not in the original plan, so I follow their lead and see where it takes me. Entertaining to say the least.
    I look forward to checking out the other writers you have tagged and I’ll post your link on my fb.

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