Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chasing Forever Down: Interview with Nikki Godwin

Chasing Forever Down
Title: Chasing Forever Down
Author: Nikki Godwin
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Series: Drenaline Surf #1
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Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Nikki Godwin about her book, Chasing Forever Down.
Not only is she beyong amazing, the book is too! And I was so happy to get to ask her some of my burning questions!
Below my questions are in black, while her answers are in blue, but first here's a bit about the book!

After seventeen-year-old Haley Sullivan meets a mysterious stranger who plays by his own rules, she's more than determined to learn every trick of the trade from the master himself. But her dream-chasing mentor disappears after that night, and according to the local newspapers, he's been dead for years. Knowing he's very much alive, Haley enlists best friend Linzi to join her on a scavenger-hunt-style road trip that ultimately lands them in the surf town of Crescent Cove, California. Mystery guy is no mystery here, though – he's Colby Taylor, the west coast's biggest professional surfer. 
If Haley wants to talk to the wave rider again, she'll have to get past his four intimidating bodyguards who are highly skilled in the business of sending starstruck fangirls back to where they belong. Haley is up for the challenge if it means chasing her dreams and escaping the perfectly corporate future that's been planned for her. But dealing with these bodyguards isn't exactly what Haley imagined it'd be. Sure, being thrown off a jet ski sucks, but falling in love with one of them might just be worse.
1.) What was it that made you want to write a book about surfing?Honestly, I'd never really read anything about surfing or set in surf towns around surf culture, and I knew it wasn't a big thing in YA books. I wasn't sure how it'd turn out, but I like to be different. I wanted to give it a try, and I fell in love with the sport/culture. Also, living in Mississippi, far away from any ocean or good waves, it really is a personal escape for me.

2.) So… This next question is extremely important. What made you decide to make lime green the color of Drenaline Surf as well as Haley’s favorite color? I've always seen Haley liking bright colors. Orange is my favorite, so I wanted her to have something different. Pink was more fitting for her BFF Linzi. Lime green just felt like a Haley color to me. Plus it's just a great color in general. It feels beachy.

3.) When writing Chasing Forever Down did you already know exactly how it was going to end and who Haley would end up with? Or did you come to it as you wrote it all?
Honestly, in the original outline, this was going to be a romance between Haley & Colby Taylor. Halfway through writing the book, I just wasn't feeling it. I absolutely hate forcing something in a book that doesn't feel natural, so I went back, deleted all romantic elements, revamped what I had written, and re-plotted. I'd always known in the back of my mind that she'd end up with who she ended up with, at least for book 1. ;)

4.) Out of every character in the book, who was your favorite to write? Was there any that stuck out for you? Or any that you would consider giving a spin off novel to?
A.J. Gonzalez was my favorite to write. He's a character who had been in my head for a very long time, and he was just waiting for the right book to work his way into. I was so crazy excited to get to his chapter and introduce him during the writing process. As far as spin offs go, I only have one spin off in my plans as of right now. It's technically a stand-alone NA novel, but it's set in the surf world, so obviously Drenaline Surf is part of it. Plus, the characters from it will be in the final DS book, but readers could read it or skip it - it won't make a difference to the DS plot line, aside from already knowing the characters when they show up.

5.) For the book, did you have to do a lot of research? Or did you have a lot of prior knowledge?
Displaying CFDcover.jpg
I knew absolutely nothing about surfing when I set out to write this book. I watched some YouTube clips, read up on surf lingo, and read about the history of surf culture. It never really felt like research because it was so fascinating. I didn't start following professional surfing until a few months after CFD was published.

6.) Chasing Forever Down was the first book you published, right? How did that feel? What was it like knowing that people were actually reading your book?
Yes, CFD was my debut, although a lot of people seem to think American Girl on Saturn was. CFD's release was a very different experience because I did zero promo (hence why I'm touring now). I was still learning the basics of formatting and uploading and all the technical stuff, so the book was pretty invisible to the world for a very long time. It was a bit disheartening to go through all that work and see the book just sit there, but after I got my first reader e-mail, I felt like it was worth it. Plus, sales have definitely increased since AGOS's release. I've had a lot of readers tell me they searched my name to see what else was out there and then loved CFD too, if not more.

7.) If you could be one character out of this book, who would it be and why?
Haley - We're a lot alike already. When my mom read CFD, she said that she could see a lot of my personality traits in Haley. I think it's hard not to let some of yourself into a character. BUT she is waaaay braver than me. I could've never pulled off the journey she did, and I definitely wouldn't have been brave enough to stand up to everyone like she did at that age. (And she gets to hang out with awesome people on the beach all the time - who wouldn't want to be her?)

8.) What was your favorite scene to write from Chasing Forever Down? Are there any that have really stuck with you?
My favorite scene is the "jet skiing with A.J." scene. I knew from the outline that this scene would be so much fun, and it definitely was. I love to reread chapter nine just because I love A.J.'s intro. The other scenes that stick with me are 1) the scene where Haley meets Miles and Topher for the first time and Topher pops up on the pool table, and 2) the scene where Haley says goodbye to A.J. and uses the line about The Wizard of Oz. That goodbye scene nearly killed me.

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Nikki Godwin is a Young Adult/New Adult author from the southern USA. She is a city girl who can't live without Mountain Dew, black eyeliner, Hawthorne Heights, and candles from Bath & Body Works. When not writing, she's not-so-secretly internet-stalking her favorite bands. She may or may not completely love One Direction.

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