Where did the idea for the Senior Assassin game come from?
I first heard of Senior Assassin (and tournaments like it) when I was in college, though they were pretty small scale. Then last year, while I was plotting out the story of a guy who falls for his best friend’s sister (which is a relationship taboo that’s always fascinated me), I saw a newspaper article about a local high school’s water gun tournament. It was a pretty big deal–the entire senior class participates, and the rules are quite complex–and I knew instantly that including a tournament like that would work well for the story. I talked to local high schoolers to get their behind-the-scenes info and hear about how their “hits” went down, which made writing the book a lot of fun. It also made me wish I could go back to high school, if only so I could nail people with water balloons.
I love that the main characters were so hard working, smart, and driven! Were Peyton, Connor, and/or Josh inspired by people you know in real life?
I didn’t base them on any particular individuals. However, I’m fortunate enough to spend a lot of time around teenagers and I’m constantly amazed by how intelligent and goal-oriented many of them are. I wanted to see that reality reflected in the book. Readers are more likely to get lost in a story when the characters feel real to them.
Who is your favorite character that you’ve written?
This is like choosing amongst my children! Hmmm…if I must choose, I’ll say my favorite is Valerie Winslow, who is the main character from the Royally Jacked series. Not because Val is perfect–she has a ton of faults–but because I’ve spent the most time writing about her.
But ask me next week and you’re likely to get a different answer.
Are you currently working on anything?
I’m in the midst of a romance novel at the moment. I’ve published several under the name Nicole Burnham, so this is another in that vein. I also recently finished the first couple chapters of a teen romantic comedy, so that’s next on my schedule.
Fun! What’s on your to-be-read list for spring?
I just finished reading Emily March’s romance LOVER’S LEAP, which was fantastic. Next up will be Susan Sizemore’s MEMORY OF MORNING and then Rosemary Clement-Moore’s YA novel TEXAS GOTHIC, both of which are sitting on my nightstand, ready to go.
After that, I’m dying to read the new historical romance from Elizabeth Boyle called ALONG CAME A DUKE (isn’t that the greatest title?) and Christina Dodd’s BETRAYAL, which is the next book in her Bella Terra romantic suspense series. I loved the first two books in the Bella Terra series–Dodd knocked them out of the park–so I’m dying to grab this one.
You have quite the line up of romance! I’m going to have to look up all these titles. TEXAS GOTHIC has been on my TBR list for while… I’ve heard fantastic things, and I want to read it soon!
Many thanks to Niki for stopping by to answer my questions! She’s also generously giving away a copy of SHOT THROUGH THE HEART to one lucky winner! Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter (click continue reading). You can find my contest policy here.