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Interview With Nikki Arana

1) Introduce yourself to us. Name, info on your family, number of books authored, etc...

Hi All, My name is Nikki Arana. I live in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with my husband, and hero of my first book, Antonio. I have two grown sons.

I began writing a few years ago. I’ve completed a three book series called Regalo Grande, and am currently working on my fourth book for Revell.

2) Do you write full time? If yes, can you give us a glimpse into your daily writing life? If not, what is your day job?

I started writing full time this January. For the three years prior to that I worked full time as a real estate broker and wrote from 4 am to 11 am, then came home at night and started writing again.

Now I start writing about 7am. Take a break between 12 and 2 to do other things that life demands. Then back to work until 6 or so. My goal is to write one publishable chapter a week. I’m trying to write book four, 90,000 words, in four months.

3) Tell us a little bit about your road to publication.

I decided to try writing when my youngest son started his senior year in high school. I took a class on the Internet called Writeriffic. That teacher, Eva Shaw, told me she thought I should try submitting. So I took a class on how to write magazine articles and submitted some articles. I sold them all.

So I thought I’d try writing a book. I got to meet one of the acquisition editors from Tyndale at a conference and she asked to see the first four chapters of my manuscript. I sent those and then she asked for the full ms. Before I sent that in, I had the book professionally edited, then queried some agents and ended up signing with Natasha Kern. She took it from there. She worked with me and an editor for ten months polishing my book, The Winds of Sonoma.

Then she submitted my book to seven publishers. I got two offers and signed with Revell for a three book series.

5) What has been the highest moment of your writing/publishing career?

Of course any time I get a letter from someone saying my books have touched them. That is the best. But it was also encouraging to have The Winds of Sonoma chosen as one of the Top Twenty best books of 2005 by the editors of, and to find out the publisher has nominated the book for three national awards.

6) How do the ideas for your stories spark?

All of my stories have some element of my personal experience in them. The Winds of Sonoma is the story of how I met my husband. The second book, In the Shade of the Jacaranda, was inspired by my own experience of having a son with a learning disability. The third book, The Fragrance of Roses, was inspired when I became aware of the terrible shortage of blood donors for minorities in the registries for peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (not embryonic stem cells). My fourth book was inspired by the moving story of my oldest son’s marriage.

7) Are you a seat-of-the-pants writer, or do you plot extensively before your fingers hit the keyboard?

I plot in my mind. I think about the story from beginning to end for at least a month. By the time I start writing I know what the “core” story is. Then as I write, twists and turns reveal themselves. That’s the fun of writing I think.

8) I’m notorious for *snacking* while I write! Do you have any favorite munchies you wouldn’t mind us knowing about?

Gaining weight when I sit and write for hours is a HUGE problem for me. I have to join Weight Watchers every time I start a book. I don’t allow any food in my writing area.

9) How do you strike an agreeable “balance” between your writing time and other responsibilities?

Sadly, I don’t. When I am writing a novel I think of little else. I get up constantly during the night and start working on the book. No matter what else I’m doing the story is never far from my mind.

10) What has been the most surprising thing about your adventure in publishing?

I was a very driven, hands-on, business woman for thirty years. No one could have ever told me that I would be happy doing something that leaves me completely out of control and might have no financial reward. This past January I sold out. I started writing full time.

11) How do you deal with publisher rejections? Crawl in bed under the covers for an entire day? Indulge in double-fudge chocolate? Or just brush it off?

Most writers find it startling when they learn I’ve sold everything I’ve ever submitted for publication. I believe that happened for several reasons. The most important one being that it is all about God’s timing. This is His time for me to write.

What it also means to me is when I see my writing prospered, I am seeing evidence of the Spirit working. It says nothing about my faith or my victory. Instead it proves that Jesus is Lord and Christ and rose from the dead and sent the Holy Spirit to work on the earth. The evidence of the Spirit is the evidence of His resurrection. Jesus said in John 16, “for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (NKJV)

The success or failure of my writing is at the discretion of God. He will do with it as he chooses. I do know that what He ordains, He prospers, even if it is unseen by the eyes of man. All of you, no matter where you are on your writing journey, can be sure of that.

Write your passion, write His truth and the rest of it will take care of itself.

12) Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Nothing would please me more than if I made enough from my books by then to continue on my writing journey.

13) These have been fairly standard questions. What is one thing you’d like to share with up-and-coming writers that they may not even know to ask yet?

Follow the Lord where He leads. His ways are mysterious and beautiful.

14) You have a new title, right? Tell us about it.

The Winds of Sonoma is in bookstores now.

Angelica Amante, a New York lawyer, faces the most important choice of her career. Should she side with her firm and sanction the exploitation of illegal immigrants or stand against injustice? When she meets Antonio Perez, son of a poverty-stricken Mexican family, on her wealthy parents Arabian horse ranch her compassion for the poor grows. Then coinciding circumstances and conflicting lifestyles cause their worlds to collide, Angelica and Antonio find themselves at a crossroad of faith, love, and selfless commitment that will forever alter both their lives.

In the Shade of the Jacaranda was released in February 2006.

After Angelica Amante defied her wealthy parents’ wishes and married the illiterate Mexican stableman, Antonio Perez, she thought their love had overcome the biggest hurdle they could ever face. But just as Angelica throws herself into her work as a defense lawyer, she discovers she is pregnant—and her world is turned upside down once again.

And that’s only the beginning. While her husband must struggle to save his fledgling landscape business, Angelica must juggle the challenges of a demanding boss and the news that the health of their unborn child is in question. Soon both Angelica and Antonio are confronted with decisions that shake them to their core. Will their faith in God and love for each other sustain them—even when it seems their dreams are slipping away?

The Fragrance of Roses will be released in July 2006

When Angelica, the brilliant and successful daughter of the wealthy Amante family, married Antonio, a poor, illiterate, stable hand, she had no idea of the struggles that lay before them. But now, ten years later, they are more deeply in love than ever and looking forward to raising their two children and building a future.

Then tragedy strikes a devastating blow and their child’s life hangs in the balance, bringing into question everything they have ever believed. With waning faith and little hope they walk through the valley of the shadow of death. The journey leads deep into Mexico. Suffocating with fear and powerless to stop the downward spiral of their lives, God reveals His truth.

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