August 18, 2013

Spotlight on: Sunshine and Sun Poisoned by Nikki Rae

Sunshine by Nikki Rae
Sunshine Series, Book One
Genre:  YA Paranormal

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18 year old Sophie Jean is pretty good at acting normal. Sure, she’s not exactly happy, but happiness is nothing compared to being like everyone else. She can pretend she’s not allergic to the sun. She can hide what her ex-boyfriend did to her. She can cover up the scars she’s made for herself. Ignore anything. Forget anything. Then Myles enters her life, and he has more than a few secrets of his own. When accident after accident keeps happening to Sophie, she can’t help noticing that he’s everywhere. That he knows too much. That she’s remembering too much.

It’s one thing covering up her own dark past, but does she really need to worry about people finding out just how much Myles likes her? Or that despite how much she doesn’t want to repeat past mistakes, she kind of likes him back? Not to mention the fact that she now has to conceal that Myles drinks blood-that he says he’s about four hundred years old.

She almost forgot about that part.

But Sophie has no plans to ruin the normal life she has created for herself. She can deal with this little glitch, no problem. Even if word has gotten around to the wrong vampire about Sophie and Myles, even if she’s putting the few people she loves at risk. Suddenly, those who were monsters before are just people, and the monsters? They’re real. Now being a normal human being is the least of her problems. Now she has to stay alive.

Sun Poisoned by Nikki Rae
Sunshine Series, Book Two
Genre:  YA Paranormal

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Sophie’s life has changed. She’s moved to New York, she’s playing music for new people, and she’s making new friends. Then there’s Myles, and the fact that he is now her boyfriend—and everyone knows it. There are a lot of new things to take in, but Sophie has no problem adjusting.

She’s not exactly normal, living in a half-human, half-vampire world, but she’s finally, truly happy. But some parts of Sophie and Myles’ old life still hide in the dark, waiting for the right opportunity to strike.

Sophie’s having nightmares again, but they aren’t about her; Myles is hiding something that she’s not sure she wants to know.

And one lie will change everything.

No matter how hard she tries to cover up the marks her monsters have left behind, they never truly go away, and Myles’ monsters are no different.

Once again, Sophie’s caught between life and death, but this time, only she can save herself.

The Art Of It
Nikki Rae

A lot of people ask me if I always wanted to be a writer.
The truth is, until I got to college, I never even thought about it.
I started my college experience like most people: undeclared. And after floating around in computer science, biology, and public speaking, I landed in the Fine Arts major.
I wasn’t sure if art was what I wanted to do, either. I knew that I liked painting. I liked to draw. I liked to think of an image that was complete and beautiful in my mind and watch as it came to life in front of me. But I felt like I was wearing a disguise half of the time. There were people in those classes that wanted their work in exhibitions and they wanted to make things that made you think, whereas I liked to draw naked ladies and tried to get them as real as possible.
But I had already been at my community college for three years, and I was decent at art, so I stuck with it for the rest of my time there.
My last year at that school, I took creative writing as an elective. I liked making up stories, and I needed the requirement met in order to move on to the next school. It was in this class that I realized writing was a lot like drawing or painting; I just didn’t have to spend a million dollars on supplies or ruin my clothes.
I find that when I write stories or approach drawing a particular thing, I start out the same way: I lay down the ground work. I make small pencil sketches, I take notes, I make sure that these will be things that will ultimately get covered up by shading or editing.
The goal is often the same for me as well: draw the best picture I can, write the best story I can, make it as real as possible.
I wrote the very first draft of my first book, Sunshine, when I was fifteen. I used two red notebooks, and filled them until the story was over. I never thought anyone would see it besides me.
Looking back on my process now, I realize that I was laying out the story, not telling it. If someone were to take those notebooks and compare them to the finished book the way it is today, they would think they were reading two different stories.
That’s because after I became serious about writing, I took the story and layered it. Artists use that term sometimes. I think. I covered up my sketch marks with editing, completely cutting things out, adding whole chapters and back stories that weren’t part of the original. Shading, adding color, making it come alive.
I wanted the characters in Sunshine to be as real as possible, the same as I wanted my models in my drawings to look realistic. Most art is fiction. Most art, you have to envision, believe in so much that it becomes a living, breathing thing. My characters have flaws, struggles, and they don’t automatically fall in love because I saw that a real person would most likely react the same way. When taking it a step further, and adding super natural creatures in, I had to work that much harder. These things don’t exist anywhere so there is no reference picture, just me.
A lot of people my age are graduating now, and I still have a year left because of how much time I spent at community college. Most of my credits were Fine Art credits, which only count for electives when you switch your major to Creative Writing, which is what I did. My friends poke fun at it, saying that if I hadn’t “wasted” four years at a school that should have taken two, drawing pretty pictures and looking at nude models, I would have graduated already.
But the thing is, I didn’t waste my time. I didn’t waste any of it.
If I hadn’t learned the fundamentals of how to sketch a still life, I wouldn’t know how to plot out my stories or stories. If I hadn’t taken painting class, I wouldn’t know how to mix colors, or how to add symbolism subtly. If I hadn’t taken ceramics, I wouldn’t know how to keep two pieces of clay from coming apart, and I wouldn’t know how to balance what goes on in the story and what kinds of people tell it.
But most importantly, if I didn’t take all of those art classes, I wouldn’t know how to do what’s most important to me: creating something real, alive, out of nothing.
All art is living. It doesn’t matter what tools you use.

***Thank you so much Nikki for being on my blog today! 

Author Bio:
Nikki Rae is a student and writer who lives in New Jersey. She is an independent author and has appeared numerously on Amazon Best Seller lists. She is the author of The Sunshine Series and concentrates on making her imaginary characters as real as possible. She writes mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely.

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