5Qs with Nickolas Cook

1.) When did you first consider yourself a writer?

A.)  The day I actually typed "THE END" on my first full length novel. Of course that didn't happen until I had written two partial (very, very bad) novels that sounded like every other writer but myself, and dozens of short stories over the course of about ten years.

2.) What is the hardest part of writing?

A.)  For me it's always been difficult to keep an objective frame of mind when I go back to re-read or edit a finished story or novel. Left to its own devices, my pesky habit of second guessing myself will usually make me think what I've written is terrible, or worse, it will convince me that I need to rewrite every line fifteen times 'to get it right'.
When I start feeling doubtful about my work, I generally use two methods to head it off at the pass: I will either read the 'offensive' material aloud so that I can hear its cadence and its weak spots, and/or I will sometimes set the finished work aside for a few days to give myself some distance and an opportunity to feel as if I'm coming back to it with a new set of eyes. It usually feels less 'offensive' at the point, and I can then pick out the things that really need editing, without the sense that every sentence is terrible.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.)  I felt so giddy that I almost broke out into 'The Snoopy Dance of Joy'.
More importantly, I felt more confidence in my skills and ability to create something worthwhile. All the rejection letters that followed didn't have the same sting and felt a lot less damning. After all, I had been published, so I had proof that I must be making progress.

4.) In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?

A.)  Krav Maga, a brutal close combat self-defense system created by the Israeli military and the Mossad in the 50s. I've been a student since 2007, and am now an instructor a couple of nights a week at the same studio where I started.
My other great passions include collecting classic jazz and blues albums, my wife and our house full of Chinese Pugs, a couple of which are rescues.
And of course this is probably axiomatic, but I also have a tremendous book collection of about two thousand books. I read voraciously, history being a particular subject I find myself gravitating towards these days.

5.) If you could ask any author, living or dead, one question, what would it be?

A.)  I would probably pick Ambrose Bierce, and my question would be, "How did you really die?"

Nick is the author of:


It's the late 70s and Max and Little Billy are back from Vietnam trying to mind their own business when they stumble onto the murder of a local boy. With organized crime and violent thugs on their trail, it's up to these two local heroes to solve the murder. What they find will shake the foundation of their entire community.

Available from Grand Mal Press

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