When I asked Author Nicole Weaver to describe her writing style, she replied: “There will always be consequences in my novels.” Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.
My name is Nicole Weaver. My day job is in a research and development lab where I use scanning electron microscopes. It is incredibly cool. That said, my passion is creating stories. From tabletop roleplaying, to video games, to reading and writing stories, I adore sharing imaginations with other people. My favorite stories are generally Sci-fi and Fantasy, but I love a good horror book too. I am a trans woman, and my pronouns are she/her.
When and why did you begin writing?
I have always been told that I write well. Friends and family alike used to regularly suggest that I take up writing. I took it more seriously when my college professors started suggesting it as well, but I still wasn’t sure writing was for me. Then, in 2017, I was dealing with a common problem among Dungeons and Dragons players. My campaign of over a year had fizzled due to conflicting schedules. This pushed me to finally sit down and think about which parts of running a campaign I enjoyed the most.
Some people love the technical side of fitting the rules together into a seamless encounter. Others love to play practical jokes on their players. The answer for me is that I love to tell stories and I adore the look on someone’s face when they are recounting events from our shared adventures…so here I am.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote an 8,000 word short story, poured my heart and soul into it, and was told it sucked. Rather than giving up, I wrote it again from scratch, attended some writing classes, and rewrote it again.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
Encrypted takes place in a world that was nearly identical to our own until around 2009 when a completely unexpected total Solar Eclipse occurred. Later that day, some people discovered they possess special powers that seem to break the rules of physics. Levitation, fire generation, telepathy, all this became possible to the people who would eventually be known as Primes.
As if that wasn’t a big enough shock, enormously powerful creatures known as Daemons appeared across the Earth that same day, bent on devouring any living thing they come across. So far, all attempts at nonviolent solutions have failed in a rush of gnashing teeth.
Samantha Gray, is a girl far from the worst of the Daemons, still trying to unlock who she truly is. Before now, she has had few opportunities to make choices about her own future. The only thing she really knows about herself is that she hates the Primes who abuse their powers and force everyone else to live by their arbitrary and self-serving rules. Samantha hates Heroes.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write a story about an LGBTQ protagonist where that is the least interesting thing about her. Our lives and stories are so much richer than which letter of the alphabet shows up in our descriptions of ourselves.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I would say I have a distinctive style, but not a specific style. Though only the first novel has been published, I have three worlds I am writing in, the superhero World of Primes, an Isekai story of Purple Lightning Games, and my fantasy Clock Universe. Each of them is written purposely in a different style distinctive to that world.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
I was in my third or fourth draft when I made a pun to one of my Beta Readers about the title. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized the title fit the novel extremely well. In a very real way, Samantha is an enigma to herself at the start of the book. Her fight to find out who she is forms the backbone of the story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
It was easy growing up to see how the people with power were only willing to allow me to pursue happiness of a very specific kind. They made it clear that I would only be allowed to pursue happiness on their terms.
I hope everyone who reads Encrypted is encouraged to fight tooth and nail for their happiness, and not for some cut down version that someone else decided they are allowed to have. Be stubborn. Be strong. Most of all, understand that sometimes those things mean hiding who you are until you have the power to control your own life.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In some ways, yes. Samantha definitely picked up my snark, and one of the major characters is based on my partner. The events are entirely fictional, but I brought them to life with my own emotional experiences growing up around people who I couldn’t trust.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Some of the modern authors are Brandon Sanders, Patricia Briggs, and Laurel K. Hamilton.
The most inspiring thing about them is the size and intricacy of the worlds they create. I still read their incredible stories and think about why their characters are so engaging and fun, even while writing my own novels.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
Brandon Sanderson. I have listened to every year of his Creative Writing courses on YouTube, multiple times. I strongly believe I would not be a writer if I had not come across his videos. I was already impressed with his skills, but he absolutely shines in those videos as he shares the craft we both love. If I ever get the chance to meet him in person, I will have a huge thank you ready for him.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
Matt Akin. He was recommended by a mutual friend. After seeing his art, I was instantly excited to be working with him. He was extremely nice and helped reduce my stress as a self-published author by keeping the process relaxed and friendly.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Stick your ego in a jar with an airtight lid and let it suffocate. Writing is an iterative process that requires we viciously tear into our own work and cut out the pieces that do not fit. For every book, I keep a word document for the sole purpose of saving the paragraphs I loved too much to delete, but that had to be removed to improve the story.
Another important idea is that when someone gives you feedback, don’t instantly change something. Instead, pay very close attention to why they are suggesting the change.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
It is okay to be scared. It is okay to be unsure about who you are, all of us are at various points in our lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s because you are LGBTQ, or simply because you have no idea what you will do with yourself in a life of uncertainties.
Take a deep breath and focus on what you can do to make the situation better. Even if the only thing you can do is keep your head above water for a few months until another opportunity comes along.
Cover artist: Matt Akin