Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Guest post by Nikki Logan + Giveaway

Today I welcome to Ex Libris Nikki Logan, who is celebrating the release of her first Dead Sexy novel published by Entangled Publishing: Wild Encounter! When we discussed Nikki's stops there was something I was most curious about, namely whether she has been to Africa and if she has used her own personal travel experiences to add colours and reality to her story of if it was "all in her mind". Now take a seat and let Nikki tell you the story behind Wild Encounter (and you could also win a copy of the book!).

Wild Encounter by Nikki Logan width=

The Africa of My Mind
by Nikki Logan

When I first pitched Wild Encounter to an editor for a big international house a few years ago, her instant reaction was ‘I can’t sell the book if you haven’t been to Africa. There’s a credibility issue.’ The fervour with which I disagreed with that statement explains why I never subbed the full to her even after she reluctantly slid her card across the table. Almost as though she wanted to read it against her own better judgement.

I wondered how Asimov or Scott-Card ever sold a book if that’s how publishing really worked. Or Pullman. Or Heyer who, last time I checked, did not actually live in the regency period (nor solved a crime, come to think of it). Surely Creighton never travelled back to the Jurassic or Lewis to Narnia.

Writers weave. That’s what we do. We take threads and we criss-cross them with other threads of a different colour and we slowly build our story-tapestry. In a perfect world, some of those threads will be memory threads from personal experience but the vast majority, for any fiction writer, will be fabricated threads. Or intensely researched threads.

But what all those threads must do is create a strong, captivating tapestry.

Africa was the right place for this story. The perfect place. It was as dangerous as I needed it to be to keep my heroine on her toes, it was as big and uncharted as I needed it to be to ensure she felt very isolated and alone and it was one of the big go-to places in the world that a lot of wildlife workers are doing their great works. Plus it had the advantage of a fairly unstable, shifting political climate so that even safety wasn’t really all that safe for her.

So this book needed to be in Africa. I was not about to let the fact that I’d never been stop me from setting Wild Encounter there.

But I knew it had to be one hell of a rich, engaging tapestry and so I immersed myself in Africa-substitutes. Films, documentaries even (fantastically) hours and hours of wildlife footage belonging to friends from an actual wild dog release trip into Zimbabwe. I trolled the internet for anyone who’d blogged about their travels in Africa and I read other books set there (the latter with some trepidation for fear of crippling myself creatively). I spoke to people who’d been and I poured over tourist websites, topographic maps and even primary industry information for Zambia. I took what I knew of wildlife in other parts of the world and I extrapolated, and then I cross checked those assumptions with those who could personally verify.

I plucked out of each of these sources the threads-in common (the sights, the sounds, the smell, the wildlife, the grasses) that impacted on people equally and then I wove them carefully into the story and through it and, yes, used creative licence along the way. This is fiction, after all. And I wanted my Africa to leap off the page, not just be a pretty, benign backdrop for the story.

I think that the Africa of my mind may well have exceeded the Africa of my memory because I would never have taken the same care and time to research the setting if I’d had personal experience to call upon. It would have been a lazier process. So, for this book, I believe the intensive research focus has worked better than two weeks on a canned tour photographing the Big5 might have furnished me with.

I like to think that my ability to really ‘sell’ a setting—whether based on research or personal experience—is part of what makes my readers return. Rich, engaging locales against which the stories unfold. And, at the end of the day, research and imagineering is an occupational necessity because I physically couldn’t go to all the places I’ve set my stories. Africa, a remote island in the Indian Ocean, seal colonies, whale migration beaches, New Zealand, the Blue Mountains, Everest, The Kimberley, outback Texas, the Queensland hinterlands, Cappadocia (Turkey)… it’s endless. I’ve managed some, but certainly not all.

But my lord I can weave a rich and beautiful tapestry based on good, thorough research, and, really, isn’t that what matters the most?

Nikki Logan lives amongst a string of wetlands in Western Australia with her long-suffering partner and a menagerie of furred, feathered and scaly mates.

She studied film and theatre at university, and worked for years in advertising and film distribution before finally settling down in the wildlife industry.

Her romance with nature goes way back, and she considers her life charmed, given that she works with wildlife by day and writes fiction by night–the perfect way to combine her two loves.

Nikki believes that the passion and risk of falling in love are perfectly mirrored in the danger and beauty of wild places. Every romance she writes contains an element of nature, and if readers catch a waft of rich earth or the spray of wild ocean between the pages she knows her job is done.

Connect with Nikki at

A wildlife release mission in Africa turns deadly when the convoy is hijacked by smugglers, and veterinarian Clare Delaney is taken hostage. Terrified for her life and her animals, the intrepid Clare establishes a rapport with the man she believes is the criminals’ leader, and reluctantly finds herself under his protection...and falling hard for the enigmatic man.

Alpha-to-the-max Simon deVries sees right through his sexy captive’s attempt to seduce her way to freedom. So when their simmering attraction flares into true passion, it takes them both by surprise. Now he’s torn between completing his secret mission and letting her escape without telling her his true identity. He knows if he lets her go, he will be risking his career, his life...and his heart.

Buy at Amazon - B&N


Entangled Publishing has generously offered an ebook copy of Wild Encounter to a lucky commenter!

Just leave a comment and tell us: if you could virtually tour a place, where would you go?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 9 November 2012!

Good luck!

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