I met Nico Laeser when we both embarked on the same charity project. We both wrote a short story for the You're Not Alone anthology, where all the proceeds go to the Macmillan Cancer Foundation. We are also both members of the IASD (Indie Author Support and Discussion) group where I've spoken to him a few times, and this was where I found out just how very much of a talented a man he is.
Not only does Nico write but he designs all his book covers as well, and let me tell you something, they are beautiful. Yes, this talented man is also an artist, as well as a whiz at formatting. And if that wasn't enough, he's also willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it. Be it advice, a second opinion, or even offering to work on whatever you need. He really is one of the good guys! If I didn't like him so much I'd be tempted to shoot him for my jealousies! (Don't worry Nico, you're safe ;)).
Here is what Nico Laeser had to say...
Why did you decide you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed reading, and have always dreamed in story format (beginning, middle, end, story arc, characters … etc) Becoming a writer seemed like a logical step, and hopefully I can do those dreamed stories justice.
Story-telling is important, it is the way we communicate. As a species, we have passed down knowledge through stories and art—I think the need to tell stories is instinctive and inherent in all of us. In casual conversation, we embellish events from our lives—retelling, refining and emphasizing the parts that best convey the story or the parts that provoke the desired reaction—eventually those stories become anecdotal, partly, or mostly, fictional tales. We all have those stories we break out at parties—it seems a natural progression to take it a step further and to write fiction. Even in fiction, there are fine threads of truth holding the story together.
What was the thing that drove you the most to do so?
I have a backlog of stories in my mind. They never seem to go or fade, but only improve and expand. Once the stories are written down then I can forget them and make some much needed room in my mind. My mind could be featured on an episode of one of those ‘hoarding’ shows. I’m just performing a little mental spring cleaning. (Of course, this never works—I finish one and two spring up in its place. It’s like cutting off the head of a Hydra)
How long have you been writing?
I’ve always written, whether it was lyrics, poetry, short stories, novellas … but I made a decision to study the craft and to refine my writing only a few years ago. I began writing a novel around seven or eight years ago (maybe more) and procrastinated, stopped, started again … I decided to push through it—good or bad, I would finish it. I finished that novel, and that was a huge milestone. It was terrible, and needed to be completely rewritten several times, but each new draft taught me something new about the craft, and eventually it became a novel that I am still proud of—it was my greatest writing teacher. (… and it wasn’t the first novel I published)
Why did you pick the genre/s that you have?
I honestly don’t worry about genre. I read in a wide variety of genres and enjoy most. I write whichever story excites me the most, whether it is Science Fiction, or Literary, or Dark Comedy, is unimportant to the story. I’ve always disliked labels, and although I realize that genre is the best way to find an audience and to market the work, I find it hard to stay in any one box—boxes can suffocate a creative mind.
Who is your favourite character, and why?
In one of my current projects, several of the supporting characters have been screaming for their own book, and I have agreed to write it. They are comic-book store employees—role-playing, sweat-pants-wearing, mother’s basement-dwelling nerds, and they have asked me to write an Epic Fantasy with them as the band of heroes.
Do you have any particular quirks when writing?
Caffeine, ear plugs, dark glasses, and hood or hat—Sensory deprivation helps my focus.
Do you belong to any writing groups? And if so what do you think are the pros and cons?
I am a member of several online writer’s groups, and the benefit is massive—if for nothing more than sharing space with people who understand the highs and lows, the joys and difficulties of writing. No one knows the feeling of typing “The End” until they have done so. I’ve found many great authors through online writer’s groups too. (*Waves to all members of IASD ;-)
How do you deal with writers block?
If I don’t know what to write, I just write garbage until I figure out what I’m doing. It’s like cleaning out old pipes—turn on the tap and let it run until the water runs clear.
What would you say is the most difficult part of writing?
The next word
What do you enjoy the most about writing?
Art, music, and literature are the closest things that we have to real magic. The ability to create something entirely new and from almost nothing—a literary rabbit pulled out of an imaginary hat. It’s a great feeling to know that somethings exist in the world only because you made it.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My muse is nocturnal—it whispers to me while I’m sleeping. I wake up and jot down ideas, then go back to sleep. Stories often invade meditation too, but I just go with it—it’s like being at the movie theatre. My dreams are often lucid, so I have directorial credit.
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Not specifically, although a few have adopted behaviours, quirks, and traits of people I have known. Subconsciously, I think we (writers) all draw from personal experience, and our characters are often based on facets of, or proposed deficits of, our own personality—What would I do in this situation if I had no fear, no remorse, an overactive sense of dread, or if I had the ability to set people on fire with the click of my fingers … etc.
What do you do in your spare time to relax?
Tell me more about this thing you call “Spare time.”
I like to paint, write & play music. You can see my artwork and listen to my musical ramblings on my website:
Where are your books available?
I can be found in a few different places, but Amazon is my primary distributer. Here are my universal links:
What are you working on right now?
I’ve just finished the first draft of a novel titled, “Enablers Anonymous,” which is a dark comedy about a man with questionable morals, and I’m currently working on *four separate novels.
*One is the follow-up to Harmonic: Resonance, titled, “Harmonic: Dissonance,” which will answer the question I get most often about a certain male character from the first book.
*I’m also working on a literary novel, “Snap,” which is a tragic drama set in an American high school in the 80s.
* … “Vicarious” is a science-fiction/cyber thriller about a mediocre writer with some amazing technological toys.
* … “Surrogate” is a science-fiction/dystopian novel about a diseased boy/man in a special suit.
What is your ultimate goal?
I’d like to leave behind a body of work that is honest and worthwhile—a back catalogue that my children and their children can be proud of. Hopefully they can make a little pocket money from the royalties. To be honest, I don’t expect to make a phenomenal amount of money from writing, but it is something that I have to do to—I’m like a bottle of soda, constantly being shaken around, I need to slowly pour it out or eventually I’ll go flat … or explode.
I hope to build a catalogue before gaining any substantial recognition, so that my work remains honest and doesn’t fall victim of the need to please. (It’s as good a reason as any to keep me happy in the shadows)
Here is how you can find Nico Laeser
I'd like to take this last moment to thank Nico for being willing to be interviewed, and for taking the time out of what I know to be a busy schedule to get back to me. And, though I'd like to lock him in a cage so I would have my own Mr Fixit when it comes to covers and everything else, I hope you will join me in wishing him all the very best for the future in whatever he decides to make of it.
It's just as well I know Nico has a sense of humour, and I know he will take my comments in the light hearted manner they are meant, though he may tease me about it later :).
I'll leave you here with a little bit of advice from me to you. Pop on over to Amazon and pick up a copy of one of Nico's book, I'd bet my bottom dollar you'd go back for more, and don't forget to check out his seriously outstanding artwork on his website, along with following him on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Once again Nico Laeser, thank you.
I am a wife, mother, and grandmother, and I live in Wales in the U.K.
Sallyann Phillips is an IASD member.
Check out their website for a wonderful choice of Indie authors for you to chose from.