Meet Nikki Blake - runner up in the WOW! Quarter 3 2020 Essay Contest with a moving story titled "Ghost Hunting in Diablo Valley"

Saturday, October 17, 2020
Congratulations to Nikki Blake and Ghost Hunting in Diablo Valley and all the winners of our 2020 Quarter 3 Creative Non-Fiction Essay Contest!

Nikki's Bio:

Nikki Blake enjoys writing all sizes and genres of fiction and creative nonfiction from her home in the SF bay area, CA. She shares her office with a gray tabby named Tedz, and a flatulent dog named Pluto. She has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. Her favorite part of writing is creating characters and then tagging along on their adventures. Nikki has written and illustrated a children’s book, is currently working on a YA novel, and hopes to publish some of the short stories she has written. When she is not writing, she enjoys drawing, painting, gardening and artisan bread baking.

If you haven't done so already, check out Nikki's moving story Ghost Hunting in Diablo Valley and then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW: Congratulations Nikki! Thank you for writing this essay - I'm sure readers will enjoy Ghost Hunting in Diablo Valley. Let's get right down to the nitty gritty. What role has journaling and/or writer's groups played in your writing life?
NIKKI:  I have spent most of my life writing in stops and starts, never really finishing projects. It was not until I discovered an online writing group about a year and half ago that I was able to receive the support and feedback I needed to actually finish projects and submit them for publication. Since then I've written over 20 short stories, and started a YA novel. I would never have gotten anywhere without my writing group! 

WOW: That's great incentive for others to join a group. Do you often enter contests or is this a first? What would you like to tell other authors concerning contests and submitting their work?

NIKKI: I do enter contests often as I enjoy writing to prompts and deadlines. At first, I was discouraged when I would not place (or win). I thought this meant that I was just not a very good writer, but then I realized that I was still able to create a story or an essay that I would not have created otherwise, and that writing is a process. I could then revise, polish, and submit my work somewhere else, which is exactly what I did for this essay. 

WOW: We sure are thankful you entered our contest and you hit the nail on the head - writing most certainly is a process. I think it's important for people to hear that.

 Do you have other published pieces (long or short) or books?

NIKKI: This is the very first thing I have ever had published! So exciting! 

WOW:  I'm glad we could be one of your firsts and thank you for writing this essay - what is the take-away you'd like readers to gain from Ghost Hunting in Diablo Valley

NIKKI:  I think we all have past versions of ourselves that can sometimes hold us back from believing in ourselves. I re-wrote this essay a few times, and I struggled with the last sentence and how to end it. What was I really getting out of this talk I was having with my past selves? I finally settled on the word "try" because really, that is all any us of can do. I made a promise to myself that even if I never got anywhere with my writing, it would not be for lack of trying. 

WOW: What’s next for you? What are your writing goals for 2020 and beyond? 

NIKKI:  I plan to continue to write short stories and essays, to send more items out for publication and to finish a rough draft of my YA novel that I started this year. 

WOW: Thank you for sharing your time, talent, and insights! We sure look forward to reading more from you!!!

Interviewed by Crystal Otto who just keeps on keeping on!

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