It’s safe to say that Nikki Markham is multi-talented. She writes both M/M and F/F romances under two award-winning pen names, all the characters of which are three-dimensional, emotionally charged and packing one hell of a punch. As Nikki, she has two books out, both of which have been incredibly well-received – in fact, one review of Impact labels Nikki as ‘always one to break expectations in the most interesting ways’, which is absolutely intriguing!!
Time to find out more about Nikki!
Introduce yourself! Tell us a little bit about you - who are you, and what do you do?
Hi! I'm Nikki Markham, your friendly neighborhood bisexual writer of kinky & sapphic, erotic romance. I spend most of my time writing m/m romance under a different pen name (Kate Hawthorne) and Nikki is a new endeavor for me, but one that I am having so much fun with.
What made you want to sit down and write your first book?
I wanted to write Impact because I felt like there was something missing in the genre. In the romance genre there's a decent amount of sapphic romance to choose from, but I didn't feel like I was finding a lot that was as kinky as I wanted to be reading. Not to say it doesn't exist, but it's definitely hard to find! And that's generally what drives me to write anything... They say write the books you want to read, so that's what I'm out here trying to do.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
Writing romance is easy because I always know how a book is going to end. The fun (and hard!) part comes in deciding how I'm going to get the characters there. I generally will try to come up with at least one thing I want the character to overcome or face in order to get their HEA and then I'll see how I can weave that journey into the overall development of the relationship. I don't actively plot, so I'm always open to listening to where the characters want to go to the get through it and do my best to take them there.
Which of your characters do you relate to the most, and why?
Honestly, I probably relate the most to Isabelle, who is from my book Impact. She is very strong, extremely confident, but when we meet her she is actively working through some abandonment issues that developed as a result of her last relationship. There's a bit of trauma there, to be honest, recovering from emotional manipulation of a partner and learning to open yourself again to new opportunities. Beyond her, I very much LOVE Athena, but Athena is who I *wish* I related the most to ;)
Has your own writing ever made you cry?
No, but also yes. And not under this pen name. I have a book under my Kate Hawthorne pen name that has a pretty emotional breakup scene in it, and I got pretty sad writing it, but once I listened to it on audio for the first time, I was a wreck! It just goes to show the importance of having a talented and capable team working with you to make sure the delivery of your books is received the right way.
Does anyone you know in real life read your books?
Actually, yes. My husband has read Impact, and I do have some friends IRL that know what I write and keep up with my releases. My dad and step-mom also know I write, but I've pretty much begged them to not read my books and they swear they haven't.
Imagine your book, or one of your books, was made into a film. Who would play the lead roles?
This one is REALLY hard because I have such a specific vision in my head of who these characters look like. I don't think I could choose.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?
Write more. Haha. I honestly really enjoy writing and when I have down time, it's generally my go to. Beyond that, I'm an active reader. If I'm not doing that, I'm probably doing yoga or entertaining my dog or my kid.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given with regards to being an author?
Branding. Branding. Branding. From a business perspective, figure out your brand and keep it tight. Also, it's important to understand who your audience is. You may not write for everyone, but make sure you know who you're writing for and stick with that.
How about in general life?
I'm at a weird transitional point in my life right now, and what my answer would have been this time last year isn't what I think it would be now. So now, the best advice I have to share, that *I* hold on to is: You cannot pour from an empty cup. You have to figure out how to self-care yourself and take care of your own needs as a priority, because if you're empty, you have nothing to give anyone else.
What is a motto you live by?
“Stop breaking yourself down into bite-sized pieces to serve others. Stay whole and let them choke.”
How can people connect with you?
You can sign up for my newsletter at: http://www.katehawthornebooks.com/nikkimarkham or find me on twitter @xonikkimarkham - if FB/insta/tiktok is more your speed, I'm on all of those as Kate Hawthorne.
Finally a light-hearted one. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be?
This is very niche, but I would be a grilled portabella mushroom sandwich from Cafe 976 in San Diego. They were my FAVORITE when I was 17, 18, 19 years old. The most perfect mushroom cap with swiss cheese and grilled peppers... Nothing compares.
If you enjoyed this interview, then make sure you’re following my social media accounts (@kblakemanwriter on Twitter and @katherineblakemanwriter on Instagram) to get all the latest updates! And if you want to support my own Sapphic Fiction journey while you’re here, my new novel The Summer We’ve Had is available now!