Author Spotlight no.81 – Trish Nicholson

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the eighty-first, is of non-fiction and short story writer Trish Nicholson.

A writer and photographer as well as an anthropologist, Trish had careers in regional government, management training, university tutoring, research, and finally, travelling the world to work on aid and development projects. A compulsive scribbler, during those years her writings included a monthly column, and feature articles for national newspapers in UK and Australia, as well as books on anthropology, management and tourism. Trish enjoyed writing non-fiction, but she feared that the storytelling of her childhood was lost forever until she settled on a hillside in New Zealand twelve years ago, where she now writes full time and is a member of the New Zealand Society of authors.

Encouraged by a few wins and anthology publications, she is working on her storytelling skills which she believes are equally important for writing non-fiction. She applies this creed to her weekly blog posts which include stories, reviews, travel tales and photo-essays as well as posts on writing.

Last year, Trish signed up with Collca to write for their new ebook series, illustrated BiteSize Travel, which allows her to indulge her passion for photography. Masks of the Moryons: Easter Week in Mogpog, was released in December 2011; Journey in Bhutan: Himalayan Trek in the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon, was released on 20 April 2012.

And now from the author herself:

Aspiring writers are told, ‘write about what you know’, so I suppose I should be grateful for having had a varied life, but it wasn’t only travelling as an adult that broadened my experience, my childhood was survived against a background of constant change. By my teens, we’d lived in as many homes as I’d had birthdays. The downside, apart from favourite books being ‘lost in the move’ ­– a family catch-phrase and favourite explanation of all things disappeared – was being always the new girl at school and a perpetual ‘outsider’.  Much later in life I discovered this could be a distinct advantage to a writer.

With friends ‘lost in the move’ so often, I invented my own companions, having long conversations with them under the stairs, in the bathroom, behind the chicken shed, anywhere I could get away from adults’ flapping ears. Our squabbles and adventures were my first stories, told to my dog Sebastian who sat on the floor beside me, enthralled by every word.

But stories were soon knocked out of me at school: I learnt the hard way about genre and knuckled down to write essays on the industrial revolution, and the mating habits of dogfish. My choices at university ­– anthropology and geography with a side serving of psychology – brought further discipline with the need to check and cite authorities as well as generate original material, but I loved every minute of it; the pattern for my future was firmly laid.

While still at school I had sent a letter to New York: ‘Dear United Nations, I really want to work with people in foreign countries when I grow up. Please tell me how I can do this.’ Some kind soul on a long tea break replied to me, saying I should gain qualifications in almost any subject that I enjoyed, spend about 20 years gaining experience in that field, and then apply for overseas positions. And that is more or less what happened.

The ‘moving’ became a permanent feature of my life, going from university to various jobs in the UK, in Europe, and finally to the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, to a score of countries. I paused for a few extra years in the Philippines to complete a PhD in applied anthropology, but travelling and trekking anywhere I hadn’t been before became my practice when not actually working. Inevitably, ‘outsider’ status became permanent as well.

It sounds like a Zen mantra, but distance brings you closer. Detachment is essential for research, journalism, travel and other non-fiction writing; not that any writer can entirely avoid subjectivity, but being aware of it leads to better balance. In seeking ideas for fiction, too, detachment can enliven all your senses: outsiders notice more. People also talk to lone travellers more readily. Whenever anyone sits next to me on a bus or plane they inevitably tell me their life story – a writer needs to be such a fly paper; it makes for stickier stories.

I loved that, thank you, Trish. You can find more about Trish and her writing via…her website (and she really does have a tree house). She is also on Twitter @TrishaNicholson.

InsideStoriesPbookCover-webHer latest travel book, Journey in Bhutan: Himalayan Trek in the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon, pictured above, is available on Amazon US, UK, and other e-retailers, for further information and to read the Preface to the ebook go to Masks of the Moryons: Easter Week in Mogpog is available from

Update July 2013: “Now, fortunately for us, Trish has returned to her stories, including 15 of them analysed and critiqued in her latest book Inside Stories for Writers and Readers, a companion to inspire and entertain, in which she explores the relationship between a writer’s voice and a reader’s voice when they meet in a story.“


** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app via or **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, various short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.

I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:

Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group

We look forward to reading your comments.

Free eBook on Kindle: AJ Kirby’s ‘Bully’

Regular contributor to this blog is horror writer (and author of other genres) and interviewee AJ Kirby, and I’m delighted to say that one of his Kindle novels is currently available to download for free.

AJ Kirby is the award-winning author of five novels (Paint this town Red, 2012; Perfect World, 2011; Bully, 2009; The Magpie Trap, 2008; When Elephants Walk through the Gorbals, 2007), two novellas (The Black Book, 2011; and Call of the Sea, 2010), one novelette (Bed Peace, 2011) and over forty published short stories (some of which have appeared on this blog’s Flash Fiction Fridays). He is also a sportswriter for the Professional Footballers’ Association and a reviewer for The Short Review and The New York Journal of Books.

It’s is the aforementioned ‘Bully’ that is available as a free eBook and here are a few words to entice you further…

They say you should never go back. But sometimes you don’t have a choice.
After Gary Bull’s miraculous survival from an explosion in Afghanistan, he is compelled to return to the small town where he grew up, a place that he thought he would never set his eyes upon again. Memories of a past long buried come back to him and he finds himself forced to face the horror of what he did when he was young. It started with the bullying…

Newton Mills appears normal enough on the surface, but scratch the surface and there is something far more sinister.

It has more than its fair share of graveyards and the skeletons are liable to walk right out of the closet.

Newton Mills is the scene of a despicable crime.

No one gets out alive. 

The reviews received for ‘Bully’ so far have been 5*, with one comparing AJ to Harris (Thomas, presumably) and King (I’d say Stephen). 🙂

It is available for a limited time only on and

I’ve downloaded it and look forward to reading it. If you do download it and read it, please do leave AJ a review – reviews mean the world to us authors. 🙂

Blog creation service designed for writers

Anyone who has been following this blog knows how much I enjoy it but also how important it is these days for an author to have a web presence… whether traditionally-published, self-published or neither.

So, I have created

I recommend WordPress and for £50 (US$75 / AS$75) I can create your blog (providing the name is available) for you to then do with as you wish. Alternatively, for a reasonable fee, I can maintain it with the content of your choosing using your photographs (or photographs you have permission to use) to promote your writing, books and other writing-related products. This is ideal for anyone uncomfortable with technology but most importantly frees up your time to do what you really love… to write.

For the initial £50 / $75 fee your blog can have your starter (front) ‘home’ introduction page with an introduction posting, up to four menus (e.g. home, about the author, books, contact). You can have more but there would be an additional charge.

Contact information on the blog would be yours (i.e. pointing to your email) but if you choose that I maintain the blog, all comments would come to me and I would forward them to you free of charge. Unless you take over the blog once it is live, updates that you wish made to it will be charged at an hourly rate of £10 / $15, agreed in advance and paid once they are implemented. No payments are due until your agreed initial blog design is live and you’re happy with it.

So, what you get for your £50 (US $75 / AS $75) is thus…

  • A dedicated WordPress blog domain (e.g. provided it is available (you can tell by typing it in your internet browser, as you would any other website address, and seeing what WordPress tells you or I can check this for you).
  • A theme of your choice (examples shown on the Design page).
  • Four pages (e.g. home, author, books, contact) to include your chosen content e.g. text you send me or text used from existing pages that you’ve provided me, for example your Amazon author page etc.
  • Anything or everything you see here on the right-hand side bar.
  • An introduction or summary posting which will appear at the top of your home page and listed in as many categories as you wish (e.g. writing, horror, crime, western, blogging etc) and keywords (e.g. writing, horror, crime, western, blogging, Frank Smith, Frank J Smith etc).
  • Advice of any comments that are left on the blog, simply emailed to you for you to reply directly on to the blog or via email. I do not reply to comments on your blog as it is your site and I’m just a ghost in the background of it. 🙂
  • Twice-daily announcements of your new blog on my Twitter feed (currently 2,450+ followers) for the first week and intermittent promotion thereafter.

My WordPress Writing Blog has been compiled using free options and your blog would be based on this format (though its design will be to your specification), this ensures costs are kept to a minimum. You are therefore only paying for my time. My blog regularly attracts over 200 visitors per day (on a ratio of US2:UK1 plus many other countries worldwide) with 474 visits on the busiest day to-date (24th March 2012). I post 2-3 times per day with a variety of content and many visits are due to keyword searches because of that high level of content, over 50,000 visits since inception on 31st March 2011.

I have been a writer for seven years and like this writing blog, am consumed by creative writing. This blog creation service is therefore aimed at, but not limited, fellow writers so if you, or someone you know, would like a blog setting up for them do let me know.

I also welcome manuscripts for critiquing / editing, and being based in the East Midlands area of the UK, am available as a speaker, workshop organiser etc.

My email is and I look forward to hearing from you about any service I may be able to provide you with and / or I’m happy to talk about anything writing-related.

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with Anishinaabe culture and fantasy YA author V R Janis – the three hundred and fifty-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.