Monday, October 27, 2014

NIKKI NELSON-HICKS: Five Things Learned Writing JAKE ISTENHEGYI THE ACCIDENTAL DETECTIVE



I met Ms. Nelson-Hicks at IMAGINARIUM 2014 during a writers panel discussing Lone Hero vs. Heroic Groups. A very cool gal with some very awesome work out there, and coming out in the near future.

The main thing that snapped my head around while hearing her talk about her Single Shot JAKE ISTENHEGYI tale was the mention of ZOMBIE CHICKENS. -- PJW




When a Hungarian immigrant out to live the American Dream rents a room to a private detective with his own aspirations, voodoo and demon chickens must follow, right? 

They do in Author Nikki Nelson-Hicks’ A CHICK, A DICK, AND A WITCH WALK INTO A BARN, the first in Hicks’ Pro Se Single Shot Signature Series featuring her original character, Jake Istenhegyi, The Accidental Detective. 

When Jake Istenhegyi inherited a used bookstore in New Orleans, he thought he had finally found a haven. Here, he could hide away and spend his days reading and drinking coffee in peace and quiet. Then he rented out a room to Barrington “Bear” Gunn, WWI vet and aspiring gumshoe who dreamed of living the life of his detective pulp heroes. 

Jake never wanted adventure or mystery but when his friend goes missing while on a case, he goes looking and ends up trapped in a shed with a hundred demon possessed chickens clucking for his blood…it’s a hell of a way to spend a birthday.

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1. I am Barney Stinson.

Not in the ‘sex with anything in a skirt’ way but in that I can’t resist a challenge.

Here’s a little back story on how Jake came into being: I was at PulpArk, a convention in Arkansas for writers of pulp fiction, where I was approached by Tommy Hancock from Pro Se Press with the challenge was to write a story, in the pulp style, that involved, in some way, chickens. 

“Challenge accepted.”

I couldn’t resist. This was an excellent opportunity to finally flesh out the character my husband and I talked about when we lived in Budapest in 1989. Our kids went to a school on Istenhegyi Ute (God’s Hill Street). Brian and I thought, “Wow, what a great name for a private investigator. Jake Istenhegyi, Private Eye!”

Now, all I needed was a way to bring in chickens. 

At the time, I was working on a short story about voodoo. So, voila! Zombie chickens!

I dropped the other stories I was working on and just barreled head first into creating a story with Jake, Bear Gunn and zombie chickens. It was a blast! 

I got it done by deadline….only to find that I was the only one. NO ONE ELSE had finished a story for the Poultry Pulp anthology so it was scrapped.

Still, Tommy liked the story so we decided to put it out as a Single Shot Signature Series with a new story, every six months, following the adventures of Jake Istenhegyi, The Accidental Detective and whatever I can throw at him.




So, now I’ve gotten a reputation taking on weird mishmash storylines.  Steampunk Superheroes? Got it. Historical Western figures fighting fairytale monsters? No problem! 

Everything starts somewhere, that is why….

2. Journals are wombs

One of my rules when I start every story gets a journal all their own. It doesn’t matter if it gets finished or published. Every story gets a place to grow and that is what journals are in my process. The journal doesn’t need to be leather or have a pedigree like a Moleskin. Jake was written in a Five Star spiral notebook. It is where I doodle, figure out plotlines and create characters. It is where my Big Bang begins. And I think that is because….


3. I like discipline.

Not the leather and strap sort (okay, maybe a little) but I do need the threat and the comfort of having a set deadline and a defined word count. It all comes down to the bare fact that…

4. I hate writing.

I like creating ideas, journaling and basically sculpting the universe in my notebooks and I like HAVING written but the actual writing part….gawd, BORING. So tedious, hard and just…..bleck. Well, not always….sometimes…RARELY but….sometimes it’s like hitting a vein and the magic just rushes out, time ceases and it is a glorious, delicious, braingasming high. 

But usually it is just typity typity type. But, really, it all boils down to the fact that….



5. I have no idea what the fuckity fuck I am doing.

Yep. Not a clue. I started A Chick, A Dick and A Witch Walk Into a Barn on a bet and just ran with it. I had NO idea it would blossom into a full series. Do I have a story arc? A story bible? A freaking clue where I want this guy to go? Hell, no! I barely know where he comes from myself! Terry Pratchett is quoted as saying ‘The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.’ 

So, yeah…..when it came to write the second story for Jake, “Golems, Goons and Cold Stone Bitches”, I was terrified and excited and angry and giddy. Basically, a bipolar banquet of emotions. One part of me, the anxious scared part, was crying, “But we don’t know what the hell is going to happen next? What if we screw it up? What if we can’t do it? What if we suck?” And another part of me, the fun, immortal, forever 9 year old, was grinning, “Yeah, that could happen…..but what if we don’t? What if we rock this fucker out of the park? Wouldn’t that be FUN?”

And it was.  

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Author Bio

Nikki Nelson-Hicks has been described by a fellow writer as the 'unholy lovechild of Flannery O'Connor and H.P. Lovecraft'. An accolade she finds terribly amusing. She is an editor and writer for Pro Se Press. She is the author of the Pro Se Press Single Shot Signatures digital series, Jake Istenhegyi: The Accidental Detective. The first of the series,  A Chick, A Dick and A Witch Walk Into a Barn is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. The sequel, Golems, Goons and Cold Stone Bitches,  will be coming out soon. She also has a story in the Pro Se Press anthology, Once Upon a Six Gun. She has stories in Nashville Noir and Nashville Gothic (Parthenon Press), Soundtrack Not Included (Nashville Writers Group), Capes and Clockwork, volumes 1 and 2 (Dark Oak Press) and she edited the horror anthology, Comfort foods. She looks forward to seeing her stories in many of Pro Se Productions anthologies to come. 


Nikki Nelson-Hicks can be found constantly haunting the pages of Facebook, on twitter (@nikcubed) or creatively procrastinating on her blog, www.nikcubed.blogspot.com.






Coming late 2014, a brand new Sherlock Holmes adventure, Sherlock Holmes and The Shrieking Pits from Pro Se Press.

And SPOILERS!

The second story in the Jake Istenhegyi: The Accidental Detective, GOLEMS, GOONS AND COLD STONE BITCHES, is coming out in November 2014. The third will be out in Spring(ish) 2015. The goal is to run Jake through the wringer every six months or so. 

Other goodies coming out soon from NNH are:

Stone Baby, a short story in the anthology Nashville Gothic, that the publisher said after reading he wanted to “bleach his eyeballs out” is coming November 2014

A Sherlock Holmes novella from Pro Se Press, The Astonishing Tales of Sherlock Holmes – The Shrieking Pits is coming out early December 2014.

Delilah Ditch: The Galvanized Girl is a short story that will appear in the anthology, Capes and Clockwork that will be coming out late 2014/early 2015. Hopefully.