Saturday, September 16, 2006

Nikki Arana

I first met Nikki through American Christian Fiction Writers. Then I read her first book, Winds of Sonoma. It's wonderful--a book every Christian in the U.S. needs to read, considering the current political climate. The two sequels to Winds of Sonoma have been published. In the Shade of the Jacaranda and The Fragrance of Roses.

I just finished reading the last book. This series deals with cross-culture marriage in a sensitive story, which reveals amazing spiritual depths. The true connection of the loving Father with our everyday lives will grab your heart and increaset your adoration of Him.

We will be giving away a free copy of Winds of Sonoma and In the Shade of the Jacaranda. If you don't win and go out to buy a copy, you need to get all three at once. You'll want to go straight to the next one. What a wonderful family saga that shows the human condition in various situations and graphically depicts the spiritual journeys of all the participants.

Welcome, Nikki, I can hardly wait to meet you face-to-face. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I would say there is a part of me in every character. Of course The Winds of Sonoma was inspired by the story of how I met and married my husband, so Angelica, the heroine is VERY much like me. In book 2, In the Shade of the Jacaranda, Maclovia’s beliefs about God are very close to my own.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Fly to Guadalajara, Mexico, on faith, to find a one-legged man. Rent a car, drive two hours northwest of the city, go into a rundown open-air restaurant, find him, and interview him. You may be able to guess why I went looking for him if you read In the Shade of the Jacaranda.

I've been to Guadalajara, and I've even ridden with a missionary friend for hours through the Sierra Madres to a small pueblo. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

At the age of 52, when I wrote a magazine article on a lark and sold it. That led to more freelancing and more sales. But to tell you the truth, I still kind of wonder about it.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I read a lot more nonfiction than I do fiction. I love Watchman Nee and Jeanne Guyon. In fiction I love the classics, especially the Bronte sisters.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

The only books I have written are those that Revell has published or will soon publish. Which is the three books of the Regalo Grande series and one stand-alone that I am finishing now to be published next year.

I should have asked you to explain the meaning of Regalo Grande, but I didn't. My understand is that it means "large or great gift." Our blog visitors will have to read the series to find out why that is importatnt to the stories. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Becoming a writer was way out of my comfort zone. I was a very successful real estate broker for almost thirty years. I find the writing life much less hectic than my previous years selling real estate sixty hours a week. But I find it far more stressful because I must have the faith that God will express His creativity through me each day. Rather than waking in the morning with the attitude I will make things happen, I have to start my day surrendering to Him, listening for His voice and trying to be an empty vessel for the story He wants to tell. I’m still learning.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

Some names I choose for their meaning. Like Manuel means God is with us. Other times I choose names that will stick with the reader because a character isn’t going to be mentioned for a few chapters. And of course there are those minor characters that family and friends expect to have as namesakes.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I don’t think proud would be the right word. But the thing I am most grateful for is the deepening of my spiritual walk that God orchestrated by calling me to write. I have never felt more fulfilled or more joyous than I feel right now.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A rich old lady’s poodle. The thought of being pampered has real appeal right now.

What is your favorite food?

Mexican!! If it’s on the menu, I’ll love it.

I agree with you. I love Mexican food--Tex Mex, Mexicali, and the actual food from Mexico.

Thank you, Nikki, for spending this time with us. I can hardly wait for the next book. Remember, Readers, leave a comment on this interview for a chance to win a copy of Winds of Sonoma and In the Shade of the Jacaranda. Someone will win; it might as well be you. And there's still time to leave a comment on Lynette's interview for a chance to win a copy of Windswept Weddings, which also contains a book by yours truly.


Jennifer Y. said...

Another great interview...looks like a good book.

Terri Gillespie said...

Great interview. Love Nikki!

Cherie Japp said...

Great Interview! Sounds like a great read!

Deborah said...

I've been wanting to read these books for a while. great interview!

Anonymous said...

Hi All,
For those of you leaving comments, if you win the 2 books, you can choose any 2 of the 3 books you want or even select my new book that will be out next summer, As I Have Loved You. I will personalize them for you or someone else if you want to give them as gifts. - Nikki

Michelle said...

I have already read the first two. I found the first one and shortly after the second was out! Glad to see #3 is here. Looking forward to reading it. (and many more to come, hopefully!)

Coleen said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Nikki last month thru a mutual friend. I read Winds of Sonoma prior to our meeting and found myself drawn into God creating us for a purpose. I do believe Nikki is lead by the Lord in her writing. I find her books have a true spiritual depth.

joye said...

I've been all over Mexico and it takes a bit of adventure in one to do that. It is enlightening and the people are friendly. Can't wait to read the books. These are the kind I like to read and seldom find in bookstores. Not too many authors writing in this style.
Enjoyed the visit

Michael said...

Well done Nikki. You sound both clear and honest. God bless.

Chris Moore said...

I so appreciate Nikki's frank and honest acknowledgement of God as the central pillar of her writing process--and her recognition of the real joy it brings, in spite of living and working outside her comfort zone.
Praise God for how He is using Nikki to draw attention to our Lord!

Marion said...

I have read all of Nikki's books and have truly enjoyed them. I would like to read her new book(s) too.

Betty Arrigotti said...

I met Nikki at a conference and was so grateful for the personal interest she took in me and my writing. I thought Winds of Sonoma was very touching and look forward to reading the sequels. I wish Nikki the very best... and high sales, too!

Anonymous said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words. Any of you who would like to follow my book journey, you can sign up for my quarterly newsletter at - Nikki