Lacey Weatherford is the bestselling author of the Of Witches and Warlocks series, “Chasing Nikki”, “A Midsummer Night’s Fling Anthology” and “Crush”. “Chasing Nikki” is the story of a troubled teen who moves with his mother to Silver Creek, Arizona and ends up finding himself and love. You can view the “Chasing Nikki” book trailer here. Lacey is releasing the sequel to “Chasing Nikki” this December! Read our interview with Lacey below. We discuss Lacey’s inspiration for “Chasing Nikki”, her love for the paranormal and the anticipated sequel “Finding Chase”!
How did you originally come up with the concept for “Chasing Nikki”?
“I was working on one of my books in the Of Witches and Warlocks series while I was on my way to watch my son play in a state football game. I turned to my husband and said, “I should write a football story! I could base the setting off our area. It would be fun!” He said, “You should!” I pondered on the story off and on over the next two years, but it wasn’t until I saw Chase Walden play football that the storyline really started to formulate and take off for me, eventually evolving into what it is now.”
Since Nikki reads paranormal books who is your favorite vampire?
“Hmmm. That’s a hard one to decide. In TV shows, either Damon Salvatore or Angel. In books I like Devlin the Enforcer from The Mystic Wolves series, or Edward Cullen from the Twilight Saga. I’m sure there are others I loved, but those are the ones that pop to mind first.”
What is your favorite paranormal novel?
“Ha, ha. These are HARD questions! I really love a lot of paranormal books. I’m quite partial to Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments; my current favorite though has been Sweet Evil, by Wendy Higgins. I’m seriously in LOVE with Kaiden!!”
What does madder than a wet hen mean?
“(Laughing) This is the product of me growing up on a farm. (In my best country girl twang) It’s somethin’ my Pa used to say. LOL Chickens will run around squawking and ruffling their feathers when they get all wet.”
Are you still friends with Chase Walden? Has he read “Chasing Nikki”?
“I am friends with Chase! I’m currently writing this interview while wearing his jersey, in the car on the way to watch him play in a State Football Playoff game. He’s a great guy, and super talented. I claim him as one of my own kids!
Chase has read the book and he loves it. He actually messaged me around one o’clock in the morning when he finished reading and told me I’d made him cry—something he’s never done with a book or a movie, and that I had no idea how close I was to him in reality. He also said he hopes he will find his real Nikki someday. He got hold of me at six o’clock the next morning, full of ideas for the photo shoot. We did the shoot using all his ideas, and I think he looks amazing on the cover. He’s fabulous!”
Besides Chase are any other characters based off real people?
“I do have a few people or names in the book that are mentioned. My brother, Glen Jackson, and my son, Jace, are players mentioned on Chase’s team. I tend to picture our hometown football coach, Coach Tenney, when I write about Coach Hardin, though one of the assistant coaches here is named Hargrove, so I guess he’s kind of a blend of the two. Nikki and her mom have attributes based on two cousins of mine. My cousin is actually named Britany Nikole, which is where I came up with both of the names Nikki and Brittney for the books.”
Had you always planned on doing the time jump and skipping summer?
“Not initially. In the original concept, I’d planned on having a lot more about football practice and cheer camp in there, but when it came down to the actual writing I felt things were getting too repetitive and I needed more of that stuff to happen toward the end of the book so I made the decision to hop forward to keep the pacing flowing better. I referenced a few of the scenes I’d have liked to have in there during the letter at the end.”
What chapter was the hardest to write?
“Pretty much everything from chapter 19 on just about killed me. I got really sick from crying so much. It was rough.”
In essence “Chasing Nikki” is about death and dealing with loss. Did you write it to help you cope?
“This book was very therapeutic for me. I’ve had a lot of death in my life, both close family, friends, and even my boyfriend when I was 18. Losing my mom to blood clots after an accident, was extremely difficult for our family. It was so fast and she was so young, only 57. It left our family grieving terribly. I was determined that her death not be in vain, so part of writing this book was to help give me the opportunity to perhaps share and educated other people about this silent killer.”
Is it difficult to write a story from a boy’s perspective?
“Not at all! I don’t know if it was because I talked to Chase a lot and had him give me language pointers or what. I watched him closely and tried to mimic those guy/teen attributes into the character. Plus, the character is very much a blend of Chase and me emotionally, so that helped me connect with the inner dialog of the character. It was actually quite a bit of fun!”
Without giving too much away the title is said in the epilogue. Did you choose the title while writing or had you picked a title first?
“The title came first, based on the play of Chase’s name combined with Nikki’s.”
Was “Chasing Nikki” written from beginning to end? Or did you first write a chapter for the middle or end of the book and have to back track?
“This book was written straight through from beginning to end. I think I only have one book I’ve written where I was half way done then skipped forward to write the last two chapters and came back to fill in the rest. I prefer to go straight through, because then the story is building inside me just the same as the climax is for the reader.”
What was your biggest challenge in writing “Chasing Nikki”?
“Forcing myself to write the end. I stopped writing for several weeks when I hit that spot, knowing I would be delving into some heavy personal emotions and memories of my own. I finally buckled down and wrote the end as quickly as possible. It was a hard place to stay in mentally. I wrote the last two words of the epilogue on the anniversary of my mom’s death, shortly after hearing one of my cousins had committed suicide a few hours prior. It was a very difficult time for me. I was kind of a basket case.”
Do you prefer watching college football or the NFL? Who is your favorite team?
“I like all football, but High School football is my favorite. We live in a state were rivalries are close in our division and it’s not unheard of for six to eight thousand people to show up at a big game. I think it ups the tension levels when you know the kids that are playing as well. You get really invested in the team.
As far as college and NFL, I’m a loyal girl to the home teams, whether good or bad. I like Arizona State University and the Arizona Cardinals.”
Can you tell us anything about “Finding Chase”?
“Finding Chase will be out in December, and I’m very happy with the feel of this story. My editor currently has it, and she loves it! I really enjoy the continuing character development in this book. Chase is as awesome as ever, trying to stay true to promises he made while being very tortured by his inner demons. He wants to be happy, but he has a lot of darkness bottled up inside that he’s struggling to work through. I love some of the secondary characters that step up for him in ways he didn’t imagine. I think they play off each other well. I’m excited for readers to get their hands on it, and I hope they’ll enjoy the progression of it as well.”
Was it planned all along for “Chasing Nikki” to be series instead of a stand-alone book?
“Honestly, I knew I had a “part two” to the story, but I wasn’t sure how this one would be received due to the subject matter. So, I initially released it with the intention of it being a standalone book with a great message and hoped I would get some people who liked it. I was surprised at how many people connected with it on such an emotional level. Readers literally poured out of the woodwork messaging me about it, sharing some of their own experiences, or how the book helped them through a trying time, and begged me to please write the rest of Chase’s story. So Finding Chase will be dedicated to my readers. It exists because they wanted it.”