Nikki Logan is a veteran Harlequin Romance author. Her latest release, Slow Dance with the Sheriff, is the second book in The Larkville Legacy series. Eight authors collaborated on this continuity, and I thought it would be fun to chat with as many as possible as I make my way through the series. I was thrilled when Nikki dropped by to talk about her book.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Nikki Logan] Writer seeks reader who loves long walks on beach, toasty log cabins deep in forest & plenty of wildlife. GSOH an advantage.#AuthorPersonals
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Slow Dance with the Sheriff?
[Nikki Logan] This story is part of an eight-book series (we call it a ‘continuity’ because each story continues the central thread, adding to it in some way) based in fictional Larkville just outside of Austin, Texas (though they’re not all set there). My book is second in the series and features a never-left-New York ex Ballerina, Ellie, who comes to Larkville to personally check out the truth behind a letter she received from a woman claiming to be her half-sister. Ellie wants to suss out the truth before throwing her whole family into disarray. But, thanks to some hurtful and angry words exchanged with her mother, she leaves New York in an uncharacteristically rash fashion and arrives in Larkville only to find all the Calhouns away from the ranch for a couple of weeks. She has no choice but to accept the reluctant assistance of the town sheriff who cops the brunt of her barely contained anxiety about the downward vortex that is her life. But of course he’s gorgeous and gracious about it and she finds herself falling fast…
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Slow Dance with the Sheriff is part of the Larkville Legacy series. Can you share how you and the other authors worked together to write these books?
[Nikki Logan] Getting eight authors from all corners of the globe together to figure out the finer details of such a long and complicated family relationship wasn’t easy. The eight of us primarily used an email loop to communicate and we started with the continuity ‘bible’ which is a number of documents sent to us by our editors which gave us our essential character outlines, descriptions, info about fictional Larkville and some suggestions on what made each character tick. Each of us got that information at roughly the same time and then a few of us launched madly into fleshing it/our characters/the setting out via the loop. But, of course, each of us had a different place in the schedule and different deadlines. Although I was book # 2, my deadline was the first of everyone and so I had to write like a demon once we had locked down the basics and then try and stay across changes and developments as I wrote. But I was well into my next book by the time the authors of the seventh and eighth books were starting to plan theirs. It was staggered.
So that Google group and its archives came in really handy for going back through everything and getting it right.
The most fun (for me) was creating the world of Larkville. I’m responsible for Nan’s Bunk’n’Grill, the Larkville Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Hollis being a woman Then it was up to each of us to insert enough of the ‘world’ into our stories. But of course not everyone got to set their books in Larkville so other authors had to try and extrapolate the ‘world’ and feed enough of it into their stories to make it nest neatly within the series.
The biggest challenge was taking a few-line outline dashed off by the publisher and bending it to fit my voice, my style of story and my interest. I’m really happy with the way the whole story worked out, it’s true to the outline provided but also true to me and characters I would have loved to write anyway.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Eleanor/Ellie?
[Nikki Logan] 3 words: On the cusp.
So much about her life is about to change for the better and she has no idea. But she’s taken her first real risk and it’s going to pay off big time.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Jed would never have in his bedroom?
[Nikki Logan] His firearm (because although he’s security conscious, being a Sheriff, he moved to Larkville to have a different kind of pace in his life, and keeping his gun in his bedroom would dishonour that intent).
His muddy boots (because his Gran raised him right and because he has a loft bedroom so that mud would track all up the stairs)
A phone (Bedrooms are for sleeping or recreation and Jed would think that being contactable wouldn’t fit with either of those things)
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Ellie had a theme song, what would it be?
[Nikki Logan] “I Will Survive”. She’s been through a lot, but she’s finding herself in Larkville and every bad thing that has happened to her has only made her stronger.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Nikki Logan] My father was an original ‘MadMen’ advertising exec type and one of the top creative directors/copywriters in his field, so the bulk of my creative genes came from him. His father (my grandfather) told the most spectacularly intricate, engaging stories that he just made up out of his head (or seemed to) and so clearly my father got it from him and his Welsh genes.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Nikki Logan] Tea – refreshing the cup gives my eyes a break from the monitor and sipping a piping hot cup of tea helps me think
Silence – I write best to silence (including internet silence) and edit best to classical music.
My dogs – there’s something about their steady breathing and reassuring presence…
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Nikki Logan] Reading is such a rushed and rare thing for me now… and it’s been a while since I read someone new (because when I do read its usually the latest installment from someone who already knocked off my socks a few years ago)… But I was totally blown away by seeing WAR HORSE in New York last year. I picked it randomly when I had a free evening and wanted to see a NY show, and knew virtually nothing about it. It picked me up and transported me, breathless, to another world and I completely bought into every part of that experience. It was so engaging, so immersive so emotional and so visceral. Exactly all the things I enjoy about a good read. Except it wasn’t a read!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Nikki Logan] I find this impossible to answer. I grew up in a house always filled with books, and with a mother always propped up at the kitchen bench with a cuppa and a good book. I don’t remember when I started to read I just know I always have. I used to read whatever the school library had (I loved romance even then and would devour ‘Sweet Dreams’ romantic YA novels and also ‘choose your own ending’ stories) and then as I got older of course Mills & Boon (of which my mother had hundreds) and all my mum’s sci-fi/fantasy books (of which she also had hundreds, tho I was selective in what I read).
But to try and answer this I looked to my bookshelf to see what I still have from when I was very young. Two books stand out – one a book of the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen (the dark versions) which I still go back to even now for story ideas and another called “Gnomes” (Nuygen & Poortvliet) which is an anthropological examination of Gnomes as a different species. This book was such a haven at difficult times and transported me to a wonderful and mysterious place.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Nikki Logan] I’m not very good at refilling the well, I have to say. I work seven-days-a-week between writing and my day job so there isn’t a lot of down time. But I try to spend it with my man and my dogs. We like to all pile into the cruiser and go somewhere that we can all romp free together. Well, they romp and I wander sedately and catch up. Movies, the lazy- (or busy-) woman’s book. And of course reading but there’s just no time…
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Nikki Logan] Through my website/blog (www.nikkilogan.com.au), or on my fanpage on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/NikkiLoganAuthor) predominantly. I try to reply to anyone who contacts me with questions or comments.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
You can order Slow Dance with the Sheriff in print or digital from the widget below.
Here is a list of the entire Larkville Legacy series, in order by release month. I have enjoyed the first two books in the series, so I plan to try and read all of them. I love continuity series, so Harlequin once again hit my happy button.
The Cowboy Comes Home by Patricia Thayer – JULY
Slow Dance with the Sheriff by Nikki Logan – AUGUST
Taming the Brooding Cattleman by Marion Lennox – SEPTEMBER
The Rancher’s Unexpected Family by Myrna Mackenzie – OCTOBER
His Larkville Cinderella by Melissa McClone – NOVEMBER
The Secret that Changed Everything by Lucy Gordon – DECEMBER
The Soldier’s Sweetheart by Soraya Lane – JANUARY
The Billionaire’s Baby SOS by Susan Meier – FEBRUARY
Here are all of the covers –