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Thursday, October 23, 2014

PHE - Interview with Nikki Kelly + Giveaway


I'm really happy to welcome Nikki Kelly to the blog today to celebrate her newly published novel, LAILAH. It was released earlier this month by the publisher Feiwel and Friends, but as a Wattpad sensation, LAILAH already had a following. Nikki Kelly joins us today to answer a few questions and discuss her book. Also, don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post.


Hello Nikki and welcome to the blog.  I'm glad we can chat about your newly published novel, "Lailah". To someone who doesn't know what to expect, how would you best describe your debut novel?

Lailah is the first book in The Styclar Saga and is YA PNR.

The story focuses on Lailah as she goes on a journey of self-discovery, uncovering the truth of ‘what’ she is, while trying to figure out ‘who’ she is. The novel is full of mystery and action, and there is a heavy romance at the center of the story, but Lailah’s existence and her world is veiled with dark undertones.

There are themes of light and dark, and it goes some way to challenge preconceptions and assumptions that we make about people and the world. The ideas around the worlds/dimensions in the story are a spin on traditional mythology and the concept of Heaven and Hell.

The synopsis of Lailah sounds quite dark and the cover looks creepy (but beautiful). Do you think your novel can be read by anyone, or will dark themes deter some readers?

I am ecstatic about the cover! It would have been all too easy for the designers to put an uber-pretty girl in a big dress in the middle, so I was thrilled that the fantastic creative team came up with the cover that they did. It perfectly depicts the tone of the story, with our heroine at the center, dressed normally, and with a light cascading down from above, but creepy hands grabbing her from below. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then this cover surpasses that and manages to encapsulate the entire 115,000 words of the story!

To answer your question about darker themes, I look at it like this: To know happiness, to a degree you have to experience sadness in your life, which in turn makes the highs so much higher. To a degree the same can be said for the darkness in this book. To truly appreciate the idea of light and what that means, we have to experience and know the opposite end of the spectrum. While there are some dark moments, they are crucial to the story. I don’t think it should deter readers; the book has gone through an editorial process and been categorized as YA, and the professionals know what is ‘too much’ or if something goes ‘too far’, so I trust their judgment on keeping the darker themes well-balanced.

Lailah is the first book of The Styclar Saga. What exactly is "Styclar"? And how many books do you anticipate the Saga will have?

In the books, Styclar-Plena is the name of the ‘First Dimension’ – a world created by and existing in light, born from a crystal that sits at the center of the world. Styclar-Plena is an anagram of the words ‘Crystal Plane’. It was only right to name The Saga after the First Dimension; to a point, everything that has happened and will happen has spawned from the actions of the beings from that world.

The Saga is set to be three books. Book 2 (Gabriel) is due for release Fall ‘15 and Book 3 (Untitled) is due Fall ‘16. In addition I have been writing various short stories, both for digital release and for print release, to go along with the main titles.

Is Halloween recognized in the paranormal world you created for Lailah? If so, how do people celebrate?

Lailah is actually set over the month of December and over the Christmas period, so we just missed Halloween! In the first book Lailah stays in the Second Dimension, which is Earth as we know it in current times, so it would be a recognized holiday.

Were there any special challenges when writing about total opposites like Vampires and Angels?

My Vampires and Angels are a little different to what has come before. In fact, the very idea of what a ‘Vampire’ and what an ‘Angel’ is – what our preconception of those beings are – is exactly the reason I wanted to include them. One is traditionally very ‘dark’ (there are different generations of Vampires in my books) and the other is traditionally celestial and ethereal, which is perfect, because it gave me the opportunity to explore the dark, the light and the shades of grey in-between, while putting a new spin on the beings themselves and the worlds from which they emerged.

Your experience from a self-published author on Wattpad to an author published with Feiwel and Friends is impressive and admirable. In short, can you describe the process? Also, if you had to do it over again, would you change anything?

Awww that’s very kind of you to say! I wrote my story over 18 months in my spare time. It was shortly after that I discovered Wattpad, and I uploaded my story serially in blocks of seven chapters a week over the month of December, so the readers would feel as though they were in ‘real time’ with the events in the story. The book became popular very quickly and within six months had over a million reads and thousands upon thousands of votes and comments! This was amazing for me and made me feel more confident with what I had written, due to all the love being sent my way through the magical wires of wi-fi! Growing an audience early on really helped, and in many ways it gave some assurance to the traditional publisher –Feiwel & Friends, who picked it up – that despite the ‘supernatural trend’ falling out of favor, there was still very much an audience who still wanted to read about these types of beings! If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a single thing.


Now on to some personal Halloween questions:

What's your favourite part of fall/autumn?

The leaves, when they fall off the tree! Crisp and golden, I enjoy kicking them and watching my Pug and Chihuahua roll around the piles in the park!   

What is your most memorable Halloween costume?

I’m English, and we don’t celebrate Halloween the same way the US and Canada do! In fact, sadly, it’s not really a big thing here at all. That said, I think the costume I probably dressed in most growing up was a witch with a broomstick! Having said all that, as I became a teen and went to Halloween parties, I often dressed up as pop stars, such as Baby Spice!


Thank you Nikki for stopping by and answering my nosy questions!

Here's the scoop on LAILAH:


The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.

Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

My Review

About the author

Nikki-Kelly-BWNIKKI KELLY was born and raised only minutes away from the chocolately scent of Cadbury World in Birmingham, England. Lailah was first launched to wattpad, an online readers and writers community. Within six months, the novel had over one million reads. Lailah is Nikki’s debut novel, and the first book in The Styclar Saga. She lives in London with her husband and their dogs, Alfie (a pug) and Goose (a Chihuahua).

Connect with Nikki:

Website | Twitter | tumblr | Facebook



Nikki's publicist at MacMillan is offering one (1) harcover copy of LAILAH.

Open to USA and Canada only. Giveaway ends on November 7, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

stephsig hallow

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

Follow Tynga on: Facebook | Twitter

23 People left their mark' :

  1. I love that cover :) Congrats to Nikki on the new release and thanks for sharing!

  2. The cover's very neat! I didn't even notice at first that it was hands grabbing at her. It's got an ominous tone that makes you feel like there's more. I think I would choose Angel because they have wings and don't have sharp teeth? hahaha~

  3. I would choose anytime vampire over angel.

  4. [* WordPress Simple Firewall plugin marked this comment as "0" because: Human SPAM filter found "..a" in "comment_content". *]
    Love the cover and very excited about this book. The hands and her I don't care look really make this cover something awesome. Vampire or angel...hm....angels I think because I love food and vampires from what I've read so far don't enjoy food as much. I would miss pie a lot!

  5. I'm so excited for this book it sounds really interesting. I'd be an angel

  6. Thank you for the giveaway! I think I'd definitely choose angel. Vampires have too many restrictions to deal with/urges to curb

  7. I love this cover because of the I don’t care look really make this cover something awesome. Vampire or angel?…angel.

  8. Mmm I definitely have a soft spot for vampires, so I'd have to go with them over angels!

  9. Hmm this is only the second time I read something about Wattpad. Congrats on your being discovered as an author! But for me, I have too many paper books to read as it is already, no time to go scouring the internet for more.

  10. I love the cover. I would have to go with vampires.

  11. It would depend on the advantages and disadvantages of being a vampire or an angel. :)

  12. [* WordPress Simple Firewall plugin marked this comment as "0" because: Human SPAM filter found "xxx" in "comment_content". *]
    Thank you Erin !! :) xxx

  13. Thank you so much for the well wishes and I totes understand - ALL THE BOOKS right?! My TBR is getting out of control ;) Nikki

  14. It would depend on the vampire or angel, but I tend to gravitate to vampires.

  15. I haven't heard all that much about the book, but it does seem to be really interesting. Plus, a really pretty cover that makes me wonder about what's inside? Yes please!

  16. I think that though I love to read about vampires, I would go with an angel. The thought of a being actually taking my blood doesn't appeal.

  17. That would be hard to choose but I'll go with angel.

  18. Even a rogue Angel would be my choice

  19. I love nikki she is awesome that it all. ogh i would choose JONAH (vamp) Angels arent my thang

  20. This book looks so good!!
    I think I would choose an angel? Honestly, I'd have to meet them before I decided.