Friday, July 6, 2012

Niki Burnham Guest Post

Book title:  Shot Through the Heart
Author:  Niki Burnham
Short Blurb:  Two guys, two girls, two thousand dollars, and one epic water gun battle.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I've loved to write since I was old enough to hold a pen. However, I didn't think "real" people became authors, so I made a detour through law school before writing my first book. I figured that if you love to read, love to write, and can see both sides of any story, the law was a good career.  
Why do you Indie publish?
I love the flexibility.  For me, the best path is a hybrid one--some traditionally-published projects, some independent projects. Shot Through the Heart is my first independent title, but I've published twelve other books with New York publishers. I plan to continue doing both.
What inspired you to write your book?
I've toyed with the idea of writing about off-limits relationships for years--dating a friend's ex, dating a friend's potential crush, dating a best friend's sibling--and had a partial outline for a story that touched on those types of tricky situations. When I saw articles about local high school's senior year water gun tournaments, I knew I'd hit on a great framework for exploring those relationships in a humorous way. Having characters fire on each other made for fun writing.
What are three things you want people to know about you or your book?
1)  Reading is my passion. I still spend more time reading than I do writing.
2)  Shot Through the Heart is available in both e-book and paperback formats.
3)  I have excerpts of all my books at my website,  There are also writing tips, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and an e-newsletter signup for readers who want to be notified of upcoming releases.
What advice do you have for parents to encourage their kids to read more?
If your kids don't like to read, it's quite possible they haven't hit upon the right books. When I was a kid, I loved adventure--Hardy Boys, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Trixie Belden and anything about Joan of Arc were guaranteed hits with me, even if those weren't the books topping current bestseller lists. Do your kids relish a puzzle to solve? An adventure? A laugh? A romance? A look into a life vastly different than their own? Are they history nuts? Look to the books that speak to their interests. Then, once you find one or two books they enjoy, look for other books by the same author.  Look at online bookstores to see what else people who bought that book purchased or what other titles they recommend--it's a great way to expand their reading tastes. Finally, don't hesitate to ask local booksellers or librarians what they recommend based on your child's particular tastes. You might find some real gems.
Just as important as finding the right books, however, is setting the right example. Most kids I know who love to read have parents who read on a regular basis.  They see that their parents don't spend all their free time playing computer games or watching TV, but keep reading high on their list of entertainment choices. When parents cherish reading time and treat it as a reward, kids usually will, too.

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