Nicole Hunter is a summa cum laude graduate of
Baldwin-Wallace College, where she received the A.W. "Bud"
Collins Jr. Creative Writing Prize. Born April 17, 1959, and
raised in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Hunter has lived in New Haven, CT, and rural Washington
State, and now resides near Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband,
two sons, and two cats.
Nicole Hunter is a contributing member of the National
Association for Poetry Therapy and a member of the Poets' and
Writers' League of Greater Cleveland. She has worked in the publishing
industry since 1989, as a secretary, an editor, a writer, and
currently as a senior creative consultant.
Nicole's book Waiting for the World to End
is a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award Finalist for 2005.
Visit Nicole at www.nicolehunterbooks.com
PageOneLit: What did you like to read when
you were a little girl?
Nicole Hunter: Fairy tales (which terrified
me). Greek mythology (enchanted me). Biographies (fascinated
me). Nancy Drew mysteries (addicted me).
PageOneLit: When did you first know you
wanted to be a writer?
Nicole Hunter: I never wanted "to be
a writer"; I just liked to write. At 10, I wrote a 50-page
novel called "Night of Wonder" about a girl who time-travels
to seven places in her sleep one night from the Pilgrims
landing at Plymouth Rock all the way to an otherworldly future
on Mars. I still remember the books last line: "It
was all just a dream
or was it?" Envision me 35 years
ago hunt-and-pecking the manuscript on my fathers manual
PageOneLit: Who and/or what have been your
biggest influences and why?
Nicole Hunter: People are my biggest influences.
I talk to everyone everywhere I go. People love to tell their
stories and I love to listen to them.
Also about a year ago, I discovered my Micmac
Indian heritage. This has been a giant influence of inner peace
for me, because at last I understand myself. My maternal great-great-grandmothers
people were the Micmacs of Nova Scotia. The Micmacs are amazing
storytellers and innovators with language and poetry. Theyre
known for their great love of their children, and are deeply
spiritual people. As a nation and as individuals, the Micmacs
have suffered and survived; they search and see a spiritual purpose
in all things. And this is who I am.
PageOneLit: What inspired you to write "Waiting
for the World to End"?
Nicole Hunter: I started out just writing
down the story that came to me. It wasnt until I finished
the first draft that I realized the story was much bigger than
I am, much bigger than anything I thought I was creating.
PageOneLit: "Waiting for the World
to End" is a story of choices and faith. Your characters
encounter issues such as abortion and Christianity, and they
deal with them in different ways. Do you think or hope "Waiting
for the World to End" will change the way someone deals
with these divisive issues?
Nicole Hunter: I dont want to change
your belief on any issue. I want you to reflect on the way you
approach your life and thought and other people. I want to remind
you to use your mind, heart, and spirit in your relationships
and for all the big and little questions of a day.
Turn off the television and radio and Internet.
Stop listening to what the pundits and prognosticators and pastors
and politicians and everyone else preaches to you. When you strip
that all away, what is in your heart? What does the still small
voice within you say, when you can actually hear it?
PageOneLit: Is the character Thomas Olsen
based on anyone you know? Talk about how this character was developed.
Nicole Hunter: Thomas Olsen is who he is,
not by my human machinations, but simply because he appeared
that way on my paper. I didnt consciously create him, or
any of my characters, or the story. They all just materialized
from out of the blue. Thank God I had a pen handy.
PageOneLit: What was the greatest challenge
in writing "Waiting for the World to End"?
Nicole Hunter: My basic problem was that
I would reread the manuscript and sense that I hadnt gotten
the characters and the story just right, that I needed to do
more work, that I needed to tell the story better. The process
by which I finally finished the book was simple: rewriting, rewriting,
as a kid from William Zinssers "On Writing Well").
I recycled a trees worth of paper for all the pages I trashed
along the way. But the book now tells exactly the story I want
PageOneLit: Are you a daily disciplined
writer? When writing, do you find it difficult to stick to your
schedule? Do you have certain tricks you use so that you don't
stray from your writing?
Nicole Hunter: Writing is part divine inspiration
and part the grassroots drudgery of putting pen to paper. During
"Waiting for the World to End," which took six years,
I made myself write for 30 minutes a day minimum, cloistered
in my room, no matter what. Now that the book is finished, Im
taking time off for good behavior.
PageOneLit: What do you hope to achieve
with your book "Waiting for the World to End?"
Nicole Hunter: Abortion and faith are two
of the most polarizing issues we face in our society, and the
characters in "Waiting for the World to End" struggle
with those issues, along with other timely and timeless problems
such as loneliness and aging. I write with a healing voice about
things that divide us and things that make us all the same. Empathy
is a bridge between peoples hearts, and I hope my novel
can be part of that bridge.
PageOneLit: The end of your novel is left
wide open as far as the future goes. Do you have plans for a
Nicole Hunter: The only sequel is in the
readers imagination. Its whatever you want it to
PageOneLit: Are you working on any new projects?
Im outlining my second novel, but at a leisurely
pace with no discipline yet. All is secret but the title: "Jigsaw
PageOneLit: What is your advice to an aspiring
Nicole Hunter: Have a spiritual life. Spend
time in nature. Spend time in silence. Talk to everybody everywhere,
and really listen to what they say, watch their faces when they
talk to you, think about their stories after youve gone
your separate ways. Read "White Noise" by Don DeLillo,
"Beloved" by Toni Morrison, and "Going After Cacciato"
by Tim OBrien.
PageOneLit: Who are your favorite authors,
and why do they inspire you?
Nicole Hunter: Robert Bly. Chin-Ning Chu.
Ruth Holmes Whitehead. They teach through myths, legends, and
stories, each in their own ways. They have opened my eyes to
life as no one else has. They express their brilliance so simply
and with such quiet and shimmering magic that I wonder if they
are angels in human disguise.
PageOneLit: You are very active with Project:
LEARN. Tell us about this.
Nicole Hunter: I donate a percentage of
my book royalties to Project: LEARN, Cleveland's largest organization
for adult literacy, where I also volunteer as a tutor. I founded
the grassroots movement Literacy Through Literature, through
which I recruit other writers and booklovers to join the adult
literacy movement as tutors or financial contributors. Im
also the chairman of Project: LEARNs annual fundraiser,
the Corporate Spelling Bee for Literacy, recruiting corporate
sponsors in Greater Cleveland to support this life-changing cause.
PageOneLit: When you're not working, what
are your favorite ways to relax?
Nicole Hunter: Walking on Jekyll Island
beach on the Georgia coast. Reading a whole book in one sitting
on a very long plane ride. Daydreaming.
PageOneLit: Do you have any final thoughts
to share with us?
Nicole Hunter: Fear nothing except to waste
the moment. (Mark Sanborn). Every day, do something you think
you cant. (Chin-Ning Chu). The most important question
to ask yourself is: "What am I doing for others?" (Joe