Before Bev Nickelson was an author, she called herself a closet writer.
Ever since graduating from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston in in the ’80s, the Batavia woman had this idea that would not leave her mind. After turning 40, her knack for writing seemed to blossom.
Short stories and other ideas just started coming to her. She also discovered fan fiction, in which people write alternative chapters or sections to their favorite books or book series.
“After doing that, I realized how much I enjoyed writing,” Nickelson said of the experience. “I’ve kind of always had stories in my head; I just wasn’t writing it down.”
Finally writing it down led to Nickelson writing and publishing a book called “Three Daves” last February, under the pen name “Nicki Elson.” Classified loosely as romance/women’s fiction, Nickelson describes “Three Daves” as a quirky romance set in and inspired by the cultural overtones and themes of the ’80s.
The story draws heavily on Nickelson’s experiences at EIU, something that has provided both fun and light controversy for those friends she attended school with.
“There are bits and pieces of real people in each character,” Nickelson said. But really, it’s all just a loosely based combination of mix-and-match experiences college, she said. “[My friends] all had a lot of fun with it; they loved it.”
While the writing process took her a little longer than she originally thought it would, Nickelson discovered that what she enjoys just as much as writing is going back and reworking parts she’s already written. She also enjoyed the process of going back through her memories to relive and reimagine some of the experiences from her college days. And judging by some of the feedback she’s received on the book, others seem to enjoy that, too.
After an article about her and the book appeared in EIU’s alumni newsletter, she heard from many people who told her how much they loved the way it took them back to their own college days. And while she draws from EIU, she said the things that take people back in their own memories are easily applicable to any of Illinois’ universities and colleges.
While getting the book written was a challenge in its own right, marketing the book has provided its own challenges and demands. While she hasn’t been able to write as much in light of promoting the book, she has enjoyed parts of this aspect, as well. Particularly the online stuff, with her own blog, website and social network accounts, has been fun for her.
But with her next book already taking shape in her mind, Nickelson said her second year of being an author will include much more writing than her first. “I do want to kind of settle down and write,” she said.
On April 28 at Gibby’s Wine Den in Geneva, a character from her next book will be revealed in a “Guys & Grapes” wine-tasting event for the book. While she can’t reveal too many details, she did provide one clue: “Sexy, with a Christian influence.”
To check out Bev Nickelson’s blog and for information on upcoming community events, visit www.nickielson.com.