Hey hey, welcome back! This Writer Wednesday, I bring to you N.G. Peltier, a writer from Trinidad and Tobago who I’ve known for many years and am absolutely thrilled to see making her way through the publishing process!
Today, I have the honor of interviewing her, so scroll on down to see what she’s got to say!
LEAH: Hello, Natalie, I hope you’re doing well! Let’s jump right in, huh? It’s been within the last few months that you participated in a Twitter pitch contest and landed yourself an agent. Very exciting! Can you tell us a little bit about what that process was like for you?
NGP: So, I’d done DVpit before with a different MS and decided why not try again in October 2017 with my contemp romance MS. The second experience was pretty great! This time around, apart from beta readers, I did pay to have professional eyes on my Sweethand MS and I got some feedback on my pitches prior to the event. I took more of an active part in the preDV activities as well, and won a critique of my query before the event too, so I think those things made all the difference than when I’d first tried DVpit. I was so grateful that Alexis Daria and Meredith Ireland (my now agent sibling!) offered to help me with my pitches. That was so nice of them. I had tweeted about doing DVpit and they offered to help me. With that feedback, I felt way more confident entering this time around. Seeing people boosting my pitches and saying they wanted to read my book was an amazing thing!
LEAH: I can imagine it was really encouraging! In a similar vein, please tell us about your writing process. Do you have a specific space to write in? Do you listen to music while you write? Create playlists for your books? Are there any essentials you must have in order to write? Other than a computer, obviously! *laughs*
NGP: I don’t have a writing desk or anything, I usually write in my room on my bed. I make playlists for each MS/WIP, so to get into the mindset for that particular world, yup I’ll have that book’s playlist going.
So my process is basically: gets idea, I’ll usually jot down some scenes/dialogue because those tend to come to me first, even before I know who the characters are. I then do character profiles and try to flesh out characters and their motivations (what do they want? What’s in their way etc) I might do rough chapter outlines but most times I’ll deviate from them in some way lol. I also started writing blurbs for each WIP, which really helps to focus the plot. And of course I create a Pinterest board. When I’ve gotten to that part, I know i really want to write this book. Pinning really helps me figure out my character’s personalities.
In terms of things I must have to write, I definitely must have that Pinterest board going before I start drafting. I’ll keep adding to the board as I go but I need the visuals first. Since sometimes seeing a photo online is what sparks the idea in the first place! 🙂
LEAH: Pinterest is such a great site–and it’s a wonderful place for authors, I’ve noticed, because like you said, you can create such specific boards! Now, as a friend and long-time fan of yours, I know that your novels and short stories are based in Trinidad and Tobago, with casts almost entirely consisting of people from the islands as well as various aspects of Trinidadian mythology. Can you talk a bit about why that’s important to you, and how you choose which bits of mythology and culture to put a focus on for each story?
NGP: I mean it’s who I am. Being Trini is just an integral part of me, and for instance, in my romance, I want to see people from a culture like mine getting their HEA too! And most of the romance and fantasy books I grew up reading were sadly pretty white and based on European myths. When I became more active online, and especially twitter, was when started interacting with other authors of colour and reading more books by and about POC, so I wanted to share my culture, our folklore, show we small island people can have the fun, scary adventures too!! Because our stories deserve to be told and shared as well.
As for the folklore aspect of it, I chose to focus on the popular stories we grew up on, so my focus is jumbies. So while one of my manuscripts focuses on the characters like douens and Papa Bois, and the soucouyant and La Diablesse, to name a few, I put my own twist on it too. I stay true to the basics of the folklore character but make some stuff up too, that I felt would add a nice fun element to the stories we knew and loved.
LEAH: That’s awesome, and I’m so glad you’re writing them, because there is definitely a need. And because they’re just fabulous and I love seeing the mythology elements! You’ve written some shorts that you’ve posted on your website, which have all been wonderful, by the way. But do you find that writing such short pieces is more difficult or easier than writing a full length novel?
NGP: OMG yeah short stories are sooo hard! You have less words to tell your story and that’s not easy. At all. Although the Christmas shorts on my site weren’t as hard really, the story just poured out of me. But some others I’ve tried to write are just no >.> There are two I’m still trying to finish months later! I think I prefer longer novels, I have more space and words to play with.
LEAH: I figured as much! Shorter stories always seem, to me, like having to write a one paragraph summary for school–so difficult to get all the necessary details! But obviously totally doable with some effort. So, are there any genres or subgenres you’re dying to write? Any that you know you’ll never write?
NGP: I kind of want to try romantic suspense. I have no idea if I’d be any good at it or not but we’ll see. Still waiting on an idea to hit me that I just can’t not write before I try. Hmm, as for never write, probably high fantasy anything, horror, historical romance. I don’t mind reading but have no real interest in writing them. Fun story: the book that got me my agent, Sweethand, started off as YA lol. Buuut it just wasn’t working so I switched to adult romance and boom the story flowed. I just don’t think I have that voice for YA so I’ll probably not venture there but whooo knows for sure.
LEAH: Oh man, I didn’t know Sweethand started as a YA novel! That’s so interesting to think about. *laughs* Alrighty, now let’s do some fun questions! Using romance tropes, describe a few of your characters.
NGP: From the book that I’ll be going on sub with soon (eep!), Sweethand, my heroine and hero are definitely enemies to lovers. In that same MS, there’s some unrequited love going on with one of my secondary characters, Scott. I hope to write his story someday soon because the piniiiing is legit lol. Sky and Micaiah from my Christmas short story are for sure an opposites attract trope: she’s so grumpy, he’s so smiley.
LEAH: Hah, these are so legit! If you could pick an author to co-write with, who would you choose?
NGP: Ooooh I would love to co-write with Talia Hibbert. Her books are alll my jam and so tropey. I’m not sure how it would work out but yeah I can dream right?? So Talia if you see this hiiii lol
LEAH: Talia, hit our girl up! I would one click a book from the two of you in a heartbeat! Pick five (5) of your characters and tell me a tv show/movie/documentary/etc. that each would say is a Must Watch!
NGP: Hmmm okay let’s do a mix of Sweehand and the Christmas short stories so:
For my Sweethand characters: My heroine Cherisse’s current obsession is Grocery Games with Guy Fieri, which she’d tell her peeps to watch but she gets way too into it, like yelling at the TV into it and no one will watch with her lol. Kieran, my hero, says watch Black Panther, no reason needed cuz duh it’s amazing so just do it. He’s of course also obsessed with the soundtrack so he’d tell you go listen to that too. Just bask in all the Black Panther goodnessss.
From Elixir Fixer short story: Gale loves reality TV and loved the original Jersey Shore so she’ll try to get everyone to tune into Jersey Shore Family Vacation to see how the guidos and guidettes are doing all these years later because “GTL forever !!” Anna basically watches makeup tutorials on YouTube which are sort of like documentaries right?
From Bring Out D’ Ham short story: Sky, Gale’s sister will roll her eyes and walk out the room if she even brings up Jersey Shore lol, but then Gale will tease Sky because for someone so grumpy she secretly loves rom coms (but don’t tell anyone!). But if she had to get people to watch one rom com movie, it would be Hitch because Will Smith and Eva Mendes are both hot.
LEAH: I am right on the same page with Kieran and Sky. *grins* Pick two (2) of your characters and describe their perfect meal.
NGP: Cherisse from Sweethand would say cupcakes because cake is a legit meal.
Lynx from my soucouyant (Caribbean bloodsucker) book: Nick because his blood is delicious. Me at Lynx: seriously?? >.>
LEAH: *cackles* Don’t be judging Lynx–that nerd boy is definitely tasty! Lastly, tell us five (5) good books you’ve read recently, or five (5) books you’re looking forward to. Or both!
NGP: Oooh I have read some amazing books so here goes!
- Wanna Bet? by Talia Hibbert (seriously, the hero Rahul is the softest sweetie)
- A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert (yes she’s on here twice because her books are awesome)
- Invitation to the Blues by Roan Parrish
- Pretending He’s Mine by Mia Sosa
- Syncopation by Anna Zabo
LEAH: All wonderful recommendations, I agree! Natalie, thanks so much for coming by and allowing me to interview you! I can’t wait to be able to pick up your books sometime soon!
NGP: Thanks for having me! Hope everyone gets to read them soon 😀
N.G. Peltier is an anime watching, book reading, video-game playing, story writing, island nerd with a dash of dork.
A devourer of words and books from a young age, she enjoys creeping people out with the Caribbean folklore stories she grew up hearing.
A Trinidadian born and raised, she currently lives in Trinidad with her mountain of ideas and characters battling each other for whose story get told next.
You can find her at her website (https://ngpeltier.com/) and connect with her on Twitter (@trinielf)!