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Friday 1 February 2019

ℚ♫ Rotten Peaches - Lisa de Nikolits

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with returning author to talk about Rotten Peaches (, Inanna Publications, a Noir Suspense Thriller.

"Welcome to the world of sales cons, messed-up self-help authors, hotel room hookups and murder most vile. Rotten Peaches delivers hilarious thrills and villainous chills right to its final twist. A wild, sexy romp of a book!" —Carol Bruneau, author of A Bird on Every Tree

"Rotten Peaches is a magnificently written novel that comprehensively combines almost every genre out there! Lisa de Nikolits dramatically explores our time as we try to understand incomprehensible human nature. A gripping, couldn’t-put-down tale of impulsive, irrational, and extreme interactions that are raw, shocking, historical, political and horrific while still being relatable. Rotten Peaches is a thrilling escape and a thought-provoking novel." —Marilyn Riesz, MA,RP Registered Psychotherapist and Co-Author of Bake Your Way to Happiness

|| Synopsis || Trailer || Teaser: B&N Preview || MelkTert Recipe || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome back to Lisa de Nikolits; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Do you have a music playlist that you used in Rotten Peaches, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"I’m so very glad you asked! Here’s my kind of crazy mix!! These are 45 of my go-to-energize, feelgood songs! And I’ve put the character’s names after them so you know which character might like each song"
Venus (Marc Almond’s remix), Bananarama  Bernice
Paranoid, Black Sabbath – Leonie
Falling At Your Feet, Bono and Daniel Lanois – Bernice
Green Onions, Booker T & The M.G.’s – JayRay
Zombie, The Cranberries – Leonie
Sweet Jane, Cowboy Junkies  Dirk
Hallelujah, k.d. Lang – none of them!
Private Universe, Crowded House – none of them!
Twilight, Delirium  Bernice
Peace Frog, The Doors – JayRay
War, The Cult – Leonie
Layla, Derek and The Dominoes  Dirk
When You Were Mine, Cindi Lauper – Leonie
Life on Mars, David Bowie  Bernice
November Rain, Guns N’ Roses  Bernice
Barracuda, Heart – none of them!
Strict Machine, Goldfrapp – none of them!
Gold Dust Woman, Hole – Leonie
4+20 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – none of them!
After The Gold Rush, k.d. Lang – none of them!
Honey Bee (Let’s Fly to Mars), Grinderman – Leonie
You Lied, Tool – Leonie
Young Men Dead, The Black Angels – Leonie
Just Like Honey, The Jesus & Mary Chain  Bernice
Cosmic Dancer, T.Rex  Bernice
There There, Radiohead – Leonie
Bhangra Fever, Midival Punditz – none of them!
Love is Blindness, U2  Bernice
Empty, Ray Lamontagne  Dirk
James Brown (with Seun Kuti) Sinéad O’Connor – Leonie
Get Some, Lykke Li – Leonie
I Won’t Kneel, Black Light – none of them!
History, Groove Armada – none of them!
Da Da Da, Trio  Dirk
China In Your Hands, T’Pau  Bernice
Pop Goes The World, Men Without Hats – none of them!
Be My Baby, The Ronettes – Dirk and  Bernice
Burning Down the House, Talking Heads – JayRay
Sunshine Of Your Love, Cream – Leonie and Dirk
Aneurysm, Nirvana – Leonie
Flashdance (Radio Edit), Deep Dish – none of them!
Do You Realize, The Flaming Lips – Leonie
Redrum, Ugress – Leonie
What compelled you to write this particular story, Rotten Peaches?
"2015 was a very difficult year for me. I lost my full-time job and had to embark on my worst nightmare – becoming a freelance graphic designer. As fewer and fewer full-time jobs were available, I had no choice but to get out there and face my worst fears.

And to my dismay, people who I had counted on to be close friends, behaved very badly. They were doing well, enjoying success and flourishing and basically, they dumped me. I wasn’t in a position of power and, in their eyes, I had nothing to offer the in-crowd. And that’s when I realized how rotten people really can be and that’s what inspired the book.

And another strongly contributing factor was that I wanted to write about apartheid South Africa and this book was the perfect vehicle for that."
The realisation of human nature is a tough one, but then that is why we love animals so much ;-)
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Like Bernice, I grew up in the South African countryside and we had horses and I enjoyed a very idyllic life as a child. Ours was not a working farm, we had six acres and everything revolved around the horses.

Some of the things I love the most about South Africa are in Rotten Peaches; the smell of the heat and the dust, the cool quiet inside the house, the smell of the velt, the vastness of the cobalt skies. The sky in Canada is so close to one’s head! African skies are distant canopies, you get such a sense of space.

Other than that, nothing in Rotten Peaches is reflective of me. I could see aspects of myself in Julia in No Fury Like That, and Amelia (The Nearly Girl) and I share some quirks."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Rotten Peaches - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I first saw Jennifer Shelswell’s work on Facebook and I loved it so much! I always wanted the cover of Rotten Peaches to be portraiture of the four characters and I thought her artwork was the perfect match.

I’m an art director and designer by day and my initial idea was to have an Andy Warhol-type coloured cover but then my publisher (the amazingly wonderful Luciana Ricciutelli) and I thought we’d go peachy all the way!

And I’ve always wanted to use the Coca-Cola styled font and I finally got to do it!

Jennifer Shelswell with Lisa, and showing off her artwork for Rotten Peaches

You can find more about Jenn here.
Why should we read Rotten Peaches and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"Rotten Peaches really is a book like no other! When the sales team at our publishing house asked me to come up with examples of similar reads in the stores (and they want books from the past two years, you can’t go further back than that), I really struggled! I was inspired by Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) and The Postman Always Rings Twice (James M. Cain) and I can’t really think of any other current books that fill that description!

Why read Rotten Peaches?
For the South African scenery.
For the crazy, obsessive love that derails all of their lives!
For the fast-paced thriller and multi-leveled plot."
Can you tell us something quirky about Rotten Peaches , its story and characters?
"Initially, I had called Bernice ‘Berenice’ and Leonie was spelled ‘Leone’ but then I realized, when chatting to my beta-readers, that no one could pronounce them! So I took the ‘e’ out of Bernice and put it into Leonie!

And I named Dirk after Dirk Benedict, the pretty boy in the A-Team, the 1983 series that was huge in South Africa. My sister and I had a crush on Faceman or Face, as he was called and I love it when I can pop a favourite memory into a book.

The scene where Isaac fills the wheelbarrow with water was also a childhood memory and I really loved being  able to put that in.

And Betty, in Rotten Peaches, is the name of our housekeeper and I modelled Betty very much after Betty. You know, I never even knew Betty’s last name. And when we moved away from the farm, we lost touch. So this book is very much a homage to Betty even although it’s highly unlikely she will ever even know about it. I loved Betty in real life and I love her in the book."
Who would you recommend Rotten Peaches to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I do have a disclaimer in that this book is a dark read. Most people who have read it have loved it but a couple of readers were expecting something more light-hearted, more along the lines of The Nearly Girl or No Fury Like That.

What’s kind of funny is that I thought people would be turned off by Julia and find her too angry – Julia dropped an f-bomb in just about every sentence! but people loved her! And to my happiness, more people are really loving Rotten Peaches than I could have imagined! But it is a dark book! Still, if you look at [Gillian Flynn's] Sharp Objects, people seem to love dark and this is nowhere that level!"
If you could / wished to turn Rotten Peaches into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Shooting the farm scenes in South Africa would be the best thing in the whole world! And simulating the trade shows would be really easy on a film set. The book takes place in Johannesburg and Toronto, so there are two houses, and then there is the farm, the various hotel rooms that Leonie stays in (very easy to film!) and the trade shows. So in terms of locations, they’d be easy to do and lots of fun!



For the director, I’d love Gavin Hood who was at the University of the Witwatersrand the same time I was! I doubt he’d remember me but I remember him and he’s done so well! Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Gavin:
"Gavin Hood (born 12 May 1963) is a South African filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, and actor, best known for writing and directing Tsotsi (2005), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He also directed the films X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ender's Game, and Eye in the Sky."
So can you imagine what he could do with Rotten Peaches? LOL I might send him a message just to see what he says!"
What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?
"Writing ‘cross-genre’ works is the greatest challenge!

Readers, critics, booksellers and the like all want a single genre book description that they can immediately relate to. ‘Cross-genre’ is too complicated! I have likened Rotten Peaches to a cross between Little House on the Prairie and Pulp Fiction and other people have commented that my work is like Christopher Moore meets Stephen King.

How on earth do you try to sell that to someone who wants a six-second elevator pitch that they can immediately relate to?"
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
What has been the best compliment?

"The worst sting was when a reviewer of a top literary magazine gave one of my books one star on Goodreads! Firstly, she did it a few weeks before the review came out which was unprofessional in itself, (but it did give me a bit of warning that she didn’t like the book! She didn’t post her review there, she just gave it one star and left me hanging in fear and panic!) and then when the review came out, it was scathing. I can still feel the pain.

I have been studying the brain, as research for a new book I am working on, and apparently we are wired to remember horrible things much more clearly then good things – thanks for that, brain!

The best compliments are and have been many! And I wish my brain would remember them as clearly! I love it when people email me or post pictures of the book or comment on how much they loved the book. That really gladdens the heart more than I can say!"
I know exactly what you mean there; my brain does exactly the same thing.
I am hazarding a guess that this was the review that stuck with you,  Quill & Quire's review of The Nearly Girl.

What is in store next?

"Rotten Peaches isn’t part of a series but a few readers have expressed interest in Leonie’s future and I myself wonder! But I have other projects on the go; The Rage Room, a time travel sci-fi domestic thriller about a man who wants a perfect life for his wife and children and when he realizes he can’t give that to them, he kills them, rather than have them suffer this life. But then he regrets his actions and goes back in time to change things. But can you really change the course of destiny?

And I have to do self-edits on The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution to get it ready for my publisher. This book will be coming out in fall of 2019 and I hope we will do a tour for it in 2020! Doesn’t that sound nuts, 2020?"
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"My Isabella! What would I do without my little friend? I love her SO much! She is nearly 17 but you wouldn’t know it and I couldn’t bear to think of life without her!"
We remember Isabella very well! Hello gorgeous girl! Lots of head-scratches, belly-rubs and best wishes to you, Isabella!
How far will you go for Love?

Rotten Peaches
Available NOW!

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CMash said...

The author's answer regarding the inspiration of this book has me intrigued and I will be reading this one in the future.

Lisa de Nikolits said...

Thank you so much for having me as a guest today! And I am so sorry to be tardy to my own party, I was hanging out at the Ontario Librarians Superconference all day (It was a LOT of fun!!)

I can't tell you how much I loved compiling this playlist that perhaps no one in the world will like except for me!!

Thank you very much for having me as a guest today on your wonderful site! Happy Friday All!

Lisa de Nikolits said...

Thank you so much! Reader response has been extremely positive - 'page-turner from start to finish' and 'gripping, I read it in one read!' and I very much hope you will enjoy it too!

MandyB said...

Great interview. Love Lisa's narratives...

Lisa de Nikolits said...

Thank you very much Dear Mandy!!