Rocky Mountain Writer #64

barb-2Barbara Nickless & Blood on the Tracks

In June of 2012, Barb Nickless and her family were told to evacuate their house in Waldo Canyon, northwest of Colorado Springs, because a wildfire was bearing down. Authorities told Barb to plan on being gone for a few days.

Instead, Barb’s house burned to the ground, one of hundreds of houses lost in that devastating fire.

Earlier this year, Barb published her first novel, a mystery thriller called Blood on the Tracks, and that fire played a role in how Barb approached the work of writing fiction. No details here – you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

And now Barb is dealing with another wildfire—the good kind—with the sales of her book. For a few weeks this fall, Blood on the Tracks was ranked #1 in nationwide sales, ahead of writers such as J.K. Rowling. And the reviews have poured in, too – thousands of reviews on Amazon and the novel is still carrying a nearly solid five-star rating.

On the podcast, Barb tells the story of the Waldo Canyon Fire and talks about the research that went into Blood on the Tracks, which features railroad cop and Iraq war veteran Sidney Rose Parnell and her k-9 companion Clyde. Barb talks about her immersion approach to writing and the amazing story of how she found her agent during Thriller Fest in New York City. She also recounts the decision-making process that went into going with Thomas & Mercer, the publishing house that is part of the Amazon empire.

Barbara Nickless was made in Japan, born in Guam, and traveled through numerous ports of call to land in Colorado.

When she's not writing, traveling, or wandering through libraries, she is usually in the Colorado Rockies where she loves to hike, cave, snowshoe and drink single malt Scotch—rarely, please note, at the same time.

Barbara Nickless

Intro music by Moby Gratis

Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

Intro music by Moby Gratis
Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens:

Mark Stevens
Mark Stevens is 2016 RMFW Writer of the Year. He writes the Allison Coil Mystery Series--Antler Dust (2007), Buried by the Roan (2011), Trapline (2014) and Lake of Fire (2015). Buried by the Roan, Trapline and Lake of Fire were all finalists for the Colorado Book Award; Trapline won. Trapline also won the 2015 award in genre fiction from the Colorado Authors League. Kirkus Reviews called Lake of Fire "irresistible." More about Mark on his website.