We had the good fortune of connecting with Barbara Nickless and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Barbara, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Successful writers know that becoming a published author requires many things. But the one thing you must unquestionably do is get your butt in the chair as often as you can. Every day if possible. Beg, borrow, or steal the time. I learned my work ethic from a friend of mine who opened a successful restaurant. She was up two hours earlier than most people. She said, “While they’re sleeping, I’m working.”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Breaking into publishing is extremely difficult. I like to joke that I was an overnight success who took more than a decade to get there. What ultimately pushed me to success were two things: a war and a wildfire. The wildfire made me realize it was time to either go full speed after my dream or to give up and direct my energy elsewhere. The Iraq war–and more specifically, mortuary affairs–gave me the idea for my haunted, driven detective.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Of course, the pandemic has changed everything. But before that? A whirlwind tour would include the Denver Museum of Natural History, and especially all the critters in Prehistoric Journey. We’d then dash up for a couple of days in Estes Park where we could hike and sample the whiskey at the state’s biggest whiskey bar at the Stanley Hotel (inspiration for Stephen King’s hotel in The Shining). Back down in Denver, we’d visit Union Station, the Tattered Cover bookstore, stroll around LoDo, then drop in at the Denver Art Museum. More whiskey after that at the nearby Pints Pub. (Are you detecting a theme here?)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The group that has helped me through thick and thin–from encouraging my writing to literally supporting me after my home burned down in a wildfire–is Pikes Peak Writers.