I’m back again with another author interview for you in the run up to Christmas. Today it’s the turn of climate fiction author Niki Baker – pen name N R Baker.
Hi Niki. Lovely to see you today. Why don’t you introduce yourself to the readers before we get started?
Thanks so much, Fi. Hi everyone! I’m Niki, an English introvert who found her wings and followed her heart (on an extremely tight budget) to a little forested river valley in rural France. If that sounds like something out of a fairytale, well, it is. Magic is real, if you know where to look for it… but I don’t need to tell that to the author of Haven Wakes!
You definitely don’t, Niki. Tell us about your latest book. What’s it called and what was the inspiration behind it?
My book, 10:59, has been described as an eco-thriller. The central character is an eighteen-year-old called Louis (‘with a wiss, not a wee’) who finds himself working for an organisation that wants to save the world. But when he’s entrusted with the monstrous secret of how they plan to achieve that goal, he – and the reader – must decide whether they’re heroes or villains.
The inspiration for writing 10:59 was what we’re doing to the Earth. Most of us are born into societies based around economic growth at any cost. We might have a sneaking suspicion that we’re trashing the planet, but that’s someone else’s problem, right? When you step away from the rat race and really open your eyes, the fresh perspective is incredible: liberating, enlightening, and scary as hell. That – plus a ton of research and a penchant for sarcastic humour – is behind my novel.
Speaking of inspiration, what inspires your writing?
All sorts of things. Experiences, images, news stories, random thoughts… Okay, mostly random thoughts. I plant all of my ideas in a document on my computer, and some of them grow.
Here’s the festive question: If you could have Christmas Dinner with any fictional character, who would it be?
Excellent question, Fi. There are plenty of fictional characters I’d like to spend time with, but at Christmas it would have to be someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously, is game for a laugh, and isn’t averse to an alcoholic beverage or three. I think I’d choose Allan Karlsson, the protagonist in Jonas Jonasson’s book The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. He’s had all kinds of adventures so he’d be a fascinating dinner guest, he defies stereotypes, and he’s open-minded and good fun.
Finally, what bookish plans do you have for 2022?
I absolutely cannot wait to get back to writing, and the amazing reviews from readers of 10:59 are a huge motivation. My partner and I have spent the past two years slaving away in a mill (if we were eighteenth century peasants we’d definitely be revolting by now). Our home is a very dilapidated old paper mill that was in desperate need of some serious TLC, so we’ve had to devote every available moment to restoring windows, laying floorboards and plastering walls. We’ve still got a lot to do, but next year we’ll be able to slacken the pace a bit and I’ve got two half-finished manuscripts that I’m just itching to work on…
Wow, you’ve been busy. I can’t wait to find out what you write next.
If you’d like to find out more about Niki and her writing, here are all the links you might need:
And finally, here’s my 5* review of Niki’s debut novel.
So ‘now’ it’s astounding. 10:59 makes you think, and that’s putting it lightly. Without wanting to give too much away, it’s a storyline that connects deeply with our ‘now’ in 2020 and the choices that future governments may have to face.
This is a pacy, exciting, thought-provoking cli-fi novel that will stop you in your tracks.
I can’t wait to read more from this author.