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Advice For Young Writers, Dyslexia and Reading, Storytelling, THE JOCK AND THE FAT CHICK: Three Questions With Nicole Winters

Nicole Winters graduated from the University of Toronto with an English B.A.. She loves books, bikes, horror films and globe hopping. She’s currently at work on her third YA novel called THE CONJURER. You can find Nicole on Twitter, her blogFacebook or

I met Nicole through our local Torkidlit group; I love her enthusiasm and genuine caring about young readers as well as her support of other authors in the community.

Synopsis of THE JOCK AND THE FAT CHICK (14+) from HarperCollins (E-book):

“No one ever said high school was easy. In this hilarious and heartwarming debut, one high school senior has to ask himself how much he’s willing to give up in order to fit in. Kevin seems to have it all: he’s popular, good looking, and on his way to scoring a college hockey scholarship. However, he’s keeping two big secrets. The first is that he failed an assignment and is now forced to take the most embarrassing course ever–domestic tech. The second is that he is falling for his domestic tech classmate, Claire.” Read more…

Q. Could you please take a photo of something in your office and tell us the story behind it?

This is the glorious and amazing Diahann Carroll from the program, Sunset Boulevard (1995), which I had framed after I saw her on stage and dreamed of becoming a writer. I love the way she stares at me when I work and asks, “Did you say you were a writer?” “Why yes, Norma Desmond, I am…”

Q. What advice do you have for young writers?

I was a reluctant reader as a kid. I had dyslexia and in those days they didn’t have a diagnosis for it, so kids like me who had trouble reading were labelled as either slow or lazy; I knew I was neither. The day I read THE OUTSIDERS, something about that story resonated with me — kids without parents who struggled to survive in a harsh world with unbending rules. I continued devouring each page on the bus ride home and that night I had finished it. The reluctant reader had read an entire book in one day, what a feat! That experience sent me on a mission to seek out more stories that could provide the same intense thrill. Living in a small town with an even smaller library that didn’t have a teen section, I wandered deep into the stacks and gravitated towards tales of horror and suspense. So no, I wasn’t one of those writers born into a literary family, or with a pen in my hand, nor did I sit in a meadow devouring highbrow literary works that were beyond my years. I read about ghosts, vampires, monsters and other gross stuff, then I began to imagine my own stories.

If I could say one thing to say to a budding writer who thinks they can’t be a storyteller because they’re not school smart, it would be this: if thinking about stories and writing them down makes your inner self go ‘squee!’ then that’s all you need. So ignore those who say you can’t. Charge forth and just have fun; it’s where you’re meant to be.

Q. What are you excited about right now?

I’m looking forward to visiting my new baby nephew, during American Thanksgiving. It’ll be cuteness overload!

For more insights from book creators, see my Inkygirl Interview Archives and Advice For Young Writers And Illustrators From Book Creators.