Author Interview: Nikki Noir and S.C. Mendes

Hi, guys. I hope you’ve been enjoying the interviews so far. I know I sure am. Next up, we have authors Nikki Noir and S.C. Mendes. They’re here to tell us about their newest release, Algorithm of the Gods.

S.C. Mendes is a teacher, real-estate investor, and author with a penchant for the occult. He’s published many stories and articles under various names, but The City is his debut novel and the beginning of the Max Elliot saga. He contributes regularly to Blood Bound Books, where the mission is to spread hope through dark fiction. In between semesters of indoctrinating the youth, he’d hard at work on the sequel to the The City as well as collaborative manuscripts with the seductive yet deadly Nikki Noir. Their authored work The Lockdown will infect the public education system in 2020. S.C. attempts to keep up with readers on Facebook, bloodandgutsstory.com, & redrumreviews.com and welcomes fan/hate mail at mendeshorror@gmail.com.

“Learn to appreciate the darkest moments of your life. It is those moments that make our time in the light even more beautiful.”

Nikki Noir writes erotic thrillers, extreme horror, and bizarre plotlines. She enjoys reviewing all forms of dark fiction and fashion at her website: www.RedRumReviews.com

“Nikki Noir leaves behind a trail of memorable words written within a bludgeoning stain on the cracked skull of the reader.” -K. Trap Jones, author of The Drunken Exorcist

“Equal parts Elmore Leonard, Chuck Palaniuk, and Gillian Flynn, Nikki Noir definitely lives up to her name.” -John Palisano, Bram Stoker Award-winning author

“Every public restroom should have a scrawled message on its wall that says: ‘For a good time READ Nikki Noir!” -John McNee, author of Prince of Nightmares

“Nikki Noir is a sultry new voice in erotic horror, one you should watch as closely as a black widow in your bedsheets.” -Kristopher Triana, Splatterpunk-Award winning author of Toxic Love

EB: Welcome, Nikki and S.C. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us about Algorithm of the Gods and the inspiration for it?

Nikki: Algorithm of the Gods is a sci-fi thriller that sucks you into a dark world of online celebrities, virtual reality, and a black-market conspiracy with ties to high levels of government officials.

The inspiration was a meshing of our interests. I love incorporating modern settings/roles into my writing, like having YouTubers and Instagram influencers as main characters. It’s a big part of the world, and I find the lifestyle fascinating. Especially how kids look up to online celebrities and dream of starting their own channels.

S.C. has this thing about reality and consciousness and neuroplasticity.

Algorithm of the Gods is what we got when our ideas combined. It’s dark, but it’s far from horror. It’s much closer to Mendes’s work than mine. There’s a private investigator and a bad ass female protagonist, so fans of The City will probably enjoy the pairing.

It was a blast to write and it was almost a surprise when we decided to release it. Originally, the novelette was planned for Summer 2021. We did some quick editing with the help of a handful of amazing beta readers and replaced the pre-order of The Lockdown—which was planned for Dec. 8th—with Algorithm of the Gods. If you want to learn more about the reason for the change, check out my blog post: https://www.redrumreviews.com/post/surprise-it-s-a-new-book

Here’s the link for Algorithm of the Gods for those of you who would like to check it out: https://amzn.to/2JLdosg

EB: I’ve heard of authors who’ve had good experiences collaborating with others and some who’ve had bad. What was it like working with another author?

SC: Having a co-author is definitely not for everyone. There’s a lot to consider, and it’s a topic that would probably be covered in those ‘Self-Publishing’ articles. I’m fortunate that the experience was pleasant for me—it seemed like it was for Nikki, too. We both knew what we wanted to get out of the collab going in and what role in the process we were best at. 

We met about three times in person because sometimes you need that personal touch to convey story ideas. For me, person/phone/zoom is much easier than emails. I spend too long writing emails and never feel I’ve done a good job of explaining myself.

Nikki’s great because she is always open to brainstorming and trying new things. If it doesn’t work, she shrugs it off and tries something else. That’s important. For example, we both wrote and amended a long scene for two days, only to have me say it wasn’t working and we needed to scrap it and go back to the drawing board. Thank goodness she agreed and didn’t kill me. But you need that ability to roll with the punches. Sometimes stories change on you—at least they do for me—and if you’re not working with a professional who can persevere through those kinds of obstacles, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Nikki: It was a really great experience for me. I liked bouncing ideas back and forth, and it was easy because we know each other in real life. I think it would be really hard to collaborate with someone you’ve never met before. 

For Algorithm, I had this idea of a YouTuber who dies on a live stream and how it leads to a conspiracy of how influencers rise to power. A more realistic take on selling your soul to the devil for fame. #illuminati

I was stuck though. I just had this one scene of a guy’s head exploding and clues being found on the scene. The story holding it all together was vague, and so I pitched S.C. the idea and he suggested the virtual reality angle. He took my opening scene and created Spencer Hardy, the atheist private investigator. I designed Cassie, and together we talked about different subplots before developing the senator and his son’s use of VR crimes.

EB: What’s your next project and where can readers learn more about you?

Nikki: I’ll be working on the next book in my Black Planet series (https://amzn.to/3n3GTEq) which should be out spring 2021. I’ll also be joining Kristopher Triana, John McNee, and my co-author in a food-themed horror anthology called Chew on This! (https://amzn.to/3gwxZNt)  It’s a sexy funny story about a love potion gone horribly wrong.

I review horror, blog, and more on my website, Redrum Reviews: https://www.redrumreviews.com/

Please follow my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Nikkisredrumreviews

I’m more active there than other platforms. I tried to do Instagram and Twitter at the same time and it’s just too difficult. Of course, I’d love to have you follow me on Goodreads http://bit.ly/2W4CRzX and leave me feedback on my books. 

If you’re a reviewer who is rabid for my work, drop me a line at nikkinoirreviews@gmail.com. I would love to get you ARCs of all my upcoming publications.

SC: I have two novelette/novella ideas I’m working on. I’m excited to explore the craft of this story length. Novels are great and I’m not leaving that world, but short stories are fun and a big part of what got me into reading as a kid. 

My big project for 2021 though is the sequel to The City, https://amzn.to/375EUdz. I completed a rough outline and some character profiles at the beginning of the year, and then March arrived… everything changed. It wasn’t a bad year though, it just made it impossible to move forward on that book. However, I’m ready to return to that underground world and see what twists and turns I can discover. 

I’m not online very much, the real world is chaotic enough, but I do appreciate reader feedback on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3qOB1Bu and my Author Page https://amzn.to/33XOOvP. I read all the reviews I receive.

I also have the crazy idea of starting an ezine series about self-publishing, sharing what’s worked and hasn’t worked for me over the years. I’d also use it to document my writing progress over next year. Sounds good now, but it’s a little daunting for a guy who doesn’t use social media much. 

I’ll make that decision in January, and if I move forward, I’ll be sure to share the info with you and the authors you work with. I’d love to have guest bloggers and a community of authors helping each other succeed.

EB: I’m all about authors helping other authors. SC, you’ve been writing for years, and it’s great that you want to share your self-publishing journey. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

SC: I have wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. Well, that and a rockstar. By the end of high school though, it was clear I was not cut out to open for Iron Maiden one day. I packed the guitar away, but I’ve never stopped writing. It was more of a passion than a career, and I kept out of the public eye until the last few years.

I think 2021 is the time to embrace that childhood dream again. Algorithm of the Gods is my first release in three years. It’s a fun way to jump back into the game!

EB: This next question’s for Nikki. Where do you get the ideas for your books?

Nikki: I get ideas mostly from what I see online.  Bizarre headlines like: “17,645 People Have Signed a Petition to Drink Liquid from the Black Sarcophagus.” Weird posts from The Splatter Club, memes, and viral challenges. More ideas than I could ever possibly write, unfortunately.

EB: I know the feeling. I think most authors do. SC, how do you select the names for your characters.

SC: Names are a sticking point for me. Unless I have a very clear image of the character from the beginning, it’s difficult to assign a name. Often, I start a rough draft with a broad idea or plot concept rather than characters themselves. I’ll flesh out a few scenes using a placeholder for names. When I polish the rough draft, I tend to select names from people I know in some capacity. Mostly, I mix and match first and last names of people who remind me of the character’s qualities. Not always, but often.

EB: Nikki, have you ever read anything that made you feel differently about fiction?

Nikki: I’m not sure what you mean. But being on the author’s side for the first time, has made me feel different about fiction. Not in a bad way. It’s just weird to see the other side of the business. Not that I’m a Big 4 published author, but to peek behind the scenes of what goes into a book is pretty cool. I’m not sure many readers understand the business side of books.

EB: This one’s for SC. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

SC: I’d tell myself to get involved in a writer’s critique group. I was always too nervous about sharing my work and providing others with feedback because I didn’t feel confident in my writing. Also, I didn’t want to look foolish.

Learning how to give and accept constructive criticism is important if you want to improve in any aspect of life and reach your full potential. Having shied away from this crucial step, it took much longer for me to reach the level I’m at. And I still have a long way to go to reach my goals for 2021.

EB: Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you?

Nikki: The online author world kind of scares me sometimes. The majority of it is great, but I’m always worried about the crazies. I’ve had a few already, and it makes me nervous. So I don’t usually share my opinions or personal life as much anymore, and my online comments are always short. I’m not being rude. Just cautious. It’s gonna take me awhile before I get over some of the online drama that people have dragged others into this year. So I’d like readers to stay patient with me. 🙂

SC: One of my missions, as well as my publisher’s, is to give back to the community. We want our horror stories to have a deeper purpose in the grand scheme of things. Every year we donate profits from The City to St. Jude’s. You can find out more about that program here: https://www.bloodgutsandstory.com/post/finding-cures-saving-children 

Blood Bound Books also donates age-appropriate dark fiction books to schools. You can learn about this program and nominate your favorite teacher on their mission page: https://www.bloodgutsandstory.com/about

I believe it’s important to support companies who make a difference in the world.

EB: Thank you both so much for joining us today. It’s been a real treat. I will post the link again, so you don’t have to scroll back up. Algorithm of the Gods is available here: https://amzn.to/2JLdosg. Don’t miss out! Get your copy today.

Thanks for stopping by! I have one more interview I will be posting this week. Make sure to come back tomorrow to check it out. It should be another good one. Now, it’s time for me to get back to work. My next story isn’t going to write itself.  -E.B.

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