Tag Archives: Radio

20 years in the UK today… Looks like I’m here to stay!

On this day in 1993 (a Monday, if memory serves), a historic event transpired at Dover Ferry port, at about 10 a.m. Slightly bleary-eyed after a 4 a.m. start, a long drive, and a two-hour journey on the SeaCat across a very ‘lumpy’ English Channel (the captain’s words, not mine), I emerged onto British soil for good. I was 20 years old. I brought with me: one blue hard-shell suitcase full of clothes; one hold-all full of books, CDs and assorted knick-knacks; one small boom box (gotta have music, right?); and one collapsible box full of home-making paraphernalia such as two plastic plates, three mugs, one knife, one spoon, one fork, one small pot, and a packet of clothes pegs.

My destination? Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (as it was then), University of London. My purpose: to acquire a degree in European Studies (French and Management Studies).

Previous time spent in England? Five days in London. That’s it. I came here young and naïve, and full of hopes, and dreams, and crazy ideas. Oh and, alone. Did I mention alone?

My family thought I’d never last. I know this, because they told me. They’d given me three weeks. Maybe three months. Three years later, when I embarked on my second degree course, there was a reluctant acceptance (by my family) that perhaps I would stay on this island and build my life here.

What drew me here? I can’t really say. It was like… I don’t know, fate was calling me. It was just something I had to do. I arrived here, and I felt at home. End of story. Or, the beginning, rather!

Talking about arriving… So this first day, my first few hours, were spent in a bemused daze. Driving on the wrong side of the road through the obligatory drizzle. My first experience of a motorway service station; the smell of sausage rolls and tea and Cornish pasties assaulting my nostrils. The anticipation as we neared Junction 13 on the M25 (exit for Staines) and then drove up Egham Hill towards the college.

Fresh off the boat, as it were, and insanely proud and excited: FIRST DAY.

Fresh off the boat, as it were, and insanely proud and excited: FIRST DAY.

Finding Williamson Hall of Residence and registering my person as present on Campus. Walking into the slightly sinister breeze-block building to be greeted by a pile of laundry in the corridor, illuminated (just) by a bare 20 Watt bulb… I thought, for a second, I’d perhaps arrived in the Bronx. (I found out much later that I arrived on the heels of a great turning-over of rooms between a business conference ending and the first students arriving. That would explain the laundry, I suppose.).

Moving into 'digs' in year 2. Talking of 'dig': Dig the HAIR! And there's my trust fold up box lurking in the background too...

Moving into ‘digs’ in Year 2. Talking of ‘dig’: Dig the HAIR! And there’s my trusty fold up box *and* boom box lurking in the background too…

Did I turn tail and run? Of course not. I sidestepped the laundry, firmly clutching my new room keys like a lifeline or a talisman, and I made my way to what was going to be my castle.

Pretty soon, I discovered:

~fused plugs (after my hairdryer had blown the fuse in the German-to-English plug adaptor, of course, not before)
~electric kettles
~sockets with ‘on’ and ‘off’ switches (although after 20 years, I’m still liable to be caught out by an ‘off’ socket and be left wondering why the kettle won’t boil)
~sausage rolls
~Capital Radio!!!

Apocalypse NOW! I was an extra in the Lightning Seeds video for PERFECT. Try as I might, I can't spot myself but hey, you could always have a go: http://youtu.be/_oXku7W2HRU

Apocalypse NOW! I was an extra in the Lightning Seeds video for PERFECT. Try as I might, I can’t spot myself in it now, but hey, you could always have a go: http://youtu.be/_oXku7W2HRU

I learned all about:

~ milk-in-the-cup-first rituals
~lamb chops (although I no longer eat them)
~how to work a gas hob and oven (this, from the most scaredy-cat anti-gas person in the whole world, ever. Goes to prove that if needs must…)
~saying ‘cheers’ instead of ‘thank you’
~£20 telephone cards that let you make £25 worth of calls (do you remember those days?)
~saving 20p coins for the dryer and 50p coins for the washing machine!
~fitting plugs to electrical cords. I’m nifty with a pair of nail scissors and a screwdriver!

Birthday meal at Don Beni's in Englefield Green. This would have been in Year 3... How time flies!

Birthday meal at Don Beni’s in Englefield Green. This would have been in Year 3… How time flies!

Oh, and I was surprised to find that the English love their baths. As in, the actual bath tub. In my first hall of residence, there was only one shower on each floor — but four baths, which was a slight problem for this here shower fanatic. Solution? I acquired one of those plastic attachments that turn your bath into an improvised shower. Over the years, I owned at least a dozen of those, and it was only during my most recent move that I threw the last one out!

Graduation Day! @ Royal Holloway College

Graduation Day! @ Royal Holloway College

Taking Stock (Just Quickly)

What have I been up to these past 20 years? Please bear with me while indulge myself in a little personal stock-taking. I think the occasion warrants it. 🙂 Here’s a quick run-down of events:

1993 ~ arrive at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College in Egham

1996 ~ move on to St Antony’s College, Oxford

Matriculation Day at Oxford!

Matriculation Day at Oxford!

Singing in the College choir. If I hadn't dipped my toes in here, I'd never have met Jon three years later!

Singing in the College choir. If I hadn’t dipped my toes in here, I’d never have met Jon three years later!

1998 ~ find a job and move to London, where I lived in Covent Garden for six months before settling south of the river in Tooting.

2001 ~ after way too many disastrous dates with men who turned out to be rather… bizarre on second or third sight, I finally collide with Jon during a rehearsal for the Imperial College Choir summer concert. (Well. Our eyes collided. We didn’t meet until the following day.)

2003 ~ get married to Jon and move to Bristol

12 April 2003. The Big Day!

12 April 2003. The Big Day!

2004 ~ fall pregnant, quit job (not causally related to falling pregnant), and start writing a certain book!!!

2005 ~ arrival of first child

Welcome to the world, little Wells boy!

Welcome to the world, little Wells boy!

2007 ~ arrival of second child

And welcome to the world, little Wells boy 2! :-)

And welcome to the world, little Wells boy 2! 🙂

2010 ~ go back to college, in a manner of speaking, and acquire Teaching Assistant qualification from the Open University (cor, it felt good to use my brain again after all those nappies!)

2011 ~ self-publish Sophie’s Turn and start writing the sequel

2012 ~ sign with Sapphire Star publishing, move to Lincoln, republish Sophie’s Turn

2013 ~ I’m a wife, I’m a mother, I’m a writer and published author of three books, I have two-and-a-bit university qualifications to my name, I’m a rock lover, I still sing in the shower, and I have a regular turn contributing to The Midweek Drive show on Siren 107.3 FM. I’d say, that’s not bad going!

Occasional radio host...

Occasional radio host…

And that’s my life in a nutshell. I made friends, I found work, I found love, I fulfilled several childhood dreams (loving husband, gorgeous kids; still working on the thatched cottage by the sea!) and career ambitions (did I mention I wanted to be a writer since I was ten?). I still have the blue hard-shell suitcase, the hold-all and the collapsible box (’tis my laundry basket to this day!). However, the last time I moved, a humble car wasn’t enough. It took a full-size moving container with close to 200 boxes plus assorted furniture to move the Wells family from Bristol to Lincoln, not to mention four professional packers, two drivers and two unloaders,  *and* a car full of belongings. Isn’t it amazing how much ‘stuff’ I gathered in 20 years?

Not quite everything and the kitchen sink, but certainly duvets, airbeds, a kettle and a hoover... everything to get through the first night in our new home in Welton *sans* the rest of our stuff!

Not quite everything and the kitchen sink, but certainly duvets, airbeds, a kettle and a hoover… everything to get through the first night in our new home in Lincoln *sans* the rest of our stuff!

Tonight, I’m taking the family out to celebrate. I mean, 20 years, right? Surely that deserves a night out and a bottle of bubbly or two. Sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t been on that SeaCat twenty years ago. I get that weird ‘Sliding Doors’ sensation when I contemplate how different everything could have turned out, and I shudder. Because I am happy here, and I wouldn’t want my life any other way. Here’s to the next 20 years, ’cause let’s face it, I’m here to stay! 🙂

CHEERS!

CHEERS!

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The REAL highlights of my VIRTUAL book launch

OIt’s just over a week since the launch of Sophie’s Run and I’ve had a little time to catch my breath. It has occurred to me that I enjoyed this second book launch a lot more than my first. Don’t misunderstand me, there was nothing wrong with the launch for Sophie’s Turn, a great time was had by all, the consensus was that it was a rocking party, but. There are a few things I did differently for Sophie’s Run, and they made a huge difference for me.

Making fireworks without seeing the sparkle?

Many authors these days celebrate their book launches online. We use Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads to host our parties, and we have a great time doing so. More importantly, this avenue has the potential to reach thousands of people all over the world.

However, for the author, the event can be a little surreal. There’s so much going on; the Tweets and Facebook comments come flying, you’re glued to the computer for the entire day, barely daring to leave your desk for a toilet break, let alone food. And that’s exhausting. It can feel like you’re creating massive fireworks that you can’t actually see yourself.

The very REAL highlights of my second book launch

So what did I do differently for Sophie’s Run?

I’ve been giving this some thought because the additional things I did weren’t the result of a deliberate strategy. Rather, they were the confluence of all the observation and learning and experience that came to me in the six months between the launches. And here are my three topline thoughts.

A Preview Party

Siren Launch PartySome time in October, I became involved with Siren FM, Lincoln’s first community radio station. Courtesy to the enthusiastic support of the host of the midweek drive show, Alex Lewczuk, I took part in several editions of the show as well as the ‘end of the world’ Mayathon in December. Somewhere along the way, the idea was born that we could celebrate the launch of Sophie’s Run live on air, on the eve of publication. We invited some special guests, we publicized the event ahead of time, and we had a go. It was a new format for the station as well as for me, and we had great fun. To me, that kick-started the launch day proceedings with real fireworks that I could see, feel and–thanks to the podcasts–can still hear today.

A Book Signing

Next, I had this idea of inviting readers to a very short ‘quick-fire’ book signing event at my local library on the actual morning of my launch day. I can tell you, when I had to leave my Facebook party, I frankly thought I was mad. I reassured myself that I would be back within the hour to resume my social media partying.

Launch Library SignIt turned out I was wrong on the timeframe and the madness factor. The event was a huge success, and here’s why. As I had set a half-hour time limit, most people turned up at 10 a.m. on the dot. We had coffee and tea and biscuits, and we chatted. Questions were being asked and before I knew it, there was an animated discussion about what it’s like to be a writer, how writing fits in with being a mum, and more. They asked for a reading; I hadn’t prepared one, but I gave one anyway. Most of my audience bought and walked away with a signed copy of Sophie’s Run. That felt really good. That was real. I had officially launched this book into the world. And ok, it took a little longer than half an hour, but it was worth it!

Chatting with readers all over the world

SWAGLast but not least, I took a slightly different approach to my Facebook party. I asked questions. I had some SWAG to give away, and I ran a few little spot-competitions. I got some fantastic discussion strings going, the most popular being my choice of Chinese takeaway for dinner. And when the fun was over, I got to sit down and write to the readers who won prizes. That, too, was real. In fact, that was absolutely amazingly fantastic.

Writing Readers

So ~ three real things, quick, short activities that made a tremendous difference to how real my virtual book launch felt. If I may be permitted a soppy moment, I’d like to say that I allowed myself to see my own fireworks, and I enjoyed them!

Was it the perfect book launch? Of course not. There are always things you can do different, things you learn, things you need to change.

How will I approach the book launch for Sophie’s Encore in September, you ask? Will I have another radio party? Frankly, I haven’t got a clue right now. I’m letting this come to me and I’ll see what feels right nearer the time. But I’ll be certain to include things that make the launch ‘real’ for me, and for my readers.

What do you think? Can you see this working for you? How do you make your fireworks sparkle for you?

Unveiling the Sophie’s Run Launch Extravaganza

The day is drawing near…yes, Sophie’s Run is nearly here!
Twelve days and counting!

Sophies_Run.indd

You know me. I like to party. You do know that by now, right?
So I have a bit of an extravaganza planned.
Are you ready?

Preview-Launch!
The Sophie’s Run RADIO Party,
6 FEBRUARY

The wonderful, one-and-only Alex Lewczuk over at Siren FM has very kindly agreed to dedicate the Wednesday Midweek Drive slot to celebrating the launch of Sophie’s Run.

Siren_Badge

Isn’t it simply awesome?
We will be Live on Air from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. GMT and
YOU CAN LISTEN LIVE no matter where you are!
You can find Siren at 107.3 FM and ONLINE!  Tune in for:

~Readings from Sophie’s Run
~Chat with some Very Special Guests indeed
~Rock music, and non-rock music. Of course!
~A fab give-away (more below)

SPECIAL GUESTS
Well, what would a party be without guests?
Proudly presenting my phone-in guests:

THE HUSH ROCK BAND
We’ll be chatting with lead singer Jazmine and guitarist Lee!

THE_HUSH_at_El_Rey_Theater_Los_Angeles_2010

Photo Courtesy of THE HUSH, with thanks. 🙂

NICK ELLIOTT

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Photo Courtesy of Nick Elliott Press Office: Thank You!

Photo Courtesy of Nick Elliott Press Office: Thank You!

Renowned Rock Photographer Nick Elliott will be joining us on the phone to chat about his work and The Magic of Rock!
Find out more about Nick at from his Press Office Page on Facebook, on his official Press Office Blog, or follow him on Twitter.

SAPPHIRE STAR PUBLISHING
Of course Katie Henson and Amy Lichtenhan would be there. What would a launch party be without my lovely publishers?

main_logo

KIM THE BOOKWORM
Reviewer and book blogger extraordinaire, Kim Nash, will offer her perspective on the Rock Star Romance books.

Kim & Books

Also joining us telephonically will be Cameron Tilbury, CEO of MapleStar Music and Media, Phil Leirness, and Michele Monro, among others. What a line-up!

~~~

STUDIO GUESTS
Naturally, there will be a live, real-person party going on, too. In studio celebrating with me will be:

~Alex Lewczuk
~Ed Wellman
~Katie Grimason
~Nichola Clancy
~Natasha Turney

~Karen Waring
~my lovely husband
~and drop-in surprise guests (possibly)

****ON AIR GIVE-AWAY***

One Signed Copy of Sophie’s Run up for grabs!!!
Don’t miss your chance to win a signed copy of Sophie’s Run.

Simply tune in and share your thoughts on the show while we’re live on air, and your name will be entered in the draw.
Here’s what to do:
Post a comment to Siren FM’s Facebook page or on your own timeline tagging Siren FM, or tweet the show at @sirenfm and you’re in with a chance to win. Good luck, and happy listening!

Book Signings

Yes! Readers came! My first visitor arrived at just a few minutes after 10 a.m. Witness: my first author signature in a newly-purchased reader's copy of Sophie's Turn. Awesome feeling!

Okay, I admit it… Here’s one I took earlier! But you get the idea…

PREVIEW SIGNING
Siren Studios, Lincoln, 6 February, 7 p.m. onwards

Music, drinks and nibbles (subject to permission)

LAUNCH DAY SIGNING
Welton Library, 7 February, 10 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.

Tea, coffee and biscuits (music pending permission ~ it is a library!)

Virtual Parties

Join me right here on my blog and on Facebook for a
virtual all-day party zone!

Do you reckon I’ve got enough partying planned?

Now tell me: what songs should I put on the playlist?
#ThinkRock

Second appearance on Siren FM Midweek Drive ~ rock star addiction, advances, and the right way to hold your fork!

Well, I’ve got to hand it to Alex, Claire, Ed and Fien and everybody who called in. I didn’t think making radio could be SO much fun. It was like standup comedy, and the laughs we shared in studio still reverberate in my ears. (Thankfully, they will remain private jokes for ever more… What goes on in studio, stays in studio, ha!)

Last week Wednesday (5 December), I took part in my Second Midweek Drive over at Siren FM.

Siren_Badge

Also in studio were Alex Lewczuk, Claire Parker, Ed Wellman (for a little while), and Fien Hiel.

Siren 5 Dec

Of course, no opportunity goes unmissed for sharing Sophie’s Turn with the world… and Alex promised to put the little Christmas flyer up somewhere prominent for me: Thank you!

nicky and claire

The line-up included: Cameron Tilbury, CEO of Maple Star Music and Media; Liz Brewer, Premier Publicist and Author of “The Ultimate Guide to Party Planning and Etiquette”; Michele Monro; Deborah White, author of “Deceit” and “Wickedness”; and top filmmaker, Ilana Rein.

Here are your links for listening in…

PART 1

~Reading of Sophie’s Turn at 18 mins (and I nearly got in trouble!)

~Inspiration for Sophie’s Turn at 23 mins (Terminal Rock Star Addiction!)

http://southsidebroadcasting.podbean.com/2012/12/07/rockstar-romance-deceit-and-more-on-the-midweek-drive/

Part 2

~Talking about Towels on Deck Chairs and the Right Way To Hold Your Fork with Liz Brewer at 17 mins

~What would I do with a $600,ooo advance, and talking about my fabulous publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing at 21 mins

http://southsidebroadcasting.podbean.com/2012/12/07/rockstar-romance-deceit-and-more-on-the-midweek-drive/

Well, it was awesome and I can’t wait to do it again!!

In fact, I’ll be back in studio on December 21 for the Siren FM 24-hour Broadcasting Marathon to ward off the End of the World which is due according to the Mayan calendar, so more news about thatafter the fact (if possible). 🙂

Radio Chat with Alex Lewczuk about Sophie’s Turn, Music, Kindle and more…

Happy Friday!

Just a quick post to share with you my latest radio interview. Last week, I had the great pleasure of talking on the phone with Alex Lewczuk, Charles Atha and Gill Appleton.  Alex kindly introduced Sophie’s Turn and we were away on a great chat about my book, Kindles, music and more.

Here’s the link to the podcast…

nicky-wells-stephen-k-amos-entertainment-for-the-21st-century

… and this is what the page looks like. Simply click ‘listen now’ and I’m all yours. Enjoy!

Nicky Wells introduces “Sophie’s Turn” live on BBC Radio Bristol

Today was another monumental occasion for this here author, Nicky Wells, and my rock star romance, Sophie’s Turn!

I was invited to talk about Sophie’s Turn on BBC Radio Bristol.  The wonderful Elise Rayner hosted me on The Afternoon Show and asked me fantastic questions about the book, and Sophie, and Dan.

It was a truly amazing experience to visit the studio and to answer so many direct and thought-provoking questions about my work.  Unlike my radio debut, which had to happen by telephone on account of the tremendous geographic distance between me and the Dresser After Dark show, this interview was person-to-person.  And yes, there was a big fat red microphone pointing towards my face, and all sorts of technical equipment all around us, but mostly, it was like having a ‘real’ conversation with a lovely person.  In fact, I forgot about being live on air altogether… let’s hope I didn’t get too carried away!.

Here’s the audio — see what you think! 🙂

A huge big Thank You to Elise Rayner for hosting me on her show and asking such fantastic questions.  Rarely have been able to showcase my work quite so extensively!  And another big Thank You to Alex Lewis, producer at BBC Radio Bristol, for making this interview happen.  When the sequel is out…. I’ll just come back for more!

Nicky Wells presents her radio debut on the Dresser After Dark Show

Late on Wednesday night… or rather, very early on Thursday morning of this week, a fairly momentous thing happened for Nicky Wells (author).  [DRUMROLL….!]

I had my radio debut talking about Sophie’s Turn!

Who would have thought that all these amazing things would start happening to me after launching Sophie’s Turn onto the world!  It was my tremendous pleasure to visit Michael Dresser on the Dresser After Dark show on BBS Radio in the United States.  Without further a-do, I’ll let you have a listen for yourself…  On this occasion, my spoken words will probably achieve more than a thousand typed ones.  ENJOY!  (It’s about 15 mins long….)

A big thank you to Michael for his supportive hosting and interesting questions–I really did enjoy myself!  And also a big Thank You to Susan Greenman for helping arrange the interview.