Our mystery guest today is looking very regal in that crown and fiery mask, but take it all off and she still Reigns the Reins.
Have you guessed her name yet?
Let's unmask her and see!
Why -- it's Nikki Tate!
Nikki lives on Vancouver Island with some of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen. (She takes a pretty mean photograph now and then, too! To check 'em out, look HERE.) But she doesn't stop at just horses. Over the years her menagerie has included dogs, cats, birds, snakes, squirrels, rabbits, rats, gerbils, spiders, crayfish, goats, pigs, hamsters and koi. Whew! She's been writing since she was 8 years old, so I figure she's pretty good at it by now.
Darby Christopher: Welcome, Nikki! My story, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is all about how different people came to live in Canada. Where were you born?
Nikki Tate: I was born in Birmingham, England. When I was still a baby, my family moved to Australia. We lived there for seven years before we moved to Banff in Alberta. After that, we lived in various different places in Canada before I finally settled here on a farm near Victoria.
DC: Wow -- you've really moved around. Where do you live now?
NT: I live on a tiny farm on the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island, about 20 minutes north of Victoria.
DC: I've heard it's pretty over there, and the pictures on your website look amazing! When you were growing up all over, do you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were a kid?
NT: Oh boy - there are so many! I have a very wacky family. And, like most families, we have lots of stories. My favourite stories were always about when my parents and grandparents were kids.
My Omi (my mother's mother) spent part of her childhood in the jungle in Brazil. When she was a little girl she was running around barefoot in the jungle and she stepped on a poisonous snake. The snake bit her in the calf and the wound left a spectacular scar. That incident wound up in one of my books. I thought the story (Grandparents' Day) was pretty good, but when I read it to my six year-old niece she started bawling her eyes out and buried her head under the pillow. She had snake nightmares for weeks after that. I really, really hope that this did not happen to too many children who read the book because I actually quite like snakes. I once owned a snake called Sebastian - but that's another story.
DC: A snake called Sebastian, eh? Nikki, I am beginning to believe you are not afraid of anything. But here's the true test: can you ride a skateboard?
NT: Yes. But only on reasonably smooth surfaces. I don't do any tricky stuff like skidding sideways down stair rails or leaping off curbs or ramps.
DC: Well, I have been working on my ollie, and it's getting pretty good, but I haven't tackled any stairs or railings yet. My Nan would kill me! So, other than wrangling snakes and writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?
NT: I am very good at goat whispering.
DC: Okay, in my whole week of interviewing authors, no one has EVER told me they were good at goat whispering! One of the things I am good at is walking through an old stone window with my friend Gabe. If you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?
NT: Mongolia in the time of Genghis Khan. But only if I could be a Mongolian. For one thing, everyone in those days rode horses everywhere and a finer mode of transportation has yet to be invented. Having lots of fast, tough horses was one of the reasons why the Mongolians took over the world. Genghis Khan was a ruthless guy and he basically killed off all his enemies -- that's the other reason I'd like to be on the Khan's team - not because I'd enjoy killing people, but because it was a much better idea to be on his side than to try to stand up to him. Generally, arguing with Genghis Khan didn't work out too well for the other guys.
DC: I've read about him. Once again, I'm thinking you are One Brave Author! So if you went through to the past, anyone special you’d like to meet?
NT: Despite all I just said about Genghis Khan and wanting to be a Mongolian when he was in charge, I'm not sure I'd actually like to meet him. Even though he's been dead for a very long time, he still scares me! Instead, I would be quite happy to meet Johnny Depp. Or Barack Obama. Or kc dyer.
DC: I've met kc dyer. She's a bit of an odd dresser. If I were you I'd stick to Barack Obama. Not much chance he'll show up for the interview in neon yellow stockings... Nikki, can you tell me a bit about your latest project?
NT: Well... I'm always working on several projects at the same time. Would it surprise you to know I'm working on a book about Mongolia and you-know-who? I'm also writing a book about the lives of the RCMP Musical Ride horses, working on a new series of horse novels, and finishing up a book for teenagers about - you guessed it - horse racing. Do I have a one-track mind? Perhaps I do. My current non-writing project is training two of my horses...
DC: I love all the horse stories, and the one about Ghengis Khan sounds exciting! I like to give the horses I meet a carrot as a treat, and I’m personally pretty fond of red licorice. What’s your favourite treat?
NT: Chocolate. Or fresh pineapple. I really love pineapple.
DC: Me, too! Especially on pizza. So, I'd really like to learn more about you and your books. Where can I go check you out?
DC: Thanks, Nikki, for sharing all your secrets with me today. Good luck on your new projects -- and see you in Mongolia!
If you'd like to win a signed copy of one of Nikki Tate's books, put your name in the comment section and you'll be entered to win. The draw will take place on Friday the 13th -- will that be YOUR lucky day?
See you tomorrow as our mystery author extravaganza continues!