Monday, November 14, 2022

Nikki Payne Interview - Pride and Protest

Photo Content from Nikki Payne 

By day, Nikki Payne is a curious tech anthropologist asking the right questions to deliver better digital services. By night, she dreams of ways to subvert canon literature. She’s a member of Smut U, a premium feminist writing collective, and is a cat lady with no cats.

Greatest thing you learned in school.
For all of us chatty girls who got in trouble for talking too much in school, the main thing I learned was that we were the connectors, we were the bridge builders, we were actually the storytellers! School prepares you for a certain type of life. If you ever decide that you don't want the life that school prepares you for, you better get damn good at coloring outside of the line.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
People are reading my book! I am being perceived outside of my own head.When readers talk about parts of the book that moved them- that made them laugh out loud affected them emotionally. Wow. There is still something about that for me.

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Absolutely. My cousin and I would sit up all day and write stories. I had just one audience and a captive audience at that! I loved her expressions. Her reactions to my ridiculously melodramatic Barbie stories were everything to me.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
That's a great question everybody thinks that there is nothing remarkable about their perspective. I hear phrases like “I'm boring” or “I can't think like that” or “I can't write like that’” Well, neither can the writer. The writer's first job is empathy and believing you have the ability to inhabit another character. This includes the way they think. Perhaps your perspective is dull and uninteresting and nothing cool ever happens, but lucky for us writers we never have to write ourselves. Even a character who shares your similar background will have a voice and perspective completely different from yours. Don't think about you having a better voice. It is perhaps more constructive to think of building compelling characters and speaking from their voice.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m working on a Sense and Sensibility and about two sisters forced to move to Maine to rehab a dilapidated inn. This manuscript that has no right being this fun to write!

In your newest book; PRIDE AND PROTEST, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
first that it was incredibly fun to write and I hope it’s equally fun to read. Liza Bennett (Pronounced Leesa) Is the only DJ who Gives a Jam in the redeveloping neighborhood in Washington DC. Dorsey Fitzgerald is the adopted Filipino son of a wealthy white family trying to make all the right moves. If you love Jane Austen you'll recognize most of the characters you love, and love to hate from Pride and Prejudice. You’ll enjoy reading along to see how I have modernized, revamped and changed the classic themes of the world's most favorite novel. 

But if ninth grade and the accompanying required reading is something you’re actively suppressing, Pride and Protest still delivers the no-context- needed feels of the century. The Bennetts are a wild riotous family that will make you cringe or cheer for them.

What was your unforgettable moment while writing PRIDE AND PROTEST?
I was surprised at the amount of research on wealth I had to do. Extremely wealthy people are so secretive and sneaky. Some of my early drafts had extremely wealthy characters grocery shopping at the sack & Save.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce my Liza Bennett character to Cealy from Alice Walker’s the Color Purple. She takes such inspiration from the book and from that character that she would get such a kick out of meeting a woman who has struggled to define herself against negative stereotypes in real life.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Eat street food from another country. A country's quick and readily available food can tell you a lot about how most people live there. Pro tip: street food is fried within an inch of his life thus comparatively safer than that room temperature hotel prawn that has been out since 4 a.m.

Best date you've ever had?
I got my 10 year old son dressed up and we went to see the newest Godzilla movie. He bought me Chipotle and made excellent conversation.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Winning the reading prize for my grade and winning a trip to Chuck-E-Cheese

How far away from your birthplace do you live now?
Born in Houston and now live about 1,400 miles away, in our nation's capital

What were you doing at midnight last night?
Listening to an in-depth House of the Dragons podcast that analyzes every. single. scene

  • Read: Nothing makes me want to write like being immersed in someones elses world!
  • Daydream: think about that one that got away imagine what would happen if you hit the lotto
  • Sit under a tree: I swear when I get into a forest the whole world gets quiet. se what it does for you.
  • Watch Reality TV or Documentaries: want Messy messy drama or life and earth stakes? How do real people act when placed in extraordinary circumstances?
  • Get into an argument: Nothing has me rehearsing zingers like getting into an augment. take those missed opportunities to tell of that jerk in the check out line and channel it into a character
  • Meditate: I can’t stress and write well. My writing sessions post meditations are sharper, funnier and painless.
  • Allow yourself to get bored: People are so afraid of being bored. All of my greatest ideas have come when I was waiting in the drs office drifting off to sleep in the shower- My phone deep in my bag or away from me.
  • Sit by the water: Water has such a calming effect on me. and as I mentioned earlier I write so much better when I’m not an anxious wreck.
  • Volunteer at a library: get into the secret life of books you’ll learn about writing groups that meet at the Library or Local authors giving speeches. It’s such a great way to continue to plug into the writing community.
  • Read a banned book: There is a reason why certain books feel dangerous to the powerful. find out for yourself
Meet the Characters
The Meryton Tattler attempted to conduct interviews with the two people on opposing sides of the development struggle in Southeast DC. Both Interviewers were mildly uncooperative and the Tattler ended up not running the piece. Here are the transcripts from these disaster interviews.

Dorsey: [Heavy Sigh] Must we?

Interviewer: I know making conversation isn’t your strong suit, so just start us off with the basics.

Dorsey: My name is Dorsey Fitzgereld Yes those Fitzgeralds- . Yes My brother and sister were also adopted from all over the world- If you compare my mother to Angelina Jolie this interview is over.

Interviewer: [Nervous chuckle] ok simple. What is your Favorite movie?
Dorsey: I watched this documentary about an entire midwest community thrown out of work—until a Chinese company, Fuyao, comes to the rescue. I was going to pass it up because You don’t expect it to be riveting, but once I started, I just couldn’t look away. I’ve… um since learned to give things a second glance.

Interviewer: What is your biggest regret?

Dorsey: [ after a long pause] I kept information from someone who really needed it, because I was afraid of how it would make me and my family look.

Interviewer: What were the circumstances of that?
Dorsey: Next question

Interviewer: But you agreed…
Dorsey: Next question.

Interviewer: Sure What is your 3 am Walmart run?
Dorsey: What is a 3 a.m. Walmart run?

Interviewer: Sometimes if you live in college towns or if you've been out late, Walmarts are the only thing open, and you need to get something really specific.
Dorsey: I'm sorry there's so many parts of that explanation I didn't understand. I have never needed something so badly that I had to get it from a college town? And why specifically Walmart? I've never been to one. What does it have that other stores do not?

Interviewer: You know what, let's move on. Any advice you’d like to give to anyone to someone who would like to be in your position someday?

Dorsey: Advice. The more money and power that you accrue, the harder it is to find someone willing to tell you the truth. When someone you love and trust tells you about yourself-- weather its praise or criticism-- Believe them

Liza: My Name is Liza Bennett. Pronounced Leesa with a z.

Interviewer: It says Alizé here…
Liza: [ snatches tape recorder] Hey if you were named after a 90’s liquor brand, would you be broadcasting it?

Interviewer: Maybe not.
Liza: Liza then. I live with my two sisters one brother Granny and Mother

Interviewer: That's a lot
Liza: That is an understatement.

Interviewer:What is your favorite movie?
Liza: Favorite movie? Oh that’s easy, The Color Purple. Everytime I watch that scene with Cealy about to give Mister a shave. It’s so tense I think she is going to do it every time. [laughs with glee]

Interviewer: Do what?
Liza Oh, Murder her husband.

Interviewer: [ Checks exits. Clears throat] What is your biggest regret?
Liza: I wish I would have done the tensiest bit of research on a certain billionaire developer before I planned to protest-bomb his event. That would have saved me the humiliation of… well I don’t like to talk about that.

Interviewer: [excited] But that's precisely why we invited you to talk! The world wants to know how a person like you-”
Liza: What kind of person am I? [ straightening her back in the chair] [interviewer moves on]

Interviewer: Next question. What is your 3 a.m. Walmart run?
Liza: If it's 3 a.m., and I'm running into Walmart it is for a pack of ramen noodles! Pro tip if you mix in a slice of American cheese you take your Ramen from the poor house to the Ritz Calrton. like that. [ a beat] Not that there's anything wrong with plain old poor house Ramen. Poor house Ramen built this country damnit!

Interviewer: Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to be in your position?
Liza: Anyone want to live with a marriage-obsessed mother in a cramped apartment with five other people?

Liza: I’m kidding. Ok advice… Examine your sources. If you're getting information from someone and it fits a little too neatly into your pre-existing negative perception of someone else, do yourself a favor and ask one or two other people. It could save you a lot of heartache.

A woman goes head-to-head with the CEO of a corporation threatening to destroy her neighborhood in this fresh and modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by debut author Nikki Payne.

Liza B.--the only DJ who gives a jam--wants to take her neighborhood back from the soulless property developer dropping unaffordable condos on every street corner in DC. But her planned protest at a corporate event takes a turn after she mistakes the smoldering-hot CEO for the waitstaff. When they go toe-to-toe, the sparks fly--but her impossible-to-ignore family thwarts her every move. Liza wants Dorsey Fitzgerald out of her hood, but she'll settle for getting him out of her head.

At first, Dorsey writes off Liza Bennett as more interested in performing outrage than acting on it. As the adopted Filipino son of a wealthy white family, he's always felt a bit out of place and knows a fraud when he sees one. But when Liza's protest results in a viral meme, their lives are turned upside down, and Dorsey comes to realize this irresistible revolutionary is the most real woman he's ever met.

You can purchase Pride and Protest at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


  1. I regret buying a Nintendo Wii

  2. A used Ford Fiesta - only lasted one year before having multiple problems that cost more to fix than the cost of the car.

  3. I've made so many dumb purchases! I actually bought a spätzle maker. Used it once. Didn't like it.

  4. An expensive espresso maker that sits in the cabinet

  5. I bought a sports car that and it was so low to the ground that I had to avoid speed bumps. I had it one year and sold it.

  6. An expensive purse that I ended up not liking so it just sits in my closet

  7. A pasta maker. Decided I didn't like making my own pasta.
    Thanks for the contest.