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  • Writer's pictureElnora Gunter

Sweet Dreams are Made of Me: Nisha Tulli

2020 put us through a lot of shit. Like a steaming, tall-as-a-horse stinking pile of shit that coul only be moved with a bulldozer and dumped into the deepest depths of the nearest ocean.

So what did we do? Shovel shit?

Not quite, but we did...

Quit jobs. Found new jobs. Traveled. Cooked. Watched Tik tok. Bought five new streaming services. Worked out or snacked. Read a book....


Wrote a book?

Say what, come again merci beacoups?


Keep on reading to learn moe about Nisha Tulli's pursuit of writing dreams!

1. Welp, the first question is the one I’m sure you’ve answered many times but

everyone loves to know. Please tell us all about your writing journey.

So, I started out my career as a chemical engineer, and quickly realized that was not

going to satisfy me for the next 40-odd years after I graduated from university. So after

five years of working as an engineer, I packed it all in and went back to school to get

what was basically a journalism degree. I spent the next decade or so working for a few

newspapers and magazines and eventually ended up doing content marketing, most

recently in the tourism industry. Of course, I was always a big reader, and writing a book

was one of those things always in my head. I knew I could write, but could I write a

novel? When COVID struck, I was given a gift. I’m a mom with two small kids, I work full

time, my partner is away a lot and thus I was single parenting a lot and our lives were

nuts. Just nuts. And then all that stopped, and it felt like I could breathe for the first time

in years. I wasn’t getting any younger and thus, in the summer of 2022, I wrote my first

book (the one I ended up getting agented with), and then I wrote another and a couple

more, and I haven’t stopped since.

2. Tell us a little more about the genres you write. What draws you to those genres

and are there any other genres that’d you like to write in?

I write romance primarily and then in fantasy and contemporary as subgenres. I’ve

always loved romance books and have only fallen harder and harder for them. I’m at the

point where I can’t even read a book if there isn’t a promise of some romance in it. I

don’t know what pulls me to them. The tension. The angst. That moment when they

FINALLY kiss. It just makes my heart happy. And of course, I’m all about the high heat

smutty versions of romance. No fade to black for me!

3. When one hears the term “hybrid”, the image of a Prius or the blue creature

from Underworld might come to mind. But in publishing terms, that means an

author who writes and publishes books both traditional and independently (self-

publishing and indie). You recently released a self-published novella, WICKED IS

THE REAPER, and also have a future title TO WAKE A KINGDOM. What led you

to pursue a hybrid path?

Okay, so like so many people, I’ve always envisioned my book in a bookstore with a

beautiful cover and all the things that go with that. And that is still very much a goal for

me. I want to publish traditionally and I want a big 5 deal. To me, this is an important

thing and I think it always will be. But, as we all know, publishing moves at a glacial

pace and I write fast and I’m still not getting any younger. I want to be able to write full

time eventually and pursuing both paths seems like the quickest way to get there. When

I decided I wanted to do it, I talked it over with my agent and she was very supportive of

the idea and said we could look into foreign rights and all those kinds of things, so I

away I went with it.

4. Do you think some genres and/or age categories lend themselves to a better

market for indie or self-pub? What tips or things to think about would you tell

authors who want to take this career path?

Yes. I’m lucky that I love writing romance and it will always be my first love. There is no

question that certain books and certain genres are better for indie publishing.

Thankfully, smutty fantasy romance is one of them. And, trad publishing doesn’t seem

that interested in these kinds of stories, so it felt like a natural progression. When I

shared the book I have releasing in September with my agent, she thought it was great

but was unsure it would sell with traditional publishers. I just want to be able to write my

fairy smut and not have it conform to some invisible metric of traditional publishing I

don’t get. (I mean, I’ll never understand with the wild success of authors like Maas and

Armentrout, WHY trad doesn’t want these books, but that’s a whole other misogynistic

question for another day.)

For anyone wanting to pursue this path, I do think you have to consider what the indie

market wants if your goal is to make money. Writing to market does matter. If you just

want to get your book out in the world, then write whatever you want. That is one of the

bonuses of indie—they’re all your decisions to make.

5. A big part of being a hybrid author is becoming very adept at marketing. What do

you think is required to not just learn this but to become effective in it?

I have another advantage in that I’ve worked in marketing for a long time. I already

know how to use social media and email marketing and all those things to my

advantage. I think beyond learning the tactics for marketing, it’s important that authors

learn how to hook people. How to find those one or two sentences that will compel a

reader to go find your book.

Also, if you want to go indie and make money, then you have to get over thinking of

marketing as a chore. It’s a part of the package. One cannot work without the other.

Yes, it would be nice to concentrate on JUST writing, but that’s not how it works when

there are literally a billion books on Amazon competing for attention. I think if you

approach it with the creative challenge you do your books, then it shouldn’t feel like a

burden. Because basically, you’re just telling your story in fewer words with all the best

bits at the front.

6. How does writing in the fantasy romance and contemporary romance space

differ? In what ways are they the same?

I always joke that contemporary is way harder because you can’t just throw in a

prophecy or a demon to fight to drive the plot forward. In contemporary, it really is about

the relationship, whereas with fantasy, I find you can draw in other plot points a little

more easily. Ultimately, though, the actual romance part isn’t that different. The angst.

The tension. It’s all the same.

7. As a mom, when do you find the time to write? Does it help when children are

school-aged or not really lol?

Good grief. I wish I could clone myself. I write at literally opportunity I can. I write on my

phone. I write late at night. I write early in the morning. I work from home, so I don’t

have a commute and I will say, my kids are now 7 and 10, and it does get a little easier

as they get older. I’m always blown away by moms with babies who are trying to do this.

I was not in the headspace for any of this until my youngest was 5. I’m also incredibly

fortunate to have a supportive partner who has let me go all-in with this and picked up a

lot of my slack. (He spent 7 years doing his Ph.D. when the tables were turned and now

it’s my turn, haha.)

8. Do you know when you’re at risk of burnout? What’s your form of self-care?

Uh, sometimes I don’t feel I have a healthy balance in my life right now, but I’m also

chasing something that I’ve waited a really really long time for and I’m okay with that. It

won’t be forever, and this just feels like the most important thing I’ve ever tried to do,

and I’m a little possessed. I do sometimes book a weekend away to hang out in the

woods and read some books and get some writing done, and that always fuels me. My

self-care definitely IS reading, so that’s handy.

Ok, now it’s time for the ‘fun’ questions!

9. Build-a-man: What parts from your favorite romance book leads would you put

together to make the supreme love interest?

Ooh… I’d take the cockiness of Cassian from ACOTAR, the broodiness of Wrath of

Kingdom of the Wicked, the banter of War from the Four Horsemen Series, the ‘give me

a match and help me burn-down-the-world’energy of Rip from the Plated Prisoner

series… and the physical attributes of all four combined �� Long dark hair is a MUST.

10. Unpopular book or writing opinion?

I’m not sure if it’s unpopular or not, but there is no such thing as anachronisms in

fantasy. My characters can use swords and ride horses AND have running water. There

is no time period that fantasy needs to conform to and it can be whatever it wants to be.

If I can have dragons and elves and magic, I can have clocks and toasters, too.

Short bio: Nisha grew up in Calgary, Alberta where she started her career in

chemical engineering. But she couldn’t get the words that kept her awake out of

her head. So she packed up her HP48G and never looked back. After obtaining a

diploma in journalism, she worked as an editor and writer at various newspapers

and magazines in Winnipeg, Manitoba where she currently resides. When Nisha

isn’t writing, it’s usually because one of her two kids needs something (she loves

them anyway). After they’re finally in bed, she’ll usually be found with her Kobo or

knitting sweaters and scarves, perfect for surviving a Canadian winter.

● Goodreads link:

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