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:
● Website link: https://nishajtuli.com/