Author spotlight: Danielle Nicki

By Hyenas in Petticoats Press - December 29, 2020
Author spotlight: Danielle Nicki
This week's featured contributor is author and screenwriter, Danielle Nicki.  Her story, THE MO' BLACK JOURNALS, is a coming-of-age story set in the 1990s. It's a nostalgic and poignant look at issues a teen girl faces: racial and class identity, trust, betrayal, loss, intimacy, puberty, and social pressures.
How did you come up with the title for your story? 
My script and story is set in 1995. In the 90s, everything was Mo’-this and Mo’ -that; Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems. My protagonist makes a checklist to help “increase her Blackness” so it seemed logical that I’d name it the Mo’ Black List.
What do you hope readers will connect with in THE MO’ BLACK JOURNALS? 
My story is a very specific experience of a 15-year old Black girl in 1995, but I believe everyone knows what it’s like to be an Other. At some point, even if only for a moment, most of us have wanted to fit in. I hope that’s what readers can connect with.
Did you learn anything during the writing of this story? 
I learned that I actually enjoy writing prose. 
Have you written any other books or scripts, published or unpublished? 
I’m currently writing my first novel and it’s based on another feature screenplay titled Imperfect Perfection.
How long have you been writing? I’ve been screenwriting for about 10 years.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? I tell other people that if you write, you’re a writer. I give that advice because I didn’t feel like a writer until I was validated by a contest placement that came 8 years into me writing scripts. Outside validation isn’t necessary to feel like a writer.
What kind of research do you do before you being writing a book or script? 
I usually let research and curiosity lead to story ideas. For example, I wrote a pilot based on a click hole I fell down about MK-ULTRA. 
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? 
As a mother of 3, there is no quiet so I write with headphones on. 
Do you have a writing playlist, and if so, can you share it? 
I have a 10-hour playlist full of movie and TV scores that I listen to when I write. I can’t listen to anything with words in it because it’s too distracting.
Do you write one thing at a time, or do you have several projects going at a time? 
I usually have at least 2 projects going at the same time. They tend to be in different stages. For example, I’ll be writing a first draft of a pilot and an outline of a feature. So when I don’t feel like working on one, I can switch to another.
Advice for new writers? 
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Enjoy the process. Get good at accepting notes. Write a lot.
Describe your writing style: 
My style is very conversational. I like to talk to the audience/reader instead of at them. 
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? 
Don’t be so hard on yourself and enjoy the process.

DANIELLE NICKI - is an author and writer for film and television. She enjoys focusing on stories centered on Black women leads with diverse life experiences not often showcased in print or on screen. Her screenplay, Mo’ Black, a coming-of-age dramedy, was a Nicholl Fellowship quarterfinalist and a finalist in the Cannes screenplay competition. The Mo’ Black Journals, a short story based on that screenplay, appears in this collection. She has placed as a Finalist in the Austin Film Festival for her feature, Imperfect Perfection, and has been recognized by The Academy. Most recently, Danielle was named an ISA Fast Track Fellow for her political drama feature, The First White President. Danielle was born in Italy to military parents. She and her family moved to the States when she was three after living in Naples, Rome, and Scotland. She was raised in San Diego and attended California State University in Los Angeles where she studied Marketing and Advertising. Danielle has been married for 18 years and has three teenagers and a chihuahua named Bruce Wayne who provide her with endless inspiration and material. 

Danielle on twitter

Danielle on instagram