100 Creatives

Peoria Author Amy K. Nichols on the Joy of Writing

Every other year, New Times puts the spotlight on Phoenix's creative forces — painters, dancers, designers, and actors. Leading up to the release of Best of Phoenix, we're taking a closer look at 100 more. Welcome to the 2016 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today is 20. Amy K. Nichols.

For Amy K. Nichols, arriving at this point in her career went a little something like this. "I read a lot, wrote a lot, and learned as much as I could from others," the Peoria author says. "Then I gave myself a deadline and sent my work into the world."

At 44, she's had two of her young-adult science-fiction novels published. Through Now That You're Here and While You Were Gone, also known as the "Duplexity" series, Nichols tells the story of a bookworm and a bad boy brought together by a glitch in the universe — one they must mend. Bustle noted that the first of the two was a must-read for fans of Fringe and Orphan Black

Some of the most touching praise Nichols received came from a fellow author. "One highlight was when, after asking me about my debut novel, Neil Gaiman shook my hand and told me he was proud of me," she says. 

Soon, fans will have another Nichols novel to devour. Make that novels. "I’m writing my way into a couple of new YA science-fiction novels," she says, and getting ready to find out what will be the next big project."

In the meantime, she's hunting for inspiration through a process of "observing and thinking about the world and what’s beyond our world." 

But her methods don't just revolve around deadlines. "My joy is in writing," Nichols says. "I like having joy. So I keep writing."

I came to Phoenix with my parents when I was very young. I didn’t have much say in the matter.

I make art because it’s who I am (as pretentious as that sounds). When I make art, I’m my most authentic self.

I'm most productive when I’m on a deadline. Nothing like a ticking clock to get me motivated.

My inspiration wall is full of
quotes. One of my favorites is by Masahide. “Barn’s burnt down …now I can see the moon.”

I've learned most from my mentor, James Sallis. He is wise and generous, and he’s believed in me from the start.

Good work should always raise questions.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more
promotion. There’s a lot more going on in the Phoenix creative scene than I think most people are aware of, myself included.

100. Nicole Olson
99. Andrew Pielage
98. Jessica Rowe
97. Danny Neumann
96. Beth Cato
95. Jessie Balli
94. Ron May
93. Leonor Aispuro
92. Sarah Waite
91. Christina "Xappa" Franco
90. Christian Adame
89. Tara Sharpe
88. Patricia Sannit
87. Brian Klein
86. Dennita Sewell
85. Garth Johnson
84. Charissa Lucille
83. Ryan Downey
82. Samantha Thompson
81. Cherie Buck-Hutchison
80. Freddie Paull
79. Jennifer Campbell
78. Dwayne Hartford
77. Shaliyah Ben
76. Kym Ventola
75. Matthew Watkins
74. Tom Budzak
73. Rachel Egboro
72. Rosemary Close
71. Ally Haynes-Hamblen
70. Alex Ozers
69. Fawn DeViney
68. Laura Dragon
67. Stephanie Neiheisel
66. Michael Lanier
65. Jessica Rajko
64. Velma Kee Craig
63. Oliver Hibert
62. Joya Scott
61. Raji Ganesan
60. Ashlee Molina
59. Myrlin Hepworth
58. Amy Ettinger
57. Sheila Grinell
56. Forrest Solis
55. Mary Meyer
54. Robert Hoekman Jr.
53. Joan Waters
52. Gabriela Muñoz
51. ColorOrgy
50. Liz Magura
49. Anita and Sam Means
48. Liz Ann Hewett
47. Tiffany Fairall
46. Vanessa Davidson
45. Michelle Dock
44. Nia Witherspoon
43. Monique Sandoval
42. Nayon Iovino
41. Daniel Davisson
40. Andrew King
39. Michelle Moyer
38. Jimmy Nguyen
37. Tiffany Lopez
36. Kristin Bauer
35. Donna Isaac
34. Douglas Miles
33. Sierra Joy
32. Francisco Flores
31. Amy Robinson
30. Julio Cesar Morales
29. Duane Daniels
28. Kelsey Pinckney
27. Ben Smith
26. Rembrandt Quiballo
25. Corinne Geertsen
24. Tess Mosko Scherer
23. Slawomir Wozniak
22. Elly Finzer
21. Josh Brizuela
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski