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  • Writer's pictureAva Chen

Interview with Nicola Wiggins: Issue 4 Featured Contributor

"My wife always said I was a wonder. She said there had never been anyone like me before. The 'Eleven-Eleven Man,' she called me."


Indeed, Nicola Wiggins' story "Eleven Eleven" is one of wonder, a pensive story of a man whose life has a curious pattern of "eleven eleven" appearing everywhere—on his birthday, when he first meets his wife, his age at the time of narration. In this story, Wiggins finds beauty and closure in the everyday, woven together by the subtly surreal nature of repeated coincidence. We hope you enjoy our interview with Wiggins, as well as her beautiful piece (which you can read here)!


How would you describe your writing style and process?


Rather more disjointed than I would like, as I'm a working parent. It's often a phrase or a feeling that triggers an idea, that then has to wait patiently on a scrap of paper or in a notebook until I have time to sit down and think it out. Sometimes the idea burns bright and I can see the whole story straight away. Other times, it fizzles like a spent sparkler. Almost always, I have to write in pieces, in between my day job, school runs, and walking the dog. However, I do find inspiration in these places and prefer to write character-driven fiction about those on the fringes of society.



What inspired you to write “Eleven Eleven”? 


There is a superstition about the time 11:11, that it signifies imminent change. There was a point where it felt like I was checking the clock at 11:11 more often than could be coincidence, and that set me to thinking about taking that premise to the extreme. What if someone's whole life revolved around those numbers? The first line just came to me, and after that the story wrote itself. I never planned for it to be a love story and I wouldn't define myself as a romance writer, but I did enjoy finding out just how fascinating the narrator's life had been.



What is the significance of ‘eleven eleven’ to you? Do you believe in superstitions like lucky numbers, and have you ever noticed such seemingly inexplicable patterns in your own life?


I'm not a traditionally superstitious person; I'll walk under ladders all day long. But I do believe in luck, particularly that there are different kinds of luck. Winning a raffle requires an obvious sort of luck, but there's also the more understated kind. The kind that often goes unnoticed until you get to your later years and look back and think, 'I've never broken a bone', or 'I've always had the support of my family'. My narrator was lucky enough to find the love of his life, which you could say is the best luck of all. 



What morals or messages do you hope readers take away from your story?


Cherish the small things. Value the everyday.



In your story, you write “I prefer to spend my words on beautiful things, the pieces of my life that have brought me joy.” Tell us about a beautiful thing from your own life.


It may be a cliche, but it absolutely has to be my family. They've always been there to support me through thick and thin.



What plans do you have for the future regarding writing?


I've completed a couple of courses on creative writing in the past, and recently earned a diploma in proofreading and editing. But now that I've had several pieces of short fiction and creative non-fiction published, and whilst I still enjoy writing short stories, my next project is to finalise the first draft of my novel and refine my ability to write longer works.



Anything else you would like to add about your writing?


Only to say that writing brings me such joy. I am so grateful to be able to give life to ideas and characters that others enjoy reading about. I love that there is no limit to our imaginations, that there are no boundaries to what we can create.

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