Dean Koontz, Amina Akthar, Nikki Nelson-Hicks, Elizabeth Marro, Mansi Shah, & Lee Goldberg on the Importance of Trusting Yourself

And writing what & how you want to write

Kristen Tsetsi
6 min readAug 12, 2022


Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

I interview a lot of writers for, and I’ve also been listening to many interviews with writers, primarily on The VJ Books Podcast and The Thriller Zone.

My favorite part of any interview is one in which the writer shares something illustrative of a determination to retain or honor an independent artistic spirit, to write what they want to write — or maybe need to write — no matter what, trends and publisher- or audience demands be damned.

Here are six such interview treasures:

“Make it the book you want.” — Amina Akhtar, author of KISMET

I think if you’re going to write a book, make it the book you want, because you’re never going to make everybody happy. I have people who love my work, I have people who hate my work…That’s great. How they feel is none of my business. It’s about how I feel about my work, and if I don’t write a book that I feel is true to me and my personality, then what’s the point?

(From an interview on The Thriller Zone)

“Don’t get hung up on marketing and genre.” — Nikki Nelson-Hicks, author of STONE BABY AND OTHER STRANGE TALES

Write the story you want to read. Write the story you want to tell. Don’t get hung up on marketing and genre.

A lot of genres get flack for not being highbrow enough. Romance is only for horny housewives or Tinder rejects. Science fiction is for nerds. Fantasy is for soft-brained people who can’t handle reality.

Those observations are, to put it bluntly, bullshit. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a love story. Curled up in a blanket, sipping a hot cup of tea, and watching two people find each other? What’s the harm in that? Science fiction is a stepping stone for a budding scientist to manifest science fact. Imagination is a gift! It’s how we discover new worlds, new medicines, new routes to different realities. Lay off the nerds! And…



Kristen Tsetsi

Author of the post-Roe v. Wade novel THE AGE OF THE CHILD. “A voice & perspective we rarely see in literature. Total page-turner." - Amazon Review