When I first heard Nikki Kallio’s story at Goddard College in 2010, I sat up a little straighter and thought, “So, this is what it means to take the writing life seriously.” Needless to say, I’m thrilled that this year Nikki Kallio and I are Holiday Blog Tour neighbors, and it’s my pleasure to introduce a writer whose story has been an inspiration to me.

Nikki has an MFA from Goddard College and has been a journalist in Maine, California and Wisconsin. Her fiction has appeared in the Pitkin Review and is forthcoming in Minerva Rising. She writes both for adults and young adults.

What do you write?

I’ve written a post-apocalyptic YA novel, Damage, that I’m currently shopping around. It’s about a 17-year-old girl who is dealing with the chaos in her isolated Wisconsin town after several large American cities are destroyed in a nuclear attack. I have another unrelated novel near completion, an urban fantasy. But I’ve also been experimenting with short fiction and I have a piece, Shadow, appearing in the winter issue of Minerva Rising.

How did you get started writing YA?

I wrote this novel as my creative thesis at Goddard College, working with advisers Victoria Nelson and Ryan Boudinot. I didn’t expect to write a YA novel. Part of that came from the transformational experiences they talk so much about at the college. I had been working as news editor at a newspaper in California & when cutbacks made it hard for me to do anything but work, I chose school. It meant coming home to central Wisconsin and living in my old bedroom again. Started to remember how it was to be 17… 

What are you planning to write for the blog tour?

I’ve got a short-short fiction piece in mind that involves a fallen angel, of a sort.

What is the story behind your blog title?

My grandmother had a purple kitchen and I think my obsession for purple houses had a latent start there. Then it really kicked in a few years ago while I was driving through Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick — I had to stop and take picture of every purple house that I saw (or not stop — see blog  cover photo). There’s something creatively fearless about painting your house purple, so for me it’s a symbol of letting go of the inhibitions that prevent us from realizing our true creative selves.

Why write?

Big question. Mostly because I can’t freaking help it.

To hear more from Nikki check out her blog, Purple Houses, and don’t miss the Holiday Blog Tour short-short story she’ll be sharing on Wednesday.