Thursday, 19 March 2015

Sylvie Nickels.

Today I'd like to welcome Sylvie Nickels, author of “It'll be better tomorrow” to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro! 

I've been writing since age 10 (during World War Two), i.e. over seventy years. Much of this was as a travel writer, but my first love is fiction. I married George late but still managed to fit in 38 wonderful years of partnership with an adventurer, climber, survivor of air crash and avalanche, who introduced me to long distance canoeing including most of the full length of the Danube and the Mississippi. George died in February 2013. In fiction, I've concentrated on certain themes, such as the effect of war on the children and grandchildren of participants, and on the growing problems that will increase with an aging population and the effects of dementia on the extended family. Another theme (in my only YA book) was addiction.

OK - HERE WE GO !!  

1. Would you break the law to save a loved one? Why?

It would depend on whose law I was breaking. I would not, for example, expose a loved one to the risk of capital punishment. I also hope that anyone I loved that much would not commit the kind of crime I would not condone

2. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?

"Being alive" could mean just going through the motions of getting up, doing the necessary things to keep alive, and then going to bed; then repeating it all day after day. Truly living is savouring the wonder of each day and having a purpose. I'm in a bad "being alive" place, having lost my partner of 38 years. But I have completely unforgettable memories of what truly living can be like and plan to take those memories with me into whatever future there is - sharing some of them in my writing and thus keeping them and my late husband alive this way.

3. What motivates you to write?

The conviction (I hope justified) that I still have something to say. I would love to be able to write humour, but I can't. So I try to share the strong belief I have that it is better to be part of the cure rather than part of the problem.

4. Why do humans want children?

Presumably for the same reason as animals: to leave something of themselves for the future. Maybe it's the same people want to write. I haven't had children but I don't deny the need to write.

5. What was the biggest challenge in creating your book?

Making it good enough - and doing justice to the group of society (the elderly) for which it is speaking. We are, after all, probably the last generation who do not record every blink of an eyelid on social media.

6. What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?

It took quite a long time to learn them, but they are very simple and are part of every religion I have read about, and none:. There are three main things.

The first is you reap as you sow. Of course you need to be around quite a long time before you can appreciate how this works, though you can test it very quickly. Try smiling at someone and see what happens.

The second is that you should live within the day, the hour or the minute depending on how you are. You can cope with most things for that amount of time, though it might fill you with horror if you thought of it as a lifetime condition. Can you really remember something that was bugging you the day before yesterday?

The third thing I have already mentioned and is probably the most difficult: to be part of the cure rather than part of the problem.

7. How did you come up with the title "It'll be better tomorrow: An anthology celebrating Senior Citizens" ?

I didn't, my late husband did. Whenever I expressed concern for the future, he always responded with "It'll be Better Tomorrow". I guess this attitude got him through a number of tight spots in his life; but I'm not as good an optimist as he was.

8.How do you handle person criticism?

I assume you mean with regard to my writing, in which case probably not as well as I should. What I do value are corrections of factual mistakes and being told when I am not explaining a situation or character with sufficient clarity. It is very easy to assume the reader has access to the knowledge in your own head, especially if you have been living with characters for a long time.

9. Why should people read your book?

I hope because they want to learn more about the subject, in this case the relationship between the generations. The gap is probably greater than it was as families are far more scattered and younger generations more preoccupied with social media that links them with distant parts of the world than what is happening next door or even in the next room. There should be a place for both priorities. Also with a hugely growing population of older people there is the increasing risk of loneliness and the vulnerabilities that go with it.

10. Why is there something rather than nothing?

There's a question! On the principle of 'I think therefore I am' I am content to assume that everything that I encounter in my experience of life exists rather than being a figment of my imagination. Of course there is the question of parallel universes, but I shall leave those to a future (if there is something rather than nothing) when I might acquire a higher IQ with which to ponder such questions.Thanks Jackie for taking the time to answer my questions & the best of luck with the new book! 

Thank you Sylvie for taking the time to answer my questions & the best of luck with your new book! 

Check out “It'll be better tomorrow" on

The elderly, on the whole, don't get a good press. But teenager Buzz was blown away when he found out how his Granny Em had put his lessons on computing to very unusual use (Grannies dot com). Harry Briggs was another one who managed to turn the tables with a little help from his grandson and modern technology (Wake Up Call). In contrast, Elli (The Class of ‘65) and Phillida (The Don’t Care Generation) had both left an impression on the Third World; Alice learned at last to stand up for herself (The Wrong Track), Robert Sinclair kept his exploits to himself (Reluctant Hero), and Astra finally solved the mystery of her father’s World War Two trauma (Just Nineteen Days).

These are some of the stories of Manorfields Care Home's residents, their relatives and their carers. There is humour, poignancy, even romance, but above all they demonstrate that life can be considerably stranger than fiction..


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