Nina de la Mer was born in East Kilbride, Scotland and studied Modern Languages at the University of Sussex. She still lives in Brighton with her husband and daughter, but has also lived for short spells in London, Brussels, Paris and Hamburg.
She spent ten years selling translation rights for a variety of non-fiction and children’s book publishers. During her years as a rights sales person, Nina was inspired to write. Her first book, The Modern Maiden’s Handbook (Portico Books, 2007), is a humorous take on the women’s self-help formula. In the Foreword, author and journalist Julie Burchill said the book ‘in the sparkiest, sparkliest prose possible posits the notion that the only thing wrong with modern life is too little feminism rather than too much.’ Nina has written several non-fiction books under the pseudonym Gina McKinnon, her latest publication being 500 Essential Cult Books (The Ilex Press, 2010).
Fiction has always been Nina’s passion and she worked on her debut novel, 4am, for several years. Being short-listed for the Myriad-West Dean Writers' Retreat Competition in 2009 spurred her on to complete it, and was the book’s route to publication by Myriad.
As a day job Nina proofreads E-Learning packages. She is currently working on her second novel, Layla, which will be published in 2014.
'In the early 1990s I was a student in Hamburg, where I met British soldiers on the rave scene who were struggling to balance military life with their weekends spent clubbing – their lives were the inspiration for a story which I felt simply too good not to be told...' Read Nina's interview with Bookgroup.info.
"Work hard, finger-achingly hard. Make sure your work is absolutely perfect before submitting to agents and publishers, and, lastly, have something to say. No point working hard at the bare bones of your writing, if there is nothing of substance to flesh it out into something fully fledged and challenging for the reader."
Read Nina's interview with global student website i-studentlife where she talks about her experience of studying at Sussex University in the early 1990s ('eye-opening') and discusses the motivation levels needed to be a writer ('olympian').
'How long did it take me to write my first novel? From its first incarnation as a series of letters to its final draft before publication, I’d say five years. What’s encouraging is that the unpublishable drivel of those letters somehow transmogrified over time into something that readers, real live readers, are picking up in bookshops.'
Read Nina's interview, How to procrastinate, for local writing group Brighton Writer's Retreat and learn just what it is that gets in the way of her writing.