My name is Nicole Kiefer, but you should know that already since you entered my webpage. I was born in 1979 in Germany, where I also grew up. I went to school (Secondary School, Grade 9) and then began an apprenticeship as sales associate. Sounds boring I know…
In much way’s my existence was boring back then, but it wasn’t in fact as boring as it sounds. Like many other young people that are different or stand out for one reason or another, I was bullied throughout my school years. Why…? Good Question, why does anyone bully another person?
In my chase, it was mostly because I was born with Nail-Patella Syndrome, a genetic condition causing deformities of finger nails, elbows and knees. Even today, the Syndrome is not well known or fully researched. However, there are some other conditions linked with it, one of them is Dyslexia. I struggled in school with anything that had to do with reading or writing, yet I loved writing even then. My teachers always told me that I could get straight A’s if I would take care of my spelling. Well I tried, my parents tried to get it into my head, as did many others without success. Dyslexia was back then considered an excuse for laziness.
The combination of failure in school and being bullied did not inspire me to reach any goal, or rather to even have a goal. Until one teacher believed in me and concentrated her grading more on the context of what I wrote then the spelling. The teacher after her was an even greater confidence booster and I managed to at least graduate school with not to bad looking grades.
When I turned 18, I began to leave the nest, as they say. Until then I had secluded myself, self-conscious and shy as I was I had trouble making friends, all my life. My best friends had been books and the TV. By stepping out of my self-constructed bubble, I discovered the world and it overwhelmed me. For about a year I did all the things most teenagers do over the time they grow into adults, I compacted those experiences into one year. Including ending up pregnant, which in hindsight was the best thing ever happened to me.
I settled down, got married and three years later gave birth to a second child. In the same year, we moved to the Alsace (France) where the rent was cheaper, taxes easier on us and we were still close to our Family. I became a home staying mother of two children, with too much time on her hands. Internet became faster and easier to access then, opening the door to a cyber-world I wanted to explore. I joined several online communities and soon people asked for advice about immigrating to France. When I began to repeat myself all the time, I build a Website, so I could just send the link instead of repeating myself. In time, the Website grew with all the information I collected, and people where asking for printouts or a book they could take with them. (Smart phones and Tablets where not something everyone had back then, they were actually rare) I sold the print out with little profit, not trying or thinking of publishing it as a book. Then in 2005, the Editor and owner of the Lerato Publishing House contacted me, asking if I were interested in publishing my work.
Well useless to say, I was, who wouldn’t… right?
The book published in the beginning of 2006 and quickly became the Publishers bestseller. As it is with small publishers, I helped promoting the book. While doing so I run into the same annoyance over and over again. People complaining about my spelling while ignoring the meaning of the text. Sometimes they became downright insulting. After a few weeks of what felt like a walk through fire, I became angry. Not just at the people insulting me, but at myself and whatever deity had decided that I had to have Dyslexia. To call it as it is I was angry at the universe. (I should have been angry at the publisher for not editing the book right.)
Out of that anger I wrote another book, one about me and how it had affected me to grow up with one handicap hard to explain and another I didn’t know I had. I told my story, not one of blame or fishing for sympathy, but one of success that came along unexpected. I wanted to show that the spelling of a word does not make the word, but the meaning of it. When I told my publisher about it he was all hyped up and within a few months the book was published as well.
With the decreasing economy in our region, the company my husband worked for went bankrupted. We both tried to find work, but with two children and my husband being older, there was no work to find. When we got the opportunity to immigrate to Canada we took it and moved into this wonderful country in 2007. I instantly fell in love with the land, especially the prairie with its open space and never ending fields.
When in 2008 my publisher went bankrupted, I decided against finding another publisher, knowing that any kind of promotion was hard with an ocean and half the globe between us. I began to work and did not spend much thought about writing, but spent a lot of time reading, expanding and refining my English that way.
Then in 2011, after a long period off work I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, explaining the constant pain and fatigue I was suffering under. Still I returned to work after the medications began to work for me. In the end of 2013, my condition worsened, rendering me unable to return to the work I had begun to love. Uncertain what to do next I explored different options. In the end I realized that I would need to be extremely lucky to find a job. One I could do and an employer who would hire someone who can guaranty she will miss many work hours because of sickness.
I began to write again, to read even more and to search for programs that would compensate for my Dyslexia. After a Trip to Toronto inspiration hit like a sledgehammer and what I consider in hindsight as a writer’s block, broke open.
I wrote and wrote until I had finished a whole series of books, which I try now to find a publisher for, or will hand over to a professional editor and publish independently, since now a day’s it’s an easy thing to do.