Pierce College communications instructor of seven years, Nikki Poppen-Eagan, displays several souvenirs throughout her office. Each represents a unique story that she is more than willing to tell.
Poppen-Eagan has traveled to Russia, Florence, Austria, France, England and Slovakia among other places for both personal desire and study abroad programs. Her background in communications and knowledge of the French language benefited her while traveling in Europe.
Most Europeans are multilingual, so Poppen-Eagan used her French in Italy and Spain, as well as France.
“I got a lot of mileage out of the very little French I know. It works well because it’s a second language for both of us,” Poppen-Eagan said.
She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in American public address.
“I wanted to become an ambassador and conduct peace talks with the Irish Republican Army,” Poppen-Eagan said.
While she was never able to end the conflict in Ireland, she later went onto the University of Oregon where she received her master’s degree in rhetoric. After she completed her graduate studies, she was offered and accepted a replacement position for a PLU professor who went on a two-year sabbatical leave. Afterwards, she accepted a teaching position at Tacoma Community College for 13 years before she came to Pierce College.
Poppen-Eagan has written more than 20 romance novels since her first commercial sale in 2008. She has always enjoyed writing as a hobby and hadn’t considered publication until one day her husband dared her to actually finish one of her stories. She did and went to a writer’s conference at TCC to show her manuscript.
On the advice of an already accomplished writer at the conference, Poppen-Eagan continued on to a second book that she wrote in just five weeks; it had taken her two years to write her first. Using her frequent flyer miles accrued in her European travel, she flew to New York to attend the National Romance Convention and pitched her book, The Dowager’s Wager, to an editor at Avalon Books.
“Avalon publishes through the library system, so there were no royalties other than a $1,200 check,” Poppen-Eagan said.
But the royalties came second to the pleasure she had received from writing and publishing her first book.
Her next book, The Heroic Baron was picked up by Harlequin Publishers. Now writing on contract for Harlequin, she finished the Pickpocket Countess and she has been writing ever since.
“There are now expectations and numbers and deadlines,” Poppen-Eagan said. “I learned that writing is a discipline. You have to write, edit, revise or just do something every day.”
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