Hi Nicole, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? Well first off, thanks so much for having me on your magnificent blog!
I’m from NJ and I now live in VA with my three crazy ass toddlers and my wonderful parents! I’m a tea-aholic and my love of history fuels my inspiration.
Discuss your newest book. My newest book, “Meadow Creek,” is about a sassy New Yorker who moves herself and her young son Oliver to a farm in Oklahoma. Sloan’s husband died in Iraq in active service but she’s kept this truth from her son, whom she believes to be too sensitive for the news.
The farm that Sloan insists on using as a tool to move on however, is settled on land that matters dearly to a Mr. Joseph Two Blood. It’s been said his ancestors had village settlements there and he wishes to utilize the land for his people.
To do that, Joseph attempts to run Sloan off Meadow Creek, but Sloan Bradshaw wears big girl stilettos and running isn’t in her blood. The two clash but with time an attraction forms that might require one of them to buckle.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Very clearly. That was my Mom’s doings. My mother has stoked the fire for my love of writing since I can remember. When I was three I remember drawing her a picture while she was working. She flipped over it like mom’s do, then asked me to tell her the story behind the picture. She actually wrote down the story I made up and I drew more pictures until it was a book. I seriously remember it.
Then all through my school years she tended to my passion and developed my skills. Term papers, reports, essays, those were my strong points and I always went above the expectation. I was always telling stories and she demanded nothing less from me than intense imagination.
When I was twelve she bought me my first ‘clean’ romance book and now I owe her that too. That was how I discovered my genre. Great moms are wonderful.
What are your current projects? Oh I’m so excited to share! I have two. ‘The Divorce,’ and ‘Bealtane; Tales of the Fae.’ The Divorce’ is a full-length novel that has become the beat of my heart and Bealtane is another Novella that continues my first novella ‘Nollaig Shona Duit; A Christmas Tale.’ Sound wonderful!
What books have most influenced your life most? Well, the first romance book my mother gifted me was ‘The Proposal’ by Lori Wick. I read almost all her books and that was what led me to my perfect fit in genre.
The other is ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott. Jo’s love of storytelling made me feel understood and few people understand me besides my mom.
‘Clan of the Cave Bear’ by Jean M. Auel. I love stories about early time, they make me feel inwardly strong.
‘The Odyssey’ by Homer and all other Mythologies, they kick-started my imagination full force and it hasn’t stopped since.
What inspired you to write your first book? I wanted to write about a love triangle that was realistic and honest. I wanted to explore the fact that the human heart might want more than what society allows. Monogamy is ideal but is it always obtainable? I wanted to write the struggle of loving more than one person but under the pressure of an era like the 19th century. Hence ‘The Duke of Golden Shire; King of Heart’s’ was born.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? In ‘Duke of Golden Shire; King of Hearts’ Nicholas Knight is 100% man. He may disappoint or earn imaginary slaps from readers but his “true man heart” is what made me fall in love with him.
His journey in discovering which woman to choose and his development as a character was fun to write.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Just that love doesn’t have boundaries and living under your own rules and choices should always outweigh society and it’s expectations. It’s better to risk a bad decision than to live for the opinions of others that don’t have to walk in your shoes.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Ahhhh in ‘Meadow Creek’ if I could get Jason Momoa to play a Native American, I’d be too much happy. YUM!
For Sloan, I’d want Phoebe Tonkin!!! She has the sass and class.
When did you decide to become a writer? I’ve been writing forever since I first held a pen, but officially when I was ten. Everything else was fleeting or didn’t fit me. Early bird!
Why do you write? I literally have to. I’ve taken long breaks or talked myself out of trying but in the end I have too many voices in my head and they don’t quiet unless I put them on paper.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? My brain felt clogged with voices and ideas.
Do you write full-time or part-time? I’m a single mom of three so part-time but all the time. I write through the noise and the interruptions. I fail miserably at domestic chores when I’m on a writing roll. You’re doing great. Keep it up!
What is the hardest thing about writing? Research. If I’m doing historical books, research is distracting for me. I might come up with ten more stories while looking for an answer to one question. I desire to be as accurate as possible, I hate being sloppy but that means read till you bleed.
Writers block too. If my people aren’t talking I get anxious, depressed and bitchy.
Having too much inspiration, the opposite of Block. Then you can’t type fast enough and get annoyed. I start to hate my hands haha. “Bloody type faster!”
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? ‘Meadow Creek,’ is based on my mother. Sloan’s character is my mom, and even the outrageous awesome acts she does are real. I didn’t make them up so honestly…nothing. Meadow Creek, aside from The Divorce, has been the easiest book to write. I had no blocks and was done with it in two weeks.
My mother kept my character breathing so my muse didn’t go out to lunch on me, I was lucky.
What is the easiest thing about writing? Mmm, the idea. Thinking it up while driving or showering, that’s easy and fun, everything else is delicious torture.
What book are you reading now? “Someone to Come Back to,” By Roisin Black. I’ve read all her books and this one is as epic as the others. She’s not only a close friend, she’s a badass author.
What is one random thing about you? I like someone to sit on my feet while I watch TV. Like I need my mom or my best friend to sit on my feet, I like tight spaces. I’m like a worm. Or a cat…
What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? I wrote my first book entirely by hand! That was a trip. A great experience, but never again. I prefer computer only. My sad little lap top. I did that once…didn’t work for me either.
What does your writing process look like? Sloppy as hell! I don’t do anything right really. My outline is really just a notebook full of notes. Then toward the end, I number the notes and yeah…sloppy.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I need tea to start in the morning, and music, my Pinterest board and that’s it. I can write anywhere, anytime, and I’d say my weirdest habit is acting out the scene before writing it. I have a dramatic, private play out. Yes people have walked in on me, yes it’s awkward and yes I try to lie that I was on the phone or something, which doesn’t work.
How important are names to you in your books? Very. It MUST fit or I won’t use it. The character will act wrong till it’s right. I’ll ask them for hours, “What’s your friggin name?” Been there, done that.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Editing. I hate it. I hate it always. I know an editor who would love to help…
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? First time around I think I thought they would market themselves. (Insert laughing like a pycho.)
It takes leg work, but it’s worth it.
What is your favorite motivational phrase? My Mother always says, “When you get overwhelmed, just remember Nikki…How do you eat an elephant? One Bite at a time.”
She’s morbid like that but it works. She sounds fun!
What is your favorite book and why? I can’t. I just can’t. Books are like body parts, you need them all.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Find other writers! My book family is my life line. They motivate me, understand me, and support me. If I climb the rock first, I pull them up. When I slip, they pull ME up. It’s beautiful and special and I call them my “write or die,” crew.
Find your “Write or Die” crew and power each other forward. This isn’t a competition. There’s enough room on a reader’s bookshelf for all of us.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? READING! Antique stores. Coloring. Watching shows with my mom. Cuddling with my babies.
From where do you gain your inspiration? Music, my mother, my Daddy Joe, and my Best friend Jon. Those are the main places but I can get inspired over a tea cup.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I like the control Self-Publishing has given me and though I have to juggle it all on my own it’s worth it.
How do you market your books? Social media and local shops have been best for me. Networking is important. Making friends and sharing a little life creates readers that become as precious as rubies.
Why did you choose this route? I trust myself. If I wrote it I can publish it.
Would you or do you use a PR agency? I don’t but I’d love to try one day. The PA’s I’ve met are incredible. I’m just always broke haha.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Foot work, and networking. You can’t stay an introvert.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? Not enough probably. It should be more like 50/50 but I run out of day and funds sometimes.
What do you do to get book reviews? Make friends and meet new people and peddle. I walk around with business cards and a tote full of my books.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? Somewhat steady now! YAY
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? Not really. It’s a hit or miss.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? I welcome them all. A review is a review. As long as it’s honest, I’m happy. I don’t write any book expecting everyone on earth to like it. I write to entertain myself, and my hope is to do the same for others.
Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? Not really. I’ve made a book live in the amazon store before I intended to but…shrug**
What’s your views on social media for marketing? It’s a must. It’s where you meet people and connect. Events and Giveaways, and release parties are where I see sales spike.
Which social network worked best for you? Facebook no doubt.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Don’t turn down constructive criticism, but don’t change your story based on opinion. It’s a delicate balance. You have to really trust the people you share with in early stages.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? Mostly Facebook events. I’m still learning Goodreads…
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? I can’t pick one. I’m a history nut. That’s as bad as the favorite book question.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? None. I’m happy with the ones I made up.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Don’t give up obviously, but more importantly like I said before, don’t make this a competition. Tearing another writer down won’t make your work better. We’re like stars in the sky. We light it up and make it beautiful together. One star wouldn’t make the sky that epic.
How can readers discover more about you and you work? My books are on Amazon in paperback and eBook.
You can also keep up with me and my books on the following sites.
And my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org