Featured Friday! Nicole Evelina
Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her most recent novel, Been Searching for You (May 10), a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.
She also writes historical fiction. Later this year, she will release Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America’s first female Presidential candidate, which was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, was named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, took the Grand Prize in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, won a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction.
Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.
Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.
She spent 15 years researching Arthurian legend, Celtic Britain and the various peoples, cultures and religious practices that shaped the country after the withdrawal of Rome. Other historical interests include the Middle Ages and women who made their mark on history. And she LOVES Chicago.
What’s your favourite part of the lifestyle of an Author?
I love the creative process. Research is so much fun to me because I learn about different time periods and cultures. It’s also what gives my historical fiction novels their bones. I also love the experience of writing a first draft. It’s special because it’s a time when I am figuring out the story along with my characters. That’s when the magic happens, when I let my imagination go wild and explore any and every aspect of the story. (Pruning and correcting are for later.) You can never write a book for the first time ever again, no matter how many times you revise it.
What made you start writing?
I remember coming home from an outing to a park one day when I was little and I wanted to write a story about a brother and sister who found a dog in a park like the one we were in. I pulled out a sheet of paper and my mom’s olive green typewriter and wrote a whole page! I was so proud of myself. From then on I wrote as a hobby when I had nothing else to do.
As far as what made me think of writing something book-length, that’s a longer story. When I was in college, a friend of mine gave me a copy of The Mists of Avalon for Christmas. I LOVED it, but I hated the author’s portrayal of Guinevere as meek and well, boring. That made me seek out other books about Guinevere and I read Parke Godwin’s Beloved Exile, which tells the story of what happened to Guinevere after the fall of Camelot. That made me wonder what happened to her before and after Arthur, which is something you don’t hear much about. Then Guinevere came into my head, telling me she wanted me to write her story. I thought at the time it would be one book but it turned into the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, the first two books of which are out now. The rest, as they say, is history.
Is there an Author that you consider your inspiration?
My mentor is Deborah Harkness, #1 NY Times Bestselling author of the All Souls Trilogy, which begins with A Discovery of Witches. I was fortunate to be one of only six authors chosen to take a week-long writing intensive on historical fiction from her in 2014. We’ve kept in touch and have seen each other several times since then. Her writing, determination, energy and strength are all inspiring to me, as is her support.
But she’s not my only inspiration. I also draw inspirations from the writing and success of Jennifer Lee Carrol, Anne Fortier, Alyson Noel, Susanna Kearsley, Patricia Bracewell, Carol Goodman, Robin LaFevers and Geraldine Brooks.
What’s your number one tip for an aspiring Author?
Keep writing. Even on the days when you think everything you write sucks. Even when your friends or family tell you to stop or that you’ll never amount to anything. Even when you are so tired of it, you want to give up. Even when you get rejected by agents/publishers. Even when you get negative/bad reviews. Those are the times it’s the most important to keep going.
First book doesn’t sell or doesn’t do well? Write another one. Same with the second? Keep writing. If you have a story to tell, don’t stop until it’s out in the world – and even then, write another one.
What type of book do you like to read and does this differ from the genre that you prefer to write?
My favorites to read and write are historical fiction and fantasy. I love stories that immerse me in other time periods or worlds, especially if they have a bit of magic, mysticism or mythology to them. I love lyrical prose and lush descriptions. And a good love story never hurts!
I also like contemporary romance, mysteries/suspense/thrillers and YA, especially dystopian or post-dystopia.
Which one of your characters would you most like to spend time with?
Isolde from the Guinevere series, without a doubt! She is so fun and care-free. She makes her own happiness in every situation, so you are guaranteed to have a good time with her.
Which book do you consider a must-read?
Oh this is so tough!
Fiction – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s so inventive; it opens your mind to all kinds of possibility.
Non-Fiction – Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. An amazing work of scholarship, entertaining and it will show you how much nothing has changed about life in over 2,000 years.
Writing – Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott. So many gems of wisdom in this book!
What’s been the hardest edit that you’ve had to make? Why did you want to keep the material in?
When I edited 50,000 words out of an early draft of Camelot’s Queen. It was the right thing to do because the book was all over the place; I was trying to do too much. But man, did I love most of it, especially the scenes with Isolde. At least those will be used when I tell her story in a future novel. I’ll probably put the others up on my web site as deleted scenes someday soon.
If you could live in a book, which one would it be?
Juliet by Anne Fortier. Who wouldn’t want to live in Tuscany surrounded by rich, brilliant, beautiful people? Plus, it’s one of my three top all-time favorite books.
If you could pick an Author to write your biography, who would it be?
Stacy Schiff. She’s a great biographer and I bet she could make my boring life exciting.
We all know the phrase “the book is always better than the film.” Which film would you like to see remade as a book?
The Adjustment Bureau. That is one of my all time favorite movies and I was highly disappointed when I found out it was only very loosely based on its short story source material.
Can you sum up your life story in ten words or less?
Born early, still on fast forward, always will be.
What’s exciting you about your next project?
The next one to be released is Madame Presidentess, a historical fiction about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President in the United States in 1872. I’m excited for the tie to the 2016 election and all of the opportunities that will bring. I also can’t wait for people to discover this nearly-unknown woman!
And finally, you have one quote to be remembered by, what is it?
The people at my day job would say it would be my oft used phrase “I am not a miracle worker, people!” but I would like to think it will be something more sage like “manifesting your dreams begins with hard work and comes to fruition with absolute belief in the outcome.”
You can find out more about Nicole around the web
And some of her published works can be found here
Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere’s Tale: Book 1) (Book of the Year, Chanticleer Reviews; Gold Medal Winner, Fantasy, Next Generation Indie Book Awards)
Been Searching for You (Winner of the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.)
Madame Presidentess, a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America’s first female Presidential candidate, available July 25, 2016 (Chaucer Award Winner, First Place US History Category, Historical Fiction)