Me: Welcome, Nicole! Can you give us a summary of your book series?
Nicole: The Kingdom of Arnhem series (fantasy romance for young adults and adults) is about the final war between two kingdoms - Arnhem and Speica.
Book I - Woman of Honor is about a young girl who wants to become a knight. Aislinn is willing to give up everything for the kingdom of Arnhem - her childhood, her life, even her heart. No matter the pain it brings.
Book II - Knight of Glory. Geoffrey leaves Arnhem to find her allies for the war against Speica and finds secrets, lies, and rumors that could tip the war in Speica's favor. He also finds himself torn between two very different and mysterious ladies.
Book III - Champion of Valor. Selliki loves the mage Gabrael but she is a selkie and love has never treated her race kindly when they love someone from the land. The final war between Speica and Arnhem is threatening the entire world. Lucifer has aligned himself with Speica and wants nothing less than to bring about the Apocalypse before its time. Only one kingdom will prevail; that is, if the world doesn't end.
Me: You're a busy mom with two small children. How did you manage to squeeze in enough time to not only write one novel, but an entire series?
Nicole: It isn't easy being a writer when you have kids. Son #1 is 2 1/2 , son #2 is 9 months (he'll be taking his first step soon!) I write when everyone else is sleeping, either late at night or early in the morning. What's wonderful is that both boys nap at the same time, so I can get dishes and other things done during the day and I try to squeeze in some writing then too, although if I'm honest, I usually try to catch up on emails and blogs then.
Me: Yes, reading blogs is a familiar addiction! What is your favorite part about writing fantasy novels?
Nicole: I love that anything goes. I can have people throw fireballs at each other. I can introduce races like selkies and dwarves. I can show dwarven women (why are they hardly ever portrayed?). I can change trolls so they aren't so monstrous and have magic themselves - the ability to dance on the wind. The freedom is what I love most.
Me: What a cool job--creating unique characters and intriguing worlds. Can you give us a small glimpse into your writing journey?
Nicole: Sure! I first learned about Desert Breeze through a publisher chat on a yahoo group. As the chat was winding down, Gail Delaney (the EIC) mentioned that she loved series, especially for fantasy and a few other genres. I mentioned to her that I had an unfinished manuscript that would be part of a series and briefly described it to her. She said to send it to her when it was finished.
The story I had mentioned was a Nano story (National Novel Writing Month when authors around the world try to write a 50K in November). I abandoned all other side projects and focused on the novel until I completed it. After finishing it, I submitted to Gail and waited. Shortly thereafter, she emailed me an acceptance for Woman of Honor.
Desert Breeze is a non-erotic romance publisher, which is perfect for me. My novels tend to have crossover appeal. Woman of Honor is a coming-of-age fantasy romance, so it's definitely for YA and adults.
Anyhow, I had mentioned to Gail about the series during the yahoo chat, and we worked together to figure out the direction that the series could take so that the entire series was fantasy romance, each book centering on a different couple. And that was that. I had sold a short story or two before this, but this was my journey to novel publication.
Me: That was quite an adventure. What quick tip can you offer fellow writers?
Nicole: Even if you can't write every day, work on your story every day. Even if that just means thinking about the characters and what kind of ice cream they like. The more you know and understand your characters, the more they'll leap off the page.
Me: Thanks for the visit, Nicole. We all wish you success with your trilogy!
Happy Mother’s Day to Nicole and all the other Mommy Writers out there. Readers, be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win some signed post cards and magnets. Each comment during the Champion of Valor Blog Tour gives you an entry for the grand prize: a copy of the entire Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy - Woman of Honor, Knight of Glory, and Champion of Valor.
Her books can be purchased on Amazon here.