Super big thank you’s to the amazing Nicole Zoltack for stopping by today! My lucky readers get not only an interview- but scroll down for an excerpt from her new story, Seeing for the First Time! Thanks Nicole!
What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have a day job as well?
My day job is taking care of two adorable but troublesome little boys – Nicholas who is almost 2 and a half and Anthony who is 8 months. I am so thankful that I’m able to be at home with them. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a writer and a mom, and now I’m both! When I’m not writing, I’m spending time with my family, watching movies with hubby, or reading.
Where do you get your ideas? Do you ever experience writer’s block? Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I get ideas everywhere! From dreams, other books and movies, from people-gawking… I have never had writer’s block. I have never sat at the computer and not been able to write something. I usually work on a couple of stories at the same time (usually a short story and a novel). If I’m not sure where exactly one story should go, I work on the other. By not focusing on the first, I am usually able to work out through the problem anyway. I’m never so stuck that I can’t write at all. I just write. I usually have an idea about the plot, or I have a character in mind, and the story just develops from there.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
The first book I had published was not the first book that I had written. It was the second book I had finished, and the first Nano story that I finished. Nano is National Novel Writing Month when writers around the world try to write 50,000 words in November. I’ve reached 50K many times, but this story was the first one that I actually completed. This book turned into Woman of Honor, the story of Aislinn, a girl who wished to become a knight and was willing to give up everything for her kingdom: her childhood, her life, even her heart. It’s a fantasy romance, the first in a trilogy, published through Desert Breeze Publishing. The third book, Champion of Valor, will be published May 1st of this year.
I found out about Desert Breeze Publishing through a yahoo publishing chat and talked with Gail, the editor-in-chief. She expressed interested in the story and told me to submit the story once I finished it (at this point, it was still only 50K from Nano.) I finished the story, sent it to Gail, and she sent me a contract!
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
The book of my heart is a fantasy YA novel about a magical pen. I started this story back in the sixth grade (literally, wrote some of it during class). It has been rewritten and reworked so many times. I’m hoping that this round of revisions will finally secure me an agent!
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I have a series through Echelon Press for their Electric Short program. Ana lives in a world very much like our own, only there’s a veiled curtain between us and the creatures of the night. Only a few people can see those creatures, and Ana is one such seer. Determined to learn where she fits in, Ana’s summer is going to get a lot more exciting when she sets off to find out what she can see. Only problem is, she’s not sure what to do when she finally discovers the truth. And she’s not sure she’ll live to tell anyone.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism has been about Hidden in Shadows, a story about a female assassin. I queried this story to agents and an editor and everyone said they liked the premise BUT the MC is hard to relate to, she isn’t sympathetic. Basically, they like that the story is about a female assassin, but because she’s an assassin, it’s hard to like her. I’ve been working hard to make Lorna more sympathetic, but she’s not cooperating very well so far!
The best compliment has come from a twelve-year-old girl. She loved Woman of Honor, and it’s her favorite book. She even told her classmates about the novel. She passed up an opportunity to play with a friend in order to read the book. That’s why I write.
If you were a superhero (or villain!) what would your power be? Would you wear a cape?
I would love to have the power of superspeed. Could you imagine how prolific I could be if I could type 10,000 words a minute? And be able to edit a novel in say 10 minutes? Awesome! Plus I could make dinner and do everything else that a super mom would do, in a microfraction of the time!
What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would you order? Simple coffee, complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
Actually, I don’t drink coffee. At least 90% of the time (if not more), I drink water. I don’t care for soda. I get my caffeine through chocolate so if I had to order at Starbuck’s, I would order a hot chocolate.
If you could live off of chocolate would you? What kind?
Oh, I am definitely a chocoholic! But even though I love my chocolate, I don’t think I would want to live off of it – it would make chocolate less special. It’s a treat, an indulgence, and that would be lost if it were all I ate. Plus, I don’t want my weight to balloon!
If you could visit any world ever written about, where would you go?
I love everything about the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, so I would love to visit the world of Terra, that Woman of Honor is set in. There are knights and magic and mythological creatures, the best of both history and fantasy. My kind of place!
Nicole Zoltack loves to write fantasy/paranormal, romances, horror, historical, for adults and young adults, novels, short stories, and flash pieces. She doesn’t want to get boxed in by genre — she might be claustrophobic! When she isn’t writing about girls wanting to be knights, talking unicorns, and zombies, she spends time with her loving family. She loves to ride horses (pretending their unicorns, of course!) and going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, dressed in period garb. Her current favorite TV show is The Vampire Diaries.
Nicole’s website: http://www.NicoleZoltack.com
Nicole’s blog: http://NicoleZoltack.blogspot.com
#1 Seeing for the First Time
Published March 8 2011 by Echelon Press
About the Series:
What You See is What You Get is part of a new short story program being put out by Echelon Press.
Electric Shorts is a pilot program for reluctant readers. Each series contains six short stories presented once per month as electronic downloads (eBooks), much the same as a television series. Geared for kids between the ages of seven and seventeen, each short story will include relevant material to attract and captivate the young and reluctant reader. From historical settings to future fantasy, across all genres, Electric Shorts will strive to satisfy all interests. Electric Shorts will be released every Tuesday, with a new installment of each series appearing once a month. At only $.99 each, the short stories are affordable for all walks of life.
Seeing for the First Time is a fantasy series written for young adults (13-17 year olds).
For advance review copies and requests for interviews and author events for any of the participating authors, contact Karen L. Syed at Echelon Press firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ana never realized that the things that go bump in the night were real.
Just another boring summer vacation with her Gram, or so Ana thought until one day when she sees strange balls of light flying around Gram. The lights are fairies Gram can see and talk to. Ana is a Seer, too, only she doesn’t know what paranormal creature she can See yet.
Ana sets out to See what she can and hopes it is a unicorn or a selkie. Instead, she can See vampires.
Ana’s parents can See werewolves, but they aren’t just Seers, they’re werewolf hunters. When they come to Gram’s to celebrate Ana’s Sight, her parents and Ana are in for a surprise. There aren’t just vampires in the forest, and it seems as if the paranormal creatures are joining forces.
Ana’s summer is definitely going to be exciting… that is, if she survives it.
Seeing for the First Time Blurb:
For the last ten years, Ana has spent summers with her Gram. With nothing to do, the closest beach two hours away, and Gram, who Ana is convinced is crazy, always in her garden talking to things that aren’t there, Ana is bored out of her mind.
One day, Ana sees strange colors floating around Gram as she works in her garden. Gram says they’re fairies. She can “See” them, and there are others who can see things. Ana’s a Seer, too.
When Gram gives Ana a book that explains about the many different creatures, like selkies, unicorns, vampires, and others, Ana gets curious. She is shocked when she comes across the entry about famous werewolf hunters – her parents.
Determined to learn where she fits in, Ana’s summer gets a lot more exciting as she sets off to find out what she can “see.” Only problem is, she’s not sure what to do when she finally discovers the truth. And she’s not sure she’ll live to tell anyone.
Ana’s Gram was crazy. Like certifiably crazy. And she’d spent every summer since she’d turned six at her Gram’s, with a front row seat to her Gram’s descent into madness.
Year number ten with Gram and she still had nothing to do. Ana exited the small cottage. “Gram, I’m bored. Can I borrow your car?”
No answer. Ana headed to her Gram’s favorite location, the garden out back.
Sure enough, she found her mom’s mother covered in more dirt than her potted plants. With her long white hair in a tight bun, dressed in a T-shirt and black pants, Gram wore a relaxed as she pulled out weeds. “You’re getting lax, Arianna.”
Arianna? Who’s that? Ana cleared her throat. “Gram, can I go to the beach?”
Gram patted her hands and wiped her forehead, leaving behind a streak of dirt. “You arrived yesterday and spent all day with your friends. Now you want to leave me all alone while you drive the two hours to the beach?”
Ana pouted. “Please, Gram? There’s nothing to do here.”
Gram sighed. “You could help me with my garden.”
Ana grimaced and glanced down at her pale pink tank top and white mini skirt. Hardly working in the dirt clothes. “Can’t Arianna help?” Ana muttered so her Gram couldn’t hear.
“What’s that, dear?” Gram had already gone back to work.
Ana cringed and felt guilty. “Let me change my clothes and then you can tell me what you need help with.”
Gram beamed, and Ana felt even guiltier. Just because Gram saw and heard things no one else did, didn’t mean Ana shouldn’t spend time with her. After all, that’s why she’d come to North Carolina while her parents traveled through Europe.
Ana ran into the cottage and changed into a T-shirt and jeans. She stood at the back screen door, wrestling her long curly blonde hair into a ponytail when she saw small red, purple, and blue lights flying around her Gram.
Ana rubbed her eyes and looked again. The lights were still there.
She gulped. Maybe being crazy ran in the family.
Ana opened the door and slowly walked over to Gram.
Gram looked up. “Is something wrong, dear?”
Ana shook her head.
Gram pushed back on her thighs. “Your face says differently. If you really want to go to the beach that badly, go ahead.”
A small red speck landed on Gram’s hand. Ana stared at it, afraid to speak, not wanting to draw attention to her craziness.
“Oh,” Gram said with understanding in her soft voice. Her face broke into a wide smile that eased many wrinkles. “You can see the fairies, too.”
Ana shook her head again. “N-no.”