Thursday, March 24, 2011

Interview with Author Nicole North

Today I’m interviewing Nicole North. I have read her books and taken a few of her classes. I am a huge fan and very exited to be interviewing her today. Her book, Laird of Darkness, is a historical paranormal erotic romance and was released on March 21.




Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.

Thanks so much, Sarah, for allowing me to visit your blog!

Here is the blurb for Laird of Darkness: Half-Fae Laird Duncan MacDougall is cursed. His nights are haunted by Otherworld creatures sent to kill him. The only way to stop them is to possess the magic bow currently in the hands of his enemy half-brother, Kinnon MacClaren. In desperation, Duncan plans to take MacClaren's bride-to-be hostage and exchange her for the bow.



Lady Alana Forbes has never met her intended, but she hopes he is handsome-and a good lover, for Alana is no innocent virgin. On her way to Castle Claren, Alana and her escorts are intercepted, and she is kidnapped by a man with extraordinary abilities-and every attribute she longs for in a mate.



Duncan didn't expect the woman he thought of as a mere pawn would be so beautiful, and so arousing. Alana is drawn to him as well-but Duncan still needs the bow, and Alana is betrothed to another. How far will Alana go to save the life of the man she's come to love?



Laird of Darkness is based on an ancient Scottish legend or fairy tale… with a twist. The villain of the original fairy tale is actually the hero of my story.



Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
 I write mostly spicy Scottish paranormal which is what this story is. One thing that’s interesting is that it incorporates several subgenres—erotic romance, Scottish historical romance, paranormal romance, with suspenseful and humorous elements. I also write contemporary and straight Scottish historical romance (with no paranormal). Since I sometimes write time-travel, knowledge of all these subgenres is necessary.



When did you start writing toward publication?
 Longer ago than I care to admit. LOL But since writing was the career path I wanted and needed to take, I persisted. If you want it as badly as I did, then you never give up, no matter the number of rejections.



Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
 Yes, I finished about six or seven manuscripts before I sold. It’s a learning process and we have to deal with the unpredictable market. There are so many factors that go into a sale vs. a rejection. Is the writing good enough? Is the story high concept enough? Does it have a hook? Is your subgenre hot right now? Did publisher x just publish a story similar to this? Does this agent already represent an author who writes xyz? When we start out on this journey, we never know how long it will take to sell, or how long it will take to become successful. As writers, we have to continue to learn and grow and challenge ourselves.



Why have you become a published author?
 Persistence and determination. And because, like I mentioned, there wasn’t another career path that made me happy. Believe me, I tried a few.



Do you have any rejection stories to share?
 I have a lot but I don’t want to scare anyone. LOL The most memorable and baffling was from a big publisher who shall remain nameless. The editor loved my story and said it was a fantastic, strong story, but because I had already mentioned that I write in two other subgenres of romance (paranormal and contemporary), she didn’t feel I was committed to writing historical romance set in Scotland. (Um… excuse me, I would LIVE in historical Scotland if I could.) So you see, there is yet another factor we have no control over. Sometimes it isn’t enough to simply write a strong, publishable novel.



What is your writing routine like?
 I don’t really have a routine. When I write and how much depends on what else I have going on that month. I tend to try and block off my writing into months. If I’m writing the rough draft of a new story, my goal is to write about 2500 words per day. If I’m writing 2nd or 3rd draft then my word count would be lower and my goal might be to complete chapter 7 that day, or whatever. And then there are various other things I have to do like creating workshops and teaching them, doing edits required by my publishers, blogging and other promo.



What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
The help I receive on promo would be from wonderful people like you who interview me and post my interviews or guest posts on their blogs. I do all sorts of online promo: blogging, interviews, asking for reviews, posting info on loops/groups, entering contests, holding contests, a newsletter, a website, social networking.



Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?
 Knowing that others enjoy reading my stories. While it might be true that I write for myself first, I also LOVE entertaining other people, making them laugh, or cry or fall in love. It’s a major thrill for me to hear from a reader who’s enjoyed my story.



Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
 Yes, I’m a member of RWA, CHRW, HHRW, and FTHRW. They have all helped me in one way or another, with vital information about the publishing industry, contests, conferences, workshops, networking, friendships, opportunities to get in front of editors/agents, etc.



Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
 Don’t give up. If you want it bad, then go for it with all the strength and determination you can muster. Keep your eyes wide open. Keep learning. Remain flexible. Be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things. It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down; what matters is how many times you get up. I know these things have been said many times, but this is because they’re true.



What’s next for you? I’m excited to have a paranormal, time-travel erotic romance novella called Scoundrel in a Kilt which will be released in July in Secrets Volume 30, a print anthology out from Red Sage. In that one, the hero is a selkie shape-shifter and the heroine is a modern day supermodel. Hmm… wonder how that could play out? LOL I hope readers find it to be a fun, hot story full of emotion and passion.



BOOK BLURB for current release.


Laird of Darkness: Half-Fae Laird Duncan MacDougall is cursed. His nights are haunted by Otherworld creatures sent to kill him. The only way to stop them is to possess the magic bow currently in the hands of his enemy half-brother, Kinnon MacClaren. In desperation, Duncan plans to take MacClaren's bride-to-be hostage and exchange her for the bow.



Lady Alana Forbes has never met her intended, but she hopes he is handsome-and a good lover, for Alana is no innocent virgin. On her way to Castle Claren, Alana and her escorts are intercepted, and she is kidnapped by a man with extraordinary abilities-and every attribute she longs for in a mate.



Duncan didn't expect the woman he thought of as a mere pawn would be so beautiful, and so arousing. Alana is drawn to him as well-but Duncan still needs the bow, and Alana is betrothed to another. How far will Alana go to save the life of the man she's come to love?





A little bit about the author.

Nicole North's erotic romance novellas have been described by reviewers as "exciting, high octane, captivating, scintillating, sinfully delicious and pure romance." Her stories contain "heart and heat, killer love scenes, magic and extraordinary characters." Her books include Laird of Darkness (Harlequin/Carina Press, March 2011); Beast in a Kilt (the second novella in the Kilted Shapeshifter series) in the anthology Secrets Volume 29, Indulge Your Fantasies (Red Sage, July 2010). Devil in a Kilt (the first story in the Kilted Shapeshifter series) in the anthology Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures, (Red Sage, July 2009). Kilted Lover (Red Sage, Nov. 2009.) Scoundrel in a Kilt (third in the kilted Shapeshifter series) in the anthology Secrets Volume 30, (Red Sage, July 2011.) Her works have finaled in over a dozen writing competitions and won several awards. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and three chapters. She teaches online workshops about various aspects of writing, including sexual tension and how to write great love scenes. Though she has a degree in psychology, writing romance is her first love. She and her husband live in the Southeastern US, but she wishes she lived in the Scottish Highlands at least half the year.




Excerpt (PG rated)


Laird of Darkness, Chapter One



’Twould be a night of much turmoil. Duncan MacDougall, chief of Clan MacDougall, crouched upon the rocky crag above Loch Searbh as violet-gray gloaming settled over Scotland. The cool, early summer wind, fragrant with flowers, gusted between the rugged granite mountains. He tugged the wool plaid closer about his shoulders. Even the kelpie tribe that dwelled beneath the loch’s murky, peat-tinged surface rumbled more violently than usual.

But a more pressing matter weighed on Duncan’s mind: plotting how he might acquire his enemy Kinnon MacClaren’s magical bow and quiver. If Duncan possessed the Dealanach, as the old druid had once said, he would no longer be doomed to lurk about the night alone. With that special bow, he would finally vanquish the vile Otherworld creatures that tortured him in his nightmares and sleep peacefully as all others did.

He stroked his fingers over the sore wound on his forearm, three deep scratches he’d received almost a week ago. Recently, the beasts had even found ways to invade his sleep during the daytime. These scratches and the bloody bite marks on his calf told him the attacks weren’t his imagination.

The thumping of hooves from the south drew his attention. With his enhanced Fae senses, he listened as the horses galloped closer over the rocky ground. Below him, near the ferry crossing, the riders dismounted. Duncan counted nine men and five women in the party, all perched upon fine horses. The dock held no boat at this late hour, the ferryman having already returned to his home on the other side of the loch.

After the horses drank, the men led them away from the water, closer to the shelter of the cliffside, out of the wind. All but one woman followed.

“Do not wander far, m’lady,” one of the men called out.

“Of course.” The lady’s voice was feminine and rich, but she wore a dull brown cloak complete with a cowl over her head. Though the bulky garment concealed most of her body, she appeared slender.

“Oh, is that…” She tugged her skirts off her shoes and trotted through the heather and gorse, just starting to bloom purple and yellow, and approached the loch’s edge. “Indeed.” A small dagger glinted as she removed it from a hidden pouch. Kneeling, she cut a plant out of the ground and sniffed it.

With his keen hearing, Duncan detected a thunderous din beneath the surface of the loch once again, too low for human ears. The lady was perilously close to the water’s edge. He stood, knowing what tragedy would befall her if he didn’t intervene.



Lady Alana Forbes knelt by Loch Searbh, overjoyed to have found such a large clump of marsh tea. She would dry it and use it to heal many skin afflictions. A dull roar reached her ears. Thunder? No storm clouds lurked overhead. The loch at twilight, surrounded by the rugged Highlands, was one of the most beautiful sights she had seen. A pink and violet sunset painted the sky to the west, the direction she would journey tomorrow to meet her future husband at Castle Claren.

She hoped Kinnon MacClaren was a handsome and kind man. And though she would never admit it to anyone but herself, she hoped he was a generous lover and skilled in the bedchamber. If the rumors about him were correct, the MacClaren chief was indeed handsome, with blue eyes and tawny hair.

Rising, she sniffed the balsamic aroma of the herb. Above all, her new husband must allow her to continue practicing the medicinal arts her beloved grandmother taught her. Gran had passed three years ago, and Alana was the only one to preserve her family’s herbal knowledge and ancient Soillse Eòlas Leigheas healing spells.

She took one step toward her party’s camp when a fierce clamor exploded from the loch. She froze. Water gushed upward and a herd of white horses burst forth, headed straight toward her. What in Hades?

Something unseen slipped around her waist, snatching her into the air far above the ground. Strangely, the invisible band around her felt like a man’s strong arm. St. Bride preserve me! Nausea roiled through her. She screamed, flailing, cold chills covering her body



How can my readers buy your book?

Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at http://www.carinapress.com.



You can find more information about me, Nicole North, and Laird of Darkness by

visiting my website, http://www.nicolenorth.com. or

my blog at http://fierceromance.blogspot.com.

21 comments:

  1. Again, sounds like a yummy story!! Thanks for sharing Nicole. You've worked hard, and it shows.

    Love your blog Sarah. Always trying new things! As I recently read somewhere "Do things you aren't ready for"-it's important to push ourselves out of our comfort zone-and your blog is an excellent example of pushing yourself...not that you aren't ready for it. Hope this makes sense and didn't come off wrong.

    Anyway, hope you both have a great day!

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  2. i will ditto Michelle's comment...a yummy tale with lots of possibilities. Good luck!

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  3. Nice interview! Good luck with your book, Nicole.

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  4. Thanks so much, Michelle, Nancy and Dawn for dropping by to comment and wishing me luck!! And thank you Sarah for taking the time to interview me!!

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  5. Thanks everyone for stopping in! Nicole and I appreciate it.

    Nicole, you are most welcome!!!

    Michelle, I have interviewed others before. It's a great way to help our fellow CHRW friends and a great way to meet new people. Thanks for your kind words and for stopping in.

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  6. Hi Nicole! Its your favorite ( I hope!) cyber stalker!!! Have I mentioned that I cannot wait to read this????

    Wishing you all the best!!!

    And yes, Andrea does intend to download Laird of Darkness to her E-reader when she figures out how!!! lol

    Have a great day ladies!

    Hi Sarah, wonderful inteview.. *Waving*

    Andrea
    :O)

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  7. Thanks Nicole for the great words of encouragement. It helps me, a newbie writer, to keep at it.

    Your book sounds very intriguing and I do love a villain-turned-hero character. Sounds like the sparks fly. I'm looking forward to reading it.

    Melissa

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  8. Andrea, yes!! You're definitely my favorite stalker. LOL I so appreciate all your comments!! Thanks so much for your interest in my story!!

    Melissa, I'm glad something I said helped encourage you. Just keep going. It was a lot of fun turning turning a dark "villian" (or someone who was supposed to be a villain) into a hero. Thanks

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  9. Another great interview, Nicole! I love Laird of Darkness. I'm not as far into it as I'd like to be, but so far it's wonderful.

    =D

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  10. ANDREA- I am waving back to you. Thank you for stopping by and stalking Nicole!! LOL!

    Thanks to Melissa and Casey for taking the time to leave a comment. We appreciate it.

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  11. Thanks so much, Casey, for buying and reading my book! I hope you enjoy! Big hugs!

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  12. Great interview! I can't wait to read this book!

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  13. Oh Nicole, it's comforting to know your writing routine is a lot like mine. I try to schedule my writing throughout the week, but sometimes, life gets in the way.

    I loved this interview and your determination to succeed, no matter what an editor throws your way by means of an odd excuse. (BTW, that was a really bizarre "rejection.")

    All the best to you, fellow CHRWA author!

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  14. Great interview, ladies! And the book sounds awesome, Nicole!

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  15. Jena, thanks! Hope you enjoy! :)

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  16. Thanks, Renee! Yes, I have a weird writing schedule that isn't really a schedule. LOL It's so easy to get distracted. About the rejection, yeah, my agent at the time was baffled.

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  17. Alexa, thanks so much for checking it out! :)

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  18. Great interview, ladies, and as always, a fabulous excerpt, Nicole. Can't beat those old fairy tales for inspiration. Good writing advice too. All the best with Laird of Darkness!

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  19. Thanks Alexa and Pat for stopping in and reading the interview. We appreciate it.

    She has given some great advice and I am so happy for her success. She is a great writer and teacher.

    And look at that cover. I would buy it on cover alone. He is a hottie!!!!

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  20. Thanks, Pat!! Yes, I love fairy tales!

    Sarah, thanks so much for allowing me to appear on your beautiful blog and for all the lovely things you said!!

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  21. You are so welcome Nicole. Thank you for agreeing to the interview. Good luck in your future.

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