It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. - Seneca

Monday, August 3, 2009

Interview with Author, Nicole North ...

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to the Author of Devil in a Kilt, Nicole North!

Welcome Nicole, we are so happy to have you here. I know many readers are looking forward to getting to know you better! So lets jump right in.

What do you think makes Devil in a Kilt different? What will draw readers to it?

Well, it's sort of a fun, quirky story and it has a little of everything: humor, suspense, sexiness, emotions... not to mention about four subgenres of romance all in one story (paranormal, contemporary, historical, erotic) mixed and blended like haggis... no wait... more like delicious clootie dumpling. A lot of romance readers love a hot, sword-wielding Highlander in a kilt, and this story has that. Gavin is devilish, as you might imagine. He knows what he wants and he goes after it. So hopefully readers will be drawn to him. The heroine, Shauna, is the quirky part of the story. Her modern snark plays well off Gavin's more serious (historical) nature. Most of all I hope it will entertain readers!
It sounds wonderful!

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?

I call myself a hybrid (hey, hybrids are in vogue, right?) I started out my first book pantsing all the way, but I ran into plot problems and unsnarling them was near impossible. Now I like to have a three-act-play-structure type roadmap so I don't get lost. Basically, I just plan out my character's GMC (goal, motivation, conflict), figure out the midpoint and other turning points (important scenes that do certain things for the story,) climax and resolution. The pantsing part comes in again as I'm writing within this loose framework.

That's a great idea! You always need a road map of sorts, to keep you from getting lost! and yes, Hybrids are in vogue, right now!

How would you describe your voice?

My voice is versatile or so I've been told. I used to write only dark or serious things. Then I discovered by accident that I can write humor. Or at least people told me it was funny. Humor is difficult to write because not everyone has the same sense of humor. What one person thinks is funny, another won't, and vice versa. I enjoy writing humor because... well, it's fun! So to answer your question, sometimes my voice is funny and snarky. But at other times, I have a historical voice. Since I write paranormal, historical and contemporary this is helpful to me.


How do you come up with your ideas/plots?

Usually I'll get the germ of an idea, an unusual situation or event a character is involved in. Sometimes this is the opening scene, sometimes a later scene. For instance, with Devil in a Kilt, the idea came from the Highland Games, which I like to attend whenever possible. I challenged myself to come up with a story idea there. One clan tent had a huge two-handed Highland sword on display. What would happen if the sword had some magic in it and the woman who picked it up was transported back in time 400 years to the man who originally owned it?

Ah, so cool! I love the highland games too! And I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of your book!

Do you research your story before you write it? Or as you go?

I have a confession to make. I don't enjoy research. I know some people live for that but not me. I live to write about relationships and falling in love and sexual tension and... you get the idea. At the same time, I feel historical accuracy is vital. So, I've researched the time period I chose to set my novels and novellas in, 1618 or 1621 Scotland and England (thus far.) I tried to establish my basic groundwork knowledge of the time, clothing, what had been invented, weapons, housing, food, words in use, political climate, etc. so I would consider that "before I write" research which has already been done. But once I get into the story and decide what is going to happen where, I'll find other areas I have to research in depth. For instance on my last novel, I had to research ships of the time and how Highland inaugurations of new chiefs were done. I like to ask the experts to be sure everything is accurate. The interesting thing about historical research is how little of it actually shows up in the story. It's just the backdrop or the "stage." I don't like to show my research information in a teaching or textbook kind of way. I try to show these historical details in subtle ways that allows the reader to feel they are there.

Now I would never have guessed that you didn't like research! Very interesting!

Do you feel a draw to the people and the time periods you write about?

Interesting question! I do feel a draw to Scotland and I never realized how much until I went there. It's simply an amazing, breathtaking, gorgeous place. I could just stand staring (wide-eyed, mouth hanging open) at someplace like Sango Bay or Kyle of Tongue for a good long time. Especially the drive from Thurso to Isle of Skye along the northern coast and even down through the western Highlands and Glencoe. I would be thinking, omigosh look at that, the whole time. I'm not sure if anyone else has a clue what I'm talking about. LOL But I felt some sort of comfortable warm exciting connection to the places but was also blown away by the mystical beauty.

Oh, I know exactly what your talking about! Its as if SCOTLAND has a mystical power that sucks you in and won't let you go!!!! I love it there!

Do you find love scenes difficult to write?

Not too difficult. I enjoy them, which is why I got into writing erotic romance. I always enjoyed reading and writing sensual romance. The erotic romance I write is just a step or two further on the heat scale. I also teach writing workshops about how to write sexual tension and love scenes. Sexual tension is my favorite element of a romance novel, and if the sexual tension is really strong then chances are the love scenes that follow are going to seem hotter than they actually are.

I on the other hand have a harder time with these, I definitely need to take your workshop!!!

Is it necessary to have a critique/writing partner?

Maybe not necessary but certainly my critique partners and critique groups have helped me lots by picking out my errors and weaknesses and in general cracking the whip. LOL I would advise new writers to find critique partners or groups, but these should be a good fit. A bad critique group or partner can do more harm than good.

I couldn't agree more! A great group of Critique partners is definitely worth their weight in gold!

Authors make writing look easy? Is it harder than most people imagine it to be?

At times it's much more difficult than other times. Sometimes the muse is kind and the words flow like lava. Other times, I find myself struggling to get a sentence down. But eventually it all gets done and smoothed out. Then it's time for a sigh of relief.

I know what your saying, believe me! People who think you just put pen to paper and Viola, its done couldn't be MORE wrong!

Do you have more than one book out now?

Devil in a Kilt in Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures anthology is the only one out now. But I have an upcoming novella called Kilted Lover being released this fall. It's a contemporary with a modern day kilted hottie who acts very much like his Scots and Norse ancestors. Throws the heroine over his shoulder to rescue her, knows how to handle a weapon and toss cabers, and when that kilt comes off he can burn up the sheets. What more could you ask for? LOL

Hmmm, what more could I ask for?? Let me see- How about two Hotties, just for me!!! Wow, Nicole you've been one busy lady! Kitled Lover sounds yummy as well!!!!!

Nicole its been a pleasure spotlighting you and Devil in a Kilt, we wish you many sales and all the best in your future endevours!!!!!

Thanks for being here with us today!!!

Thanks again for having me here!!!:)

It was our pleasure!

Don't forget to check Nicole out on the web!

Nicole's links
book video:


Tamsyn said...

Great interview and I think its a great idea to combine paranormal, contemporary, historical and erotic into one book - and all of them my favourites too! Love Gavin already. Will I know what he wears under his kilt?
:o) Tamsyn

Nicole North said...

Thanks Tamsyn!!! Glad you're into genre blending like I am. Yes, you'll know what he wears under there because he is quick about throwing that kilt off. ;)

Julie Robinson said...

Really enjoyed the questions and answers, Nicole and Andrea.

Nicole, I have a question: You said you like to write it like to write using a 3-act play structure as a road map. Have you ever read "Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder? Talk about open my eyes! He really simplifies the plotting.


Nicole North said...

Thanks Julie!!! No I haven't read Save the Cat. Must go look that up now because I'm always looking for a cool new 3 act play structure book to teach me even more.

Julie Robinson said...

It's the first book, the one that is subtitled, "The Last Book on Screenwriting that you'll every need." Snyder has some great downloads on his site too that go with his books. See especially the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (pg. 70 of the book).

Nicole North said...

Thanks Julie, that sounds awesome!

Titania Ladley said...

Hi, ladies, great interview! Just wanted to pop in and wish Nicole all the best with Devil in a Kilt. I love all things Scottish, so I'll be buying this one for sure!


Nicole North said...

Titania, thanks!!! How awesome you're a fan of Scottish things too! Thanks in advance for buying a copy! I hope you enjoy!

Pat McDermott said...

So glad you're genre-blending, Nicole. I'm a major blender and was once told it would never be accepted. It seems to be more and more the norm these days, however. Congratulations on the release!

Nicole North said...

Thanks Pat!!! Yes, I do love to genre blend. It's a lot of fun and you can come up with all kinds of interesting situations or storylines. It seems a lot of authors these days come up with some really unique high-concepts via genre blending.

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