What are your writing goals for spring?
I am writing my first non-fiction book this spring. It’s about the evolution of the character of Guinevere over the course of Arthurian legend, beginning with the first references to her in the Celtic triads and going all the way through my own books and others published in the last year or two. There are a few theses and dissertations that trace her changing nature from their origins through works written in the early 1990s, but they are hard to find, sometimes highly academic and don’t cover more recent history. I’m hoping my book makes the information accessible to the average reader and I’m excited to cover books that have come out in the last 20 years. I’m hoping for a summer release on that book.
After that, I am going to do some research for Mistress of Legend, the final book in the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy. I have a draft written, but it’s getting a major re-write. That likely will take me into summer at least. My goal is to publish it by the end of the year.
Do you Pinterest? What is your favorite board?
OMG! I LOVE Pinterest! I’m actually speaking about how authors can use Pinterest at the Chanticleer Author’s Conference in Bellingham, WA, at the end of March. In addition to using it for branding and selling, I find Pinterest very relaxing, so it’s a kind of de-stressing therapy for me. I’ve been on Pinterest for several years. I have more than 1,300 followers, 100 boards and nearly 300,000 pins. No, I don’t have a problem at all, why do you ask?
Asking me to pick my favorite board is like asking me to pick my favorite cat (I don’t have children, so I couldn’t use that analogy – and I only have two cats, so I’m not THAT crazy cat lady). I love the boards for each book because they really get into my head for each one, from actors that look like the characters, to settings, phrases that inspired me or objects that are either in the book or somehow led to something in it. I also have boards for the 20 or so future novels that are in my head. I guess if I had to pick one that isn’t book-related, I’d go with Dream Life, which is where I post things that are in my ideal life, from my ideal apartment to vacation homes and travel destinations – it’s kind of like a vision board, a way of manifesting them into my life.
Which character you have created compels you the most and why?
That has to be Isolde. I love that she is so authentic; she never pretends to be what society or anyone else wants her to be. She’s open, free and unrepentant for her “sins.” I love that she makes her own happiness out of every situation and lives life to the fullest. When she came into my head, she actually demanded her own novel, which turned out to be a very good thing because I had to cut most of her scenes from Camelot’s Queen in order to maintain the pace of the story. So as soon as I finish Mistress of Legend, I’ll be working on Isolde’s story. I already have around 40,000 words from the deleted scenes. I can’t wait to see what trouble she’s going to lead me and the readers into!
When do you best ideas come to you for a story?
I write mostly about women who are in danger of being forgotten by history or who haven’t been allowed to speak, even though we’ve heard from their male counterparts. So I feel like they pick me because my finding out that they even existed is so random. I found out about Victoria Woodhull from a pin on Pinterest; another woman I’ll be writing about soon was discovered while I was trying to debunk a fake historical picture circulating on the Internet; another was briefly mentioned in an article about wine. Who would have thought?
But ideas for the whole story usually come while I’m researching. I’ve found that because I write biographical historical fiction, I start out with the skeleton of the story, which is the high points of the person’s life. But then as I dive deeper, I find events or details that I can embellish upon (which is where the fiction comes in) to connect the history together on a personal level and entertain the reader. This is where the story gets its muscles and tendons.
History really is stranger than fiction, so I often find things that people think I made up and overdramatized. Thank God for Author’s Notes so I can say “no, really it did happen that way and here’s proof.”
What is your favorite Spring Time Food?
Can I only pick one? I love new asparagus and I’m a huge berry fan: blueberries and raspberries especially. And I love fish and wine at any time of year!
B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree
I’m an American award-winning author who writes under the pen name Nicole Evelina. My specialties are historical fiction and contemporary romantic comedies that might be romance or women’s fiction.
My 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, has won two gold medals and several other awards. It’s sequel, Camelot’s Queen, was awarded the prestigious B.R.A.G Medallion. My contemporary romantic comedy, Been Searching for You, won the 2016 Colorado Independent Publishers Association Award for Romance, well as several others. My most recent novel, Madame Presidentess, a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America’s first female Presidential candidate, was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.
My writing has also appeared in The Huffington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Independent Journal,Curve Magazine and numerous historical publications.
I am one of only six authors who studied with #1 New York Times best-selling author Deborah Harkness at Hedgebrook as part of a Master Class in historical creative writing at Hedgebrook in Washington state. I 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. I’ve even traveled to England twice to visit some of the places in my Guinevere trilogy. Along the way, I’ve 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.
I’m President-elect and self-publishing liaison for the Romance Writers of America (RWA)’s Missouri chapter. I’m also a proud member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.
When I’m not writing, you can find me reading, playing with my spoiled twin Burmese cats or in my day job as an internal communications (PR) manager. But that just pays the bills. To my core, I am a writer, and with a little bit of luck, someday soon I’ll be able to call myself a full-time novelist.