Welcome to my blog spot- grab a cup of coffee and a good book ;-)
I met Nicol Nightingale on Twitter. She actually messaged me about my book, Abundance, and I was thrilled to see that she, too, was a self-published author AND that her books were post-apocalyptic pandemic thrillers (Score bonus points in my book) because as you know, I love anything zombie/post-apocalyptic/horror--especially this time of year!!! And her book sounded so much like a fictional Richard Preston novel that I was on it like flies to a cow patty (pun intended!) I literally downloaded it to my new KU account (which, if you are a reader and DON’T have this, you are missing out btw) and started reading within minutes. I was immediately drawn in. Barely 35% into the book, I messaged her and knew I needed more details on what inspired her to write this awesome novel.
Here’s what she had to say:
Me: Hi Nicol, tell me a little about yourself? When did you know you were going to be a writer?
I devoured books as a child and secretly harbored a desire to write my own. What I lacked was confidence.
At 20, I attempted to write my first book during downtime at my job. When I lost my job, the novel was left on some cloud server, forgotten. After having my second child at 32, I needed to find a way to stay home with my baby and make some money. While researching ways to make money at home, I found out that I could self-publish novels on Amazon. Suddenly, the insurmountable task of getting published was only a few clicks away, so I started writing about the one other thing I loved, science. I was terrified at first about people reading my novels, but I am really happy that I finally found the confidence to show the world the stories I have floating around inside my head.
Me: And I’m so glad you did too! Because look what I would have missed out on if you hadn’t!!!! :-) I do understand how hard it is letting your baby fly in that big sky! That was what was holding me back too! Glad I finally toughened my spine up…
So, what inspired you to write Black Tears?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Organismic Biology (Minor: Chemistry) and an associate’s degree in Biotechnology (Minor: Chemistry). What I found out during the several research projects I participated in was that I hate the monotony of the scientific method and I don’t have the stomach for looking at guts in real life. One of my favorite subjects in college was microbiology and I loved to watch tv shows and movies about epidemics. Once I decided to write, I knew I was going to write about wiping out most of the population with a virus. The only thing I knew when I started writing was that the book would start out at a cabin with some friends. From there, it has taken on a life of its own.
Me: Funny how those things happen, right? LOL!
Now, how many books will be in the HAVI virus series?
So far, I am planning on three, but the ending of book 3 will be controversial. I may end up writing another depending on the feedback I get from beta readers about book 3.
Me: Got ya! I understand how those trilogies turn into more ;-)
Which character in your collection is your favorite? Why?
Paige. I based her career choice and feeling about science around me, but everything else about her is unique to her. I tend to be shy and a people-pleaser in real life, so I made her outgoing and not afraid to do the right thing even when it will piss people off. She stands firm to her moral beliefs and that is my favorite thing about her. The world around her is descending into violent, selfish chaos and she fights against it to restore order and justice.
Me: Love it! She was amazing!! Now, did anyone in real life inspire your characters?
Besides Paige, none of my characters in Book 1&2 are inspired by real life. One of the characters in book 3 is inspired by the TV show, Preacher. I’m adding a character based on the personality of Cassidy (the Irish, drug-addicted vampire). He is going to be a little bit of comic relief.
Me: Nice! I look forward to reading more about them. What are you working on now?
Currently, I have five novel ideas with working titles that I am working on, including HAVI book 3. One is a multiple POV romantic thriller called Homicidal Instinct. One POV is a killer ex-boyfriend who spies on her new relationship and plans their murder. Tell Me No Lies is a novel about two people with opposite special abilities. One can see the truth when people lie and the other can make anyone believe any lie. The Goddess Among us is about a Goddess that is bored of being a Goddess and decides to try life as a human with no memory that she is a Goddess. The last one is called Almost an Angel and it is the first book in a YA series about a Nephilim (product of angel and human).
Me: How cool! All those sound intriguing!!!! Tell us a little about your writing process?
I think my writing process in a work in progress. When I wrote the first book, I just sat down and the story flowed out of me without much planning. I researched as needed. The second book was a little more difficult. I had to develop a note system to keep track of everything. The third book is by far the most difficult. I had no choice but to start outlining and create a OneNote to keep track of everything going on. Rebuilding the world, planning a war, and revealing the plans of secret organization is not an easy task.
Me: Yes, I think you develop your own way as you go and what works for one doesn’t work for all! But whatever gets the job done, right?! :-D
What drew you to the post-apocalyptic sci-fi genre?
It is my favorite genre to watch and read. Normal day to day life is so boring to me. Five days at work. Two days off… until you die. It all seems so pointless. Sometimes I think there must be something wrong with me because I get almost giddy at the mention of something that could wipe out the human race. Part of me wants to live in an post-apocalyptic world, but the rational part of my brain knows that it would not be as fun as I think it would be. I guess I just want life to mean more than getting the newest iphone and an apocalypse always does that.
Me: LOL! That’s probably why fiction was even invented so that we got an escape from the “rat race” as I like to call it! So, who are your favorite authors/books?
Jane Austin, Sherlock Holmes, Dean Koontz, Jude Deveraux, Janet Evanovich, DJ Molles (The Remaining Series), and Bobby Adair (Slow Burn series).
Me: Awesome! I read a bit of everything myself too. Now, what do you personally love about writing?
Everything but editing. One of my favorite parts about reading is getting to spend time in another world. Writing allows me to spend even more time in other worlds and make money doing it.
Me: Ha, ha, yes! I love writing and reading and yes, editing is the BANE of my existence LOL! So, what are you looking forward before years’ end?
I am hoping to have HAVI Book 3 and one other book released or at least in beta reading stage.
Me: Well, I wish you all the best and I look forward to continuing your series...and the other WIPs. Thanks so much for being my guest tonight!!
I have always loved to read. I've spent half of my life inside the fictional worlds of one book or another. What I loved most about reading was that it takes you to another place, where you can have adventures and experiences that real life sometimes makes impossible. Whenever I would finish a series, it was like I lost friends in real life.
I pursued a bachelor's degree in organismic biology with a minor in chemistry and a associate's degree in biotechnology. Everything was in place to become a scientist. After I graduated though, I felt lost. Six years of college education and I still didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. Apocalyptic and dystopian novels were my favorite thing to read, but I couldn't figure out what I wanted to read next either.
So, one day, I decided to simply write one instead. As soon as I started typing on the keyboard, I couldn't stop. Every day from the moment I got up in the morning, until late into the night, I would write. I realized that writing was even more fun than reading. Hours passed like minutes. The feeling of discontent and lack of purpose went away. I know this is what I meant to do. I'm just sad that it took me so long to find the courage to do it.
I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoyed writing them!
Find me on social media to find out about upcoming novels.
Shanna Swenson, author of the Abundance series
Where swoony cowboys await to take your breath away...and fellow indie authors, like Nicol, are always supported ;-)