|Posted by Matt Posner on July 20, 2014 at 1:10 PM|
I've been connected to author Nicole Storey on social media for some time, but until recently we didn't talk. As soon as we started talking (as usually happens) it turns out she's just the kind of person I like to join for a good long talk about life and writing.
I like to start off interviews about talking with place. You live in Georgia with a big family (including the pets). Rural or urban? Not suffering Atlanta traffic, I hope…? Please talk about your home town, how it feels to live there, and what a visitor to the area should do for good clean fun?
Hi Matt! Thanks so much for the interview.
I’ve lived in this small-ish town called LaGrange my entire life.
We’re about an hour south of Atlanta so no; I don’t have to contend with the “crazies,” as my dad calls them. My house resides in a rural area and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is a huge pasture and lots of land across the road from me and we get tons of visitors: coyotes, raccoons, deer, and we even have a resident possum we’ve named Captain Crunch who visits every night.
There is something special about a small town. We don’t have a lot of nice restaurants, towering buildings, or a ginormous mall, but we do have beautiful West Point Lake, BBQs, badminton, and horse shoes. We have peaceful nights to sit outside around fire pits and sip coffee while enjoying “country” music provided by wind rustling the oaks, crickets chirping, and tree frogs singing.
If you get a chance to visit, I would most definitely recommend spending a day or three on the lake. We have numerous picnic and camping areas, and boat docs. There is also a marina. The fishing here is excellent and the company is even better.
You stated on your website that you had early dreams of a seafaring or nautical lifestyle, but this was changed by a tragedy. Of course, I'd like to know more. Will you tell me for the interview?
From the time I was old enough to know what one was, I had plans of becoming a marine biologist. The ocean called to me like nothing else and I couldn’t wait to join her. My life’s ambition was to protect our oceans and the animals that call them home.
In ninth grade, I met a girl with the same dream as me. It was uncanny how alike we were. We both loved the water, books, and music. We came from families that were as poor as church mice. Our strengths complemented each other and by the end of our freshman year, we were inseparable. I had three younger brothers and no sisters and she filled that role for me.
All through our high school years, we made plans. By the time we were seniors, we had a rough draft of what we were going to do. We were nervous, excited, and determined. In early September, my best friend was taken from me in a car accident. I missed three months of school, my grades dropped, and the dream died. I still managed to graduate with college prep honors but I no longer wanted to go to the ocean. My parents told me to give it some time and I did, but the passion for that particular ambition never rekindled.
In the end, I realized that my path had changed course. I’m still fond of the ocean, but know that I was never meant to be one to protect her. Water used to be my element but now I am more drawn to earth. I love trees and the forests. I believe things happen for a reason and though it was hard to accept at the time, I understand it now.
I have a feeling that reading and writing were fascinations of yours from an early age? True? Tell more about that.
I grew up in a two-bedroom shanty with three younger brothers and parents who worked their fingers to the bone to support us. Two of my brothers are twins and were born when I was nine-years-old. My father worked days and my mother worked a mini-shift at night from 6:00 until 10:00. You could say I became a “mother” myself early in life as I was the one my parents leaned on for help while the other was working.
My favorite part of the day was when the twins went down for a nap. I would run out the backdoor with a tattered paperback – bought from a yard sale for a quarter – in my hand and make for a gnarled apple tree at the edge of our property. High up in its branches I would sit and lose myself in the works of C.S. Lewis or any other books I could get my hands on. My aunt was my supplier. She haunted yard sales like a ghost haunts graveyards. I read anything and everything. If I had no books available, I would read cereal boxes.
I received my first typewriter when I was fifteen. At that time, I wrote poetry, short stories, and song lyrics. I never knew my hobby would lead to where I am today. Back then, it was something I did for fun.
You write in the paranormal genre and you write about good and evil. What draws you to this subject matter?
I’ve always been a huge fan of anything unusual and spooky. While most kids looked forward to Christmas when November rolled around, I mourned Halloween’s passing. I was the child who snuck out of bed at midnight to watch classic horror movies on T.V.
I love writing about Good and Evil forces, cryptids, demons, angels, and normal, everyday people trying to do the right thing. I like spinning twists and infusing everything with a bit of magic.
The protagonist of Blind Sight is Jordan, who deals with teenage angst while dealing with unusual powers. I like reading and writing stories like that myself. Tell me something about Jordan that will make me unable to resist diving into her story.
Jordan is what I like to think of as a real teenager. She isn’t extremely beautiful. She’s a tomboy, psychic, and part-time slayer of Evil. While most kids her age might think that would be cool, she hates it and wants nothing more than to be normal. She questions authority, religion, and life. She represents the average seventeen-year old kid. She’s complex without meaning to be.
What's next for your series The Celadon Circle? What, and when?
I am working on book two of the Celadon Circle series, Refracted. I hope to have the first draft finished by the end of August. It delves even further into the question of right and wrong. The tag line of the first book is “We All Have Our Demons.” The second book is all about perspectives and how things aren’t always what they seem to be. There are dark sides to light.
You recently won some pretty cool awards for your work. Tell us more about that. Don't leave out the potty-mouthed pixies, either.
LOL! The potty-mouthed pixie is actually part of another series that I hope to get republished by Christmas. In December of 2013, Blind Sight hit Amazon’s bestseller list in two categories: Urban Paranormal and Coming of Age. It hit #2 in Scary Stories, even though I don’t consider it a true horror book. In March, the book received a Readers’ Choice award from Big Al’s Books and Pals. In May, it placed as a finalist in the NIEA award (Indie Excellence National Book Awards). A few weeks ago, I learned that it has made it to the semi-finals round in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Books of 2014.
Your upcoming book starts a new series called Grimsley Hollow, an irresistible name if I do say so myself. What should we expect?
I have three books written in this series so far and it was published by a former publisher. I hope to have it back up for sale by Christmas and the fourth book in the series finished by next spring.
It is considered middle-grade fantasy with a touch of paranormal and a lot of Halloween. The main character is based on my son, who has autism and Tourette’s. There are witches, werewolves, vampires, and other characters based in Halloween traditions, and yes, a potty-mouthed pixie. Its moral is that not all heroes wear capes. Courage comes in many forms and from the heart.
Why did you decide to write two different series? What are the pros and cons of that endeavor?
I spent the first two years of my writing career buried in Grimsley Hollow. I love it there, but wanted to try my hand at something for older teens – more gritty with darker plots and characters.
One of the pros for me is being able to take a break from one genre and having another to go to. It breaks up the monotony and helps keep my writing fresh. Both series have similar elements, such as magic and creatures. I just don’t have to watch my P’s and Q’s as much in the Celadon Circle series.
The biggest problem I’ve run across is trying to balance the age differences of my series. One is written for middle-graders, the other for older teens and new adults and in both books, I have kids who are growing older, growing up. Sometimes, it can be difficult not to cross lines I shouldn’t or to determine if a certain behavior or chapter has been taken far enough. Thankfully, I have wonderful beta readers who keep me in check.
You have an attractive website, obviously part of a good online marketing strategy. What else do you recommend other authors try to increase their market share?
I’m a firm believer in paid book promotions on sites such as Ereader News Today, Kindle Books and Tips, and Indies Unlimited. Discount one of your books and buy a two-day promotion from a few sites. There are also many Facebook pages that have free promotion authors can take advantage of. Whatever you do, don’t constantly spam on social media. “Buy My Book!” gets old real quick and is a surefire way to send potential readers running to the next author.
Tell an interesting story from your writing life.
I’m not sure if I have any interesting stories but I do have some bad experiences under my belt. In October of 2013, I decided not to resign with my former publisher. I had book cover art that I purchased with my own money and helped design stolen from me for four books and also had to get three books re-edited. The total cost of my freedom from a bad publisher was approximately $1500. To say I felt like hanging up my boots and leaving the writing field is an understatement, but I didn’t. With the help of some special author friends, I am slowly getting back on track. Bad things can and will happen. You can let it stop you from doing something that you love or pick yourself up and find a way. Always try and find a way.
What would you like to say to readers to finish this interview?
I’m not an author who writes for the masses or follows rules. I have been told that I “take too many chances” in writing and maybe I do. My characters are real and they express doubts that most people are hesitant or ashamed to concede. My only hope is that readers connect with at least one of my characters and, in that moment, realize they are not alone.
Here are some other interviews Nicole has done: