Welcome everyone to this week’s author interview. Today I have the lovely Dena Nicotra with me whose books sound utterly enchanting. Read on and find out why I’m already hooked …
Dena’s Genre: Romantic Mystery/YA Paranormal Romance
Dena’s Bio …
Dena Nicotra was born in Southern California and grew up between the busy city and a small town in Arkansas. She is a copywriter, freelance journalist, and holds a degree in Communications.
She currently lives in a small desert town in California with her husband and two sons.
Okay Dena, let’s get to the really good stuff and let’s start off by finding out a little more about you as a person.
Well, let’s see. I guess I could start by telling you how my passion for writing started … When I was little, my dad used to tell me stories and he was the most animated story-teller you could imagine. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized he was actually reciting classic poetry. I grew up on Edgar Allan Poe and Samuel Taylor Coleridge so I definitely attribute my passion for writing to my dad.
What gives you inspiration?
I find inspiration in the most unexpected places! It could be a childhood memory, the lyrics in a song, a friend’s smile, or a challenging situation. More often than not, my inspiration comes from believing that there is a reason behind everything that happens — even if I have to make it up!
Where do you get your great ideas for your stories?
I find my ideas from one constant question… “What if?”. For example, the Weaver Series began with the concept of “what if you could change things?” “What if you could have the chance to do things differently?” “What if someone else was controlling the things that made no sense in your life?”. I have a very vivid imagination, so it doesn’t take much to get me started down the “What if” path.
What is your actual aim when you write a story?
I think that I aim to create characters that readers can identify with and that is truly important to me as a writer. If the characters do not feel real to me, I certainly cannot expect them to feel real to my readers. I also enjoy building environments that feel solid. I want readers to disappear in the pages, smell the scents, and see what I see because that is the magic of books.
What do you find the hardest thing to write about?
Definitely love scenes! I always want to give the reader just enough to feel satisfied without being too sugary sweet, or too visceral. Romance is a very fine balance between the two.
Do you have a set time of day in which to write?
I write every day, but as for the time, it can vary. I usually write in the evenings during the week, but on the weekends, I can be found at my computer the whole day if I am in the zone.
If you had to choose only one, what would be your favourite book?
That is such a tough question because I have so many favourites. I am a huge fan of “The Hunger Games” so I guess I’d have to say that is my current favourite.
Tell us something about what made you want to write your latest novel.
I went through a series of life events that seemed extraordinarily difficult. I began to think that it was as if someone was behind the scenes deliberately creating obstacles … And then I thought, “What if?”
Tell us something about your latest story.
I’m currently working on two projects: Book 3 in the Weaver Series which is under the working title of “Mender” and it picks up right where book 2 leaves off. Weavers manipulate time, and change things, but menders are weavers with a unique set of abilities. We meet Pepper, who is a mender in “Remember Me” and book three will delve into her and her brother’s story further. I am also working on a new novel with the working title of “Simples” and I’m actually very excited about it. Simples are digital humans that were created to do the ‘simple’ things for us … Until something goes terribly wrong.
What advice would you give someone who said they had just finished their first book and didn’t know where to go from there?
I would say that the most important thing is to step back objectively and edit your work. Next, find a solid group of beta readers. Ask them to read your work and give you honest feedback. As writers, it is often very difficult to step back and see the areas that need additional attention. For that reason, it is so important to get the insight of readers. Once you do that, go back and edit again! When you are completely confident with the final piece, create a solid query letter and delve into the submission process. Be prepared for rejection and just know that with each one, you are closer to your dream. Bottom line, if you are a writer, never let anyone or anything stop you.
Please tell us what you are up to next and add any dates of book signings/event that you might be attending soon.
“Remember Me” has just been released on Smashwords.com so I am very excited about the expansion of digital formats. Otherwise, I am currently focused on book 3, which will be the final instalment in the Weaver series. The anticipated release is Fall of 2013.
Thank you Dena for a very interesting interview. It’s been great having you here and I wish you all the best for the future especially with your new book ‘Simples’.
Remember Me (Book 1 in Weaver Series)
“Remember Me” is a romantic mystery, steeped in magic and seasoned with southern flair …with a dash of Steampunk on the side. Joey is a nineteen-year-old girl from rural Arkansas who has inherited a very special gift, a gift for manipulating time and changing things. Threading events to ensure outcomes are more desirable, life is relatively normal until she begins to hear an enchanting male voice in her head. He tells her he needs her help. Before she finds him, she will have to trust him. Torn between dark and light threads, Joey must find a way to unravel things. To do this she must focus on one truth: Love keeps us safe, makes us complete – whole. Everything happens for a reason and behind every reason …is a Weaver.
Dark Weaver (Book 2 in Weaver Series)
Dark Weaver continues the story of nineteen-year-old Joey, and when her past mixes with the present, she will realize that things are not always what they seem. She must learn to face the darkness with a new perspective.
Dena’s Blog: http://denanicotra.blogspot.com/
Excerpt From “Remember Me”
I change the events of life like other people change their minds. I do it for family, for friends, strangers, and every so often for myself. I have a hard time doing it for myself because it seems – well, frankly selfish. No, that’s not the right word. Greedy fits better. If I’m doing something for myself there’s always that fear that I’m taking something from someone else, or not focusing on the needs of others like I should be. That sort of thinking is probably a direct reflection of how I was raised. Those of us who live in the south understand that putting others before ourselves is as natural as breathing in and out.
You’ve probably heard that old saying about someone who would give you the shirt off their back right? Well, where I come from, that’s a compliment. Of course, I could change it so that you had twenty shirts, if I had a mind to. I could also undo your request entirely. Better yet, I could change it so that you had a highly successful shirt company – not that you’d ever know you hadn’t had a nickel to your name before I changed it.
If you want to know the truth, I’ve done things like that more times than I can count. Fixing this, changing that. A ton of little adjustments that just make things in life — a little better for folks. It doesn’t take much to make people happy. If it feels right and I can do something, I like to do it. In fact, there are times when I feel I absolutely have to do it. I just wish I understood what I do a little bit better. Trying to figure it out by myself hasn’t been easy. I’m not a witch. At least I don’t think I am, although it does seem magical. I don’t cast any spells, or boil toads and I sure as heck don’t worship the devil or anything like that. I’m just me. Have you ever talked yourself into being sick? You know, you think about it, and think about it and the next thing you know you have a sore throat and a temperature? What I do is more like that, only I can project it, and then twist it around with time.
I don’t take this ability for granted. I use it as responsibly as I can because the way I see it, there’s always the risk of consequences. That and the fear of the unknown have always kept me safe. These are the thoughts that have kept me up all night.