This week’s featured author is Nicoline Evans whose book Haemans promises to be an exciting and gripping tale. It is a dystopian thriller set in Russia and mixes gothic urban-fantasy with survivalist suspense. Haemans are the supernaturally strong and morally inept descendants of a royal bloodline who have an addiction to a drug called silve cocaine and to blood. I interviewed Nicoline Evans to see what made her tick as an author:

1. When did you first discover you had a talent for writing?

I first started writing stories in middle school. In 7th grade, I wrote my first short story. From there, I focused more on poetry, primarily as an outlet during tough times in my life. I eventually learned how to express a lot in a few words (in poetry) and after I graduated college, I shifted back into storytelling. I had to re-learn how to keep things concise in this new format. 5 years later, I have 3 novels and a children’s story written. “Haemans” is the second story I wrote, but the first to be published.

2. Of all your novels, which is your favorite and why? (If it is just the one, just say why you enjoyed writing it!)

Well, it’s hard to say, Since I can’t talk about the books that aren’t published yet, I’ll focus on “Haemans”. I really enjoyed writing this story because it is dark and deep. I was able to pull feelings from my past (when I went through difficult times), and portray them onto alternate situations. I used emotions I knew and placed them upon my characters. What’s fun about it is that just because they are feeling the same things I felt at one point in my life, the way they behave and handle the feelings often vary from my own experiences drastically. So it just goes to show, no one handles sadness in the same fashion. We all have our own methods to cope.

3. Which writers do you enjoy most reading?

I don’t have one author whose collection I follow intensely. Rather, I follow genres. I love fantasy in every form. If I like a writer, I will browse their collection and explore their other stories. But for the most part, I like to experience many different writing styles within that genre. It keeps it exciting.

4. Who are the main influences on your writing?

There isn’t any one person that influences my writing. I generally create my stories based off wild dreams I have or I generate stories from old poems I wrote. I also write based off emotions, ones I’ve had myself and ones I’ve witnessed loved ones go through. So in that sense, certain people influence me in small doses. I realize you probably meant other writers who have influenced my writing, but I’m going to stick with my answer above 🙂

5. Do you believe that books should entertain or educate – or is a bit of both?

Both. In my stories, I like to entertain, first and foremost. I want people to enjoy themselves while they read my books. But I also like to make people think while they read. In the case of “Haemans” I believe it will make people look into their own souls and recognize the ways in which they aren’t too dissimilar from the characters. It will also teach them a bit about Russia, geographically. In my other, unpublished story, there is a lot of social commentary and in that case, it will make people think about their own stance on certain issues.

6. If you could choose 10 books to take away to a desert island, what would they be?

I’d bring my kindle, that way I could have more than 10 books 🙂

7. Do your characters speak to you when you write?

Yeah. I often become very close friends with my characters as I write. Sounds crazy, but I get to know them very well. Sometimes to the point where I grow sick of them and their nonsense! Just kidding, unconditional love always. My stories are my babies and I am very protective of the content and each character’s integrity. I try to create strong characters while keeping them real and flawed. It’s not always an easy combination, but that’s why you slave over your work until to get it where it needs to be.

8. Why do you think people enjoy reading your novels?

Despite “Haemans” being a very new release, so far I have gotten great feedback. I think people like it because they can relate to the characters, maybe not situationally but emotionally. And that’s a strong reason for any reader to want to get lost in a book.

9. What projects are you currently busy with?

I am busy finishing up the edits on the first novel I wrote; my epic labor of love. Started that one in 2009 and I am excited to be reaching the finish line with it. It is a fantasy adventure and it will be two books. After I get that out in a few months, I am looking forward to writing a new story!

10. In short, can you tell us a little about your background and your aims as a writer.

I hope to create worlds where readers can escape to. I want to create safe spaces for people to forget about their own real-life worries and be able to dive into the new lands and situations I invent. I know how much reading books helped when I had too much grief in my own life, so I hope to give that type of comfort back to others in my own way. I hope to help people handle the varying weights of life through my writing.

As I think I said before, I have a surfeit of “real life” around me and I love to escape into a good book – the more original and escapist the better. Now that Haemans is on my radar I am looking forward to seeing more from this young and talented writer!

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Last night I gave in to temptation and decided to run a Goodreads Giveaway on The Cougar. I like the way the physical book has turned out and being aware that there are lots of dinosaurs like me who like the feel of a real book in their hands, I thought a draw might publicise the thing. So we now have a Kindle edition (which is on KDP Prime and free to borrow for Prime members) and a paperback that looks and feels good. We shall see how it goes.

I gave in to the temptation of trying the matte finish out this week too. Today another copy of The Cougar came, this time with a cover in the said matte finish. It feels really nice, but loses depth and becomes very two dimensional. While a plain graphic style cover might look much more elegant in matte, I prefer the depth of colour and the 3D aspect that gloss gives my western hemlock forest image so it will be back to gloss finish any time soon.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Cougar by Lisa Marie Gabriel

The Cougar

by Lisa Marie Gabriel

Giveaway ends February 12, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win