Welcome to Writer Wednesday! Though it’s actually Thursday at this time of posting. My apologies – my beloved cat, Scilla, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday morning, and it’s thrown me for a loop.
But I’m still excited to bring you Nicole Evelina as this week’s Writer Wednesday guest! Nicole is a fun, feisty (in the good way), fantastic award-winning author of “stories of strong women from history & today.” I just finished her Madame Presidentess, and it was an absorbing look at the first woman to ever run for president – Victoria Woodhull.
But enough of me talking – let’s let Nicole tell us a bit more about herself and her work!
What inspires you to write?
I write because I have to. As I once told my boss at my day job, “Writing is like breathing for me.” I hear my characters talking in my head and once a story has hold of me, I have to get it on paper in order to get the characters to be quiet and for me to find peace. There’s a great quote from Maya Angelou that perfectly describes the feeling of being a writer: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” It feels like something is trying to crawl through your skin. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s also the most exhilarating feeling in the world. Forget drugs; the high of being in the zone of a story is the best kind there is.
Which type of romance do you love most, and why?
I like contemporary romance on the sweet side. I’m okay with some sex and adult language doesn’t bother me at all, but I don’t like graphic sex. I find that my imagination is more of a turn on than all the adjectives and detailed instructions in the world. Because of this, I prefer books that are more about romance than sex. I think I’m just old fashioned that way.
My last book, Madame Presidentess, is biographical historical fiction about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman who ran for President in the United States in 1872. She was a strong campaigner for women’s suffrage alongside Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, yet is not in the history books.
The most interesting thing I learned was that the suffrage movement wasn’t all roses and sisterhood like I expected. That was the picture Hollywood and my high school textbooks painted. But the suffrage movement was actually broken into two competing factions in the mid-1800s, the American Woman Suffrage Association, led by Lucy Stone, that endorsed suffrage state by state and were more conservative, and the more radical National Woman Suffrage Association, led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, which advocated for federal women’s suffrage. Victoria was a member of the later for several years. In addition to being split ideologically, the women often disagreed and fought with one another more than you would think, penning unflattering articles and messages about one another and speaking out publicly against each other. The rift between the two major groups wasn’t mended until 1890, when they joined as the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Name two things people don’t know about you.
I feel like I’m such an open book that there’s not much people don’t know! I guess I’ll go with:
- I was born three months premature, weighing only 1 lb. 15 oz. The doctors told my mom that I survived because I was a girl and girls fight harder. (Girl power!) All I know is I’m here 37 years later and pretty darn healthy considering all that could have gone wrong. I like to joke that I’ve been impatient since before I was born.
- I’m a contest junkie. I’ve always been highly competitive and I love trophies, medals, and all things shiny (I blame it on dance and gymnastics competitions when I was little), so I enter every writing contest I can. So far, that strategy has worked out well. My four books have won more than a dozen awards, with each one earning at least one honor.
What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?
I love Nora Roberts and am becoming a fan of J.R. Ward. I like Nora’s books because they are not only well-written, but have wonderful characters you can root for and luscious settings. While they are sexy, they aren’t over the top. She really is the queen of romance. J.D. Ward’s books show a depth of story beyond the romance that I don’t see too often. They are very well developed and expertly written. They are a little racy for me, and contain one of my romance pet peeves (the guy getting an erection every time he sees the girl…which to me sounds like a medical problem) but the story is so good, I can overlook that.
What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?
Write what you love, get it out there and don’t stress about the rest because your books WILL find their audience. I’ve done the querying and submission thing for traditional publishing (I had an agent for two years) and now I’m indie. I don’t advocate one over the other, but either way, we authors put ourselves through way more stress over platforms, social media numbers and sales than is necessary. Just write and the rest will fall into place.
What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?
It’s not officially a romance, but the most romantic book I’ve ever read is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Deb claims it is general fiction, but it could easily be considered a paranormal romance. I’ve read this book about five times now and each time something new strikes me. This time is was that the story really shows that love is about sacrifice and trust, being there for each other in any way the other needs and never giving up on each other. It’s a beautiful story.
A Bit About Been Searching For You:
Get ready to lose your heart to this award-winning, humorous love story. Written in the tradition of Nora Ephron and Hallmark Channel movies, this fun romantic comedy shows that old-fashioned love can be found by the modern girl, if only she’s willing to trust herself and search hard enough.
Annabeth is a hopeless romantic who believes in soul mates. In fact, she’s been writing to hers each year on her birthday since she was 16.
Now, at 34, she’s still holding out hope of finding Mr. Right even though he’d be fighting an uphill battle to gain her trust, thanks to a traumatic experience years before that’s left her unable to commit.
When Annabeth meets a handsome literature professor named Alex on her 34th birthday, she thinks her quest may finally be at an end. Things don’t quite go as planned, so Annabeth resolves to do everything she can over the next year to find the unknown recipient of her letters. But blind dates, Meetup events and online singles sites have nothing on what fate has in store for her when a co-worker unexpectedly quits and Annabeth finds herself working in close quarters with both Alex and her long ago ex, Nick. Fighting her attraction to one and loathing for the other, Annabeth is forced to face all of her old insecurities while keeping an eye on a scheming frienemy who may derail her hopes and dreams.
Been Searching for You was the winner of the Romance category in the 2016 Colorado Independent Publishing Association’s EVVY Awards, as well as the 2015 Romance Writers of America Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.
Heat level: Mild – all the sex takes place behind closed doors, but there is a little action on the page.
Language: Contains some adult language and sexual innuendo.
Find Been Searching For You here:
Nicole Evelina is a multi-award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her 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.
Her 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, took the Grand Prize in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, won a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Reader’s Favorite Awards, and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Its sequel, Camelot’s Queen, was awarded the prestigious B.R.A.G Medallion. Been Searching for You, her contemporary romantic comedy, won the 2016 Colorado Independent Publishers Association Award for Romance, the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests and was a finalist in the chick-lit category of the Readers Favorite Awards.
Nicole’s writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Independent Journal, Curve Magazine and numerous historical publications. She is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. As an armchair historian, Nicole researches her books extensively, consulting with biographers, historical societies and traveling to locations when possible. For example, she traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she 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.
Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for 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, the Independent Book Publishers Association and the Midwest Publisher’s Association.
Her website is http://nicoleevelina.com/. She can be reached online at:
Thanks so much for joining us, Nicole! Such a delight to get to share you and your books with my audience.