This post is part of ‘Nicole Storey as featured author for an entire week’. During the week we will be having a number of posts by Nicole. You can find the details here. There will also be a giveaway happening for 3 copies of Nicole Storey’s novel ‘The Chosen One’, which is the first book in the Grimsley Hollow Series series. You can enter the giveaway here.
Today, I interview Nicole and we talk about her books, her life as a mother and an author and her inspirations for writing. Frankly, its one of the best interviews I’ve done!
Interview with Nicole Storey, author of The Chosen One (Grimsley Hollow Series)
Describe your series? What genre would you classify it into?
My book is about an 11-year-old boy who has autism. He has no friends until he meets a young witch named Eve and she introduces him to another world called Grimsley Hollow. He is needed to help the magical beings of this world defeat an evil witch who is trying to take over. Along the way, he makes some new friends, including an ornery pixy, a werewolf, and a vampire. I describe my books as middle-grade fantasy with a touch of paranormal and a whole lot of Halloween!
How did you come up with the idea for the series?
I simply combined some of my favourite things that I love and am passionate about: special-needs children, Halloween, and magic. My son has autism and he is also the main character in the story. I decided to write the book to get a message out to children: Special-needs kids are not so different from them in the fact that they only want to be accepted for who they are and included in our lives.
When and why did you begin writing?
At first, I wrote to relieve stress and to have something to do that I could call my own. I am a stay-at-home mom and although I love my “job”, I wanted something outside of my family that I could do for myself. I began writing this book in earnest in February of 2010, but started playing around with it years before that. Now, I can’t see myself doing anything else! When I was a child, my favorite past-time was to grab C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and hide up in the apple tree in our backyard. I would lose myself in Narnia and pretend I was one of the characters. I love being able to provide that same magic to others.
How has your journey from writing to getting published been?
It has definitely had ups and downs, but a lot more “ups!” It has been an experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I have learned so much and met some amazing people in this process. When I first finished my book, all I could think about was getting an agent and being published with a traditional publishing company. Now that I am with Inknbeans Press, I realize how wrong I was to wish to be discovered by one of the “Big Six.”
I know new authors can have a tough time with publishers and they end up doing practically everything themselves. Can you tell us more about your publisher? How did you meet them and how has the relationship been thus far?
My publisher is Inknbeans Press. I met the “Boss Bean”, Jo, in a group on Facebook called Book Junkies. I had been considering a small press publisher for a while, and a good friend of mine recommended Inknbeans. I sent my manuscript to them and waited. The first thing to happen that blew my mind was an e-mail I got from Jo asking me if I was sure I wanted to go with a small press company and why I wanted to make this move. I had never heard of any publishing company taking the time to make sure a writer is making the right decision that will benefit both sides.
After I was signed, it was as if I had been adopted into a family. Inknbeans is a company that doesn’t see their writers as dollar signs, but as people they care about. My son was recently diagnosed with Ameloblastoma – a tumor that resides in the jaw bone. The doctors told us to prepare for an invasive surgery which required removal of part of his jaw and then rebuilding it.
Jo, and other members of Inknbeans, have been right by my side through this entire process. To my surprise, Jo started a project to have a book made for Gage and other children who have to go through surgeries. She rounded up authors, illustrators, and editors to donate short stories, pictures, and their time to make this book a success. All proceeds from the book will go to the Ronald McDonald House and a copy will be given to any child who is facing a surgery. How many publishing companies do you know of that would do something like that? I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have such a wonderful group of people standing beside me through my writing journey.
Who is you favourite character? Is there a character in the series you think the readers will hate?
My favourite character is a pixy named Puck. He is very sarcastic and rough around the edges, but he has a good heart. He is very fun to write! The readers will probably hate Inari, the evil witch, the most!
Did you base any of the characters on people you know?
Yes, the main character in my story, Gage, is my son. This book is dedicated to him for all the obstacles he has overcome in his life and the ones he still has to face. He is the bravest, strongest person I know and he has taught me so much!
Can Gage tell us his favorite part of the book?
Gage says: My favorite parts in the book are the ones with action in them – when I am fighting bad guys and helping to save other people. I think my mom makes me cry too much in the book, though! I’d like to think I would be stronger than that, but I have never been in any situation like the main character in the book, so I don’t know.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
I really didn’t face any challenges when writing the book as far as research. Most of the story takes place in an imaginary world, so there were no “rules.” As for the autism aspect, my son has been diagnosed for 11 years, so I felt I knew enough about the subject to write about it in my book with no worries. I’ve had some readers say they believe the autism-part is faked and that autistic children don’t act the way Gage does in the book. Each autistic child is different and their symptoms vary. I can honestly say that the mannerisms the main character portrays in the book are very real. I actually think people have a hard time believing that special-needs children can be smart.
What was the hardest part of writing the series?
Finding the time! That is still my biggest hurdle when it comes to writing. As a stay-at-home mom, my family comes first. There are days when I don’t get any writing done at all. However, my manuscript is always waiting for me when I come back and stepping away from my book for a day or two can be productive. It’s amazing how many ideas one can get while folding laundry or vacuuming the house!
Who designed the covers of the books?
Claudia Bartoli-McKinney of Phatpuppy Art designed the book cover and I could not be more pleased! She managed to capture the magic of Grimsley Hollow. She has designed book covers for many well-known authors.
Did you learn anything from writing your series and what was it?
I learned that I still have a lot to learn about the publishing aspect of writing. I never knew that writing the book would be the easiest part! I also learned that first drafts don’t have to be perfect; they just have to be written. I still have to remind myself of that sometimes.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books?
No; I am very proud of my book and I hope that others enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it! However, one thing that I did not do at first was have it professionally edited. I will not make that mistake again!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Was there somewhere in the books you felt stuck?
Not really, but there are two curse words in the story and I argued with myself over leaving them in or taking them out. In the end, I decided that in order to make a book that middle-grade children could relate to, I had to leave them in. Let’s face it; all kids are going to blurt out a curse word at that age at least once. I wanted my characters to seem real to others kids. The second book in the series that I’m working on now has proved to be much more of a challenge, though!
What are your current projects? When is the next book in the series coming out?
I am currently working on the second book in the series now. It is called Grimsley Hollow-The Search for Siren. I don’t yet have a release date, but I hope to have the first draft finished by June, if not sooner.
Could you describe what happens in the next book in the series? Can we get an excerpt?
In the second book, Gage’s best friend (and werewolf) Siren, has been taken hostage. Gage and his friends are determined to rescue him, but they must travel to another section of Grimsley Hollow to do so … and face new foes. There will be new characters, more secrets and magic revealed, and more heroes who don’t wear capes! In this excerpt, a new character that is being introduced named Nazar (a wizard who is Inari’s master) is speaking to Inari about why Siren cannot transform back to his human form:
“The longer a werewolf stays in its wolf form, the harder it becomes for it to transform back. The wolf part of him has begun to take over his mind, slowly eating away the human traits. Soon, he will become a wolf in every sense of the word. The human part will simply … disappear.”
He turned to Inari with a smile on his face. If he looked scary to Gage before, it was nothing compared to what he looked like when he smiled – an animated corpse come to life.
“After that happens, he will no longer be trained, my witch. He will just as soon tear your arm off and eat it instead of the slop you give him, and he will. He will not remember anyone. Humans will become just another food source. He will be nothing more than a wild wolf the size of a horse with no remorse, and he will swallow you up like Little Red Riding Hood.”
What book are you reading now? Which are your all-time favourite authors / books?
Right now, I am reading Gerald and the Wee People by Greta Burroughs. I have way too many favourite authors to name, but I especially love Kim Harrison, Rachel Caine, Nancy Lee Parish, and TW Brown. Some of my favourite series books are The DEAD series, The Hollows series, the Morganville Vampire series, and the DragonBlade Series. As a child, my favorite author was C.S. Lewis. His Narnia books introduced me to fantasy and that is still my favorite genre today.
Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you, something you could not read just about anywhere.
- I love art and music and believe they both play a huge part in writing. Sometimes, I can look at a picture or hear a song, and the idea for a story will come to me.
- I am a huge advocate for the rights of special-needs children and animals. In my opinion, the only innocent beings on this earth are kids and animals; they need our voices to speak for them.
- Lastly, I also sing. Not professionally, but I have had people tell me that I have a nice voice and have been compared to Trisha Yearwood (country singer).
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
I wanted to write my book to get a message out to other kids. I figured if they can’t/won’t learn by telling them, and if their parents don’t think the subject is important enough to teach it to them, I would try sending it in a book. That message is that special-needs children are no different than they are. They only want to have friends and be accepted for who they are. It is my hope that after reading my book, kids will understand this, be more accepting of these amazing kids, and include them in their lives.
ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I’m a fan of all three! I use my e-reader as sort of a buffer. I try an author on it first, and if I like their work, I then buy their books in traditional form.
Cats or dogs?
Both! I don’t have any dogs right now, but I love them – especially Malamutes. I do, however, have a very peculiar cat who firmly believes that she is actually a tiger!
Coffee or tea?
Coffee! Lots and lots of coffee!
I love anything (not picky at all) but my favourites are chilli, tacos, and home made pizza.
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?
I’m not a big fan of ice cream, but I choose chocolate over vanilla any day!
What are 4 things you never leave home without?
My cell phone, Chap Stick, Kindle, and debit card.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I like writing at night. I usually write in my study/office, but I recently bought a laptop, so I am hoping to venture out to my deck this spring! Guess I’ll have to switch to days if I plan on enjoying the outside, though!
If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you any why?
My son, daughter, and husband. They may not be famous in other people’s eyes, but they are to me.
What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
The Walking Dead, and The River are about the only shows I watch on T.V. on a regular basis, even though I have to record most of the episodes. I also enjoy The Big Bang Theory when I can catch it. I don’t get to see that many new movies. I prefer to watch oldies!
Actor you have had a crush on?
Where should I start? LOL! I think my main two are Vin Diesel and Andrew Lincoln, but I could cozy-up to many more!
Who are your all-time favourite actor and actress?
I have always loved Morgan Freeman, Sandra Bullock, Betty White, Maggie Smith, and so many more!
Nicole Storey is the author of Grimsley Hollow-The Chosen One. Her book can be found in e-book and paper back forms on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple iStore, Sony, and other online website that sell books.
If you’d like to contact Nicole, here are her links:
The Chose One (Grimsley Hollow Series)
Gage Gilbert is an eleven-year-old boy who just happens to have autism, loves Halloween, and has no friends. Although he has always been happy with the safety and security of his family, he longs for a real friend and adventure, not just the ones he makes up in his head. And then he meets Eve.
Eve is a young witch and is from another world called Grimsley Hollow. It’s where all magical beings live in safety and peace, but their world is in trouble and Gage is the only one who can help save them from an evil witch who has taken control.
With Eve’s help (along with a sarcastic pixy, a trouble-making werewolf, and a half-vampire), Gage travels to Grimsley Hollow and together, they begin a journey that will change them all. It’s a dangerous race against evil, where creatures unheard of stalk the land under a harvest moon and monsters that only exist in dreams become real.
Gage wanted friends and adventure, but he had no idea that they would come at such a dangerous price. Can one autistic boy defeat an evil witch and help save his new friends? Travel to Grimsley Hollow and find out!
- Giveaway of The Chosen One (Grimsley Hollow Series) by Nicole Storey (riteshkala.wordpress.com)
- Nicole’s Books – An introduction to the Grimsley Hollow Series (riteshkala.wordpress.com)
- Book Review – The Chosen One (Grimsley Hollow Series) by Nicole Storey (riteshkala.wordpress.com)
- Guest Post by Author Nicole Storey – Book Signings R Fun! (riteshkala.wordpress.com)
- Nicole Storey as ‘Featured Author’ for an entire week! (riteshkala.wordpress.com)