Author on the Couch Second Session: Nicole Evelina
This week on Author on the Couch I conduct a second session with,
~First things first, if you missed Nicole Evelina’s first session you can find it here:
GIVEAWAY! Nicole is giving away a free ebook … Just do these three things:
- Share this post on Facebook or Twitter.
- Leave a comment for Nicole.
- Be sure to check back for when Nicole announces the winner!
Me: Welcome back! Sometimes you just need more than one session!
Have there been any big changes in your life since our last session—good or bad? Tell us about them.
Nicole: So much as happened! When I was here back in January, my debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, had just come out. Now I’m anticipating the release of my fourth book, Madame Presidentess, on July 25.
On top of that, my books have won numerous awards. Daughter of Destiny has been named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, won Grand Prize in the Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, and won a gold medal in the fantasy category of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Madame Presidentess won first place in the US History category of the Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.
It’s been two months since that happened, but I still can’t believe it!
Me: Wow! You are on fire! Super Huge Congratulations!
So tell me which of your characters are you most like?
Nicole: I think a little bit of me is in all of them. But overall, I’d say I’m most like Annabeth from Been Searching for You. I’m a hopeless romantic who is looking for her Mr. Right, I love literature and I call things like I see them. Guinevere has some of my less fine qualities, like stubbornness, selfishness and a tendency to temper. Isolde is who I wish I was. I relate to Victoria because of her fierce independence and willingness to go against the grain to achieve what she desires.
Me: Name a writing pet peeve of yours. Something that hits you like fingernails-on-a-chalkboard every time you see it. Why does it bug you?
Nicole: Passive voice! I encounter it in my day job (in marketing) more than as a writer because it’s usually been edited out by the time I see author’s work. I can’t stand passive voice because it’s sending the message that no one wants to take responsibility for the action of the sentence. Something can’t just happen. Someone has to do it. “It was decided” is one of the most common. I want to say, “Really, by whom? Tell me!”
Me: What’s the secret to your success?
Nicole: As much as you can call me successful (there will always be greater levels of success to aspire to), I would say hard work, dedication and determination. The lock screen on my cell phone says “Dreams don’t work unless you do” and I firmly believe that. I’ve put in a lot of hard work and money into my career thus far and it appears to be paying off. But you can’t just sit around and expect success to come to you; you have to make it come to you. I do that through focusing on my writing as a second job and approaching it with the same professionalism with which I treat the job that pays my bills. I am also a big believer in manifestation, so I try to imagine my success as though it has already occurred and do what I can to make it come true.
Me: I love that quote! “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” I totally believe that!
What do you collect? Why? What personal meaning does this item have for you?
Nicole: I’ve collected rocks and crystals since I was little. I love anything that sparkles. But more than that, I’ve come to believe in the healing power of crystals. I wouldn’t use them in place of going to the doctor, but I’ve found that citrine relieves stress, fluorite aids in mediation, moonstone seems to be good for everything, and hematite keeps me grounded and focused. I have about 100 raw and tumbled crystals and also collect jewelry with them in it.
And, like all other writers, I collect books.
Me: Is it possible to be a writer and NOT collect books? 🙂
What is something you thought was true for a long time, then found out you were wrong? Explain what that felt like.
Nicole: That life was black and white. My natural mindset is that things are either one way or another – right or wrong, good or bad, etc. – and it has taken conscious effort over the years to begin to see the shades of gray. It was very jarring to me to begin thinking differently and quite uncomfortable. But with time and support from my family and closest friends, it’s gotten easier and I feel like I’m much more open to a spectrum of being. But it’s still a daily struggle to realize that polarities are rare and life usually falls somewhere in the middle.
Me: Tell me a little bit about your historical biographical fiction novel MADAME PRESIDENTESS.
Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books.
Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.”
But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women.
Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect.
Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations.
This is the story of one woman who was ahead of her time – a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century – but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.
Me: Share your favorite paragraph with us.
I was still weighing my options when the sound of laughter reached me from the dining hall. Loafing again. If I catch those maids one more time… I swung open the doors.
My mother and Utica stared at me from their seats at the head of the dining table, porcelain tea cups frozen halfway to their lips.
“Join us for tea, won’t you, dear?” My mother grinned, revealing missing teeth.
“Ma, what are you doing in here? Don’t you know I have a gathering starting in a few hours?” I approached them, clearing pieces of the tea service as I went.
Utica held out her cup to me. “Have a sip, why don’t you? It will do wonders for your nerves.”
Humoring her, I took the cup with my free hand and brought it to my lips. The liquid was spicy and sharp, burning my throat. I spit it out, spraying the tablecloth. “This is not tea,” I croaked between coughs.
My mother and sister cackled.
“It’s beggar’s tea,” Utica sang. “Would be gin, but you didn’t have any.”
I cleared my throat, eyes watering from the cheap rum, and fought to keep my already fragile temper in check. I needed this room ready to receive guests, and here they were drinking and playing dress-up. Come to think of it, they didn’t have such fine clothes. I examined them closer, plucking at Utica’s peach gown. “Is that my dress?”
“Maybe,” my sister replied.
In a flash, Utica and my mother were on their feet, scampering out of the room like little girls well aware of their transgressions.
I called for Helena to clean up the mess and set the room to rights before I chased after my family. “As God as my witness, if I catch the two of you…” I yelled as I bounded up the stairs.
“Did I hear Ma?” Tennie met me on the landing to the second floor.
I nodded, pausing to catch my breath as Tennie ran toward the row of doors, pounding on one.
“Ma! Where is my pearl necklace? I know you took it from my case.” Tennie jiggled the door handle. “It’s locked.”
“She was wearing it a few minutes ago,” I volunteered, removing the room key from a set I wore at my waist for such situations—which were not as uncommon as I would have preferred.
“And what about my sapphire comb?” Tennie shouted through the door as she fumbled with the lock. “I was going to wear that tonight. Utica, if I find out you’ve been pawning my jewelry again, I will toss you both out on your ungrateful ears.”
“The same goes if you interrupt us tonight,” I put in for good measure.
This is one of my favorite scenes because not only is it funny, it’s based in fact. Victoria’s family was so dysfunctional, I couldn’t make them up. Her mom, dad, at least one sister and her ex-husband were drunkards. Her mom and sister Utica really did used to raid Victoria and her sister Tennie’s closets to play dress up and drink alcohol from the tea service, mocking Victoria’s success and wealth. They also reportedly stole from the sisters and pawned their jewelry even though Victoria paid all of their expenses. And that’s just part of the dysfunction. There’s also drug addiction, verbal and physical abuse, blackmailing, other types of theft, selling snake oil. You name it, her family likely did it.
Interested in purchasing MADAME PRESIDENTESS?
Do you want to hear more from Nicole? Visit her here:
Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. Her first novel RACE THE DARKNESS is available for pre-order now!
Check out Abbie Road’s second Novel HUNT THE DAWN, which is also available for pre-order!
* FORMATTED BY ~MANNY GOODMAN~