AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT Nicole Zoltack
Mystical Fantasy author Nicole Zoltack hs taken a few minutes to chat with the bunnies at Joyfully Reviewed…
What is your most current work out?
My most current work is Champion of Valor the last book in my Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy from Desert Breeze Publishing. I’m very excited to see how it will be received by readers!
Tell us a little about Champion of Valor and what your inspiration was to write it.
Champion of Valor focuses on Selliki and Gabrael, and the end of the war or the world, depending on which side that wins.
The Mystical Conch Shell of the Sea has been stolen, and it’s up to Selliki, the selkie, to get it back. Selliki sets across the continent of Alethereia to find Arnhem, and Gabrael, the mage she loves. Selliki knows that no union between a selkie and a human have ever had a happy ending, but neither can ignore their feelings. Each night, they experience terrible, real dreams that show how doomed their love is.
The final war between Speica and Arnhem is threatening the entire world. Lucifer has aligned himself with Speica and wants nothing less than to bring about the Apocalypse before its time. In the last battle, cowardice is revealed, promises are broken, and many people die. Trolls fight icthyocentaurs, dwarves armed up against the Drow, angels against demons. Only one kingdom will prevail; that is, if the world doesn’t end.
I was inspired by my research of the Middle Ages with this work. The Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy is fantasy set in a medieval-type world. Medieval people were extremely religious and I felt that I would be remiss to ignore that aspect of their lives. Woman of Honor, the first book, focuses heavily on the historical aspects as Aislinn trains to become a female knight. Knight of Glory, the second book, begins to explore the fantasy side of the world. And then there’s Champion of Valor, with more fantasy and religion.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
Usually I let the characters dictate what will happen, but when writing the last book in a trilogy, it’s impossible to not know where you want to end up at the end. Although, that isn’t to say that my characters had no say. I’m definitely more of a pantser than a plotter!
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I’ve always been fascinated with the Middle Ages, and I love the idea of knights fighting dragons and sword and sorcery so high fantasy will always have a special and dear place in my heart. I also love romance, so it’s no surprise that the Kingdom of Arnhem series is a fantasy romance one. I am planning on writing more stories set in this world so the trilogy isn’t the end for Arnhem!
That said, I do enjoy writing other genres as well. I write for YA and some PBs too. Short stories, flash pieces, and novels. Paranormal, horror, pretty much anything that strikes my fancy.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Definitely Aislinn, the heroine in Woman of Honor. She’s so feisty and knows what she wants and will do anything to make her dreams come true, including to become Arnhem’s first ever lady knight.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Oh, good question! I struggled a little with Selliki, the heroine in Champion of Valor. Being a selkie, she’s torn between her two natures, and I tried my best to show both sides of her while not letting her whine or become annoying and still be strong and fierce. It was definitely a balancing act.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Yes. While doing research about the Middle Ages, I learned that there in fact had been an Order of female knights. I immediately imagined a young girl asking her king to become a knight, citing those women. And that girl became Aislinn.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Editing and revising. For me, the best part is writing the rough draft. The words just pour out of me and sometimes I can’t type fast enough to get them all down. As a pantser, it can make the editing and revising stage hell though and sometimes it can be rather hard to know when exactly your story is done and ready to be submitted!
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Oh, another great question! I would have to say one of my sisters. She also wants to be a writer so I think that would be a lot of fun. And she has a great imagination and loves fantasy too, so I think that would help us work together well.
How do you pick your characters names?
Most of the time, it’s because of the meaning of the name. I’ll type different meanings into a baby dictionary and then pick a name from the list. Sometimes the meaning of the name makes it into the book, sometimes it doesn’t. Naming characters can sometimes take me awhile.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I enjoy exercising. Right now, I’m in the middle of P90X, doing it with my husband.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I am addicted to The Vampire Diaries and can’t wait for the next season!
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
I have to check my email. I’m one of those compulsive email people. First thing in the morning, I check my email. Then I hop on over to Facebook. After that, I can get settled and get to work.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
For the most part, no. I normally write early in the morning or late at night when everyone else in the house is sleeping so I can’t listen to music while I write. That said, Uprising by Muse is the theme song of a WIP. I love that song and can listen to it over and over and over….
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Oh, toughie. Let’s see. Gabrael has long white hair so that immediately brings to mind Orlando Bloom’s portrayal of Legolas (minus the pointy ears). Selliki is much harder to cast because she has extremely long midnight blue hair, dark green eyes and webbed hands and feet. (oh and her seal skin is purple). Anne Hathaway did a really good job of looking otherworldly in Alice in Wonderland so maybe if she had long midnight blue hair and green contact lenses?
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at home, I received it in an email. I squealed and clapped and jumped up and down. Yes, I’m a dork. I told hubby first.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
I’m not sure. Fantasy romance probably middle grade. Strict romance? High school.
If you still have one of those pesky day jobs what is it?
Not really. I’m a mom to two wonderful little boys. A writer, obviously. I’m also an editor for two epublishers and I work as a freelance editor for another.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m currently working on getting two stories ready to query agents with. I also hope to finish two more stories before the end of the year. With all of my editing work, that’s a tall order, but I’m hoping to get that all done.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
I smirk and walk away. I also do that when people say, Oh, I’ve always wanted to write a book! Then go ahead and write it. What’s stopping you?
Where can readers find you?
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicole-Zoltack/93384618347
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
All kinds! I am definitely a chocoholic! I especially love chocolate and peanut butter. Yum!