Still continuing the author spotlights! I haven’t talked much about myself lately which is fine, supporting my fellow authors and writers is something I want to do! I hope everybody is well. Today I have a special interview and support for a good friend of mine, Julie Nicholls. She has an entry in Kindle Scout called Dragon Moon (Information is down below!) This is a partial blog takeover by her, as well as her answers to my questions for the interview. This is an honour on my part, for I am always happy to support like-minded authors! I have already voted, and would love it if you guys did the same. Read her snippet, have a look and if you like it, vote! Enough from my mad babble for now, here is Julie! To vote, click on the Kindle Scout link ^^
Kindle Scout Spotlight
Thank you very much for letting me take over your blog today to reveal the cover for my latest novel, Dragon Moon.
This is a Teen & Young Adult Fantasy, and I hope to publish with Amazon’s Kindle Scout program, if it is accepted.
The story concerns Scarlett, an almost nineteen year old who is undecided about her future. Throughout her school life she has been the subject of ridicule and bullying because of her flame, red hair. While college was easier, because she stood up for herself, she can’t make up her mind if University is the place she wants to be, and is taking some time out from studying to decide. She visits the Nottingham Goose Fair, and meets Dizelli, a psychic, who gives her a gold pendant and instructs her to wear it to bed.
Scarlett wakes up the next morning but she’s not in her bed, or her home. She’s in a field. In her pajama’s.
Scarlett is thrown into a world of dragons and magic. She’s the Dragon Mage, and it’s her responsibility to save the dragons from slaughter, and also bring two warring tribes together.
There are just a few days left before the Dragon Moon arrives. All the dragons currently asleep, protecting their eggs could die unless Scarlett finds a way to unite the silver haired, and black haired races together and to stop Lord Ithel from killing the elder dragon who knows the secret location of the dragon eggs.
Here’s a sneaky peek!
No matter what Elyan’s surprise is, at least it’s another lovely day out. The sun is shining and despite the cool breeze, it’s perfect for riding. We set off at a walk but once outside the city walls, Elyan kicks his horse and he’s off. I have a hard time keeping up on Sootli; bless her. Once he reaches the foothills, he slows and when I catch up to him, he pulls off to the left instead of the path through the mountain.
“Where are you going?” I ask.
He doesn’t answer and just waves at me as he trots ahead. He’s in charge again; he can’t help it.
We ride for only a little way, and then the smell hits me.
Soon we’re looking at a blanket of white flowers. They stretch along the side of the track as far as the eye can see, and the smell is amazing. Elyan dismounts and wraps the reins around a fallen tree. He helps me down and leads me to the huge log where we both sit.
I can’t stop sniffing the air and notice he’s staring. “What?”
He smiles and I notice for the first time how charming he looks when he’s not scowling.
“I know how much you like Vanillium and thought you would like to see where it grows. Am I right?”
I’m smiling as I look at him and see him in a different light. He can be thoughtful when he puts his mind to it. He stares at me for several moments, his gaze unfathomable. Do I want to know what he’s thinking?
“I am sorry for my behavior yesterday with Mostyn,” he says.
Wow! Didn’t see that coming.
“I expect learning he and your sister were an item was a bit of a shock.”
“I learned something else too. From my father.”
“What was it?” I ask as if I don’t know.
“That there was someone else he loved before mother. I am not angry about that. He expected me to be, though. I have a reputation, it seems.”
I can see a hint of a grin forming.
“My father relies on me to protect the town. While I have my warriors to aid, I am constantly on my guard. My responsibility to our people is foremost on my mind.”
“That’s why you’re so wound up, Elyan. You’re stressed out.”
I know how he feels. In my last year of college I was worrying over my exams, the bullying, and concerns about my life after college. My dad said when someone is stressed, they are short-tempered, have trouble sleeping and are unable to see the positive side of things. Elyan ticks all of the above. People don’t realize they are stressed, but once it’s pointed out to them, it becomes clearer.
“What am I to do? This is my life. I am responsible for our people.”
“I understand you have an important role, but you don’t have to do it on your own. You have warriors who follow your lead. They are just as capable as you are. Let them take some of the pressure.”
Elyan narrows his eyes as he looks at me. He’s listening to what I’m saying rather than spouting off. That’s a good sign.
“But will they then act as I do? Become ‘snippety’ as you say?” He grins.
“No, I don’t believe they will. If you divide the tasks between yourselves, it will be less of a burden. Do you see that?”
“Yes, I do.”
It could be my imagination, but I swear he looks less stressed already. He’s a smart cookie and I know I whined about him plenty of times, but he isn’t a bad person. Actually, as he is now–calm and thoughtful–he’s very attractive. He was already ranking high on my “hot men” chart, but it was his attitude that stopped him reaching a higher position.
Oh, I know you think I’m mean, but I bet I’m not the only one who has a score card.
“When we return home after the meeting today, you can gather your warriors and delegate your duties. Start enjoying your life, Elyan.”
“I like the way you think. You are as smart as my father said.”
“Did he say that?”
“Yes, last night after you left. I spoke with him for a while, and he believes you are too wise for your age.” He chuckles.
Ha! I think what the Earl said probably went something along the lines of “she’s too big for her boots.” But I’ll accept it as a compliment anyway.
Elyan is looking at me again. Not quite a stare but his gaze is lingering and I know I’m blushing. My cheeks are on fire. I’d like to know what he’s thinking. Wait…maybe that’s not a good idea. There’s a glint in his eye, which isn’t a bad thing, but I’ve got too much to think about at the moment.
Extremely bad timing.
“Are all the women in your town like you?” he asks.
“No. They are much nicer.” I laugh. “Women are equal to men, though. They share responsibility, work and some earn such a good wage that the man plays househusband and takes care of the children.”
“That is a story you have made up.” He laughs. “It is a woman’s responsibility to tend the children.”
I’m surprisingly calm after that misogynistic statement. In all fairness, he lives in a world where men are chivalrous and women are skivvies, and that’s not entirely his fault. However, I will nevertheless attempt to enlighten him of why a role doesn’t need to be filled by only one sex.
“Elyan, I’m going to explain something to you which you may find surprising. Women are quite capable of fulfilling any job a man is tasked with. The only difference is that some women might struggle depending on the physical strength required, but that does not mean that some women are not a strong as some men. There are some who are stronger.”
He’s shaking his head, so I continue.
“Women are in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Where I’m from, we are ruled by a Queen, as are many other countries. So you see… there’s nothing a man can do that a woman cannot. As for taking care of children, why shouldn’t a man look after his child? There’s no rule that says a woman should be the only person to wipe a baby’s bottom!”
He laughs and shakes his head. “You are making this up, surely?”
“No, I’m not.”
I look at him and wonder how he would cope if he were to visit my world. Not only because of the women’s issue but all the technology we have as well. I don’t think he could take it all in, although he might have fun playing my X box.
“I should like to see this for myself. Your world sounds interesting. Do you think I would like it?”
“There are some wonders that would impress you, Elyan, but just as you have problems here, we also have them. Countries fight one another and man has built horrendous machines and created poisons that could kill us all. People starving to death live side by side with people who are so rich, they will never be able to spend their money before they die.”
He’s listening closely.
“Our world is full of different races and we are not all the same color. Whole nations have been targeted because of the color of their skin or religious beliefs. So you see it’s important that we try and resolve the issues here before they escalate.”
Elyan narrows his eyes. He’s thinking hard, I can see from his expression. He will be the Earl once his father passes and he could help implement changes now that would stop future warring.
“This makes you sad, does it not?”
“Yes, very much.”
“We are from different worlds and yet, we are not so different.”
He takes my hand in his and smiles softly. He’s capable of becoming a great leader, I feel it. He has already made changes to the way he acts based on information he’s acquired. He is a smart cookie.
“We have a saying–‘there’s nothing new under the sun’–and this is so true. Wherever we are in the world, whether we’re black-skinned or white, if we have black or white hair, or we worship the sun or the moon, we are all human beings and we have a right to be free and to live.”
“We shall have that here, Scarlett. I promise. I will do everything within my power to make Lord Ithel understand we must live together in peace.”
Elyan pushes up and pulls me with him. “You will show us how to make a start. Will you not?”
Thank you for taking the time to read the sneaky peek… you can read another on my official website www.julienicholls.com to the page, Dragon Moon where a link will be added once the book is available for purchase.
- First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
Hi! I am English, but currently live in Bulgaria. I started writing after I learned about fanfiction. I was so amazed there was such a thing, I just had to start writing my own for my favorite TV show. Because my works were popular, I progressed into short erotica stories, and then decided to write my first novel.
- How do you develop your plots and characters?
When I get a story idea, I make a chart that shows the beginning and the end. I think about what I need to accomplish in the story, and plan the chapters in various stages. The characters usually spring into my thoughts as I’m running the story in my head. I have various actors and people that I ‘see’ in the roles, and then take it from there.
- Tell us about your current project.
My current WIP is my first Teen & Young Adult Novel called Dragon Moon. Before anyone groans… I promise, there’s not a hint of Twilight, Harry Potter, or any other ‘been there, done that’ area. My character, Scarlett is English, and lives in Nottingham. She’s 19 and is undecided about her future. She’s just recently finished college but is hesitant about University. She takes a trip to the Nottingham Goose Fair, where she meets a psychic, who gives her a gold pendant and tells her to wear it to bed that night. When Scarlett wakes up the next morning, she’s in another world. This is a tale of a girl who despite being bullied at school, has her head screwed on the right way and isn’t wimpy or suffering from teenager blues. Her task in the new world is to save the dragons from being slaughtered, and to bring two warring races together. I hope to submit this title into Amazon’s Kindle Scout program, in the hopes of gaining a publishing contract.
- Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
I have a completed series called Fallen Angels Series, and the main character is Kai of Darkmide. He’s ‘possessed’ by a demon, or at least it appears as a demon when he’s enraged. Having been sold into slavery when he was six, by his mother, he is thrown into the fighting pits once he reaches 15. After a few years, he escapes the slavers, kills them in a night of terror and roams the land with his friends striking fear into anyone he meets. They finally settle in Blackhill. He is encouraged to marry, and when he meets Princess Eloise, he falls in love with her instantly. She also has a secret. She is able to control the elements – a gift from the seraph. She is the only one who appears to be able to bring Kai back from his deranged state, once she learns of it. The story is filled with some good plot twists, which show us why Kai is ‘possessed’ and by what. Eloise has got a few skeletons in the closet too, but we don’t learn about those until the last book. There are three books in total.
- What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
Go for it! Don’t hold back. If you have an idea, run with it. Make sure you do your research and most of all, don’t let anyone talk you out of it.
- What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
I’ve travelled a fair bit. Seen a few countries and have been able to take some ideas from where I currently live, Bulgaria. Some of the characters I have in the Fallen Angels Series, are from different cultures. Nazar, for example is from the East. While I don’t stick to ‘our world’ in my books, I still adopted some of the cultures.
7) What inspires you to write?
I’m a daydreamer. Always have been and always will be. I live in fantasy, it’s much more fun there. I have had two instances where I’ve woken up and whoosh! There’s a story in my head. I don’t think you can force a story, it has to come naturally.
- What was the hardest part of writing this book?
My current WIP Dragon Moon was originally set in the USA. But my editor who is American, said that all the English expressions I use, don’t translate into American well, so I teetered for a few days before biting the bullet and then changing it to be set in England. Initially I was worried it wouldn’t work, but it has, and I get to use all my favorite English slang words.
- What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I have a couple of chapters in the current WIP that made me cry, and made the editor cry…but I can’t tell you why here! It’s very emotional, but my editor said I did it well. I’ll just leave it at that.
- Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I think I’ve learned that I like writing in an English setting more than an American one. For a start, I know nothing about places etc. I have visited the USA, but I’m not planning on writing about Disney!
- It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I ‘see’ the characters in their roles as an actor in a movie. If I can’t see them, I put myself in their shoes and try to understand how I would feel.
- What are your future project(s)?
I’m waiting to see what happens with Dragon Moon. I’ve left the ending that I can continue in another book…however…If the book doesn’t do well, I will leave it as a standalone, and wait for some more inspiration on another project.
- If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
Graphic designer. It’s what I wanted to do after I left school. Back in the old days, before equality for women, it was impossible to get an apprenticeship as a graphic designer…and believe it or not, I was actually told by one employer that the reason I didn’t get the job, was because I’d probably end up pregnant and married by the time I was 18, and training me would be a waste of time! So…I have to give up my dream and work in an office. I am currently making covers, banners, icons etc for myself and other authors.
- What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
I love conversing on Facebook with friends/readers/fans. It’s got that personal touch which I love!
Thankyou very much for your time Julie, and I wish you the best of luck!
A couple of bullet points from me:
- The contests will still go, I understand if people can’t find the time to enter, so instead I’m going to announce them on my main Facebook page, and link them to my blog. I will find the time to work on them, I promise!
- A 20 hour thought review on Enderal is in the planning stage.
I shall hopefully be back in a few days!