17 February, 2011

Interview With Nicole MacDonald, Author of The Arrival

It is my honor to announce today that I have an interview with Nicole MacDonald! She is the author of the Epic, Contemporary Fantasy The BirthRight Trilogy Book One: The Arrival, which is now available on Amazon Kindle!

About Nicole:

I’m a 28yr old kiwi girl living in Wellington and I’ve recently completed my first novel, a 116,000 word fantasy with two sequels in the works. Although I’ve been an avid reader since age seven I’ve always loathed writing so discovering now that it’s something I love with a passion – well it’s rather surprising! Follow my blog as I navigate the muddy and pot-holed road towards achieving publication.

About The Arrival:
Cat, Kassie, Sian and Loi are anything but damsels in distress.
   Fed up with a lack of decent male specimens they cast a love spell in the hopes of finding their soul-mates. And inadvertently land themselves on another planet. Oops.
   The Arrival follows the girls' adventures as they stumble through a foreign and often hostile world where humans are NOT at the top of the food chain.
   Friendships are forged and love teeters on the horizon while the threat of civil war looms thanks to the girls' very unexpected 'gifts'.
   Will the girls master these gifts in time to survive a war in which, not only are they the ultimate weapons, but also the ultimate prize.

Now, to the interview!

The BirthRight Trilogy: The Arrival is one amazing book! What gave you the idea for a story with 4 kick-butt heroines and a love spell?

I can't stand damsels in distress (had you guessed? Really?? ;p) so any girl lead I write is likely to be able to take care of herself.  Even if she doesn't have a black belt in jujitsu (I wanna do jusjitsu!!).  The love spell was the easiest way to get them to the other world and four girls were needed to 'make' the spell work J

Neither can I! Damsels in distress . . . nope, not my cup of tea. And I agree--would be cool to do jujitsu!

While there are similarities between Earth and Sytas, there are many differences; what inspired you to create all the different aspects to it, like the Griffon Guard, fabricers, and the many races?

Well it had to be a 'foreign' world and from a young age I've been fascinated with mythical creatures and the concept of having 'powers' or a gift as I refer to them.  I love the idea of a multi-racial world it just seems very natural. 
And Ada the fabricer is inspired by my Nana (Ada) who used to be a seamstress and was incredibly gifted at it.  As a child it looked like magic to me the way she could create something so quickly and easily.

Multi-racial words do seem natural, in a way--it does seem likely (in a world like that of The Arrival) people would have gotten used to living next to each other.

What's your writing process like?

Intensive plotting on scraps of paper/books/post its and just in my head.  I try to keep the flow of it in my mind and I aim toward plot points.  Most the time I have the plot fully in my head and I just keep 'rerunning' it on the movie reel in my mind.  I fix something then play it out again to see if I like the feel of it.  Writing involves a LOT of daydreaming *grin*

LOL. I day dream a lot, too--sometimes when I shouldn't be. *ahem*

For you, which parts were the hardest to write? Dialogue? Description? The action scenes? Which were the easiest?

The hardest were the first couple of chapters because the very first scene I wrote was the action scene in the forest when the girls meet the Griffon Guard.  OMG did those chapters take forever.  They also received some of the biggest overhauls in the re-writes.

I've had trouble with the beginning's of stories as well. They're hard!

There are many point-of-view shifts in The Arrival--it says on the website for the trilogy "The book is written in an unusual style, allowing the reader to see inside many of the main characters minds. This provides a broader perspective of the journey and gives a fuller reading experience." What made you decide that switching the POV was the best way to tell the story, instead of staying with a single character, or only 1st or 3rd person?

*grin* well yes it says that on the website… but truth be told, it's just what made sense.  I wanted the reader to be able to fall in love with any of the girls, not just the lead and then it's also due to the way I play the plot out in my mind.  I see it as a movie and then write what I see.  So it's not that surprising that it reads like that J


It also says on the website "BirthRight is a Contemporary, Epic Fantasy that was inspired from a frustration of the typical 'damsel in distress' type reads". Do you think that there should be more books written from the perspective of damsels who can stand on their own? Have you ever come across a book whose female characters you have truly enjoyed because of their personality?

Claire in Diana Gabladon's novels.  Some of Tamora Pierce's novels have the right feel.  Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer series and quite a few of her sci-fi works have the right feeling.  Yes I would love more books with capable female leads, but it's making sure there's the right balance.  I don't make a big issue of my girls doing jujitsu because for them it's just a hobby they enjoy.  The same as I don't announce (normally *grin*) that I'm a target shooter - it's a hobby I enjoy and I'm good at.  It doesn't define me.  I also sew and do lotsa 'girly' stuff but again they don't define me.  I like being a contradiction in some senses and I like characters who are too.  They deal with crappy circumstances much better J

I'll have to check out those books! And, a target shooter? That is awesome. I agree, though, activities don't define a person, and balance is a must. It adds something to the character, and they're more 3-dimensional if they enjoy all sorts of different things.

Since some of the characters in the story--Kassandra, Sian, and Laura--are based on your friends, do you think it is easier or harder to write about people who already exist (in a way)? And is Catherine, the fourth, like you?

Easier.  Because they only influence the character so I can pick certain characteristics I find amusing or interesting and play with them.  A character we meet in book 2, Leseach, is a Northerner and she is based on a work friend and it's due to certain aspects of her personality that I adore.  Because I like to create characters this way it makes people watching so much fun and very necessary.
Yes Catherine is based on me.  For a newbie at writing it seemed the easiest way for me to be able to envision the story if I was there in it.  That’s the original reason too for selecting my friends as the inspiration for Cat's friends.

I always found basing characters on real people harder--and it always felt strange to me. But all writers have their individual ways of putting together their characters!

I could picture Cat as you, and vice versa. ;)

Self-publishing seems like such a big step: what was the hardest, and what did you find the easiest? Any advice for people who are considering self-publishing?

Ever step seems hard the first time.  At first it was the right cover (thank you Keary!) then it was editing and proofing (thank you Kerrin & Vicky) and then the most tedious part, the formatting.  And now getting the word out about it. 
It's a constant and demanding hobby but I just can't stop!  I would love for this to transition from a hobby to a career so it's worth it. 
Advice to those considering?  Go for it!

Nicole also has a helpful post "How to format an e-book for dummies", in case you want to learn about formatting.

What's the best thing about being a published author?

Getting reviews from people you don't know who love your book!!  Makes the months and months of work feel worth it J

Now that sounds like a plus!


And so concludes our interview!

You can find out more about The BirthRight Trilogy: The Arrival HERE on the website, and you can find out more about Nicole at her blog, Damsel in a Dirty Dress. You can also purchase The Arrival at the Amazon Kindle Store HERE.

Thank you for reading, everyone!

----The Golden Eagle


Kindros said...

Great interview. Sounds like an amazing book too. Thanks for sharing this.

Summer Ross said...

Great interview!

Tere Kirkland said...

Awesome interview, ladies.

I've always been afraid to self-publish... I'm just not organized enough to be my own promoter, so I wish you the best, Nicole!

W.B. said...

That's awesome that you got to interview Nicole McDonald!

It was really great, and the book look very interesting.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nicole, I play out my stories like a movie in my mind as well. Great interview!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Great interview! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm a fellow crusader here to say hi and follow.

N. R. Williams said...

Nice to see you here Nicole. Thanks for hosting her Golden. You create characters opposite the way I do. Loved how you described that. I wish you great success.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Michelle Merrill said...

Awesome interview! Thanks for interviewing Nicole and introducing me to her book. I love fantasy :)

Old Kitty said...

Hi Nicole Macdonald, hi Golden Eagle! Thank you for such a fun interview! I was going " me too!! me too!!" to the interview question and answer about first chapters!! They're the ones to get right and perfect (imo) and so I find that I spend a helluva time on them - too much!!!

Congratulations to the amazonian Ms Macdonald and her scrummy trilogy! I wish her all the best!!!!!
Take care

CherylAnne Ham said...

Hi There. Fellow crusader here. :) Great interview. The book looks awesome. Love the cover.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Sounds like a delightful fantasy. Good luck with your self publishing venture.

Lynda Young said...

Good interview. Love the cover.

Clarissa Draper said...

What a great interview! I'm so happy that she's doing well with it.

Donea Lee said...

I love a kick-butt heroine, too! (Katsa from Graceling, Katniss from The Hunger Games). Sounds like a fascinating book! And great interview, Eagle. Best of luck to Nicole!

Brian said...

Nicole sure is every bit as interesting as the book sounds. Great interview!!!

mist of the blossom rain said...

I love these interviews, I think it's so fun to really get to know the author through your wonderful dialogue!

Carol Riggs said...

Thanks for the interview, and thanks for following my blog! Nice to meet you, fellow crusader, woot!

Lisa Potts said...

Great interview, ladies. It's always nice to get a new perspective on the creative process.

Mason Canyon said...

Golden Eagle, great interview.

Nicole, wishing you much success with your book and series.

Thoughts in Progress

Rogue Mutt said...

Honestly you can't really say you're a "published author" if you self-published. Anyone can "publish" on Kindle--I have four on there!

Flying high in the sky.... said...

great interview!

Charles Gramlich said...

Yes indeed, having someone like your work. A great reward!

Melissa said...

This is a great interview!!!

Angela Felsted said...

What a great interview!

Beth said...

That was a great interview on both of your parts.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks for the lovely interview. The book sounds great.

Btw..loved your post on Misha's blog.

Jai Joshi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jai Joshi said...

Oops, typo!

Golden Eagle, great interview!

Nicole, nice to meet you! That's so cool that you learned that you love writing even though you always thought you didn't. Funny how we can have passions hidden even from ourselves. Good luck with this trilogy!


Deniz Bevan said...

Great interview! And oh yes, you should definitely check out the Outlander series.

The Golden Eagle said...

Kindros: Thanks!

It's a great book!

Summer: Thank you!

Tere: Thanks! :)

I wish her the best as well.

W.B.: I certainly was excited when I got the opportunity. :D

You should read it!

Alex: Interesting. I suppose I see my stories that way as well; I just never thought about it like that!


Susanna: Thanks!

You're welcome, Fellow Crusader! It's great meeting you. :)

Nancy: You're very welcome, Nancy! It was a lot of fun.

Michelle: Thank you!

Think you'll pick up a copy?

Old Kitty: Getting everything just right is hard. :P Characters, setting, plot to set up, hints to drop, intrigue to put into place . . . gah.


Cheryl: Nice to meet you, Crusader! :)

Glad you enjoyed it.

Susan: It's a great book!

The Golden Eagle said...

Lynda: I do, too!

Clarissa: Thank you! :)

Donea: Who doesn't like strong MCs?


Brian: Definitely. :D

Emily: This is my first interview that I've done . . . so I was excited about posting it and finding out what people thought. It seems like it went over well!

Carol: You're welcome, Fellow Crusader! It's great to see you. :)

Lisa: I agree!

Mason: Thank you!

I wish her much success as well.

Rogue Mutt: I have to disagree with you there. IMHO "publishing" means getting your work out there, whether it's by yourself or by someone else--doesn't matter if it's on Kindle or by a press.

Flying high in the sky: Thanks! :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Charles: You lucky authors!

Melissa: Thanks! :)

Angela: Thank you!

Beth: Thank you so much, Beth.

Rachna: You're welcome!

It is a great book. :)

Great! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Jai: Thank you!

Deniz: Thanks!

I will; with recommendations like that, how could I not? :)