Author Lisa de Nikolits Launches her novel A Glittering Chaos
A terrific, smart, funny and incredibly wise story about marriage, secrets and lies and unusual sexual proclivities.
A German woman in her early-forties insists on accompanying her husband to Las Vegas, where he has a business conference. Unknown to her the conference is a pretext; he's there to find a psychic who will help him contact his sister who vanished at fourteen.
A key theme is how one person's psychiatric problems can move like a destructive whirlwind through other people's lives and within the confines of a curious and shifting family dynamic.
Melusine (protagonist) is a passionate and creative woman with a high tolerance for the eccentric expressions of human frailty. From suppressed wife and librarian to nude model; to writer of an erotic Sapphic novella; and finally to pastry chef and adoptive mother of a baby boy, she has a good sense of self-discovery-she embraces her erotic desires with self-love after she realises, with surprise, that she even has an erotic self.
A Glittering Chaos is a novel about empowerment and new beginnings at every stage of life, with a diverse cast of unconventional characters of all ages and sexual orientations who find themselves in intriguingly unusual situations.
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Inanna Publishing (May 30, 2013)
Twitter hashtag: #GlitteringChaos
A Glittering Chaos is available as a print and e- book at Amazon, Amazon Canada, and Indigo.
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of A Glittering Chaos, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, May 31 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
About the Author:
Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.
Her first novel, The Hungry Mirror, won the 2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women's Issues Fiction and was long-listed for a ReLit Award. Her second novel, West of Wawa won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was one of Chatelaine's four Editor's Picks. Lisa has also written poetry, short stories, magazine articles and children’s books. She also spent many years as the art director for fashion magazines around the world.
Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
Author website: www.lisadenikolitswriter.com
-----Interview by Jodi Webb
WOW: Lisa, you're a WOW veteran. This is your third WOW blog tour so we'd love to pick your brain about novel writing. You're touring with A Glittering Chaos this time. How do you feel your three books are alike? How are they different? Do you feel all your books will appeal to the same audience?
Lisa: In the most obvious sense, the three books couldn’t differ more; The Hungry Mirror has an unnamed protagonist battling with body image and eating disorders within the world of fashion and beauty magazine; West of Wawa sees Benny, neurotic self-medicator and new immigrant to Canada take an extensive back-packing trip across the great North, shedding emotional baggage and pain along the way and learning that life’s not so bad, even with all the hard knocks; and in A Glittering Chaos we have Melusine whose marriage of twenty years is under threat by the increasing impact of her husband’s dark secret.
Thematically, the books could not be more different but if you were to take the three novels and black out the covers and give them to a focus group of readers along with six other blacked out books, and ask them to identify any three written by the same author, I’m confident they’d recognize mine. This is because in spite of story or theme changes, my writing style is somewhat unique (something I both deplore and like) and it’s easily recognizable and while the plots and set-ups change dramatically, each book features a female protagonist who is faced with a life-changing challenge; she gets knocked down but she gets back up again and she triumphs and by that I mean that she learns to find joy and inner peace by living life her way, without lies, without deception.
So yes, even although the themes are very different, I believe that people would be able to say (quite quickly) that yes, this is a Lisa de Nikolits' book.
In terms of appealing to the same audience, the answer to that is a surprising yes! And I say surprising because I myself have been surprised; a number of readers started with West of Wawa, then read The Hungry Mirror and have already responded with enthusiasm to A Glittering Chaos—and that’s men and women alike! I wouldn’t have thought the books would have that sort of general appeal and that they do, speaks to the above mention of the commonality within my books; a message of hope with a journey of growth and triumph and redemption in the end.
WOW: If you could go back and tell yourself something you now know about novel writing before you even began your first novel The Hungry Mirror, what would the lesson be?
Lisa: Find someone you trust to give you feedback very early on in the process. I worked solo for many years and I kept making the same mistakes without even knowing that I was making them. My writing only grew and changed when I received feedback the hard way, by rejection. The biggest gift was rejection letters that came with some explanation; this way I gleaned pointers that I could identify as weak spots in my writing.
WOW: Yes, we all need to realize that rejection is a necessary evil. Of course, in the moment rejection doesn't feel very helpful, does it? Do you have any tips for seeing yourself through rejection?
Lisa: I really do try to be zen about this in the sense that there is good and there is bad in life and I tell myself fine, it doesn't feel nice, in fact it feels horrible BUT (and I do talk to myself in CAPS at times like these), good has happened before and therefore, logically speaking, good MUST happen again! I combine a stern self-talk with logic and Buddhism and then I have a bubble bath and eat chocolate! And if none of that helps, I remember the bad dates I went on before I met my husband and I thank the heavens that I never ended up with any of those fellows and I apply the same principle to the rejection; that it must have happened for some reason I may never understand but I have to trust the unseen and know that it’s for the best. And when we think that we will never be able to acknowledge well, that was for the best, then the only thing left to do is make the best of it, which usually means carrying on, one foot in front of the other. Never give up, never surrender—and that’s never more important than when it comes to your dreams.
WOW: Does novel writing get easier? Do you feel more confident about your talent?
Lisa: I think it does get easier. It’s like anything—you improve with practice. That is, as long as it’s focused practice, with intent to improve. There’s that trending saying right now, about 10,000 hours; that all you need is 10,000 hours and you’ll be a superstar in your field of choice—but let’s say you want to win the high jump and you practice by jogging kilometers each day, telling yourself that it will all go towards your high jump, that you’re building stamina . . . well, you can easily see that that wouldn’t do any good at all.
In much the same way, when I was younger, I wrote reams and reams but I never got any feedback; I simply finished one thing and then barreled on to the next and in a sense, I kept writing the same thing in different way; the same unpolished, unpublishable things. I have learned the hard way that quality definitely wins over quantity!
With regard to talent, I think that anybody with a grain of talent and a truckload of unstoppable determination will succeed, as opposed to an individual with mountains of talent and little discipline or resolve. I truly believe that talent is less important than resolve and hard work. If you have resolve, and focus on doing the right work, then your talent will multiply of its own accord.
One of the worst things that happened to me, writing-wise, was that teachers told me I had talent! Due to that, I didn’t think I had to do anything more than put words on a page—I had talent, I was good to go!
Lots of people are talented in lots of things and they think that should be enough to guarantee success but my money’s on the person with limited talent and mega resolve—that person will win the race!
WOW: The main characters in your three novels are different. So different! But many people say that writers put a bit of themselves in their characters. Do you subscribe to that theory? Despite their differences are each of your characters you in disguise?
Lisa: This question makes me smile! No, my characters aren’t me in disguise! It’s funny that readers are always so keen to try to draw parallels between author and character and they get excited when they can point to their conclusions and say "you see, you are so-and-so . . . !"
I’m not quite sure why there’s such a keen interest in the connection between author and character—perhaps it’s because people want to know where characters come from?
I most do certainly use my experiences—and the experiences of others—to create my characters and I use the ‘walk many a mile in other people’s shoes’ by way of imagination, and I think that’s how I get to my characters. I might use myself as a starting point but then say, well, what would so-and-so do and then, on the basis of their utterly different reaction to what mine would be, draw a character from that. I would say that a lot of my characters do the exact opposite to what I would do, so I might start off with my reaction and then double back.
I can see where people can draw parallels between me and some of my characters; in The Hungry Mirror, the protagonist works in the world of fashion magazines and Benny (West of Wawa) is a graphic designer but this was more a case of ‘write what you know’—it was easy to makes those worlds believable. Also, the world of fashion and beauty was integral to the plot of The Hungry Mirror. So I definitely use circumstance—another example is that I did Benny’s cross-Canada trip and when I wrote the first draft of West of Wawa, the story was largely based on me and I received the feedback that the character was ‘vacuous and banal and her that her story was not engaging’. So I ditched myself, made up Benny and ended up with a much better book!
And now, in A Glittering Chaos, I am amazed by Melusine (protagonist). There is nothing about me that can even relate to her. Except her perhaps her love of poetry, so there you go, I guess there is something! I admire Melusine—perhaps I wrote about someone I wished I could be . . .
I think it's more a matter of me living vicariously through these characters—they all work through some issue that I am intrigued by—I might not have the courage to do the things they do and also, I can experience any kind of situation through them that I wouldn’t, in real life.
WOW: At what point did you say to yourself, "I'm not just going to be a person who wrote a novel. I'm going to be a novelist and write book after book." When did you realize THAT was who you were?
Lisa: When I was about twelve! What I didn’t realize was how hard it would be and how long it would take. If I had known, I might have given up. Actually that’s not true, I wouldn’t have given up, I would have tried harder to make it happen sooner by working on it more sensibly, with help and direction from a trusted source.
WOW: You've stayed with the same publisher, Inanna, for three books now. What about this small publisher appeals to you?
Lisa: We make a great team and we work so well together. I love what Inanna stands for and who they are, I have such great respect for all the authors they represent and the work they publish. My editor-in-chief, Luciana Ricciutelli is amazing; she’s one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met and she’s a woman who really makes a difference in this world. She brings out the best in me as writer and she has faith in my writing even if I don’t get it right the first time. For example, I sent her a novel then titled The Corner of the Desert and she came back to me with two pages of feedback; that the novel had great potential but that it still needed work and she highlighted all the areas. I went back to the book and worked on it for a year, also changing the name to The Witchdoctor’s Bones (as the other title was considered too weak) and now the novel is due to be released next year. Luciana’s feedback and insights are invaluable to me as a writer, I would feel lost without her, I know I can trust her to guide me to become a better writer.
And it’s thanks to Luciana and Inanna that I’ve won the awards I have, and received the reviews I have, so I have nothing but gratitude for this small powerhouse publisher and I envisage we will be together for a very long time!
WOW: Any sneak peeks for us about what you and Inanna are cooking up next?
Lisa: Between The Cracks She Fell is my next work and it's about a girl in her early 30s who loses her job (in a corporate environment) and then she loses her house, because her boyfriend has a nervous breakdown and can't help her make the payments and she can't sell the property. Her boyfriend moves back home to live with his folks and she (Melody Fair - although as I write that, I realize I might have to change it because A Glittering Chaos has Melusine!) ends up without a job or a place to stay and she decides to move into an abandoned old school that she found while on a walk. The school is out in the countryside and summer has just begun and so she figures she will have some time to regroup and get things together by Fall. But then she falls in with an odd bunch of characters and gets caught up in their antics, which involve robbery and possibly murder.
WOW: Ooh, I always love a good murder!
Lisa: Thank you for having me as a guest on The Muffin, and you’re right, I am a WOW veteran because you do such a great job! I look forward to this blog tour for A Glittering Chaos and I hope we’ll be together for The Witchdoctor’s Bones next year!
----------Blog Tour Dates
Monday, May 27 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview of Lisa de Nikolits and giveaway of her latest novel A Glittering Chaos!
Tuesday, May 28 @ Lit Endeavors
Stop by for a review of A Glittering Chaos, the story of a woman's journey to reinvent herself.
Wednesday, May 29 @ Words by Webb
Curious about A Glittering Chaos? Don't miss today's review.
Friday, May 31 @ Lit Endeavors
Don't miss a fascinating guest post by Lisa de Nikolits, author of A Glittering Chaos.
Monday, June 3 @ Steph the Bookworm
Want the 411 on A Glittering Chaos? Check out a review from Steph the Bookworm.
Thursday, June 6 @ Tiffany Talks Books
Learn more about the mind behind A Glittering Chaos with an interview of author Lisa de Nikolits!
Monday, June 10 @ Books I Think You Should Read
Today we peek at the joy (and angst) of writing with novelist Lisa de Nikolits as our tour guide.
Tuesday, June 11 @ CMash Loves to Read
Learn what makes author Lisa de Nikolits tick with today's interview.
Thursday, June 13 @ Books I Think You Should Read
For some authors one day just isn’t enough! Lisa de Nikolits is back with a review of her latest novel A Glittering Chaos.
Thursday, June 20 @ Broken Penguins
Stop by today for a review of Lisa de Nikolits' latest novel A Glittering Chaos then return on June 24 for an interview.
Monday, June 24 @ Broken Penguins
Return to Broken Penguin for an interview with author Lisa de Nikolits.
Wednesday, July 10 @ Literary R & R
Last chance to read a review of A Glittering Chaos by Lisa de Nikolits on the WOW Blog Tour.
To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.
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Book Giveaway Contest: Enter to win a copy of A Glittering Chaos! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget this Friday, May 31.
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