Interview with Author Miranda Nichols

Sunday, September 24, 2017
About Miranda:

Miranda Nichols is an up and coming author in the fantasy romance genre. She's currently a student working towards her degree in creative writing. When she isn't studying or writing, you can find her curled up with a glass of wine and a steamy romance novel. Like the smell of fresh popcorn, her fantasy romances tempt you and keep you coming back for more!

Find Miranda online:

...............interview by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

WOW: First of all, congratulations on your upcoming book, Blood Awakening,  and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me for our readers here at WOW!

I understand you are working with Stephanie Hansen and Metamorphosis Literary Agency – how did you end up choosing this particular agent and agency? What has been a highlight of this partnership thus far?

Miranda: That’s actually kind of a funny story. Stephanie and I worked together for about a year writing for a propane industry newsletter. I had no idea she worked for a literary agency and she had no idea I had written a book. She actually found out about my novel through another coworker who had read it and she approached me about wanting to read it too. It was probably another year or so after that I signed with Metamorphosis.

I can’t say enough about how much Stephanie has helped and encouraged me through the whole process of getting published. As a student, I had some reservations about even submitting Blood Awakening to any publishers to begin with. Stephanie really encouraged me to put my work out there and at least get some feedback from industry professionals about whether or not my writing was something that anyone was looking for – or if it was even ready for publishing. I was lucky enough to get some great feedback and eventually even an offer from Torrid Books within a few months of our first submission. Stephanie’s support has been a rock for me from the beginning and will surely continue to be through the rest of my career.

WOW:    What an inspirational story - I'm so glad we started with that question. I'm sure reading about your experience is going to help some of our up and coming authors! Now tell us more!

What is your writing process? How do you make time for writing and/or do you have a particular space that inspires you?

Miranda: I hesitate to say I have a process. Writing for me has always been my hobby. It wasn’t something I ever had to make time for, more like that was how I spent my free time. When I started planning out the Immortal Sleepers series I was at a point where all of the series I was currently reading were in-between books and I was struggling to find another book to read; so I decided to try writing my own. I got the first four chapters of Blood Awakening done in five days. After that was a full year before the manuscript was finished.

I tend to write linearly. I don’t really like to jump around during story development. When I sit down to write, I can see what I’m writing playing in my head like a scene in a movie and that’s how it translates to the paper. I have a general plot outline to start, but I never really know how my characters are going to react until I put them in a situation. For that reason, the original plotline can sometimes change depending on how the characters interact with a certain conflict. Most of the time I get the dialogue down first and then fill in the rest of the scene around it. If anyone were in the room with me when I’m flushing out a scene they would probably think I was a little off my rocker as I have a tendency to read my dialogue aloud – in full character voice, of course.

I often draw inspiration from other books I’ve read or movies I’ve seen. I’m one of those people who don’t really like firm endings. I like for stories to continue on forever. So I often find myself dreaming up scenarios of what happened after the credits roll or the last page is turned. Then sometimes those continuations evolve into new stories with new characters and new settings and become an entirely new world for me to immerse myself and my readers in.

Honestly, my bathtub is the place that inspires me the most. I am a slave to comfort; and there is nothing more comfortable to me than a hot bath at the end of a long day. I can just relax and let my mind wander. There have been a great number of times I’ve overcome writer’s block in the bathtub – I highly recommend it!

WOW:    I honestly think that's the first time anyone has said bathtub - but it's a great idea for people to try (safety first friends)!

I love that you mentioned taking inspiration from books you've read. I'm a firm believer that reading is an important tool for writing. What are you currently reading and what authors have been your biggest influence?

Miranda: I primarily read other fantasy or paranormal romance series. I’m a big fan of J.R. Ward and Lara Adrian. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series and the Midnight Breed series were both big influences when I started writing Blood Awakening.
I am currently reading the Immortal Guardian’s series by Dianne Duvall. I am anxiously awaiting the release of the latest book in the series, Blade of Darkness.

WOW:    What trends are you seeing in the fantasy romance genre? What are some of the most important elements to keep in mind while writing in the fantasy romance genre?

Miranda: It’s almost impossible to find a book in the fantasy or paranormal romance genre that is
not part of a series. Even trilogies are hard to come by. Everything seems to be part of a bigger world that either tie into another series, or has yet to be expanded on. My experience as a reader in the genre is that the success of a series relies heavily on the world building. The character interaction is what draws a reader into a book, but the world building is what draws readers into a series.

When I’m looking for a series to read, I’m looking for something original – which can be hard to come by with species like vampires and werewolves having been shaped and molded so many times in so many different mediums over the years. I like the fresh take on the old classic approach. Like the vampires are actually aliens, or there’s a society of different species living alongside humans and having to cope with being the stronger species, but also the minority. In the instance of Blood Awakening, the female character is actually the one with the non-human lineage whereas the male characters are human. Usually, you see it the other way around.

Paranormal romance is in high demand right now, but there has been an uptick in fantasy romance as well. People might ask, what’s the difference? Fantasy romance, to me, focusses heavily on the fantasy element – different kinds of species, other realms, things like that. Paranormal is more set in the real world with an element of fantasy woven into real world scenarios. Readers are getting more interested in reading what I call ‘adult fairytales’. Stories that are reminiscent of the tales we grew up reading as kids, but with a romantic adult element.

WOW:    That's an interesting observation and I'm nodding in agreement about 'adult fairytales'. Fabulously stated.

How do you plan to celebrate (please list all the ways – don’t be shy!)?

Miranda: Haha! I’m sure my agent and publicist will want me to have a release party of some sort. I’m sort of an introvert so large gatherings of people are a bit outside my comfort zone. I’m also terrible with receiving praise! I always feel like I have to compliment someone back so it can sometimes get a little awkward if I don’t really know them… Personally, there will be champagne and cupcakes and possibly a mini vacation; somewhere warm since the release date is in January!

WOW:    I hope your mini vacay includes a big bathtub! Is rejection easier for you to handle than praise? How did you deal with rejection and nay-sayers? What advice would you give other authors as far as overcoming objections and rejection?

Miranda: Honestly, my biggest nay-sayer was myself. Don’t ever go online and look up ‘how to get published’; it’s a trap! 99% of the advice columns that popped up on my google search highlighted all of the ways things can go wrong. Stuff like – be prepared for rejection, don’t expect to hear back from the first five agents you query, you have to promote your own books yourself or you won’t sell any. I got so down on myself before I even tried to have anyone read my work that I almost gave up before I started!

Everyone’s experience is going to be different. You really have to figure out what your focus is – why do you want to be published? Do you just want to make money writing? If that’s the case, I wouldn’t recommend trying to be a novelist. My focus has never been about the paycheck, it’s always been about the writing. I want people to enjoy the stories I tell. Because I want that, I’m focused on making my writing the best it can possibly be. I think having a solid foundation, believing in yourself and your ability, is the first step to success in this business.

I looked at the rejections I got as building blocks. Stephanie and I worked together to use that feedback to help us find the right publisher. In the beginning we were querying young editors who were actively looking for manuscripts. But my prose was a bit more mature than what they liked to read. It wasn’t that the manuscript was bad, it just didn’t fit with that editor. You want to work with someone who appreciates your work and not just the dollar signs attached to it – especially if you’re a debut author.

The best advice I can give is to make sure you never devalue yourself or your work. If something doesn’t feel right during the editing process, stand up for yourself and your writing. That’s your right as an artist. Sometimes it will work out and sometimes it won’t, but I know I sleep better at night with my integrity intact.

WOW: I am sure I'm going to use that last sentence again in life. It's certainly worth repeating: "I sleep better at night with my integrity intact". That belongs on a beautiful picture hanging in your office! What lovely advice.

Thank you ever so much for your time today and we hope to be hearing more from you when Blood Awakening hits the book shelves (like maybe a blog tour - wink wink)!

About Blood Awakening:

Kaelyn never felt extraordinary, growing up in the heart of Boston for most of her young life. Her humdrum routine remained unchanged for longer than she cared to remember; until the day a beautiful stranger drifted into her bookshop and changed her life forever.

Tyrian knew the moment he saw her that she was the one. His one. The singular being within all of time and space that was made for him alone. His world was not one of niceties and pretty things; bringing her into it would be dangerous. But he would protect her. He had to. After all, it was foretold.

Worlds collide, marking the beginning of an epic battle forged between the forces of darkness and light. The fate of all rests on the Hunter’s shoulders to quell the rising tide of evil threatening to overtake everything and plunge the connected realms into eternal darkness.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Crystal--Thanks for doing this interview.

Miranda--How exciting to have your book coming out this winter. I hope you find a way to celebrate that is comfortable for you but also puts the book out there to a large crowd. Good luck with your future writing endeavors.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Great interview, ladies!

Miranda, that's an inspiring story about your novel and working with Stephanie. It's always so interesting to hear how other writers work. I love hearing about the trends in the industry--you're so right about series. Rejections as building blocks--great outlook! And never devalue yourself or your work is something I continually try to remind myself of when that little voice tells me I'm not good enough. Thanks for the wonderful interview. I look forward to your book launch! :)

Unknown said...

Sioux and Angela,

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and post your comments. I really appreciated reading your feedback. The greatest compliment an author can receive is to know their words have helped, or encouraged, someone else, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Thank you, Crystal, for posting this interview as well!

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