We are excited to be back with Nicole Souza and announce the blog tour of her dystopian fiction book Sins of Our Mothers. Join us as we interview the author, highlight upcoming spots on the blog tour, and giveaway a copy of her book.
First, here is a little bit about Sins of Our Mothers:
It has been fifteen hundred years since the solar flare devastation of the Global Catastrophe. Due to the radioactivity in the harvesting fields, society dismisses its defective children as nothing more than flawed products of the malfunctioned seeds in the field.
But Lyratelle, a hyper-observant musical prodigy, believes these “defects” are intelligent, particularly her own sibling, the youngest child of her impervious mother. Abandoning her dream career, Lyratelle climbs the bureaucratic ladder to run the Defect Research Center, where she can safeguard the child.
With an underground team of women who share her uncertainties, Lyratelle unearths the Old History truth that womankind’s survival actually hinges on the existence of these defects.
When General Sarah Love, the city’s most powerful advocate against the defects, detects Lyratelle’s sympathy toward the creatures, she threatens the life of Lyratelle’s sibling. Now Lyratelle’s desperate attempt to save this child endangers everyone she loves—her team, her family, even the existence of the defects themselves.
Sins of Our Mothers is available to purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.
About the Author, Nicole Souza
Nicole’s fuel is conversation. She loves hearing people’s stories and glimpsing the experiences that make them who they are. With a particular interest in women’s history and their individual stories, she has birthed a story that provides all the ingredients for a thought-provoking read.
You can discover more about Nicole’s work on her website: https://nicolesouzabooks.com. You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
--- Interview by Kelly Sgroi
WOW: Sins Of Our Mothers has an interesting premise; how did you come up with the story idea?
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Nicole: In college, I made an astounding observation: nearly all my straight, married girlfriends, and those with a live-in boyfriend, were the sole providers in their relationships. This alone wasn’t all that strange. What was strange was that every single friend in this situation told me their husband or boyfriend was profoundly unhappy and had developed at least one addiction that was affecting their relationship. Though all relatively close to my age, these weren’t just friends here in the states. These were women of multiple ethnicities and cultures.
Some of the men were students. Some were college graduates, some high school graduates. All had essentially disappeared from their families, their communities, and society—a trend I began to notice extended far outside my circle of contacts. While several of these couples split or divorced, many pulled through and have progressed together. The fact that so many people precious to me—wonderful, intelligent people—intersected in this weird place all at once felt significant. I remember thinking, These women literally do everything. They could just remove the men and their lives would remain the same, but without the stress of supporting a grown man and his addictions. All women really need from men is their sperm, right? Aside from that, are men even necessary? That question birthed the first of many drafts of Sins of Our Mothers and sent me on an arduous journey where I discovered for myself that, not only are men necessary, but masculinity is infinitely more valuable than those in positions of power would have us believe.
WOW: Many great stories are birthed from an interesting question, and it's even more interesting that you discovered the value in the men you originally questioned. How did you find the revision process?
Nicole: Writing is essentially a light pencil sketch of an idea. Revising that sketch is what makes it into a masterful painting. It’s grueling, exhausting, frustrating, but also rewarding, instructive, and fruitful.
Authors are not good writers; we’re determined, dedicated editors. Much like a large chunk of stone before being masterfully carved, a first draft is rarely more than a massive glob of words, ideas, notes, and concepts that over time, and with a lot of agonizing patience and strenuous mental labor, is whittled into artwork in the form of storytelling.
Revision is akin to clay sculpting; just as your project begins to take shape, you’ll add another handful of verbal clay to thicken or reshape what’s there. There’s no counting how many times an author edits a manuscript to half its size only to add back nearly the amount removed with new content, then commence construction anew, chiseling away at excess words, cliches, and lazy writing.
Sometimes, what I considered in the beginning to be the perfect word doesn’t make the final cut. It gets chipped off like countless other words once part of the original boulder. I’ve had to learn that making the final cut doesn’t bestow value upon words. Like clay scraps, words sacrificed for the sake of the story are not wasted. When writing, I just get my ideas written down. I allow my brain to vomit, as it were, and once it’s all there, I work with revision, the true artform, to make it beautiful.
"Authors are not good writers; we’re determined, dedicated editors."
WOW: You paint some beautiful and accurate metaphors. Can you tell me about the themes of your story?
Nicole: The most prominent theme in Sins of Our Mothers is human relationships. While the book deals heavily with the relationship between women and men, it also addresses relationships between women, between men, and within family structures as well. I chose this as the main theme because I hate that everything in our world is being politicized. Relationships are the most natural aspect of humanity. The first relationship a person experiences of child to mother is made possible by that of woman to man. Father to child follows, then sibling dynamics, peers, and so on. None of these relationships should be dictated, controlled, or manipulated by politicians or policy. Else, where is our humanity?
Adoption is a theme that will grow to be more significant throughout the trilogy. Heidi’s relationship with Jo is examined in book 2 as Heidi gets to know her biological family and Jo becomes a mother figure to another character.
Another theme is sexual attraction, discovered for the first time by Lyratelle, the protagonist, a good ways into the book. Of course, this relates back to human relationships, in which attraction plays a massive and essential role.
Motherhood is a big theme in the book. Sisterhood and aunt to niece relations as well.
Honesty is a small theme, examined through Emily’s character.
One theme that comes across somewhat subtly, but is equally as important as family relations, is that of observation.
Lyratelle, the protagonist of Sins of Our Mothers, is hyper-observant. This skill allows her to see outside the political box and interpret the world as it truly is. It also leads her to align herself with Grace, another important character. Grace is a technological genius whose skills are magnified well beyond those of her peers because she’s also developed the talent of observation.
Other themes include compassion, forgiveness, and truth.
WOW: Those are some multi-layered themes that I'm sure you enjoyed exploring. What’s been your favourite part of the journey to becoming an author?
Nicole: My favorite part of becoming an author has to be the surprising amount of self-examination I’ve performed along the way. It’s hard to not wonder what type of person you are yourself when developing characters for a story. I created a little program I call SPEMPARFS, an acronym for Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Mental, Psychological, Artistic, Romantic, Financial, and Social—each word in order of how I like to get to know a character. I use SPEMPARFS as a skeleton to flesh out protagonists, antagonists, and everybody in between.
A natural consequence of using SPEMPARFS is that I eventually turned it on myself. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time assessing my life in regard to each of these aspects of my personality and situation.
I think the second most surprising part was realizing how little I care about my financial status. I’m an incredibly simple person. When it came time to ask myself where I was at financially, and where I’d like to get, the gap was much, much smaller than what my subconscious envisioned. In my early days as a businesswoman, I sacrificed a lot of my free time to work, thinking the monetary benefits would be worth the missed moments.
But they weren’t.
Nowadays, as I've settled into myself a bit more, I'm much happier trading whatever excess financial gains working overtime would afford, in order to live a freer, simpler life outside work. Material possessions have always held little to zero value for me. As long as my family is taken care of, I want the rest to be about creating worthwhile memories and enjoying my short time on earth to the fullest. I don’t know that I ever would’ve realized how satisfied I am with my simple lifestyle if I hadn’t been examining myself the way I examine my characters.
"... SPEMPARFS, an acronym for Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Mental, Psychological, Artistic, Romantic, Financial, and Social—each word in order of how I like to get to know a character."
WOW: What a great acronym! Are there any other topics you are inspired to write about?
Nicole: As someone who has experienced ten years of infertility, I definitely want to write about that at some point. I imagine it’ll be something of a horror book, representative of this particular struggle. I thought a lot about it after watching the movie Relic. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know it was a book until after I’d seen the movie. Though not a story about infertility, it touched me for other reasons. I won’t spoil the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but the metaphors in it came across beautifully for me. I ended up in tears afterward, just sitting and reflecting on life for some time.
The metaphors in my book would represent life as a childless woman, something we still don’t discuss much in our current society. And I don't see the future facilitating discussion much more as we make childless womanhood the ideal life for young girls to strive for.
Another topic of particular interest for me is the purpose of life and the notion that an intelligent God designed this mortal world to serve as an enormous test for us with the possibility of progression dependent upon how we manage our mortal experiences. I imagine such a book being dialogue heavy.
WOW: It sounds like you have the next Frankenstein inside you, waiting to be birthed. How exciting! So, what’s next for you on the writing front?
Nicole: Sins of Our Mothers is a trilogy, so I’m working on book 2 right now. My current side project is a manga-style story called Reliquary (not related in any way to the aforementioned Relic—just an interesting coincidence). I’ve always wanted to write a manga or comic book. As a child I dreamed of being an artist and working for Disney’s animation team. I never fully developed my art skills, so this project is slow moving. I imagine it’ll still be a side project long after Sins of Our Mothers is complete.
I have another book series I’ve been outlining for the past year that I imagine will be my “big idea” project—the one I hope to leave as my writing legacy. I already know it’s going to be a several-year investment to complete, so I’m not stressing myself out about it.
While that story develops more, I hope to finish my mother-in-law’s biography. My husband was born and raised in the Amazon rainforest and his mother has the most incredible life story. I want the world to hear it, so I’m doing what I can to make that happen. We spent our last vacation together recording her memories and the family history she knows. It was amazing and inspiring, and I can't wait for others to get to know this extraordinary woman.
--- Blog Tour Schedule
WOW: I'm sure your readers will be pleased to hear there are two more books on the way! Thank you for your time and insight into your experiences as a debut author, Nicole! I wish you all the best!
--- Blog Tour Schedule
April 26th @ WOW! Women on Writing
Join us today as we celebrate the launch of Nicole Souza's book Sins of Our Mothers. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy for yourself.
April 25th @ Create Write Now
Come by Mari L. McCarthy's blog today and read a guest post by author Nicole Souza about becoming the best version of yourself.
April 27th @ GivernyReads
Join GivernyReads blog today and read their review of Sins of Our Mothers by Nicole Souza.
April 28th @ The Good Book Nook
Join Polly today to read her review of Nicole Souza's book, Sins of Our Mothers.
April 29th @ Yep Another Bookstagram
Join Kimberley-Ann on Instagram to read her review of the book, Sins of Our Mothers by Nicole Souza.
April 30th @ Nattieg Reads
Visit Natalie's Instagram page today as she hosts a giveaway and review's the book Sins of Our Mothers by Nicole Souza.
May 1st @ A Storybook World
Deirdra treats us to a spotlight of Nicole Souza's book Sins of Our Mothers.
May 2nd @ In Our Spare Time
Join Ellen as she reviews Sins of Our Mothers by Nicole Souza. You can also enter to win a copy of the book for yourself.
May 2nd @ Lindsey Russell
Visit Lindsey's blog today to read her review of Nicole Souza's book Sins of Our Mothers.
May 3rd @ Bring on Lemons
Come by and read Carmen's review of Sins of Our Mothers by Nicole Souza.
May 6th @ Crafty Moms Share
Join Carrie as she reviews Nicole Souza's book Sins of Our Mothers.
May 7th @ Candid with Courtney
Join Courtney as she shares a guest post by Nicole Souza about why laughter is the key to freedom.
May 10th @ Pages and Paws
Join Kimber and her mom as she reviews Nicole Souza's Sins of Our Mothers.
May 12th @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog
Join us at Beverley's blog today and read her review of Sins of Our Mothers by Nicole Souza.
May 13th @ Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
Visit Lisa's blog today to read her interview with Nicole Souza, author of Sins of Our Mothers.
May 19th @ Knotty Needle
Judy shares her review of Nicole Souza's book Sins of Our Mothers.
May 19th @ Jessica Belmont's Blog
Join Jessica as she reviews Nicole Souza's book Sins of Our Mothers.
May 20th @ Choices
Visit Madeline's blog today to read a guest post from author Nicole Souza about what the ultimate success would be in a world of just women, and what a successful woman's life would look like.
May 24th @ It's Alanna Jean
Join Alanna as she shares Nicole Souza about 5 ways to live a happier life.
May 28th @ Books, Beans and Botany
Join Ashley as she reviews Sins of Our Mothers by Nicole Souza and gives away a copy of the book for you to win.
May 29th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion
Join Linda as she shares an insightful interview with author Nicole Souza.
***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****
Enter to win a copy of Sins of Our Mothers by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends on May 9th at 11:59pm CT. We will announce the winner the next day in the widget and follow up via email. Good luck!