I hope you are all enjoying all the awesome interviews and guest posts coming your way this week! I absolutely LOVE I Read YA week and I love being able to share it with all of you! And I am so excited about all the authors that are with us this week.
And don’t forget the giveaway details at the bottom of the interview!!
ABOUT NICOLE MAGGI
Nicole was born in the suburban farm country of upstate New York, and began writing at a very early age. Of course, her early works consisted mainly of poems about rainbows and unicorns, although one of them was good enough to win honorable mention in a national poetry contest! (Perhaps one of the judges was a ten-year-old girl.) Throughout high school, her creative writing was always nurtured and encouraged.
Nicole attended Emerson College as an acting major, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Post-college, she worked as an actress in New York City for over a decade, focusing mainly on Shakespeare and the classics.
Now living in Los Angeles, Nicole balances writing full-time with motherhood. WINTER FALLS, the first in her TWIN WILLOWS TRILOGY (Medallion Press, 2014) is her debut novel. She has a stand-alone novel, HEARTLINES, coming out in February 2015 with SourceBooks Fire, as well as the second and third novels in the TWIN WILLOWS TRILOGY in 2015 and 2016.
You Can Find Her:
Alessia Jacobs is a typical sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small town of Twin Willows, Maine. Things look up when a new family comes to town, but when she falls for the hot, mysterious son, Jonah, her life turns upside down.
Weird visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon are just the beginning. Soon she learns she’s part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals.
Alessia never would’ve suspected it, but her boring town is the site of an epic struggle between the Benandanti and the Malandanti to control powerful magic in the surrounding forest.
As Alessia is drawn into the Benandanti’s mission, her relationship with Jonah intensifies. When her two worlds collide, Alessia’s forced to weigh choices a sixteen-year-old should never have to make.
Nerd Girl: Why do you write YA?
Nicole: I started out writing historical fiction that I didn’t intend to be YA but I had a lot of editors come back and say, “you know, this feels like YA.” So my agent encouraged me to write it. Writing in a teen voice felt like coming home. I realized that it was where I was meant to be. I think the biggest reason why this is is because my teen years were tumultuous and difficult, and reading was my refuge. I escaped into books, and so I’m writing for other teens who might be having a rough time and need a book to escape into just like I did.
Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite YA reads?
Nicole: Well, Harry Potter, OF COURSE. I re-read the whole series every few years, or whenever I’m going through a rough patch. Harry always makes everything better.
One of my other very favorite YA books is I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith. It was written in the 1940’s, so before YA was a thing, but it is a classic coming-of-age store with an unforgettable setting and just a wonderful, wonderful read.
I read Harry Potter and I CAPTURE THE CASTLE as an adult, so I have to mention my favorite books when I was a teen: The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. I loved those books so much that no one else in my middle school got to read them because I always had them checked out. Those were the books that made me want to become a writer. Pierce created a world that I wanted to live in, and I realized that I wanted to do the same thing with my own writing.
Nerd Girl: What do you think is a big misconception about YA and why do you think its wrong?
Nicole: I think the biggest misconception is that YA is somehow “less than” literature that is written for adults. This attitude really bugs me. What could be greater than writing for an audience that is just starting to figure out who they are, shape their own beliefs and values, and what their place is in the world (ie, teens)? To be a part of their lives at that stage is incredibly exciting and humbling. Anyone who devalues that by looking down their nose at YA has obviously forgotten what it was like to be a teen.
Nerd Girl: Why do you think its important to have a “I Read YA” week?
Nicole: Building off what I said above, I think there are a lot of adults who read YA and feel like they have to hide it, or be embarrassed by it, because other people might look down on them for it. So I say, be loud and proud! Read your YA in public, without a cover, on the subway! There’s no shame in reading YA as an adult.
And I think the more public adults are about reading YA, the more likely the teens in their lives will read it as well. Reading begets reading!
Nerd Girl: Describe your latest work in five words or less.
Nicole: “A difficult choice creates an unlikely friendship.” Hey, it’s only five words if you remove the “A” and “an”!
Nerd Girl: What is something you wish you had known about writing/publishing before you become a published author?
Nicole: So much. SO SO MUCH. Haha! You know, I think I thought that being published would solve all my problems, and even though many people told me that it didn’t, I don’t think I really believed them. Then I got published and it not only didn’t solve all my problems, it also brought in a whole host of new ones! I am so incredibly grateful for and proud of everything I’ve achieved so far, but I think I thought that getting published was the top of the mountain when really it’s only Base Camp 1. Still, I wouldn’t trade this trek for anything else.
Nerd Girl: What was some of your favorite parts about writing the Twin Willows stories? Would you ever return to that world again?
Nicole: Oh, I love that world so much. I think my favorite part about writing it was the relationships between all the characters. Not just the central romance between Alessia and Jonah, but also the mentor-mentee relationship between Heath and Alessia, the mother-daughter love between Alessia and Lidia, the friendships between Alessia and Jenny, and Alessia and Bree, the tortured love between Heath and Nerina, and the interplay of all the neighbors of Twin Willows. It was really the characters that made that world so rich and three-dimensional, and I just loved them all so much.
I don’t have plans to return to Twin Willows. I feel like I told that story exactly the way I wanted to, and I completed the journey with all of the characters. I do have an idea for a prequel story with Heath and Nerina that I may write as a novella and put up on Wattpad, but who know when I’ll have time to write it! Other than that, I’m happy and satisfied with the trilogy as a whole, and don’t feel the need to add to it. Honestly, how often do we as writers get to say that?! I feel very blessed that I got to tell that story in exactly the way I wanted to, and hope that readers enjoy the journey as much as I did.
HUGE thanks to Nicole for joining us today at What A Nerd Girl Says and for being a part of I Read YA week!
And don’t forget to find this image below on my instagram in order to enter the I Read YA Week giveaway! SO. MUCH. SIGNED. SWAG.