Montly Author Column: Nicola Haken with Exclusive Excerpt

Obsessed_with_Nicola

 

Hey, fantabulous people! If you’re reading this then I guess that means Denise hasn’t friend-divorced me for being so behind with this month’s post. I’d like to suggest we switch it to a random ramblings post rather than a monthly post because, well, I’m clearly shit and unreliable. I’d like to say the delay is because I’ve been busy leading the life of a high flying celebrity author, jet-setting around the globe, getting accosted by my adoring fans and being pampered by half naked men wearing little more than oiled-up muscles and bowties. But the truth is, my kids have been driving me crazy, we’ve been having house renovations done, and, well, I’ve been trying to think of something to talk about that wouldn’t send you to sleep.

That’s where the helpful guys who attended Teodora Kostova’s release day party for A Sip of Rio came in! I got them, okay, okay, I begged them, to ask me some questions that I could answer in this post so that Denise wouldn’t kick my arse and tell me I was no longer welcome on her blog. I can’t afford to lose Denise as my friend. She sends me nice cakes in the mail.

So, here they are!

Erin: What made you switch from writing the Souls of the Knight series- rock and porn stars, low angst, etc to something like Counting Daisies which was full of angst, dark with lots of triggers?

Honestly? Confidence. I was so nervous entering the MM genre and there was definitely an element of ‘playing it safe’, even if I didn’t realise it at the time. I didn’t know if anyone would take a chance on me, or if I’d be any good, or if I’d match up to this genre of amazing authors who I already read and admired every single day. I’ll always love my Souls boys, but I was still very much a newbie writer then, despite having written several MF books beforehand. It was the MM genre that really welcomed me as an author. It’s the place I met most of the greatest friends I’ve made in this business, where I discovered the most valuable professional relationships I’ve formed, all the advice and encouragement I needed to help me grow as a writer. And I have. I grow and learn with every book I write. I feel myself getting better with each story, and that’s why I now have the courage to write whatever ideas start burning away in the back of my head. And I’m also lucky enough to know I have so many amazing readers that continue to support me every time I release something new. I can’t even begin to describe how that feels. It blows my mind!

Jennifer: Was it as hard for you writing Counting Daisies and Broken as it was for us readers to read? Well ok for me to read.

I hope I don’t sound like a heartless cow when I say no! I have no idea why, but angst just seems to pour from my brain like water from a tap. I totally lose myself in really gritty, heart wrenching scenes. When I’m writing I act the story out in my head. I see my characters like they’re in a movie, and I’m playing whoever’s perspective I’m writing at the time. I’m with them. I am them. I’m right there with them and I feel everything they’re going through and let it all out into words. Which doesn’t sound fun, but I really enjoy it! Maybe I’m a little twisted! When I’m reading an angsty book written by another author though, holy hell THEY are hard for me to read. I’m a total ugly crier. But again, I love those kind of books!

Evie: What inspired you the most when writing Counting Daisies seeing as it was such a change from your other stories?

Counting Daisies came to me in a true light bulb moment while listening to Let Her Go by Passenger. It wasn’t so much the lyrics, although song lyrics often inspire whole stories in my mind, it was little more than a vision of a broken guy sat playing a guitar and an entire story spiralled from there. I was nervous about this one, though. People might not understand Dylan and his choices. He made lots of mistakes, bad ones, and I knew I couldn’t expect everyone to understand or forgive him for those. If I’m honest, I might’ve been one of those people once upon a time. But there was so much more to this one than simply writing out the thoughts that came into my head. Dylan’s story is fictional, but addiction is a reality for many, so research and representation was extremely important to me. I read true-life stories, and even spoke to a young woman who has been through Dylan’s struggles, and those are the people who truly inspired me. I’m glad I told his story. I’m grateful to everyone who took a chance on Dylan and Cameron, and I’m thrilled, once again, by the positive reaction I’ve had to it.

Racheal: Broken meant a lot to me cause it touched on a topic that many authors never wrote about but now I see a lot more opening up on the topic? Broken by far was my favorite of your books!

Thank you so much! I’m seeing a lot more books being written about mental health too and I think it’s a great thing. Maybe they’ve always been there and I simply didn’t notice them before, but either way, I think it’s important that they’re out there, that people are talking about them, that people have something to read that they can relate to. I don’t think I will ever be prouder of any book I ever write than I am of Broken. The response I had to James and Theo’s story continues to amaze me every single day. Mental illness feels like you’re trapped in such a lonely place that nobody understands. But from the amount of messages, emails, reviews, and support I’ve received/seen since releasing that book, I can see it’s not such a lonely place after all. I’ll always be grateful to Broken, and to every single person who’s read and supported my guys.

Oor Janie: Do the Souls of the Knight guys get a Christmas book one year!??

I know how much you love your Christmas stories! But confession time, I’ve still never even read a Christmas book! So I’m not sure how to write one! But…never say never!

Racheal: Will you be doing any sequels to Counting Daisies or Broken?

I keep getting asked both of these questions and the answer is – Broken, I have no immediate plans to, but as I said to Janie above, never say never! Counting Daisies – YES! I don’t have a date yet because I’m currently working on a brand new story about brand new characters, but Paul and Derek WILL be getting their own story some time next year, and I can promise that it will be a lot more light-hearted than Counting Daisies. Because really, could Paul and Derek be anything less than fun, awkward, and a whole lot sarcastic?!

Kristian: When did you know writing was what you truly wanted to pursue?

I hear most writers say when they get asked this question that they’ve always loved writing, and that they’ve been readers for as long as they can remember. I’m not one of those writers! I can honestly say my favourite subject at school was English, and that I was pretty awesome at it. It was the only subject that I graduated with A*’s in even though I skipped school as often as I could because I hated it. English just came naturally to me, and when I’m interested in something I have a photographic memory that retains information after only seeing/being told something once. (Excuse me while I go and deflate my ego. Okay, I’m back.)

But once I left school, I had no desire to pursue anything that resembled school-type learning any further, so I didn’t actually read another book all the way to the end until I was in my late twenties…and that was only because my sister-in-law pestered me until the point reading it was easier than having to listen to her any longer! That book was Twilight (don’t judge me, okay?) and Oh. My. God. I became unconditionally and irrevocably in love with reading, from that day on (A fellow TwiHard will know what I did there 😉 )

Naturally, as a brand new reading addict, I polished off the whole Twilight Saga in a few days before moving onto, cough*Fifty Shades*cough, (we agreed no judging, remember?) Then I bought a Kindle, let my family forage for food scraps in the bins while I spent my days with a Paperwhite stuck to my face. Then one day I thought, I fancy a go at this writing malarkey myself! And so I did. I took myself back to my childhood when I’d spend hours acting out made-up movie scenes with my Barbie dolls, and let my imagination run wild.

I’m sure my mum thought I was stupid, and I can’t really blame her. I’ve had a lot of whimsical ideas in the past! But I did it anyway, and I kept on doing it, and honestly, looking back I was seriously crap at it. But the difference between writing and all the other jobs and dreams I’ve had in the past is that I really, really loved doing it. As soon as I wrote my very first sentence I knew I wanted to do it forever. I didn’t know, then, that I’d ever be able to make a career out of it – that’s just a bonus that I doubt I’ll ever quite understand how it happened and one that I’ll be eternally grateful for – but I knew I had to pursue it. It was the best decision I ever made, and it’s all thanks to Keeley, my sister-in-law, her love for Twilight and her persistent nagging!

Amy: I love Souls of the Knight series, anymore from them? And would you ever write maybe a younger/older book? Possibly?

Firstly, thank you! This is a popular question! I’ve never considered returning to my Souls guys, but so many of you are asking and it’s starting to make little ideas tickle around in my brain. Sooo….I don’t know. Maybe?! Do you mean a younger guy/older guy couple? I’d maybe write that if those voices came into my head. I never know what stories will appear in this overloaded brain of mine! Sometimes all it takes is a certain song, an advert on TV, a movie, seeing someone in the street, a dream… or I can be lying in bed thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner the next day and BOOM – new idea! But I’d give anything a whirl if it came into my mind- except YA. I think I swear way too fucking much for that.

Jennie: Looking forward to more from the Souls of the Night series. Are you working on one now??

Again, SO MUCH LOVE FOR MY SOULS GUYS! Thank you! I’m not right now…but maybe one day!

Thank you to every single one of you who came to Teodora’s party and saved my arse by asking me these questions! I love you guys! While I’m here, I want to take the opportunity to address something I’ve been asked several times over on Goodreads and via email too. That question is, will Tess from Broken be getting her own book?

This is a tough one for me and I’ve um’d and ah’d about it for a long time. Truthfully, I’d love to give Tess her own book, and I do have plans to release a couple of FF books in the future. However, I know FF is a whole new genre and that many of my readers don’t read it. Girly parts in books are a big no-no for a lot of MM readers, which is okay, we all have our preferences and that’s what makes life, and reading, interesting! But I wouldn’t want to give off any excitement over a Broken sequel only to leave some people disappointed when they discovered it was a FF story. So my answer is…possibly. I’m just not sure how to market it. I need time to think about it, as I do with the other FF story ideas floating around in my head right now. Let’s see what the future brings!

But for now, Oliver and Sebastian will be up next in Who We Are, coming early 2017. You can add it to your Goodreads TBR (if you want to, that is!) here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32493413-who-we-are

 

tco exclusive

In the meantime, here’s an exclusive excerpt to be getting on with!

~Sebastian~

I wanted to skip into work the next day singing, dancing, and maybe even twirl June around a few times, too. But seeing as I overslept and arrived an hour late I figured I’d best walk in with my head down and force a croak into my voice instead.

If I was going to lie, I needed to sound believable. “Up all night I was, June,” I said, rubbing my stomach. It wasn’t a total lie. I didn’t get much sleep…just not because of a dodgy stomach. After devouring Oliver, or rather, letting him devour me in more positions than I even knew existed, we just…talked. For hours we lay awake and discussed anything and everything. He told me about his first boyfriend, how he got into hairdressing, shared his coming out story – which wasn’t actually news to his mother, apparently.

He told me about the months when he mum was sick, and how life changed when she passed away. I found out about Tyler, about the problems Oliver had been having with him lately, and he told me how difficult he found parenting but that he wouldn’t swap a single second of it – something I understood completely.

By the time I eventually drifted to sleep, that strange pull in my chest had grown even stronger, dragging me impossibly closer to the man whose head rested soundly over my heart.

“Think it’s food poisoning,” I added. “But here I am, soldiering on.”

“Oh you poor thing.”

Frowning, I nodded slowly. I deserved a frigging award.

“Hmm. You do look a little green.” Clearly, she needed a new glasses prescription, but I kept my gob shut. “Well you can’t go out on the road. You should be in bed.”

“Nah, I’m fine. I’m a trooper. I’ll power through.”

She gave me a stern mother look, ticking her finger from side to side. “You will not, young man. You might be willin’ to put your own life at risk but you’re not the only driver on those roads. Either go home, or I’ll get Steve to put you on warehouse duty for the day.”

Shit. I hadn’t thought this master plan through. I hated the warehouse, and most of the morons who worked in it. “Okay, here’s the deal, June,” I said, leaning against the Perspex partition above her station after scanning the office for eavesdroppers. “I’m not sick. I’m seeing someone, and we didn’t hear the alarm. You know how it is when it’s all new and exciting, right? But shhh, I don’t want the guys to know yet.”

She pushed her thick glasses up her nose, her weathered lips forming an ‘O’. “Ooo, it’s not that Penny off nights is it? I was only sayin’ to Zoe t’other day I think she’s got ‘er eye on you.”

You had to love June, almost as much as she loved to gossip. I’d miss the old bird when she retired next year.

“No, not Penny.” We are who we are, and that’s okay. Oliver’s words fresh in my mind, I dragged in a deep breath and spoke before I chickened out. “His name’s Oliver.”

If her jaw had fallen open any wider her teeth would’ve dropped out. It was no secret that June had false gnashers. She popped them out every lunchtime and set them on a napkin next to her keyboard while she ate her dinner.

“D’you know my friend Marjory’s first husband was one o’ them whatdyamacallits…a transvestite.”

Um…okaaaaay.

“She comes home from bingo one night and there he is in her best knickers and the underskirt she bought specially for her Karen’s weddin’. Took the shine right off winning sixty smackers at the bingo, I can tell ya. His name was Frank. Do you know him?”

I bit down on my tongue to stop myself from laughing. “Um, nope. Don’t think I know a Frank.”

“Hmm. Thought you might now you’re mixin’ in the same circles.”

Yep, because every bisexual knows every cross-dresser. Oh, June. I did love her.

“Well, good luck to you. Live and let live, that’s what I say,” she said, squinting at the computer screen as she tapped the keyboard.

I smiled even though she wasn’t looking at me. It was grateful smile, a relieved smile…a proud smile, and in that moment, life felt pretty damn perfect.

“Thanks, June. That means a lot to me.”

“Don’t thank me yet, darlin’. I gave your run to Rod because you weren’t here, which was goin’ to leave us in the crapper for Glasgow but…” she trailed off, rose from her chair and grabbed a set of keys from the cabinet on the wall. “But now you’re on that, and there’s been an accident on the M6.”

“Great,” I said, saturating the word in sarcasm. It seemed I had a longarse day ahead, one that could possibly turn into an overnighter, and all because I’d missed my stupid alarm. Still it was worth every second of the extra minutes I got to spend in bed with Oliver, and absolutely nothing could dampen my day when my phone pinged with a Facebook notification as I made my way through the warehouse to my wagon.

Facebook: Oliver Clayton accepted your friend request.

Yep, today was a perfect day.

Copyright © Nicola Haken 2016

As always, thank you for reading, thank you to Two Chicks Obsessed for having me, and you can keep up with me and my ramblings by following my social media or signing up to my newsletter!

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Comments

  1. Good to see a tanlet at work. I can’t match that.

  2. what a cute baby and cute vid!,Mother and child bonding with relaxing time with warm message and love I nearly fell asleep watching htis vid.

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