1. It’s Halloween, pick 3 of your favorite writers to paint the town red with and tell us why you chose them.
Nicole Says: a. Edgar Allan Poe, for what are probably obvious reasons. I have yet to find another author whose works can scare me more.
b. Charles Baudelaire, because he was a great admirer of Poe and his work reflects it, and because it would give me a chance to practice my French.
c. Jane Austen, because if I’m going to hang around with any other author I can imagine, it’s going to be her. Her witty remarks about the Halloween costumes we’d see would be sure to keep me amused.
2. You’re ready to head out with your pillowcase to collect loads of confections on All Hallows’ Eve, what’s your costume and why did you choose it?
Nicole Says: I’d love to be a Jedi, and a Tolkien elf would be fun too. Hermione Granger is also high on my list, but I think if I could do any costume, it would be Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games. I mean, have you seen the costumes Elizabeth Banks wears in the movies? The outrageous clothes, the impossible shoes, the colorful hair, the theatrical makeup, the enormous false eyelashes! To me, that is the epitome of Halloween dress-up fun.
3. Old Mrs. Robinson opens her door and you’re holding open your pillowcase patiently waiting. “Oh deary,” she says in her frail, little old-lady voice. “I forgot it was Halloween. Don’t know why you kids go begging anyways. Let me go find something to give you.” She shuffles off and finally returns three and a half minutes later with 5 pennies, 2 peppermint candies that look like they went through the dryer, and her deceased husbands dentures. “Take what you like,” she offers, squinting at you.
What do you choose and why.
Nicole Says: The pennies. My kids have these awesome dinosaur banks that you “feed” coins to, and then you watch them slip down this twisty tube into the dino’s transparent belly. When I was a kid, I would have played with a bank like that for hours.
4. I really love reading Dean Koontz but some of his stuff scares the bejesus out of me. What’s the spookiest book you’ve ever read?
Nicole Says: It’s basically a tie here. Poe’s works really freak me out, with The Masque of the Red Death topping my list. At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft is a real mind trip too. However, I also think Stephen King’s The Shining is one of the scariest things you can possibly read. I’ve never seen the movie, but reading that book made me want to sleep with the light on forever.
5. You’re a writer by day and supernatural creature by night. (Shed that human skin you sack of bones) What are you and why?
Nicole Says: Uh oh. I’m about to expose myself here! The truth is, supernatural creatures aren’t so much my thing. I’m more of a magic loving, sci-fi kind of woman, but if I had to choose one, it would probably be a shapeshifter. It’s fascinating to think of the insights I’d gain by being able to take on lots of different appearances. Since I majored in French and am passionate about learning about other languages and cultures, I’m always interested in learning about customs that are different from my own.
6. Every author has a bookshelf filled with his or her favorite reads. Run on over to yours and tell us the scariest book you have.
Nicole Says: I have lots of Poe, which I’m sure comes as no surprise by now! He’s been one of my favorites since I was in high school. I also find a lot of science fiction scary, particularly when it comes to the dystopian and post-apocalyptic stuff. Justin Cronin’s The Passage gives me serious shivers, as does The Hunger Games because, really, who wants to live in worlds like those?
7. We don’t all write horror but there comes a time when you’ve got to surprise your readers and make sure their hearts are still beating. How do you prepare yourself to get in the spooky writing mood?
Nicole Says: I like psychological horror, those scenes that you read and you want to drop the book because you’re just so disturbed by the idea of a person acting that way or having those thoughts—Gone Girl was so masterful at this. Writing those kind of passages can be a weird experience because it’s fun to imagine how readers might react, but it’s also uncomfortable to get into the mindset of a character who has truly depraved thoughts. I’ve had several writing sessions like that while working on my new Astoran Asunder series. To get myself in the right frame of mind, I spend a lot of time watching shows or movies or reading books with psychologically complex characters.
8. Stephen King’s front porch light is on but there are no Halloween decorations.
a) trick-or-treat and cross your fingers that he’s handing out the good stuff
b) run screaming
c) call your mom to bring your favorite King paperback and beg for an autograph
Nicole Says: Oh, definitely B. No offense to Stephen King, who I’m sure is a wonderful person, but his books are so twisted that I wouldn’t go anywhere near his house!
9. Congratulations, you just won the literary lottery and sold a million books at full price! The royalty check clears on October 28th. What are you buying for the neighborhood kids?
a) an assortment of mini candybars
b) an assortment of cheap, hard candies
c) full size Hershey bars
Nicole Says: C, all the way. I am all about buying the best possible candy and handing it out in large quantities. Plus, you know, it means anything left over is hanging around in my house, so…
10. Your writer friend calls you with some frightening news. They’re giving up on writing, can’t take the pressure any longer. What do you tell them?
Nicole Says: I would definitely try my hardest to talk them down. Writing is really tough. You pour your heart and soul into your work, devote tons of your time and attention to it, and if it doesn’t take off the way you’d hoped, it can be devastating. Still, I think a passionate need to tell a story is what drives most authors. We are the victims of our own creations. I can’t imagine ever giving up writing, because my characters aren’t going to leave me alone until I let them out of my head. Plus, the wonderful thing about writing in this day and age is that, while all the choice can be a little overwhelming at times, readers have more options than ever before. I love the idea that there’s a book for everyone out there, which means that even those books that don’t hit the tops of the charts have passionate fans, people who might not otherwise have had a satisfying reading experience if they hadn’t found that book. The wonder of this era is that genres that were once considered niche and that weren’t given much priority now offer a wide array of books to readers.
Connect with Nicole!
Born and raised in Michigan, Nicole lives there still with her husband and two wonderful children. When she's not writing, Nicole enjoys reading, gaming, traveling, and cooking.
Nicole rarely meets a genre she doesn't like, and as a result has written contemporary romcoms, fantasy fiction, fairy tale retellings, and dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction. She's the author of the Fairytale Collection books, the YA/NA crossover Contributor trilogy, and the Astoran Asunder series.
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