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THE JAMES GANG

February James Gang Interview

Each month, I interview authors or publishing insiders who have some form of "James" in their names or in their books. My February interviewee is author Nicole Evelina, who has a character perfect for the James Gang!


1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James? That is, why did you pick James for the character’s name in your historical novel, Madame Presidentess?

The character Col. James Blood was the historical husband of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president in the United States in 1872. So I lucked out with his name!

2. What fiction genre(s) and/or sub-genre(s) do you write?

I write primarily historical fiction and historical fantasy, but I also write contemporary romantic comedy.


3. Tell us about your latest release.

Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books.

Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.”

But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women.

Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect.

Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations.

This is the story of one woman who was ahead of her time–a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century–but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.

4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?

Yes. I write the stories of strong women. I actually have mission statements for both of the genres in which I write:

Historical fiction: To rescue little-known women from being lost in the pages of history. While other writers may choose to write about the famous, I tell the stories of those who are in danger of being forgotten so that their memories may live on for at least another generation. I also tell the female point of view when it is the male who has gotten more attention in history (i.e. Guinevere to King Arthur).

Romance/Women’s fiction: To create strong female characters who are role models for women of all ages in stories that are fun and romantic. These women represent the modern independent female spirit and are meant to appeal to women who feel they are outside of the norm of society whether by age (my heroines are almost always over 30), race, sexuality, or natural inclinations (we all have things that make us feel like freaks, right?). I hope my readers can find something in my books that makes them think, “Oh, thank goodness, I’m not alone.”

5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?

My favorite character in all of my books is actually a secondary character from my Guinevere novels, Isolde (of Tristan and Isolde fame). She’s bold and outspoken and lives life on her own terms. She finds happiness in any situation and doesn’t take no for an answer. Luckily, she’s getting her own novel, which I hope to write later this year, so I’ll still get to spend more time with her.

6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?

I love doing research and then telling the story of a woman you likely haven’t heard about before, or at least not in this way. It’s my way of keeping history alive. I love the creative process, especially when the characters take over and do things that weren’t in my outline. I’ve learned the hard way to let them do what they want, because they are always right.


7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?

I am very lucky to have received many awards for my books.

Madame Presidentess, was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

My debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, was named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, took the Grand Prize in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Romantic Fiction, won a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Reader’s Favorite Awards, and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction.

Its sequel, Camelot’s Queen, was awarded the prestigious B.R.A.G Medallion and is currently a finalist in the 2016 Ozma Awards for fantasy.

Been Searching for You, my contemporary romantic comedy, is currently a finalist in the 2016 Chatelaine Awards for Romantic fiction. It also won the 2016 Colorado Independent Publishers Association Award for Romance, the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests and was a finalist in the chick-lit category of the Readers Favorite Awards.

8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?

My main source is my website, http://NicoleEvelina.com, but I’m also very active on social media, especially Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and Facebook, though to a lesser extent.

9. What is your next project?

I am working on a non-fiction book tracing the evolution of the character of Guinevere over the last 1,000 years (and she has changed quite a bit with each telling, but most strongly in the last 20 years).

I’m also finishing research for the final book in my Guinevere trilogy, Mistress of Legend. It will be published sometime late this year.

10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?

My mantra is “dreams don’t work unless you do.” I actually have that as the lock screen on my phone. I’m a firm believer in a higher power and manifestation, but I also believe God (the universe, whatever you want to call it) helps those who help themselves and you can’t win if you don’t play. What I mean is, you can have all the dreams in the world, but you have to get out there and do the things necessary to help them come true. For me, that’s writing the books, making the sacrifices needed to publish/market them (whether financial or just to my free time), talking them up as much as I can, entering contests, etc. You are your own best advocate for your work, whatever that may be, so produce a top-notch product, then get out there and make sure everyone knows about it. That’s the only way to start the word-of-mouth that will eventually bring you success.

Connect with Nicole online here:

 

Thank you, Nicole! Stop by next month, when my interviewee with be author James Farrell!

 

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