I am thrilled to be interviewing Nadja Notariani the author of CLAIMING THE PRIZE, her debut novel, which is about mixed-martial arts with a dash of romance. Her latest release, HER DARK BARON, is a historical romance novella which came out on December 3, 2011.
______________________________________Hello, Nadja! Welcome to my blog!
Hello, Komal! Thanks for inviting me over today.
Could you please tell us a bit about your latest release, Her Dark Baron?
Her Dark Baron is a novella set in northern England, 1640, near the Scottish border. A young and smart Lady Mariel Hayes faces the harsh realities of being a woman in that time period as she realizes that her hand will be forced to wed an unwanted and vile husband. Mariel prays for intervention, and it's an intervention she gets - albeit not the sort she had expected. When a stranger appears, saving her from the terrible fate, Mariel thanks heaven above...that is until she learns his identity - Baron Gervase Daltrey of Ayleshind. The Hound of Hell.
Her Dark Baron is set in a different time period. What sort of research goes into making it feel so authentic?
Writing a story that is set in a different time period does take a bit of research. Here are a few items that required a bit of extra 'leg-work'.
A) Was the phrase 'Gentlemen' or 'Good Sirs' more prevalent?
B) Did women's fashions feature laces or hooks - and were they more commonly placed in front of the dress or in the back?
C) What were some marriage rituals of the time period? Were people married in a church at that time?
D) What date did castle inhabitants cease to use the great hall for all meetings and business and begin to have a separate 'meeting-chamber' ?
These questions had me running in circles a bit, especially the last. I visited many web sites, and even consulted a friend who lives in England! As for the setting of my story, well, Google is a blessing. The landscape of the area I wrote about, castles, stables, and the lakes of northern England are easily viewed and read about on the world-wide-web. Amazing!
What do you enjoy the most about writing romance fiction?
Loosing my imagination productively is a fantastic feeling, as is playing with the English language. I love words! Long words, short words, forgotten words, just the right words - stringing these together in an order that breathes life into a story is satisfying beyond measure.
That being said, I have to admit that I have a great affection for happy endings. Writing romantic fiction allows me to stir together all of the above while writing the happy endings...What more can I ask?
Could you tell us about your publishing journey?
Before I had written half of my first novel, Claiming The Prize, I had decided to indie publish. Being a bit of a control freak...(No, you say...But, yes, 'tis true. )... indie publishing offered me complete control over my work. I liked the idea of being part of each step in the process. The writing, the editing, the corrections, the cover design, the promotion – all come from me. I find this extremely satisfying as I'm also a task-oriented person. Each step enabled me to enjoy a sense of accomplishment instead of being tossed along in the ocean waves of traditional publishing. No waiting for someone to find my book idea as fantastic as I ...No accepting a cover I didn't want...No edits that fundamentally changed my story (although I cannot stress enough how important it is to get beta reader opinions and to use their thoughts, suggestions, and ideas to sharpen your writing – and to get yourself an editor)
As a self-published author, what do you feel are the pros and cons about going down this path?
Keep in mind, however, that indie publishing is also scary! It's learning on the job for sure. I needed every ounce of self-confidence I could muster to take on formatting. I needed to follow my gut with my story – and then prepare for whatever that meant, whether good or bad. I've made some mistakes. But that's okay! How else can we learn but by doing? And when we fail to learn, we fail to grow. When we fail to grow, we wither. We decay. We die.
I chose the option that was best for me. Each of us must weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision that fits where we are at the time.
What do you enjoy reading in your spare time?
I have been an avid reader since I was quite young. My parents directed me away from watching television, talking on the phone, listening to modern music - you know...pretty much all the things that teens want to do with their spare time. I'm so glad they did. (You would never, never, never have heard this come from my lips when I was a teenager...)
I was encouraged to read many different types of literature, and because if that, I have a love for all types of books.
I read in phases.
My meaning is this...I go through periods where social science books are consuming me! Recently, I read 'The Post American World', and 'Culture and Imperialism' - both excellent reads.
Then I'll go for historical non-fiction. 'John Adams' by David McCollough, 'Flavius Josephus', and 'Famous Men of Rome' are a few of my favorites in this category.
Next up - mystery/thrillers...I get a hankering once in awhile. Faye Kellerman's Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus mysteries are just great. I'm also a huge Tom Clancy fan, having read at least twelve of his books!
Straight fiction/literature brings to mind 'A Thousand Splendid Suns', 'The Historian', and 'Shantaram'.
The Classics...need I say more? Every so often I revisit old favorites - or try out something I've never read before.
But in all honesty - romance is my favorite category of them all! A few authors I enjoy most...
Danielle Steel - all time favorite romance author
Maya Banks - new favorite because she writes amazing highlanders...yum.
Marie Treanor - her Awakened by Blood series was out-of-this-world!
Francine Rivers - her novel about Bathsheba took me by storm!
What is one thing no one knows about you?
No one?? Hmmm.....I'm not sure there's anything my one sister (I have four sisters and four brothers) doesn't know about me...
Here's a little story I shared only recently. After you read, you'll understand why!
My sister and I once took personality tests on the computer. The results promised to match you up with your best movie/cartoon characters, so we thought it would be a hoot and delved right in, imagining our perfect match ups...you know.
We received our results, and while I cannot argue with them, as we both laughed our 'unmentionables' off at how 'right' their assessment was, neither of us wanted to admit to our responses.
My sister's over-all title was 'Mastermind', and her number one match up was Cat-Woman from the Batman movies....Ha! I still laugh until the tears roll as that describes her to perfection. She was always coming up with these 'ideas' and 'plans' when we were growing up that were guaranteed to get us both a spanking.
It was a bit harder at first to laugh at my own result, but I've managed to 'own' it...
My over-all title was 'Barbarian', and my number one match up was Lucy from Peanuts (you know the one who pulled the football out from in front of poor Charlie Brown over and over....the one who set up a stand and charged 5 cents for advice...yeah, her.) Who wants to be Lucy? Maybe Lucille Ball....heh heh.
Anyway, I hope you gained a laugh. And in the end, old 'Lucy' and I came to an agreement. We'd tone down the football snatching and concentrate more on charging the 5 cents...Ha! My sister calls that 'growing up'. She's the 'strategist', right?
Finish this sentence. I am currently obsessed with…
I joined CrossFit two months ago, and I'm absolutely addicted!
Thousands of push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, dead lifts, push-presses, squats, wall-ball-squats, ring-row-pull-ups, box-jumps, kettle-bell-swings, clean-jerks, and jump-presses later...I feel fantastic! It's hard, no doubt, but I'm seeing results. I'm changing. I'm getting stronger every week.
You must understand...I've never been a fitness nut. Now, I'm hooked! Who'd have ever guessed it?
Do you have any writing tips or advice for aspiring authors?
As for advice, I'll say this.
A) Don't give up. Ever. Go back to the drawing board if you must, read a craft book, take a class, revise until you're cross-eyed, but don't quit.
B) Prepare..... Add a folder with pictures to look at when you write that upcoming scene. Outline your chapters, your scenes. Create a character profile for each character. I've seen my writing improve by employing these tips.
C) Relax. You don't have to write a best-seller on your first try. Grow with every piece you write - that's success.
What can we look forward to from you next?
My newest WIP, The Third Fate, is a paranormal romance, and it is the steamiest yet! I hope to have it released in March 2012.
Thank you so much for joining me today, Nadja!
Thank you, Komal for having me over today. It's been a pleasure. Best of luck to you!
You can visit Nadja Notariani at her home on the web to on the links below:
You can purchase her books at the following site:
You can find my review of Her Dark Baron here.