Short author bio: Nicole Evelina is St. Louis historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her first four books are coming out in 2016. She is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.
Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.
Her website/blog is http://nicoleevelina.com and she can be found on Twitter as well as on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.
Before queenship and Camelot, Guinevere was a priestess of Avalon. She loved another before Arthur, a warrior who would one day betray her.
In the war-torn world of late fifth century Britain, young Guinevere faces a choice: stay with her family to defend her home at Northgallis from the Irish, or go to Avalon to seek help for the horrific visions that haunt her. The Sight calls her to Avalon, where she meets Morgan, a woman of questionable parentage who is destined to become her rival. As Guinevere matures to womanhood, she gains the powers of a priestess, and falls in love with a man who will be both her deepest love and her greatest mistake.
Just when Guinevere is able to envision a future in Avalon, tragedy forces her back home, into a world she barely recognizes, one in which her pagan faith, outspokenness, and proficiency in the magical and military arts are liabilities. When a chance reunion with her lover leads to disaster, she is cast out of Northgallis and into an uncertain future. As a new High King comes to power, Guinevere must navigate a world of political intrigue where unmarried women are valuable commodities and seemingly innocent actions can have life-altering consequences.
You may think you know the story of Guinevere, but you’ve never heard it like this: in her own words. Listen and you will hear the true story of Camelot and its queen.
Fans of Arthurian legend and the Mists of Avalon will love Daughter of Destiny, the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy that gives Guinevere back her voice and traces her life from an uncertain eleven year old girl to a wise queen in her fifth decade of life.
Hi Nicole, please tell us a little about your book.
This book is the first in a trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view. In Daughter of Destiny, we meet her as an uncertain 11 year old girl who is struggling with maturing into womanhood, as well as suddenly showing signs of the sight and having to make choices that will affect her future without the wisdom to understand how. By the end of the book, she’s a more mature 15 year old woman on the brink of becoming queen. In between is the story of her life (and love) before Arthur and now it affects who she is as queen (which you’ll see in the second book).
How did you come up with the title?
Guinevere has a fate she doesn’t know about but can’t escape no matter how hard she tries. As readers, we know what it is, but she doesn’t have that knowledge. Therefore she is a daughter of destiny.
What inspired you to write this book?
I tell this story in the author’s notes at the end of the book. The short version is that I’ve loved Arthurian legend and the character of Guinevere my whole life. When I read The Mists of Avalon, it changed my life in many ways, but I hated the portrayal of Guinevere. This led me to read other books about her and wonder what happened before and after the part of the story we traditionally know. Then she came into my head and told me she wanted me to tell her story – that of a strong warrior woman who was a priestess and a lover, a mother, a wife and so much more than the wallflower whore of medieval legend. This is one kick-ass Guinevere who is finally getting the chance to take her rightful place next to her famous husband.
Please tell us how your story ideas are born?
I am a firm believer that my characters choose me. And they talk to me. As I mentioned above, Guinevere came into my head and asked me to tell her story. For my romantic comedy that’s coming out in May, the main character appeared fully formed and with her story in tow. My historical fiction about Victoria Woodhull (first US female presidential candidate in 1872) that is coming out in July was similar. I found a picture of this 19th century woman on Pinterest with an intriguing caption saying she was also known as Mrs. Satan, and the more I investigated her life, the more I knew it was time to restore her name to the history books. One of my future characters came from a fellow author’s presentation at an RWA meeting. The author talked about how her fictional character was loosely based on this historical woman and I knew I had to tell the real woman’s story (with that author’s permission, of course, which she gave).
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Well, I’m fortunate that it’s taken 15 years to get this book from concept to print, so I’ve had a LOT of time to edit it and make changes. So at this point, I would say no.
Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I did. I actually had an agent for two years. This book went to acquisitions three times (twice at a Big 5 publisher and then at a smaller press) but never got a deal. Mostly, they weren’t sure the time period would sell, especially due to me being an unknown author.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?
Well, it was a long road with my agent and the industry. I finally decided that I wanted to be in control of my own career – after all, I’m never going to fire me, even if a book doesn’t do well. I heard a presentation at my local RWA chapter by a very successful self-published romance author that, along with the experiences of some of my indie writer friends, convinced me I could be successful as an indie, even as a debut author, so I went for it. I LOVE being personally involved in every aspect of my book’s creation, from editing, to cover design, to choosing my audio narrator and working with the layout team. Love it!
What are you doing to market your book?
I am a marketing/communications professional by education and trade (it’s my day job), so I have a huge marketing plan. Mostly it consists of a blog tour, guest blogs like this, articles on related topics in national publications, some advertising, reviews, social media and getting word of mouth every possible way I can. It’s an ongoing thing; the release blitz is just the beginning!
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Oh yes. I have a full-time job as well, so there are only so many hours in the day. I’m actually taking time off of writing in order to focus on getting my first four babies out into the world (in a 7-month time period). After that’s over, I’m hoping there will be more balance, with the marketing being steady but simple (except when there is occasion to do a sale or other kind of blitz) so I can get back to the writing. I think every author struggles, especially if they don’t write full time.
What’s next for you? / What is your next project?
I’m releasing my next three books:
- Camelot’s Queen (March 23 – The second book in the Guinevere Tale trilogy)
- Been Searching for You (May 10 – a contemporary romantic comedy that won in the single title romance category of the 2015 Great Expectations Contest and Gold Rose Contest and was a finalist in five others.
- Madame Presidentess (July 25 – Historical fiction about 19th century American Presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull, the first American woman to run for President)
- I hope to have the final book in Guinevere’s Tale available in late 2016 or early 2017.