Monday, August 17, 2009

Author Interview ~ Nina Pierce

Today on the couch we have the distinct pleasure of hanging out with Nina Pierce. Let's make sure she's more than comfortable in the madhouse we call home. Maybe we can get a couple of our Menagerie hotties to serve her drinks or at least fan her with palm fronds. Welcome, to The Menagerie, Nina. So great to have you here, and since I already did my fangirl "squeeeeee" moment, let's get started on your questions:

So, tell us your latest news?

I recently contracted my first cougar/wolf shifter ménage story with Ellora’s Cave Shifting Bonds. This is the first in a series of three stories and I’m very excited to be working on them. I’m hoping this first book will be released in 2009. But all three books should be out by 2010. Series books are a wonderful challenge for me. I write each book to stand alone, but if you read them in order there will be a mystery running through the whole series. It’s very exciting."Bonded by Need" came out from Ellora's Cave on August 7

For those who have read Blue Moon Rising in the Furry, Fluffy & Wild anthology from Liquid Silver Books (Sept 2008) you may be pleased to find out this series continues Cole and Jayda’s stories.

Wow, that is definitely great news. What inspired you to write your first book?

When I sat down to write my first book I was so innocent. I based the story on two teachers living in northern Maine. (And yes, I was a teacher and I live in Maine. *g*) I’d read enough romance novels to feel I could write one myself. Oy, was I wrong! That first book is under the couch in my office. Waaaaaay under the couch … never to see the light of day. Though I fell in love with the characters and story, I’m not sure it ever can be saved! Experienced writers understand there has to be character growth and tension and … well, just a WHOLE lot of stuff that I didn’t know great authors weave into their stories. But it was a great journey and opened the door for the stories that have followed.

I think we all have those stories that hide in the bottom of the closet or the file drawers. How do you come up with the titles?

Some authors find creating titles difficult. But finding the right title for a book is something I enjoy, especially if I can come up with a title that’s one thing on the surface and another meaning if you read the story and get the deeper meaning. For instance the titles for my Tilling Passions series from Liquid Silver Books (spring 2008) grew out of the premise. This story is about three sisters who own a floral shop and landscaping business. So I brainstormed some words that went with that… came up with “tilling” and decided to make that their last name. Then the individual titles flowed from there.

One of my latest releases Divine Deception from Ellora’s Cave (April 2009) is one of my favorites. It takes place in a vineyard and involves a family filled with secrets. I just love that title.

Well, I have to say that you do have some doozies of titles. Glad it works for you so much better than others I know. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

My first book was filled with the personalities of people I know. But as I’ve developed my writing that isn’t true anymore. Sometimes I include stories I’ve heard from family members or great snippets of conversation overheard in the grocery store. There are so many things I’d like to experience that I research a lot of things and have my characters enjoy adventures for me.

LOL, well, sometimes the characters do what they want despite what you say. Do you see writing as a career?

I was diagnosed in my thirties with multiple sclerosis. I was very fortunate that the disease percolated in the background while my children were little. But in 2004 it was becoming debilitating. I was having a hard time teaching Environmental Science at an outreach center. So I decided to retire. I’ve always been a writer, poetry, plays, short stories and a reader of all genres. It just seemed a natural progression to take my love of the written word and turn it into a career. I had no idea the learning curve would be so steep! Boy, did I learn a lot in those first couple of years.

So yeah, writing is a career now. What else can I do sitting on my butt and love so much? *vbg*

Wow, that is hard, but see you found your niche. I'm glad you consider yourself a writer as well, since I love your books. :-D Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children series which began with The Clan of the Cave Bear just stuck with me. I LOVE that series. Ms. Auel had to have done a TON of research to write that first book. It was such an interesting view of Homo Sapiens on earth. As a scientist I absolutely fell in love with her heroine Ayla and when Jondular, the hero shows up … well I was completely hooked. She had these two in adventures I hadn’t anticipated all while building an amazing world. This series is on my all time keeper shelf. I’d love to write an amazing series like that some day.

I've read Clan of the Cave Bear, but none of the others. Who designed your covers covers?

My covers with Liquid Silver Books are amazing. Ann Cain did the majority of them. She took my visions and turned them into art. Ann is absolutely amazing and I would be remiss if I didn’t give her a shout out and a big thank you. I get compliments on my beautiful covers.

And they are gorgeous covers. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is a difficult career. It’s all about putting yourself on the page and then opening yourself up for criticism from reviewers and readers. But if the characters are clamoring to tell their stories and your muse niggles you to get it all down on paper … then do it. Don’t let anyone deter you from the goal of publication if that is what you want. Rejection is going to happen. It’s part of the journey. But holding your baby in your hands and knowing it came from your heart is one of the greatest feelings in the world!

Awesome advice, Nina. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

When I first started writing I got up very early and wrote until the rest of the family got up. Then I’d get them started with their day and go back to writing and finish writing by early afternoon. That is soooo not what’s happening now!

Now that I have books out there, marketing is a regular part of my day. There’s visiting blogs and doing interviews, doing live chats, that sort of things. So I answer emails and blog in the morning. By early afternoon I settle down to get some writing done. But when I’m really working to push through for a deadline I’m finding I stay up late and write into the wee hours of the morning. It cracks me up that my writing clock and productivity has totally flipped.

Very interesting... and familiar... lol. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

To be famous. I’m still holding out for that one!

I wouldn't worry about that one, it's not all it's cracked up to be. Now for the "absolutely nothing to do with writing" questions: Do you hate how you look in pictures? Why or why not?

Oh my gosh, YES! I have a little known condition called Aixerona (that’s anorexia backwards). You see I envision myself very thin and then someone takes a picture of me and I’m trying to figure out where all that padding came from! And it’s weird that the size 8 pants don’t fit … I think they’re making clothes smaller these days.

That is so funny... hope you meant it to be that way becuase you had me laughing. You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

Oh, my. When I was in college my parent’s marriage of 25 years began to fall apart. It wasn’t pretty. Of course I only came home for the holidays, but my 3 brothers were around all the time. I was blissfully unaware of a lot of what was going on until someone would explode and all hell would break loose. Now, that I look back, some of it’s pretty amusing, but at the time it was just horrible. I could easily forget that chapter of our family history.

Can't say as I blame you, to tell you the truth. What were you doing at midnight last night?

Research. I’m an erotic suspense author … you take it from there. *wink*

That's usually more than enough for this group... take it and run with it. LOL What’s a saying you use a lot? Where did it originate from ?

Wicked. Everything is wicked as in, “That’s wicked cool.” It’s a Maine thing a throw back from my teen years. I know it sounds silly and my kids roll their eyes when I use it, but I can’t seem to erase it from my vocabulary.

HEY, they used it in Transformers, so you can't be THAT out of the loop. Just saying. What is your favorite animal?

Without a doubt, the marine mammal, a manatee. They’re so gentle and slow moving they often get hurt by people in boats. They’re so fat and ugly, I can’t help but love them. But how sailors mistook them for beautiful mermaids? … Well, let’s just say they must have been out to sea a reeeeeaaalllly long time!

They are cute... you just want to snuggle them, I know. Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

During a movie? Sure. And a television show. Heck, I cry at phone commercials if they show a reunion of people. My children just laugh. I’m such a sap. I’ll cry at anything. Maybe it’s why I love writing those happy endings in my romance novels. *wink*

Nothing wrong with being emotional... then again I do the same thing, soooooo.... I'll stick with ya. Have you ever made a crank phone call? If yes, explain what you did.

Ummm, not a phone call. But I LOVE April Fool’s day. After telling the bank teller she could cash my check in Euro’s (I live in Northern Maine … they panicked) and the dry cleaners that I was there to pick up my grandmother’s antique table cloth (which I hadn’t dropped off), I ended the day walking into Pizza Hut and telling them I was there to pick up 50 pizzas for the charity event at the high school. Without skipping a beat, the manager told me they were in the back. I stared at him dumbfounded. He laughed and said, “April Fool’s. Your husband said you were on your way.” Yeah, that was funny.

Yeah, those ARE hilarious. How funny that the pizza guy played along. How much fun would that be? This is where we come to the end... and now I have music in my head; "Now it's time to say goodbye... To all our company... M-I-C see ya real soon... K-E-Y Why? Because we like you..." Hee hee couldn't resist. Thanks so much Nina for hanging out on the couch with us today. It was great fun having you here with us.

Nina grew up in a house of readers. So falling in love with books was only natural. In her early teens she discovered love stories. Her favorite all time book The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, was her introduction to romance and lust. The forbidden love between Meggie Cleary and the priest she couldn't have, Ralph de Bricassart, will forever be blazed in her memory. And when Richard Chamberlain played the lead in a made for television mini-series … well, that sealed it as Nina’s all time favorite love story.

Of course since then, Nina’s branched out to reading all kinds of genres from science fiction to mystery, medical thrillers to historicals. But through it all romance has remained her favorite genre.

A native of Maine, Nina resides in what she affectionately calls "the great white North" in the heart of potato country with her high school sweetheart and true love of twenty-five years, her three grown children and a menagerie of pets.

You can keep up with her online at her website, blog, MySpace, Twitter and see her book videos on YouTube.

Bonded By Need by Nina Pierce

Veterinarian Jayda Kynslan recently moved to Montana. The mountains hold many secrets but none as mysterious as hers. She's just discovered she's a polymorphic shifter—wolf, cougar, human. Jayda's not sure who she is—or what her heart and body need.

Recently promised to Cole Takoda, the head of the wolf council, Jayda wants to believe their bond will fulfill her every need. But there's no denying her cougar growls for a mate of its own. Leader of the cougar council, Zane Brodan has no desire to get involved in a romantic relationship. Tangling with a shifter already promised to another is a bad idea—except when it's a luscious polymorphic shifter doing the tempting.

Cole believes Jayda is his lifemate. Zane can't resist her seductions. It seems someone wants to ruin all their plans. As the temperature and body count rise, so does Jayda's need to possess both men—wolf and cougar—and her needs refuse to be denied.


Destiny Blaine said...

Hello Nina and Menagerie Authors,

Nina, you are famous, my lady! :)) I enjoyed the interview today.

Love and hugs,

Nina Pierce said...

LOL! Not famous, but just alllll over the internet. Some ask if I ever close my mouth ... people that know me just laugh.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

Fantastic interview! Nina you didn't tell them about your dungeon.
Ooops! I forgot. That was our secret.
*pssst* Sven needs a sponge bath.
The new book looks awesome!!

Nina Pierce said...

Jen - Thanks so much for taking time to swing over and let me know Sven is waiting ... I guess I can forgive you for mentioning my dungeon. *snerk*

Kealie Shay said...

Hi, Destiny, I rather agree that she is famous... don't let Nina fool you. I about squeed my Menagerie partners to death when I knew Nina would be here. So glad you could stop by.

Now, Nina... I do believe you were holding out on us... Who is this Sven and do you perhaps have a picture? It's purely for... ahem... research purposes... you understand I'm sure. :-D

Thanks so much for hanging out with us today, Nina. It was so much fun doing your interview. I look forward to reading Bonded By Need.

Becca Simone said...

Great post. Very fun to read.

Nina, I hope you're feeling better with your MS. I have a few friends with that. They have their good days/weeks/months, and their bad. Hopefully, you're in a "good" stage right now. :)

You said you like coming up with titles. Me, too. In fact, I can't start writing until I have a good working title.

Congrats on all your success, as you work your way to "famous"!