An Awesome YA Giveaway and An Interview with Author Nicole Ciachella! Good Times!

I’m thrilled to be part of a fantastically awesome YA book event happening right now:  The YA Spring Fling giveaway, hosted by Author Sarah Dalton.  There is a huge list of wonderful books up for grabs, so enter to win before April 3rd!

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It’s an honor to be part of such a great group of authors.  I’m happy to host one of them here today for an interview:  Nicole Ciacchella.  Her Contributor series is among the amazing books you can enter to win!

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Here are Nicole’s thoughts on everything from writing to caffeinated beverages to the zombie apocalypse:

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Playing in imagination land all day long, and being my own boss. Granted, I’m a demanding boss, but I like setting my own pace and determining what I’m going to write and when I’m going to write it. Sometimes I think I should buckle down and stick with one genre, but part of what I love about what I do is that I can write all the thousands of stories that used to do nothing but collect dust in my head.

What’s the worst thing about being a writer?

Right now, the uncertainty of the paycheck. Not a day goes by when I’m not grateful for the chance to do this, but it’s a little like trying to win the lottery. With each book things grow a bit more, but I’m definitely in this for the love and not the money. I am by no means complaining, but the reality of being an author doesn’t always match up with the image of it, I think. It may seem like all glitz and glamor, but it’s also a lot of sitting around in your pajamas mumbling to yourself all day.

Tell us more about your books.

You know how you hear that old adage that you should write the books you want to read? Well, that’s what I do. My tastes can be pretty unique, so I’m not always sure my books will appeal to a large audience, but I’m okay with that. The best thing about what’s been happening in publishing, in my opinion, is that the explosion of both trade published books and indie books means there are more choices for readers. It’s great if you happen to love whatever books fall into the hot trend of the moment, but what if you prefer zombie romances set in a post-apocalyptic Egypt directly after the fall of the pharaohs? I think it’s awesome that there are now books for everyone out there.

Tell us something interesting about your main character.

When I started writing Contributor, I wanted to make sure that Dara was really a product of her environment. From the moment she was born, she was spoon-fed this propaganda about how awesome the Creators are, how they saved humanity, and how she owes them her undying gratitude and allegiance. She’s never been presented with any other point of view, so I wanted her behavior to reflect that. Her transition had to be a painful one, as the scales gradually fall from her eyes and she begins to realize she’s living a lie. In some ways, I think this is something of a parallel to how it feels to go from being a kid to being an adult, not necessarily that the world is a lie, but that you start to see that things aren’t as simple or straightforward as you thought they were.

Coffee or Tea?

I’m not sure I could exist without coffee, but I’m a big fan of tea too. I won’t tell you how much I have of each in my house. It’s embarrassing.

Plotter or Pantser?

Total pantser. I start out with an overall concept, and then gradually more facets of the story reveal themselves as I write. If I outline too much I feel like I’m trying to wrestle my story in a direction it doesn’t want to go. Contributor started out as one thing and ended up something completely different, and I think it’s a better book because I let go and allowed myself to fly by the seat of my pants. I know this approach doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s the way to go for me. Of course, it means I spend a lot of time panicking, wondering what’s going to happen next—my books are a mystery even to me when I’m writing them.

Are there any books involved in the YA Spring Fling that you’re secretly lusting after?

Ann Christy’s Strikers is on my to-be-read list. The description sounds like the kind of book I eat up, and her cover is gorgeous. I fell in love with it the second I saw it.

What was the last YA book you read?

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger. I don’t typically read steampunk, but her Finishing School books are a lot of fun. I love the wry, sly humor in them.

Why do you write YA?

Once upon a time I taught high school and middle school. I’ve always thought that age is so pivotal because it’s the point where people start figuring out who they are and what they want out of life. It’s an uncomfortable, thrilling, terrifying place to be, which is something I think a lot of adults tend to forget. When I taught I was consistently surprised by how amazing and awesome my students were. They were some of the brightest, funniest people I knew, and they gave me a lot of perspective and a lot of hope for the future.

What are your top tips for surviving a bad review?

Reaching a point where you understand that not every book is for every person. It can be really confusing when reviews are contradictory, but it just drives home for me that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. I understand this. I’m a reader too, and some of the most popular books out there are not my cup of tea, while some books that aren’t universally loved are much more in line with what I look for in a book. Again, I think this all ties back to how great it is that we live in the publishing environment we do. More books for all, I say!

What are your top tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse?

Curl up in a ball and weep copiously. Seriously. I can’t even handle camping, so I’m pretty sure I’d be one of the first zombie snacks. Then again, I think what people love about zombie fiction and apocalyptic fiction in general is seeing the lengths to which people will go to survive. I think we all have those moments where we wonder how far we would go if we were pressed.

What inspires you?

Unplugging! I tend to come up with my best ideas when I’m doing something completely unrelated, like taking a long walk or when I’m in the shower or when I’m folding laundry. I think in modern society we have this weird, irrational fear of not being productive or of being bored. Being bored every now and then is good for you. It allows your imagination to wander, and that’s when you’re most able to get in touch with your creativity. I recommend a regular, healthy dose of unproductive time to everyone.

Where can readers find your books?

Right now I’m mostly exclusive to Amazon, which means Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read all of my books for free!


Many thanks to Nicole Ciacchella for an awesome interview!  Please check out her website for more info about her books.

I’d also like to thank author Milda Harris for hosting my own interview!

Be sure to sign up to enter the YA Spring Fling giveaway.  Too many great books to pass up!

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