A R T I S T S P O T L I G H T
What can we say about Nicole Harman? She's talented, kind, fun, and silly. She's a wife, a dancer, and now an author with an amazing Young Adult Fantasy book. Don't let that YA tag fool you, though. This book is a great read for fiction lovers of all ages.
We recently did a book review of her book, Wings, so we don't want to repeat it here. What we do want is to give you a little insight into this entertaining author and her writing process. We've done a fun Q&A, from frequently asked questions to a few that might not be asked as often. Take a look below!
TWENTY QUESTIONS WITH NICOLE
1. What inspired you to write this book?
NH: I have always wanted to write and publish a book. To be honest, I don't remember the moment this book came to me. I think it was a daydream initially, but I found myself thinking more and more about it. When the Pandemic hit and the mandatory stay-at-home order was placed, I went from working all the time with 3 separate jobs, to having nothing to do practically overnight. I dove into things I loved, like writing, and thought there was no better time than the present to explore Esmari's story!
2. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this case, which came first, the storyline (I need to make this into a book) or the thought that you wanted to write a book (I’d love to be an author, but what should I write about?)
NH: Well the chicken... Honestly, I have always loved the idea of writing and publishing a book. When the idea of Wings came to me, I knew it was a book waiting to be written.
3. How did you select the names of your characters?
NH: Oh, this is an interesting question that I get quite often. Sometimes, the name of a character just seems right. When I say it aloud, it fits for the person. I sometimes like to play with letters and sounds as well, until it just sounds right for the particular character.
4. What was it like working with your brother (Cory DeYonker) on the illustration?
NH: It was fantastic working with my brother to put together the cover of Wings. We tend to think similarly and I highly respect his creative vision. When he came up with the idea of the copper smear as the main focus, we both knew that it was the perfect thing. Together, we took an evening and played with the minor details and the fonts, until we had the exact look that you see on the cover. (Visit Cory's Instagram HERE)
5. What did you edit out of this book?
NH: I edited out a scene or two that didn't quite fit right, but may appear in a later book, as well as lots and lots of errors. (Though I am aware there are still errors present.)
6. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
NH: Simply put, yes. There are so many things laced into the story and plot. I actually had a lot of fun planting these little seeds. There are hints along the way for things later in the story, or themes that can give you additional insight to the characters.
The Creative Process
7. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
NH: Writing both energizes and exhausts me. It all depends on the scene I am writing at the time and how my characters are feeling in the scene. If they are tired and struggling, so am I. If they are energized and excited, I am, too!
8. What is your writing Kryptonite?
NH: My writing Kryptonite is time. Definitely, time. I could always use more time.
9. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
NH: Publishing my first book changed my writing process in the way of public awareness. With Wings, I didn't make it widely known that I was writing a book, let alone publishing one. It was a secret process and project. However, now it is known that I am working on my next book and I find myself documenting more of the process and steps along the way.
10. Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
NH: Yes, I definitely think of writing as a spiritual practice. There is a reason I have these words and this story inside me, and there is a reason I should be writing it.
11. How many hours a day do you write?
NH: Depends on my season of life. I don't force myself to write with any specific agenda or quota of time I need to hit a day. So, some days, I will be so involved in writing, I will write as much as 8 hours, and other days I won't write at all. I like to go with the flow of it. If I am struggling, I know that I won't get anywhere by forcing the words, so I allow myself that time to live and experience new things.
12. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
NH: I read all of my reviews. It's heartwarming to read the positivity, and as for the negative, I am well aware that everyone has a preference and opinion. They don't have to like what I create, and I respect that. It doesn't bother me because I wrote the book I wanted to read, and that's what matters.
13. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
NH: Oh, my. I have at least a dozen books that are half-finished, or non-published. Most of which will never reach the hands of a reader.
14. Was Esmari inspired by a real person?
NH: Esmari was actually not inspired by anyone in particular. I think in a way, she was inspired by the idea that everyone has deep down inside, the idea that they are destined for more.
Getting to Know Nicole
15. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
NH: I am actually not personally friends with many authors. I have, however, discovered a few fellow indie authors on Instagram who have all been supportive and inspiring. Some even host live writing sprints or q&a sessions.
16. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
NH: By far, my favorite book is not a widely known book. And it should be! It's called The Window by Jeanette Ingold. It follows a girl who has lost her sight due to a car accident and she is discovering her new life as such. The concept of using minimal visuals as descriptions in a book and still having an incredible story inspired me to think outside the box on many occasions in my writing.
17. What is the first book that made you cry?
NH: I am not one to cry at books actually. I have read plenty of sad books, but haven't ever cried.
18. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
NH: I would love to say my writing mascot/spirit animal is something majestic or powerful like a lion, but, I think it is one of those owls that look like they had a tad too much coffee and are wide awake late into the night.
19. What is your favorite childhood book?
NH: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Classic. I cannot tell you the amount of times I asked my parents to read it to me.
20. If you could meet one fictional character from a YA, who would it be? Why?
NH: It is so difficult to pick just one! I would have to go with Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. Her confidence in her odd life and style choices is fantastic. She embraces who she is, and doesn't care what others think of her. I think we would get along well.