Today we've got an exciting post for you. We're interviewing author Nicole Conway for the FLEDGLING blog tour, which includes Scavenger Hunt Stop #21! Keep reading to find out more. But first, let's chat with Nicole.
Hi Nicole! Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Glad to be here! Well, as you know, my name is Nicole Conway. I’m twenty-five years old, and I currently live in South Georgia. I’m married to an Air Force pilot, so we move almost every year. So far, we’ve lived in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arizona, and Georgia. We never know where we’ll end up next, but that’s just part of the adventure, I guess.
Since we move so often, it’s difficult for me to have a career of my own, so writing has become a full-time occupation. I get to make up stuff all day, how cool is that? We don’t have any children yet, but that doesn’t stop me from going to see all the new Disney movies that come out. We do have two cats, Love Nugget and Mr. Darcy, and a dog named Phoebe.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I was homeschooled, and my mom strongly encouraged writing and reading from a very early age. She took time to read to us every morning—but none of that Goodnight Moon stuff. She read us the Chronicles of Narnia, Tarzan, and Little House on the Prairie books. Those were the stories I first remember ever imagining in my mind, and naturally it translated into my writing. I finished my first 700 page novel in the 6th grade. Yes, it was horrible.
Yikes, 700 pages! Tell us about FLEDGLING. What’s the story about?
Fledgling is about a boy named Jaevid Broadfeather. It’s the first step of his journey into manhood as he works to stop two warring kingdoms from destroying each other. When we first meet Jaevid in this book, he is a very small, very fearful child who comes from a mixed racial background. He’s the last person in the world anyone expects to wind up in Blybrig Academy, the place where dragonriders come to train. Normally, his mixed race would be enough reason for the brotherhood of dragonriders to shun him, but Jaevid has luck on his side. A wild dragon chose him voluntarily, which hasn’t happened in a very long time. The other dragonriders can’t refuse him entry into their academy, no matter how much they hate him. But that doesn’t mean they have to make it easy on him . . .
Dragons = ♥. I'm sold! How did the idea of the story come to you?
Well, as I said before, my husband is a pilot in the Air Force. I’ve been with him since his first day of training, and I’ve watched how it has changed him. I’ve always wanted to write a book about dragonriders, and I already had Jaevid in mind, so all I needed was the right angle. A new, fresh way of seeing them that no one else had tried yet. I attempted to start the book three or four times without success. I wasn’t getting that “warm fuzzy” feeling that told me I was on the right track, and I knew it was because I was still missing that key element. So I decided to take my husband’s experiences as a fighter pilot, which tends to be a very private world steeped in its own traditions, and marry that to the idea of dragonriders fighting in the king’s forces. Voila! I knew I had it, then. It felt right from the very start, and it was fun to write every step of the way.
Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?
Initially, I had a regular army of close friends who would line up to read my books and edit them. They were all very good, I think, and probably saved me from a lot of negative criticism. I also read the books over and over myself. Now that I have an agent and a publishing company backing me, the dirty work of editing has been (mostly) taken out of my hands. On the one hand, it’s a relief. But I am an extreme perfectionist, so not being able to go through it a dozen times or so before handing a new manuscript in makes me really anxious.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a little of both, I think. I have this journal that is beat up and rather sad looking, but it’s full of my ideas for stories. I usually keep maps, rough outlines, etc. tucked away in there. The outline is in my head for the most part, though.
What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
Oh boy. The hardest part is getting past my own brain, most of the time. I have this meticulous need to be as accurate as possible when describing or designing something. I overthink the snot out of everything, even if it doesn’t really matter. I even grilled my husband over saddle designs for dragons—animals that don’t even exist—but it would drive me nuts if the design didn’t make sense or didn’t seem plausible. This is the reason I’ve never written any scifi books.
What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?
My phone or some other music-making device. I can’t write without listening to music, and I tend to listen to the same songs over and over again for hours without realizing it.
What are you reading right now?
I’m actually not reading anything right now, unfortunately. I can’t read and write on a book at the same time. One tends to bleed over into the other if I do. But the last book I read was the Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. Probably shape-shifting. I’d love to be able to turn into any animal I wanted. Who wouldn’t want to fly to work as an eagle and then spend the afternoon leaping around through the water with dolphins?
Sure does sound like fun. What's the weirdest thing you've googled?
Hah! Let’s narrow this down to recently, because remember I am the girl who wants my dragon saddles to be logically sound. Um, recently the weirdest thing is probably the “walkthrough answers” for these interactive manga romance games I like to play on my phone. They’re kind of like those choose-your-own-ending stories . . . except the stories are all corny manga romances. They’re my guilty pleasure.
Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably . . .
. . . out jogging with my dog. I love jogging! It’s how I decompress or clear my head if I’m stuck on something.
Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
I’d like to thank Katie Hickernell for editing Fledgling. She did an awesome job! I’d like to thank my husband being my constant cheerleader whenever I get discouraged. I’d also like to thank my family, and especially my grandmother-in-law! She is an incredible lady who has been extremely supportive. Aileen Looby, thank you for listening to all my ideas (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Couldn’t have done it without you all! Finally, a huge thank you to you for having me here! It was my pleasure and honor!
And finally, where can people find you and your books online?
My books will be available from a multitude of stores including but not limited to Amazon.com, Books-A-Million, Barns & Noble, etc. To find out more, get updates, or participate in fan activities, look for me on:
- Twitter as @ANConway
- My author webpage at http://anconway422.wix.com/anconway
- Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JaevidDragonriderChronicles
- Deviantart at http://www.greybird4.devianart.com
Now for the Scavenger Hunt Portion of the post. The contest is based on "secret words" found throughout the tour. Be sure to enter the contest and search for all the secret words for better chances at winning.
Stop 21: Scavenger Hunt - We Do Write (WORD = DECEPTION)
“Jae,” she started. I could tell by the tone of her voice she was about to ask me something serious. “Do you really want to go to the coast?”I’ve never been a very good liar. When it came to Katty, well, she could smell deception on me like a hound. I couldn’t lie to her if I wanted to. I quirked my mouth while I thought about the ocean, about ships, and about eating fish.
a Rafflecopter giveaway