Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Avian Blog Tour: Interview with Nicole Conway @ANConway @tantrumbooks @chapterxchapter @month9books

Today we're happy to take part in the blog tour for AVIAN by fellow Month9Books author Nicole Conway. Let's chat Nicole up and find out more about her and her awesome Dragonrider Chronicles series!
Howdy, Nicole! Welcome to We Do Write! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello! Thanks for having me. A little about myself? Well, let’s see . . . I’m a military wife. My husband is a fighter pilot, so we move all around the country with our dog and two cats. I actually love this lifestyle, and I get restless if we stay in one place for too long. It’s amazing to get to see so many parts of the country and meet new people. I’m also a huge nerd, and proud of it! I love anime/manga and all things Tolkien. My favorite things to do besides writing is hiking, camping, and horseback riding.
Wow, a fighter pilot. I'm starting to see a connection here. Tell us about AVIAN.
AVIAN is, by far, the most fun I’ve ever had while writing a story. It’s volume two of my Dragonrider Chronicles, and the next step in Jaevid’s training to become a dragonrider for the king. In this book, we see his evolution from a scared little boy into a war-hardened soldier continue. He’s becoming more confident in himself, and more driven towards success. We also witness more layers of his friends becoming exposed. Felix reveals details about his upbringing and family history, and Beckah begins her own evolution into a truly powerful hero that will overturn the ancient customs of the dragonriders.
AVIAN is the second book in The Dragonrider Chronicles series. What unique challenges did you face writing the sequel? Was it easier or harder for you?
It was both easier and harder, but for different reasons. It was easier because I’ve become much more comfortable with writing in Jaevid’s voice now that he’s older and a bit more worldly. I also find writing the various humorous situations to be the easiest and most fun thing ever. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, this book challenged my ability to convey adult themes and situations in a way that wouldn’t alienate my younger readers. This is a book about war, and war isn’t for children. So it was very challenging to present some of those aspects of violence and torture without being too graphic.
Your main character, Jaevid, is a teenage boy. Did you have any trouble identifying with him?
Not at all! I’ve always been a tomboy, so it’s not difficult for me to put those feminine aspects of my personality aside when I write for a male narrator. In fact, I think I struggle more with female narrators because I’m not very girly and I tend to view the world more literally than most women. When it comes to identifying with him, I would say that Jae and I are alike in some ways. He’s shy at first, like I am. And he’s very tenderhearted, too. But making him a male version of my self was definitely not my intent!
Who would you say your biggest influences have been?
My husband was the influence behind Jaevid, without a doubt. His humbleness and passion is inspiring, although I don’t think he’s really caught onto those similarities yet. His journey through pilot training was definitely a heavy influence when it came to designing the world of the dragonriders, their training, and their traditions.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you? Any unusual hobbies, interests, talents?
I’m obsessed with those otome romance games. I have about a dozen of them on my phone. It’s actually pretty sad, but they are super addicting. I also cosplay as Elsa for children’s birthday parties, and I plan on doing some visits to various local children’s hospitals over the holidays. Time to upstage Santa!
Tell us a bit about your journey to publication. What was your experience?
You could use the “your results may differ” disclaimer on my journey into publication. Honestly, I had a hard time getting off the ground. I did my time in the trenches, queried dozens of agents, and didn’t even get a single request for my manuscript. But being the stubborn person I am, I wasn’t willing to give up on Jaevid. So I self-published Fledgling and stood back in awe as the book sold over 30,000 copies in the first three months. I rode the top of Amazon’s kindle sales charts for several weeks. Naturally, after that, finding an agent and becoming officially published wasn’t nearly so difficult! It’s been a wild ride!
Plotter, or pantser?
A bit of both, actually. I always go into a book with a general plotline, key points and maybe even a few specific scenes and quotes. But when it comes time to actually write the story, I like to leave enough room for my creative instinct to take over. I had no idea *BLEEP* was going to die at the end of this book . . .
Eeek! No spoilers! Thanks for bleeping! Okay, E-books, or hard copies?
This is a subject of great debate at my house. I am a hard copy person all the way. I love the feel and smell of real books. That and apparently any electronic device with a battery is destined to be my archenemy. My husband, on the other hand, is a kindle fanatic.
White chocolate, or milk chocolate?
I actually don’t care much for chocolate at all. But if I’m forced to choose, milk chocolate is okay. I’m more into salty foods and snacks than sweets. Popcorn is my favorite thing to eat!
Is there anyone you would like to thank for supporting you in you journey?
My husband, of course. He’s been amazing through this process. I’ve never had anyone believe in me and support me in this dream like he has. I was always told I’d never make any real money or get anywhere with my writing. BOOYAH! I’d also like to thank my grandmother-in-law, Evelyn Conway. She is a retired English teacher, and she has been like my unofficial advertiser. She’s an amazing woman. My agent, Jennifer Mishler, is also amazing. Thanks Jen! You rock!

Nicole, thanks so much for stopping by and chatting with us. This series sounds amazing!

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