Nicole Cleaver Interview
publication date October 28th, 2009
Release Date: October 19th, 2009
Publisher: Publish America
Tell us a little about yourself.
My life is absolutely insane. If you were to meet me in person you would never guess I write about vampires. I live 18 miles off the pavement, where there is nothing but a post office and the grocery store is 60 miles away. Every moment of my families life is surrounded around 3,000 head of cows. Yes, I said 3,000! My husband and I also raise horses and working cow dogs.. I do every job on the place the men do, no glamorous life for me!! I also have two children Harley who is 5 and Reata who is 2. So when most people meet me and I say I wrote a book they automatically think I write westerns or stories about horses. Not immortal creatures that drink blood.
Why did you choose to write Paranormal Romance and why only vampires?
The entire book started out as a creative writing project for one of my college classes. It was the final project. I have always love paranormal books. I started reading John Saul when I was a kid and then moved to Charlain Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series. I just love the stories. There is no rules when it comes to fantasy.
Vampires have always fascinated me. I don’t know what it is about why women are so drawn to them. I only have vampires in this book because I am introducing readers to the characters slowly. My second book however is a whole new ball game. Lena starts to realize that vampires aren’t the only “fable creature” that is out there.
Can you tell us a little about Death Wish for those who haven’t read it yet?
Death Wish starts out with Lena Mathews having the ideal life. She is the top in her field of medicine, she has a loving husband, and a son. But everything changes when her husband and son are killed in a car accident. Lena loses faith in herself and the ability to go on living. She can’t bear her life without them in it and decides to basically run away from everything that reminds her of them. She choose Fairbanks, Alaska. After moving there she thinks she is safe from ever being reminded of her past, but her nightmares prove her wrong. She tries to find something, anything to keep the memories from tearing at her. So she gets a job as a phlebotmist at a lab. Here she meets Rob. The perfect man. Sexy, rich, and successful, but he’s also a vampire and so are the rest of the employees at the company she works for. She’s desperate to not fall in love, but can’t help herself, no matter what he is. Unfortunately, not everyone is as accepting about vampires and a group of men take her hostage in hopes of destroying the lab and all the vampires in it. Rob of course is not going to let the only thing he has loved in over a hundred years die and saves her from the men. Unfortunately he has also sealed her fate. Lena believes her life is going to work out after all, until she stumbles on to something that changes everything.
What inspired you to write Death Wish?
I actually ran a hundred ideas in my head on what to write for my final project. I wanted to be different, I wanted my story to not be one you could read and say “I knew that was going to happen”. I love books that leave me thinking “Wow! I never imagined that”. I wrote the preface of the book one of my long drives home from shopping. The rest kind of fell into place.
How did you come up with the title?
The title did not come along until Rob actually tells her “You have a death wish”. Even after that I still hadn’t typed a title on it. I kept thinking something else would come along, but Death Wish fits because she ultimately does have a death wish. She wanted to die because she thought death would end all her suffering. She does find death but he brings her back to life.
How long did it take you to write Death Wish?
Oh, I was such a procrastinator. I wrote a lot of it in a month. Since I had a due date for it since it was for a class. I didn’t turn the entire piece in for the class. But I just couldnt’ stop writing after the class was over. I couldn’t bear to leave my characters. It took total about six months. Six months of staying up to the point where I couldn’t even see the computer screen I was so tired, my kids would come in and say “mom we’re hungry” during the day and I would tell them “one more minute”. My two year old started telling people “one minute” because she had heard it so much.
Is there anything in the book that is based on someone you know or events in your life?
There are many tidbits of things that are real. The boxing match is real, my favorite boxer is Ricky Hatton and the fight is based on one of his. The music she refers to is real. I actually had the song “I’ll be your lover too.” playing while writing one day and the funny thing is Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen) sings it. Which I had accidentaly downloaded him singing it instead of Van Morrison. I had no idea he was the one that played in Twilight until I watched it, which was about three months ago.
Also the girl in the store with the nose ring is based on my step daughter who begged me to publish this book because she loved it so much. That is the only “real” person. That I know personally, but I do see people in the store and think they would make a really good character.
Are you planning to add more books in the series? What are you currently working on?
Yes. I am planning on it being a three book series. I am working on the sequel now. It will be called ““. It’s going to be a lot darker than the first book. Less fluffy “I love you. You love me.” There is a lot more danger in this book and emotional struggles.
Do you prefer to keep love/sex scenes less detailed?
Yes and no.
For the first book it was for a school project so it had to stay R15. I really wanted the book to be an “adult” book. I also was new to this. I wasn’t sure how detailed I could be without going over a line that had been drawn somewhere. Now that I have read JR Ward’s love scenes, I don’t think there is a line. My second book will be more detailed since I don’t have a grade hanging over my head on it.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
The hardest part about writing it is trying to tie everything together. Sometimes when I write I picture the scenes in my head so because I have a picture it makes sense to me, but I wasn’t always sure if it would on paper. Also sending your manuscript in, that is scary. I didn’t know ANYTHING!!! If I would have researched better I probably would have sent out a lot more query letters.
If you could change anything about your book, what would it be?
That’s a hard one. I had wrote an entirely different ending to the book and then decided against it due to a dream. I wish I would have kept a copy with the other ending just to keep. I also find myself all the time thinking “I wish I would have did this”. I would have sent it to a proofreader too. The publisher that published it says they send it to an editor, but they actually just run it through a machine that “looks” for errors. It actually adds more errors.
Is there an author that you would consider and inspiration or mentor?
I would have to say John Saul inspired me to make the twist in the book. His books are so unpredictable and scary I love them. But it’s Charlaine Harris who inspires me to write in the fantasy genre. Her stories are amazing. She has the most vivid characters and hooks you into her writing. I read thein just a few days. I still pre order everything.
Do have any interesting work habits or styles?
I listen to music a lot when I write. Not just any type or genre either. I have everything from country to rap on my computer that I listen to. I tend to start listening to a song that matches the scene I am starting with. If it’s a love scene I tend to listen to something like “No Other Love” by. If it’s a scene where my characters are struggling I listen to something like “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about being a published author?
When I went to my first book signing I imagined that only women would read this type of book. I was really surprised when men were buying it for themselves and told me they also read books like “Twilight” and loved it. I am also amazed at how popular vampire books have become. Just being in a spotlight (a tiny one) seems so sureal to me.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers or those wanting to get published?
Edit. Edit and then edit some more. Research EVERYTHING. Like I said I would have wrote more query letters instead of just going with the first publisher that said yes. Don’t be heart broken when you get a rejection letter, it’s , not everyone likes the same types of books.
When did you start writing and what made you want to become a writer?
Funny thing I never dreamed of being a writer. I have always liked my writing/English classes ever since high school, but I never said “when I grow up I am going to be a writer”. My step daughter was really the one who pushed me to get this book published. I was really skeptical on whether people would even like it.
When you aren’t busy writing, how do you like to spend your time?
It really depends on the time of the year. Right now I just finished hunting. I am a avid big game hunter, mule deer season just ended and I am planning to go bear hunting next weekend. I enjoy doing western photography. I also do leather work. My husband says I have to many hobbies.It’s also one of the busiest times of the year with our cows.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Lover Eternal by JR Ward. I just finished the first book of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and I really loved it. My mom introduced me to the series.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
Thank you. I can not even begin to say thank you enough times to the people that take a chance and buy my book. It’s just amazing to get an email from my site from a fan that says they loved my book. I make a point to email each and everyone of my fans back that do email me. My goal is to keep in touch with readers no matter how busy I get or how many books I sell. Without readers a book is just a bunch of papers on a shelf.