We all dream of our version(s) of prince charming. I decided that my imagination was hearty enough to create an entire story involving just such a man. So, armed with a stack of single subject notebooks, I sat down and began writing my first novel, Claiming The Prize - which I completed in June of this year. It's been great fun, and I've learned much. Now, newly published and eager to continue on this wholly enjoyable pursuit, I invite you to curl up with the story I've crafted. Here, here to achieving goals and good reads!
Claiming The Prize...Now available!
Purchase Link on Smashwords
Purchase Link on Amazon
Can you tell us about your book?
Walking a solitary, disciplined path in his pursuit to become the light heavyweight champion of the American-Mixed-Martial-Arts-Organization, Drago Zadrovec leaves the security of his homeland to train in the United States. But once within the exclusive MMA organization, Drago finds himself increasingly drawn to his mentor's daughter, Grace Antolini. Quiet and gentle, yet thoroughly immersed in the world in which he exists, Grace captures his heart as firmly as his quest for the title, igniting a long buried passion inside the fighter. Subjecting his body to the brutality of the cage and opening his heart to the woman he desires to share his life with, Drago comes to understand that his journey is comprised of more than want of victory in the ultimate goal of Claiming The Prize......
Sounds like a book I'll be adding to my TBR list. Now, let's chat...
Inspiration for Claiming The Prize came from my own experiences. I have three boys still at home - (we also have two daughters who have left the nest) - and they are quite active in wrestling. Our oldest son also trains at a local MMA (mixed-martial-arts) gym, and the rest, as they say, is history. Spending years in various gymnasiums across the Northeast, I gained a great deal of knowledge and appreciation for the strength of mind, dedication, and hard work that goes into this sport. That is where the idea for Drago, the hero in my novel, was born.
Grace's character, my heroine, developed as I thought about the sort of woman who would compliment Drago and bring balance to his life. When they come together, romance blossoms and sparks fly as steamy passion abounds! But I wanted to add something more. Life can be trying, and I believe that having a firm foundation in any relationship is key to its success. So, I wrote a story of love and loving within the framework of a strong faith. The result.....inspiring!
Growing up, three of my brothers were very involved in the wrestling teams in junior and senior high. I've been to a lot of wrestling matches. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Gosh! That's a tough question. I have to say that I enjoy the writing itself. Once the plot has taken shape in my mind, the chapter outlines are complete, and I know where I'm going, I get to write the details! Describing the setting in detail, capturing the mood with interesting dialogue, or conjuring the emotions in readers that my characters are experiencing - that's where the fun is for me. Getting the final cover proof was pretty exciting, too!
I have a similar method of writing. How has your publishing experience been?
Fantastic! During the first months of writing, I was fortunate enough to meet a number of authors who had been through the process before. That was invaluable to my experience. I read a great many articles, visited innumerable blogs, and talked freely with authors that I came to respect. In the end, I decided to indie publish, and I've never looked back.
I'm a bit of a control freak! (No, you say....But, ahem, it's true) I wanted complete control over what the final product would be. It's been a bit scary at times, knowing that the buck stops with me, but I enjoy the challenge and the freedom that goes along with it. I have a wonderful critique partner and beta readers. I have a good eye for grammar. I'm an adventurer. Being a part of designing the cover, having to face my less than perfect typing skills, hearing the thoughts and opinions of my 'writer's clatch' has made me a better writer. And it's been ....well, an adventure. I can't wait to do it again!
Will you be releasing anything in the near future?
Absolutely! I'm currently in the final stages with my next piece, a novella entitled, Her Dark Baron. I plan to release it in the month of October if all goes well. It's an historical set in Northumberland, England, in 1640, during the period of upheaval on the Scottish - English border immediately following the Bishop's War. And, there's a dark, brooding baron...delish!
Sounds very intriguing. What factors helped you make the decision to indie publish?
This is a great question! First of all, let me say that every author has to make the decision that is right for them. I was influenced by a number of factors. A great friend of mine published through a traditional publisher, and she had a terrible experience. I cannot deny that it affected my decision. She had no control over the cover design, release date, price setting, or the time frame for the novel to be put up at Amazon and other major carriers. Furthermore, her editing experience was a nightmare. After her final edits, she discovered quite a few sentences that had been manipulated - and left without proper grammar. That's an author's nightmare.
Of course, many authors don't have that sort of encounter with publishers. And I didn't make my decision based solely on that. For me, creating my own timeline for the typing, editing, and revision process felt right. I work at my own pace. Again, I must say that I like the idea of having control over my work. In addition, I've noticed that most authors are having to promote their own work, even when going through traditional publishers. If I'm doing the writing, the revising, and the promoting, I'd like to be making the money too! I admit it! I proclaim it! Yes, yes, I know that I'll not make a living on my first book (or maybe not ever), but I'd like to keep what I do earn for all the hard work that I poured into my creation. The idea of earning at best 20%, when I can earn 70% definitely encouraged me. It also made sense when I considered that I could set a much lower price for my work. This benefits not only me, the author, but the reader as well. I like that idea.
In the end, I guess confidence won me over. I'll be learning on the job for quite some time. But to learn, I must do. I am confident that after I take a few spills over some bumpy roads, I'll be a pro. I like the idea of saying, "From start to finish - this is all me. I did it!"
Thanks for sharing about your decision process. What authors influenced you? Name a few of your favorites.
I'll start with my favorites, because that's a whole lot easier! I've only read one book by this woman, but it blew me away. The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova. I'm also a huge Tom Clancy fan. Red Storm Rising, The Bear & The Dragon, and Debt Of Honor are my top picks. Now we get to the romance.......My all time favorite romance author is Danielle Steel. She's maybe not as racy as some of my other favorites, but boy, can she weave a romance set within a sweeping story! (I'll mention, Zoya, possibly my favorite novel by Steel) Good Stuff! I also like Kathleen Woodiwiss, and who can bring up favorite romance authors without the wonderful Francine Rivers! Redeeming Love, The Sin Eater, Tamar, and Bathsheba were excellent reads. Marie Treanor's, Blood On Silk, is another favorite. I could go on and on. There are so many good authors.
As for being influenced, and by whom....that's a much tougher question. I'd like to believe that the depth of C.S. Lewis, the wit of Mark Twain, and the intrigue of Agatha Christie shaped my palate. I'd also like to believe that the delicious tension Austen was able to craft rubbed off on me - well, just a tad - a girl can dream, can't she? Maybe I won't really know until I've written a number of books. I actually have an idea for a new novel that will not be romance..gasp!...maybe then, once it's written, will I truly discover who my influences are.
Joanne, it's been wonderful being here. Thank you again for having me. Best of luck to you in all you do! I love hearing from readers and fellow writers! Find me around...
Nadja Notariani : An Author's Adventures
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Nadja, thanks so much for guesting today. I enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about you and your new book.
Hope everyone can stay and chat.