I’m really excited to interview Nicole Evelina, my first interview of an author I actually know in person. I first met Nicole when she gave a talk to the writers’ guild I belong to, Saturday Writers, in St. Peters, MO. I was so impressed, I immediately purchased her romantic comedy, Been Searching For You. I absolutely loved it and have since read Daughter of Destiny. Being a long-time fan of Marian Zimmer Bradley, I felt right at home with this Guinevere tale and highly recommend it. I proudly present this interview so more people can become acquainted with her books. She is definitely a rising star author to be watched.
Nicole — Tell us about yourself
I’m an award-winning author who writes historical fiction, romantic comedy, women’s fiction and non-fiction. My four books have won nearly 20 awards, including two Book of the Year designations.
Yes, I’ve been watching your awards roll in. It’s mind blowing, but all well deserved.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
By day I work in marketing for a health care company. I have two superpowers: a really sensitive nose I call the Super Sniffer and, according to my boss, I work very quickly and can accomplish twice that of the normal person. If I wasn’t a writer, I would be a historian or a makeup artist. Oh, and I am a huge cat person. I only have two, but they are my children.
What would you like to tell readers about your books?
My first two books, Daughter of Destiny and Camelot’s Queen, are historical fantasy that tell Guinevere’s story from her POV. Daughter of Destiny covers her early life before she meets and marries King Arthur, when she was a priestess of Avalon who was in love with someone else and had no dreams of being queen. Camelot’s Queen covers Guinevere’s time on the throne, including her infamous affair and tumultuous relationship with Morgan, neither of which unfolds like you might expect. My third book, Been Searching for You, is a contemporary romantic comedy set in Chicago that chronicles a modern woman’s search for her soul mate after age 30. My most recent novel, Madame Presidentess, is biographical historical fiction about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president in the US in 1872. She was born dirt poor, the daughter of a con-man and religious zealot, and yet managed to also become the first woman to own a stock brokerage on Wall Street, the first to speak before the House Judiciary Committee of Congress, and one of the first to run a weekly newspaper. Despite all of this, she’s not in the history books.
If you could collaborate with any author (living or dead) who would it be and why?
It’s tempting to say Shakespeare or Marlowe, but if I was going to work with an author from the past, I think it would be Daniel deFoe. I’m a huge Moll Flanders fan. I would want to learn how he came up with such an outrageous storyline and yet managed to make it believable. I could teach him a thing or two about spacing in modern novels (the original Moll Flanders has no chapter breaks and very little distinction between narrative and dialogue).
If you travel, what was your best (or worst) experience?
You know, I think my best and worst came on the same trip. Last year I went to Oxford, England, for the Historical Novel Society Conference. The journey there was the trip from hell. My flight from St. Louis to Chicago was delayed three times and then ended up being pushed to the next day, which messed up my schedule and resulted in me paying for a night’s hotel that I didn’t use. Then they lost my luggage. Everyone I talked to told me something different regarding where it was and when I would get it. It ended up taking six days (I was only there for eight) so I had to buy everything new from toiletries to clothes and shoes. It took six months after I got home to get the airline to reimburse me. Needless to say, I will not be flying them again.
But once I got settled in England, aside from falling out of the bathtub at my first hotel (did I mention I am VERY clumsy?), everything was great. I fell in love with Oxford (which is tied with Glastonbury as my favorite English city) and had fun creating my own Discovery of Witches tour based on places mentioned in the book. I got to stay in St. Anne’s College during the conference (a dream come true). I learned so much and met so many wonderful people. To top it off, I met up with some writer friends I hadn’t seen in like a year. Despite the trouble I had getting there, the trip was wonderful.
It’s great you were able to make what could have been a bad situation into something that worked for you.
In your wildest dreams, one or more of your books is made into a movie. Who plays the lead roles? Why?
Oh, I cast my books while I write them because it makes it easier for me to write realistic dialogue, body language and facial expressions, so I can answer this one easily. I have Pinterest boards that have my actors on them. I’ll include the links.
The why is pretty much the same for all: they are actors I know have the chops to play the roles and they look like the characters. Sometimes they are a little too old for the characters, but I don’t really care. This is my fantasy world, dammit!
Guinevere: Jessica Brown Findley
King Arthur: Christian Kane
Aggrivane: Orlando Bloom
Isolde: Rachelle Lefevre
Elaine: Emilie DeRavin
Annabeth: Ashley Clements (she’s actually my audio book narrator for this book)
Alex: Bradley Cooper
Miles: Charles Michael Davis
Nick: Sebastian Stan
Mia: Kathleen Robertson
Victoria: Sara Joy Brown
Canning: Ed Westwick
James: Ed Norton
Tennie: Zoe Boyle
Theodore Tilton: Michael Therriault
What’s Next — What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on my first non-fiction book, The Once and Future Queen, which traces the evolution of the character of Guinevere in Arthurian legend from her Celtic roots to the present day. I’ve also got an untitled novella in the works that takes place about halfway through Been Searching for You. I want to be working on Mistress of Legend, the final book my Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, but my characters aren’t talking right now.
I hear you on that one… they do go silent from time to time.
Below are blurbs from each of Nicole’s books:
Daughter of Destiny — You may think you know the story of Guinevere, but you’ve never heard it like this: in her own words. Listen and you will hear the true story of Camelot and its queen.
Before queenship and Camelot, Guinevere was a priestess of Avalon. She loved another before Arthur, a warrior who would one day betray her.
In the war-torn world of late fifth century Britain, young Guinevere faces a choice: stay with her family to defend her home at Northgallis from the Irish, or go to Avalon to seek help for the horrific visions that haunt her. The Sight calls her to Avalon, where she meets Morgan, a woman of questionable parentage who is destined to become her rival. As Guinevere matures to womanhood, she gains the powers of a priestess, and falls in love with a man who will be both her deepest love and her greatest mistake.
Just when Guinevere is able to envision a future in Avalon, tragedy forces her back home, into a world she barely recognizes, one in which her pagan faith, outspokenness, and proficiency in the magical and military arts are liabilities. When a chance reunion with her lover leads to disaster, she is cast out of Northgallis and into an uncertain future. As a new High King comes to power, Guinevere must navigate a world of political intrigue where unmarried women are valuable commodities and seemingly innocent actions can have life-altering consequences.
Fans of Arthurian legend and The Mists of Avalon will love Daughter of Destiny, the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy that gives Guinevere back her voice and traces her life from an uncertain eleven year old girl to a wise queen in her fifth decade of life.
Camelot’s Queen — This highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny proves there is much more to Guinevere’s story than her marriage and an affair. See the legend you think you know through her eyes and live the adventure of Camelot’s golden days yourself – but be prepared to suffer its downfall as well.
History remembers Guinevere’s sin, but it was Arthur who transgressed first.
Forced into a marriage she neither anticipated nor desired, Guinevere finds herself High Queen, ruling and fighting alongside Arthur as they try to subdue the Saxons, Irish and Picts who threaten Britain from every direction. Though her heart still longs for her lost love, Guinevere slowly grows to care for her husband as they join together to defeat their enemies.
Meanwhile, within the walls of Camelot their closest allies plot against them. One schemes to make Guinevere his own, another seeks revenge for past transgressions, while a third fixes her eyes on the throne. When the unthinkable happens and Guinevere is feared dead, Arthur installs a new woman in her place, one who will poison his affections toward her, threatening Guinevere’s fragile sanity and eventually driving her into the arms of her champion.
Amid this tension a new challenge arises for the king and queen of Camelot: finding the Holy Grail, a sacred relic that promises lasting unity. But peace, as they will soon learn, can be just as dangerous as war. As the court begins to turn on itself, it becomes clear that the quest that was to be Arthur’s lasting legacy may end in the burning fires of condemnation.
Been Searching For You— Searching for Mr. Right is harder than she thought…
A hopeless romantic, Annabeth Coe knows that her soul mate is out there – somewhere. After all, she’s been writing him heartfelt love letters since she was teenager. Her plan is simple: write her future husband letters and gift them to him on their wedding night to prove how long she’s loved him.
Now, as an adult, Annabeth worries that he may never come along. But when she meets handsome literature professor Alex Grantham, she believes her quest for true love may finally be over. Unfortunately, her timing couldn’t be worse. Frustrated with the love gods, Annabeth vows to take her fate into her own hands. But when the scars and mistrust from her past relationships threaten to destroy a budding relationship, she must face the harsh truth. With an ex-boyfriend who won’t let go and a meddlesome best friend, Annabeth just might be searching for love for the rest of her life – unless the man she’s destined for is just one love letter away.
Madame Presidentess — The story of one woman who was ahead of her time – a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century – but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.
Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books.
Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.”
But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women.
Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect.
Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations.
This is the story of one woman who was ahead of her time – a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century – but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.
Where can readers find more about you or your books?
I have an author website at https://nicoleevelina.com/
Audible – Daughter of Destiny
iTunes – Daughter of Destiny
Nicole, thank you for your time and for sharing with us. I look forward to reading Camelot’s Queen and the rest of your future books.