#amreading: Interview with Kat Nichols: Debut Novel to be Released in Jan!

If you love being the first one to find a new author, I have a treat for you! If you like YA Paranormal with a touch of romance, Family Secrets will suit you just fine. Kat was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about her first ever novel and it sounds exciting! Covens, lovers and initiations oh my! 

1What was the genesis of the idea for the Family Secrets Series? Was this an idea you had for a long time before writing it or was it that middle of night flash of genius?

Believe it or not, Family Secrets came to me in one sitting. We’d just formed the Rebel Writers and NaNoWriMo was about to start, so I decided to sit down to plot out a book. I locked myself in my bedroom and just put pen to paper. It took a couple hours, but when I was done I had a very basic idea of what would happen in Family Secrets.

2. What draws you to the paranormal genre?

I love paranormal books. I will read almost anything, but this genre is my true love. Why? I’m not sure I can pinpoint an exact reason. Reading and writing paranormal novels; it’s like an adventure, a vacation from reality. You never know what can happen because as long as the world building is done properly, anything can.

3. Why do you like writing YA books?

I know I’m generalizing here, but it’s that excitement of everything being new or fresh, the tingles of first love and the devastation of first heartbreak. All of the emotions felt so keenly and powerfully. It seems like they experience things on a grander scale and I enjoy delving into those emotions when writing.

4. What has been your favorite part of any of the books you have written so far? Best line or scene you’ve written?

Wow! This one is tough. Family Secrets isn’t out yet and if I told you my favorite part it would be a huge spoiler. I’ll just say that it’s an interaction between Sophia and her grandmother towards the end of the book where they both show some of their true character.

5. Is there a character that has taken a completely different turn than you originally planned for it? Characters that you discarded and wrote out or became more important than you planned?

Yes, definitely. One was Ellen, the family’s cook. When I plotted out the book, she was just a member of the staff. But as I wrote her, she demanded a much larger role and ended up being a pretty important person to Sophia. It’s funny how sometimes a character can take over and tell you how the story is going to go rather than the other way around.  

6. What is the most challenging thing for you writing wise? Fight scenes? Continuity? Love scenes?

The hardest thing for me, right now, is the romance aspect. I won’t use the term love scenes since Sophia doesn’t get past the kissing stage in Family Secrets. I feel almost awkward writing them.  Silly, isn’t it?

7. Who are your major influences?

This is hard for me because I have been reading and writing my whole life. Of course, I need to mention J.K. Rowling. I boarded the Harry Potter train pretty late, at the insistence of my sister-in-law, but I’m so glad I did.  Rachel Higginson was a huge influence. Her books are amazing and she is super sweet. I didn’t even think about indie publishing until after I got to know her. Finally, I can’t leave out the Rebel Writers. I know darn well I wouldn’t have finished Family Secrets without them and all their books are pretty fantastic too!

8. What is the best advice you can give to gain traction for your work?

Since I’m not published yet, I’m still trying to gain traction but you have to get out there and mingle with the blogging/writing/reading world. Joining discussion groups, following Facebook pages, and the like. It can be time consuming, time you may want to spend writing, but in addition to being valuable, you can meet some amazing people. I know I have.

9. Future projects?

Currently I am working on finalizing Family Secrets for publishing and am about 15,000 words into book two, also about Sophia. I’m really excited about this one. I decided to do a collection of books about secret societies. There are several supposedly mythological groups taking refuge in northwestern Illinois. Witches, Mages, Vampires, Shifters, Fae and more, call this small corner of the Midwest their own. They follow one rule above all – Always Keep the Secret. I love the idea that all of these stories take place in one world and that characters you meet now may show up later.

10. Final thoughts?

Well, first of all, thanks for having me. This was fun! I hope everyone checks out Family Secrets when it releases on January 8, 2015. Until then, they can check me out on my websitemy Facebook page or Twitter. 

Kat  (Best name ever!)

Family Secrets: 

An orphan by the age of sixteen, Sophia Morganthal now lives with her best friend and struggles in a world with no relatives. Midway through her Senior year, Sophia finds herself flying across the country to live with a family she never knew existed. She ends up with more questions than answers when she discovers that not only does she come from a long line of witches but that she must be initiated within the year to prevent a battle for coven leadership.

Feeling more alone than ever, Sophia finds her solace in books. The journals of past initiates provide her with more than she ever wanted to know and make her question the path she’s on. Amidst all of the upheaval in her life, Sophia also finds one source of happiness – Connor. The last thing she needs is more complications, but Connor is the only person who makes her feel wanted for herself and not for what she stands for.

As Sophia learns more about herself, and what being initiated into Blackthorne coven really means, she must answer the ultimate question – would she give up everything for her family?

Family Secrets: Excerpt 

After watching Alexa blow up a precious stone, I was a little hesitant to try. She watched me, her foot tapping the floor repeatedly, until I picked out a pretty blue gemstone that matched my shirt. I held it in my right hand, placing my left hand over it just as Alexa had done. Here is where I thought my previous failed attempts would come in handy since I already knew what didn’t work. But it didn’t matter much after all. My magic, perhaps knowing it was about to be used for the first time, was waiting as impatient as a child kept inside on a rainy day. Unlike those previous attempts, I was finally able to find it, grasp a tendril and tug lightly. It, whatever it was, unspooled and began to move towards my hands. I looked up at Alexa, panic building in my chest, heart beating erratically as this energy moved through my body. It began to pool in my hands, where I should have been able to send it into the stone, but somehow it was blocked. My heart continued to race, getting faster and faster as the energy filled my hands. The pressure built until I was sure my hands would burst, when Alexa placed a hand on my wrist.

“Relax,” she said. “Let it flow.”

Something snapped in my brain, a mental block I had thrown up against magic being real, and finally, my power began to pour into the sapphire. It wasn’t long before I felt some resistance from the stone, as the energy flow slowed. I pulled back, somehow instinctively knowing how and my connection to the stone broke. In my hands, I held my very own power stone. Opening my hand, the gem sat on my palm, pulsing along with my heartbeat. I barked out a laugh, staring at the stone, then raised my head to look at Alexa.

It was real. It was all real. Everything they told me. I shook my head, still staring at the stone in my hand. The magic energy had retreated back into my body, but I could feel it pulsing inside my chest, refusing to be hidden again, at one time both foreign and completely natural.