One of my best friends knows this author personally and has whole-heartedy vouched for this book since day one. Yesterday was the release of the book and the beginning of this blog tour, and Sara kicked it off with this lovely post, so go check it out:
Without further ado, here’s my interview with Nicole and some information about the book!
What They Don’t Know by Nicole Maggi
Release Date: 10/2/2018
Mellie has always been the reliable friend, the good student, the doting daughter.
But when an unspeakable act leads her to withdraw from everyone she loves, she is faced with a life-altering choice―a choice she must face alone.
Lise stands up―and speaks out―for what she believes in. And when she notices Mellie acting strangely, she gets caught up in trying to save her…all while trying to protect her own secret. One that might be the key to helping Mellie.
Told through Mellie and Lise’s journal entries, this powerful, emotional novel chronicles Mellie’s struggle to decide what is right for her and the unbreakable bond formed by the two girls on their journey.
You can find the book at these places:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nicole was born in the suburban farm country of upstate New York, and began writing at a very early age. Of course, her early works consisted mainly of poems about rainbows and unicorns, although one of them was good enough to win honorable mention in a national poetry contest! (Perhaps one of the judges was a ten-year-old girl.) Throughout high school, her creative writing was always nurtured and encouraged.
Nicole attended Emerson College as an acting major, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Post-college, she worked as an actress in New York City for over a decade, focusing mainly on Shakespeare and the classics.
Nicole is the author of the Twin Willows trilogy, The Forgetting and now, What They Don’t Know.
You Can Find Her At:
1. Who’s one author that you greatly admire and did their writings have any influence on your own?
A: When I was in middle school, I read the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce and I just wanted to live in that world. It was the first time I realized the power that an author has, to create other worlds and make people want to live in them. I just knew that I wanted to do that, too.
Pierce is a master of world-building and character. I wanted to be Alanna; I wanted to be friends with all of her friends. So when I think about world-building, I think about how she created Tortall, and when I think about character, I think about how much she made me care about Alanna and her circle. It’s my goal to give a reader a world they can truly escape into, and characters they can fall in love with.
2. Aside from other books or authors, what else do you draw inspiration from for your book
A: Honestly, I draw inspiration from the world around me. There is just so much going on in the world, and most of it would make a fascinating book. The trick is to be open, and to pay attention. For example, the idea for the sex-trafficking subplot in my previous novel The Forgetting came from a billboard that I passed every day on the way to pick up my daughter from daycare. The idea for my Twin Willows Trilogy came from going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole. I landed on the page for European Witch Hunts and there was a footnote for something called the Benandanti. I clicked it, and that trilogy was born. I have an idea in my idea file (which is really just a page in my Scrivener program) that is from a tiny news story I saw buried on some website somewhere. Inspiration can come from anywhere.
3. Has the YA community always been your intended audience, or did you think you’d be writing for someone else?
When I first started writing seriously, I actually thought I would be writing romance. At the time I was obsessed with the Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon. My first novel was intended for an adult audience, but when we sent the book out on submission, we got a lot of feedback that it felt like YA. This was just at the start of the Twilight era that sparked the Golden Age of YA that we’re in now. That book wound up not selling, but my agent encouraged me to lean into that advice and write YA. So when I started writing my next book in a teen voice, it just felt like coming home. It brought me right back to all those books I’d loved reading when I was growing up–Tamora Pierce, Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, Jane Yolen–and I knew this was what I was supposed to be writing all along. Also, my teenage years were difficult and traumatic. I think when you have that experience as a teen there’s a part of you that still lives in that place, and it was very easy for me to access it. Incidentally, that book wound up being Winter Falls, my debut novel.
4. Were you ever given any advice for writing that helped? Can you share what that was?
I’ve been given so much great advice over the years! Truly, it takes a village of a lot of other people to create one author. Okay, here’s one of my favorite pieces of practical advice. This comes courtesy of agent-extraordinaire, Donald Maass, author of Writing The Breakout Novel. I’ve taken a few master classes with him and gotten so much out of them. Here’s one thing he said:
When you’re done with your book, done with editing and even fine-tuning, print out a copy of your manuscript. Take that copy and throw it in the air. I mean it. Actually throw the pages in the air and let them fall down on the floor. (This is very cathartic). Then gather the pages back together–but make sure they are OUT OF ORDER. Once you have your out-of-order manuscript, read through it. You’re thinking, Whaaaa? Yes. Read through it, out of order. What this does is keep you present on the page. When you read your book in order, you get lulled in by the story. You miss things, like the fact that you used the word “sluiced” on every other page. You catch all of that when you read it out of order, because every time you turn the page you’re jolted into another part of the story. You don’t have time to get lulled. The first time I did this I caught a paragraph that referred to a character I’d cut out of the book 3 versions ago. I know it sounds like a crazy thing to do, but trust me on this. Pro-tip: make sure you have the pages numbered before you print it out! I speak from experience.
5. What’s your favorite quote from literature and did it ever help you or influence your writing?
Rumi is my favorite poet, and in his Quatrains poem there’s a line that reads, “The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep.”
I remind myself of this a lot. There is always more to discover in the world. Don’t go back to sleep or you might miss it. If you want something, you must use your voice to ask for it. Stand up for yourself. Speak your truth. Don’t go back to your small, sheltered comfort zone and miss out on getting what you want. Step out into the light.
Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog!
Thank you, lovely readers! And a big thank you to Nicole and Sara for this opportunity as well. I wish Nicole and her book all the success in the world!