It’s Utah Book Month, and today were spotlighting local Utah author and blogger, Carol Nicolas. As we learned about Carol, we found we had a lot in common. Not only is Carol a BYU grad, as both Brittany and I are, but like us she’s a fan of science fiction and fantasy and enjoys quilting (one of Brittany’s favorite hobbies). A transplant to Utah from Canada (by way of Southern California), Carol’s first book, The Sixth Power, was published in January.
Tania Westing, a high school senior, is one of the Gifted Ones, descendants of an ancient family with seven special powers. Some of the powers are common, and some are rare.
Until her geneticist brother Tom was murdered, Tania lived an ordinary life. Now hidden in her mind is a clue that will reveal Tom’s research, including secret formulas to unlock all seven powers. During spring break, Tania meets and falls in love with handsome Dan Maclean. When Tania reveals her rare power to heal, the evil Gifted Ones who killed Tom suspect Tania has his research and formulas and come after her. Tania must learn to use her powers to help save Dan’s sister in time to keep Tom’s secrets safe.
Exciting, right? We thought so, and we asked Carol to tell us a little about herself, her book and writing interests, and where she finds inspiration for her writing.
- Which author do you look to for inspiration, and why? C.S. Lewis was first my childhood author hero, with J.R.R. Tolkien following close behind. They gave me the inspiration to keep believing in magic and hope when my real world was too hard to deal with. My modern (as in adult) hero is Robin McKinley. I love her stream of conscience style of writing and the depth she creates in her characters. I’ve reread all her books many times.
- What book (that’s been published) do you wish you had written? The Changeling Sea, by Patricia McKillip. I love this book. When you read her books, you fall into the rich descriptions, and you are there, living it. But a close second is The Only Alien on the Planet, by Kristen D. Randle. Her characters and the relationships between them are so real and warm.
- Favorite Utah author? Why?
I’m just getting to know the Utah writers, but so far, it’s Brandon Sanderson. He creates incredible fantasy worlds. I also love Shannon Hale‘s Austenland and Midnight in Austenland. They are so funny!
- What does the perfect story have in it? What do you want readers to find when they open something you’ve written?
The perfect story has romance, adventure, magic, a puzzle to solve, cats, dogs, horses, sword fights, and a happy ending. I want readers of my stories to enjoy the journey, fall in love with the characters, and at the end I hope they’ll have a smile on their faces.
- What was the inspiration for The Sixth Power?
I had a dream about a girl who meets three siblings, and the teenage boy and girl have to breathe for their little sister. When I woke up, I thought, “What an interesting dream. I bet it would make a good story.” So I started writing.
- What got you interested in reading? And what have you done to help your children enjoy reading?
My grandmother read to me as a very little child. When she went back home to Ottawa, she mailed me books. My mother also read a lot, so there were always a lot of books around the house. From the time they were born, I have read to my children. Story time was a great way to put off going to sleep at night. I read to them far longer than they really needed it, and we all enjoyed it together. Because of this, they all love to read.
- What book do you recommend the most? Why?
That would depend on what genre you are writing in and who your audience is. There are a lot of how-to books out there that are really helpful. But I think you have to start with the need to write a story and the dream that someone out there will want to read what you have written. For me, that inspiration came from The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley.
- BYU or University of Utah?
I have to say BYU since it’s my alma mater. I really enjoyed my years there and at Ricks College (now BYU Idaho).
- Favorite thing about Utah?
I love to see the incredible beauty as the seasons change and the the trees go from bare trunks to green to gold and yellow and red. I also love the mountains and the open countryside.
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- for Kindle at: http://www.amazon.com/The-
- for Nook at: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/
- for other ebook readers at:http://www.smashwords.com/
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