Author of the Month
As an avid reader, reviewer, author, and editor, I am always looking for new authors to take me away. Nicole McCaffrey did just that with her contemporary The Model Man. Some would say it is a cougar tale, but I personally think it is just a tale of love between two people, regardless of ages, who are deserving of love. Nicoleís fresh approach, wonderful caring attitude, and her ever-present willingness to help other authors, published and unpublisheded, is the reason I choose her for Julyís Author of the Month.
Faith: When did you first start writing?
Nicole: Oh my, thatís a tough one. My clearest memory is around age six. I wrote a short story, got lots of praise for it and was hooked on how something so simple as a few words written on a page could make someone else feel what I felt when I wrote it
Why did you start?
Nicole: Well I started writing romance for the same reason I started writing stories all those years ago at age six—to entertain myself. I wrote the book I wanted to read, but couldnít find.
Faith: What was your first manuscript?
Nicole: Oh gosh—I really canít even remember. I guess it was a western historical with a heavy Native American theme. I cut my teeth, after all, on that genre. They were so popular in the 80s and early 90s
Faith: How many rejections did you have before you became published?
Nicole: Too many to count, LOL. Iíve never really been one to keep track—I think of them more as stepping stones along the journey, because each one was a learning experience for me, and if I learned from it, then it wasnít really a rejection.
Faith: What was your favorite book to write?
Nicole: Northern Temptress was fun for me because of my life-long fascination with the Civil War, in particular the Battle of Gettysburg. So that was me, absolutely gorging myself on my favorite era in history. But fun? Wild Texas Wind, my current western historical (out under consideration as we speak) was definitely a blast. The characters just played off of one another so well. I call it a light hearted cross between The Taming of the Shrew and The Ransom of Red Chief—another way to put it would be Driving Miss Daisy but with younger characters, LOL. The bantering and sparring kept me entertained right to the very last page.
Faith: Do you have any favorite characters?
Nicole: Raz and Arden from Wild Texas Wind were the most fun, but also Derek and Kelly from The Model Man. They were a lot of fun to play off one another, too. I love taking characters from different walks of life who want very different things and finding a reason to force them to spend time together. Then I just sit back and watch the sparks fly.
Faith: How do you find time to write? Or are you on a schedule?
Nicole: I fit it in where I can right now. I work from home part time, so I can juggle my schedule to suit my needs. I donít have a set schedule, yet, but my youngest will start first grade in the fall—right now heís in half-day kindergarten. Iím really looking forward to having not just more time to write and work, but a set schedule in which to do it.
Faith: Please tell us a bit about your books?
Nicole: Small Town Christmas was my first sale—it really took me by surprise. I donít typically write contemporary, but this idea came at me out of the blue. I like to call that one, getting a second chance at first love. My hero and heroine, Holly and Tucker, both return to the small town they grew up in for different reasons. Tucker isnít just the one who got away, heís the one Holly never really had. And Holly is the girl Tucker always loved; he just never realized it. What they discover together over one holiday weekend makes both of them question what it is they really want.
In The Model Man, my heroine is a 40-something single mom, a successful romance novelist. Sheís definitely not looking for love, sex, or romance, not even with the mega famous cover model who poses for all her book covers. The hero is looking for a one-night stand with the lady who writes all those hot love scenes. The two are forced into a pretend romance and thatís when they discover that sometimes, the person who seems completely wrong for you can turn out to be the one person who is exactly right. Itís lighthearted and fun. I was delighted when Simply Romance Reviews called it ďfunny, compassionate, heart-wrenching and downright sexyĒ—thatís exactly what I was going for when I wrote it!
Faith: Where did you come up with the idea for The Model Man?
Nicole: : It started with a dream. I couldnít shake the image in my head when I woke up. Eventually the wheels started turning and I started wondering "hmmmÖ what ifÖ" and a story was born
Faith: What do you have in the works at the moment?
Nicole: Right now, Iím working on a sequel to Wild Texas Wind—my heroís sidekick was such a hit with my critique partners that he just had to have his own story. I also have a couple of short Civil War stories in the works that Iím hoping to submit to TWRP (The Wild Rose Press).
Faith: What is the hardest part about writing?
Nicole: Being a slave to the muse. If the words are flowing and Iím interrupted, I can be quite cranky. If the words are not flowing, I can be quite cranky. And if Iím somewhere and suddenly inspiration hits and I canít get to my computer or a notebook to jot it down—I can be quite cranky. LOL. I donít like to be cranky! But at the same time, there is nothing better than a good day of writing.
Faith: How do you get your ideas for books?
Nicole: They come at me from everywhere and anywhere. A line in a song; a line in a movie; a snippet of conversation overheard in the grocery store; a dream—I never know where an idea will find me. One of the short stories Iím working on right now came from an old abandoned house I drive by on a regular basis.
Faith: Is there any one person or event that influenced you in your writing career?
Nicole: Several people, really. I did have some phenomenal English teachers in high school that really encouraged the writer in me. My parents, both are just your basic blue collar folks—my dad didnít even have a high school diploma—but they never said "no you canít become that." They always encouraged that dream. And of course my favorite authors, even though Iíve never met or spoken with them, their stories kept me inspired. As for events, Iíd have to say losing my job ten years ago in a major cut back at the hospital where I worked. Suddenly I was at home with nothing but time on my hands—I hadnít seriously pursued my writing dream at that point, but now there was nothing to stand in my way. I guess I should also add my husband in there, too, LOL, he could have nagged me about finding another job, but instead he just said "this is what youíve always wanted—do it."
Faith: Do you have any tips for want-to-be published authors?
Nicole: Wear blinders and ear plugs, LOL. Donít look at what everyone else is doing, donít listen to what everyone says you "have" to or "should" write and donít worry about market trends—they change too fast to keep up with. When I wrote The Model Man, no one was taking stories with over-40 heroines and younger men. I wrote it anyway because it was in my heart and by the time it was finished, The Wild Rose Press had opened their doors and was looking for heroines who were over 40. Iíd also say read, read, read—your favorite authors are your best teachers. Learn everything you can about the publishing business and the craft of writing and donít get discouraged. Writing, after all, is a process we learn by doing!
Faith: Anything you would like to say to readers?
Nicole: Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Hearing from readers who enjoy your work is the greatest feeling there is.
Review: Read Faith's review for Myshelf of
2009's Honorary List