Sunday, October 7, 2018

Blog Tour: What They Don't Know by Nicole Maggi -- Author Interview + Giveaway!

About This Book:

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 choicea 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.

Find the Book Here:

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. 

Now living in Los Angeles, Nicole balances writing full-time with motherhood. WINTER FALLS, the first in her TWIN WILLOWS TRILOGY (Medallion Press, 2014) is her debut novel. She has a stand-alone novel, HEARTLINES, coming out in February 2015 with SourceBooks Fire, as well as the second and third novels in the TWIN WILLOWS TRILOGY in 2015 and 2016.

Author Interview:

1)    Do your characters’ stories ever reflect experiences you’ve had in real life?

Yes. But not so much in What They Don’t Know. I’d say my Twin Willows Trilogy has the most personal experiences in it, because the main character’s mother in that series was based on my Italian grandmother and so much of my Italian upbringing was woven into the main character’s daily life. 
Though it wasn’t based on personal experience, there is a scene in What They Don’t Know where Mellie, who finds herself pregnant after being raped, goes to a “pregnancy crisis center.” These “fake abortion clinics” have been in the news a lot lately. They’re run by anti-choice organizations and lean very heavily on coercing women not to terminate their pregnancies. Mellie’s experience in the clinic is based on real accounts I read from women who visited these clinics, seeking help and medical care. Everything that happens to Mellie in that scene - from being forced to undergo an ultrasound, being given baby clothes, and not being allowed to leave - happened to someone in the research that I did.

2)    Are you friends with any authors? If so, have they ever influenced your work or helped you to become a better author?

I’m friends with many, many authors. I’m so fortunate that where I live, in Los Angeles, the YA author community is vast and wonderfully supportive. We’re all showing up at each other’s launch parties, meeting up for drinks, and organizing panels with each other. So many of these authors have been such a huge help to me; not to just my writing, but to my emotional well-being as a writer! 
But the writer who has been the most helpful is Romina Garber (author of the Zodiac series under the name Romina Russell). Years ago she posted a Craig’s List ad to start a critique group. I answered the ad, and an amazing friendship was born. We often joke that we’re twin brains because we think so much alike. We did have a critique group for a while; it’s since disbanded but Romina and I still meet up once a week to write together, and we’re always bouncing ideas off each other. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without her!

3)    Is there a specific book genre that you prefer to write within, such as paranormal, contemporary, or thriller?

Although What They Don’t Know is contemporary YA, I actually prefer writing paranormal or fantasy, and historical. It’s what I loved reading when I was growing up, and it’s still what I prefer to read. I actually don’t read a ton of contemporary fiction. I just like being able to escape into a totally made-up world, whether it’s my own or another author’s. 
Writing What They Don’t Know was a hugely rewarding experience, and incredibly enriching. I learned a lot about myself while I was writing it. But when I finished it, I realized that I really missed writing fantasy, and I think that’s what my next project will be.

4)    Why did you choose to write stories for a young adult demographic?

My first novel (which remains unpublished) wasn’t written as YA, but when my agent sent it around to editors, we got a lot of feedback that it felt like YA. This was just at the beginning of the Twilight craze, at the dawn of this Golden Age of YA that we’re in now. So she encouraged me to try writing YA for my next book. When I started writing in a teen voice, it felt like coming home. It took me right back to all those books that I’d loved when I was growing up: Tamora Pierce, Judy Blume, Lois Lowry.
I love writing for an audience that is still figuring out their place in the world, at a time when they’re starting to think about their own beliefs and values separately from their parents’. Being able to reach teens at this powerful time in their lives is incredibly gratifying and humbling.

5)    Are there any books that had a significant impact on your writing?

So many! But I’ll just name a couple. The books that made me want to be an author were the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. I wanted to live in the world of those books; I wanted to be friends with all the characters. It was the first time that I realized the power an author has to create worlds that other people want to live in. I thought, “I want to do that, too.”
When I plot out a book, I usually use the Hero’s Journey as my template, and no one is a better master at that than JK Rowling with Harry Potter. Not only does each book of the series fit into the template, but the entire 7-book series fits into it too. I really looked to her character journey arcs when I was writing my Twin Willows Trilogy.

6)    What is your favorite quote?

I have a few, but I’ll mention this one from Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?”

I think it’s so easy to be consumed by fear, and allow ourselves to be smaller than we are. Especially for women, who are taught from a very early age that we shouldn’t be too big, too loud, too successful, or too good at anything. When I’m feeling like that, like I don’t deserve happiness or success, I remind myself of this quote.


There are two prizes up for grabs! Two winners will each win one (1) copy of What They Don’t Know by Nicole Maggi. The giveaway will run from October 2nd to October 12th and, unfortunately, is US only.

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Blog Tour Dates:

OCT 2nd – What A Nerd Girl Says – Guest Post
OCT 3rd – Bookschief Managed – Interview
OCT 4th – Movies Shows n Books – Guest Post
OCT 5th – Luna Reviews – Guest Post 
OCT 6th – Gryffindor Books – Interview
OCT 7th – Knightingale Reviews – Interview
OCT 8th – Starkiller Reads – Interview
OCT 9th – Nite Lite Book Reviews – Guest Post

OCT 10th – The Readers Antidote – Guest Post

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