Interview – Nina Croft
It is so good to be back! It’s been a quiet few weeks on the site, but I’m so glad to have Nina Croft on the site today. She’s an amazing author. Just look at that book! She writes fast-paced, action-packed, thrilling stories that never disappoint. And she has one of the coolest bios ever! Nina grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia, which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. (Of course!) She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. (Isn’t that awesome!) Nina writes all sorts of romance often mixing in elements of the paranormal and science fiction. You can find out more about her on her great Website, or you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter. And now on with the interview!
So I’ve got to start off by talking about your book covers! They are so fantastic! They caught my eye and then I read the description of the story and it was an instant buy! The packaging of these books is so awesome! Did you have much say in the cover design process?
I love these covers as well—so a huge thank you to the fabulous Heather Howland at Entangled Publishing who designed the covers for the Blood Hunter series.
At Entangled, we get to fill in a cover art form for each book, but my editor already had some strong ideas on the look she wanted for the series. I was given a choice of three mock-ups for book 1, Break Out. I fell in love with the cover we finally chose—it was so Rico (the hero of the book, a two thousand year old vampire, and the pilot of the space ship). I think the only change I asked for was giving him a laser pistol to go with his sword.
On your incredible website, you state that you write in a lot of different genres, but you gravitate towards sci-fi and paranormal with elements of romance. What is it about those two genres that call to you?
I think the main reason I love to write speculative fiction is because absolutely anything can happen. I have to be honest—I love making things up. With Sci-fi and paranormal, as long as I can get my readers to suspend disbelief and go along with me, I can do whatever I like. I can travel through space and time, be immortal, blow things up, turn into a magical creature, save the world…
The Blood Hunter series goes one step further as it combines science fiction and paranormal, so there really are no limits to what I can do—apart from my own imagination.
What sci-fi and paranormal books do you really love?
I grew up reading science fiction and my sci-fi favorites are still books I discovered back then. Dune is my absolute favorite. And I love Robert Heinlein’s, Stranger in a Strange land, and Arthur C Clarke’s, Childhoods End.
My favorite paranormal stories tend to be more current. I love Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series, Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake books, JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Jim Butcher’s Dresdon files…
Awesome! Now, to go back to your books, you have written a lot! What’s the key to your productivity?
Really, it’s that I can write whenever I like. A few years ago, we made a decision to give up our jobs in the UK, sell up, and move to a remote almond farm in the mountains of southern Spain. We spent the first few years working on our house (and it needed a lot of work!) but after that, apart from a few chores around the farm, my time is my own. And so I write—a lot.
You live on farm with your husband and a menagerie of animals. I love it! What’s a typical day like for you?
Yes, it’s great.
The animals are mostly my responsibility so my day revolves around what they need—but on the whole they aren’t particularly needy.
We tend to get up with the sun. Either the dogs wake us or Piggles (my three-legged Vietnamese pot-bellied pig) will come and bang on the bedroom door and suggest it’s time for breakfast. I feed everyone, walk the dogs, maybe ride my mare, Gencianna, then have my own breakfast. After that, I can settle down to write. I usually write new stuff in the morning and do everything else, critting, editing, PR… in the afternoon, interspersed with dog walking at regular intervals.
Let’s talk about your series for a moment. You have the Blood Hunter series, The Order series (love those covers too!), Babysitting a Billionaire series, Sisters of the Moon and Laws of Segregation series. That’s amazing. What have been some of the most surprising challenges in writing a series for you? And what sorts of tricks of the trade have you learned to help with those?
Strangely, I don’t think I’ve ever started a book with the intention of writing a series. It just happens.
I think my main ‘trick’ to make the next book easier, is to fall in love with one of the secondary characters, so that I really want to find out what happens to them and maybe give them a happy ending of their own.
My biggest series challenge right now is writing book 6 of the Blood Hunter series. I have the hero and heroine, I know how I want the book to end, but I just can’t decide how they are going to get there. It’s the last (or so I keep telling myself) book in the series and I suspect I may be getting premature withdrawal symptoms.
Nina, you publish with Entangled Press. How do you like working with such a well-known company?
I love them dearly!
The company has done so well, and grown so fast over the last few years. There have been a lot of changes, but they always seem to stay true to their original code of business and always put their authors first.
I’ve also been amazingly lucky in my editor, Liz Pelletier. Liz has amazing insight into the industry, together with boundless enthusiasm and drive. It’s just amazing to have someone like that on your side.
You posted a photo of a GORGEOUS swimming pool on your website. It’s amazing! What else do you like to do in your free time?
So glad you like the pool—we built it ourselves and I still get up each morning and expect it to have slipped down the mountain.
I spend a lot of my free time reading (often floating on that pool), walking the dogs, riding the horse, and tickling the pig’s stomach. I also spend way too much time lying under fig trees (they provide more shade than almonds), drinking wine and admiring the view.
Finally, advice time! What sort of advice would you give to a writer who has tons of stories in his or her head and wants to get them all on paper but hasn’t really started yet?
It’s hard to give advice because everyone is different and what works for me might not work for anyone else. So I’ll keep it simple and just say—write. Wherever and whenever you can. Try different things, read how-to-write-books and experiment, discover what works for you.
And don’t forget to enjoy yourselves! Make stuff up and have fun!