Good morning monsters! In the past I have randomly done author spotlights here and there. At this time, I have decided to make it a weekly feature each Thursday. I hope you all will enjoy getting to know the featured authors.
With that being said…
I am so excited to have author Nicole Strycharz on the blog today. She is the first to be interviewed in this new weekly feature.
It has been a pleasure working with you on this project.
And now, upward and onward!
Attention Book Bloggers:
If you are interested in interviewing Nicole or reading any of her books available on Amazon (in exchange for an honest review), you may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicole has been writing historical romance for over ten years. Her passion for history fuels the creativity for her novels and she finds the tools there to create a compelling plot.
However, she’s evolved into writing contemporary romance as well, with more modern stories to come.
“The Divorce” was nominated in the 2016 Indie Book Awards! “The Divorce” also won second place in the 2016 Best Cover Design in ‘Urban Literature Magazine.’
Nicole lives in Virginia with her three children and their amazing Grandparents. She is always reading or working on the next book between mommyhood adventures.
~Second Edition including a Q&A with the author and a BONUS Chapter~
Jenzy: I love my husband, but he doesn’t see me anymore. We were college sweethearts and for seven years I’ve been his wife. Five of those years were bliss; the last two have been a long fall from grace.
He’s the love of my life, the sexy and smart man I saw my future with, but now I don’t think he sees it too. I’m tired of not being seen, I’m tired of not being heard, and I’m tired of being in love alone.
I was his optimistic hippie girl that he couldn’t get enough of. Now I’m just his annoyance.
So, I told him, I finally found the backbone, and this is our story…
Chris: My wife just told me she wants a divorce. What the hell do I say to that? I thought we were fine-, well fine is a bad word, I thought we were okay. Doesn’t matter what I think because she’s moving out and I can’t really let this happen.
Yeah, she annoys me, we’re total opposites, but I knew that when I met her, she hasn’t changed…maybe I have? I was her anchor, her safety, her home. Now I’m that guy that’s wrecked her and there are plenty of men willing to repair the damage I did.
So, I have a plan. Find out what happened to change my affection for her within the last two years, and win her back before someone else does, because I still love her, and she still loves me…I guess…
Two Weeks Later
I was standing in the kitchen pouring myself a coffee with one hand and text messaging with the other when it happened. I was dressed for work, ready to go, and she came to sit at the table behind me with her tea.
“Chris,” she said my name like a question.
“I think we should separate.”
“Okay, honey,” I kept pouring then set down the coffee pot and took a sip. I didn’t really hear her. I was reading this last message and multitasking has never been my strong point.
“I’m going to move in with Todd and Mandy. They have that spare room,” she went on.
“Also…” I still wasn’t listening but something in the one word caught my attention. “I’m going to run by the lawyer’s office today to file for the divorce.”
Divorce…the word radiated through me like heat waves and rippled on my skin until the hair on my body stood up. I turned around with a frown and faced her, “I’m sorry, you what?”
“I want to separate and I’m going to live with your brother for a while. I also said I’m going in to file today.”
I stared at her for a whole minute. Maybe this was the first time I’d really seen her in months. She was in a white tank and jeans with a pink, fuzzy, shawl, sweater thingy that wrapped around her. She had like three necklaces on and why three? I know why. She couldn’t decide so she went with all three. She’s terrible with little decisions. This was a big one though and she looked so sure.
As a guy, I said the first thing that came to mind. We don’t have nine million thoughts like women have so it was a simple thought I said out loud, “What the fuck?!”
“We aren’t in love anymore, Chris it’s the logical step to take. No need in dragging it out. We had seven years, and more than half meant the world to me. It was a good run.”
“A good run?” I’m not sure what was worse, her words or her calm, “What is this, a marathon? What the hell do you mean a ‘good run?’ You’re my wife for Christ’s sake.”
“Don’t Chris me! And what the fuck do you mean, ‘we aren’t in love’, I love you like I always loved you.”
She took the annoyingly calm role, “Look, you don’t need me anymore, but I need you. Or I did. You haven’t seen me, except when I do something wrong, for two years.”
I tossed my mug in the sink and heard it break.
I blocked her out again to replay what she said before, “You’re moving in with friggin Todd?” Todd and Jenzy have been best friends since high school but I never noticed her until college when she showed up on campus. She was also his wife’s best friend too. “This is ridiculous, Jenzy! Is this something you’re doing to get my attention or-?”
“No, I’ve been trying for that, it hasn’t worked. This is me giving up.”
“You can’t mean to say you haven’t noticed we’re having problems? We only ever fight or ignore each other. I don’t want to be that couple that lives that way forever. We can still be friends-.”
I laughed out loud like when I watch Dude Where’s My Car. My wife just told me a line dating people use when it’s not working out.
Then the laughter stopped, and I felt anxiety ridden. She was serious. “Friends? I’m your husband.”
“And I love you. You were the best of everything for me, but you don’t want me. You haven’t for a long time. I annoy you-.”
“Are you sleeping with someone?” Yeah, I know. Another typical guy question put in the typical guy way, but excuse me, I thought this marriage was fine. Yeah, we fight a lot but all couples fight. Yeah, I haven’t put an effort in with sex. My career has been taking off and we settled into each other.
She set her tea down and sighed, “I could never hurt you like that. Cheating is cheap, and you matter too much to me. I would never stomach letting someone touch me behind your back, but…”
Oh shit! “But what?”
“I met someone I like talking to.”
“Are you kidding me?” I came around to stand beside her and bent to turn her chair out. She’s so small it’s like turning a kid. “Who the fuck is it?”
“Come on, Chris it’s not important.”
“The hell you say! I’ll break his face.”
“You can’t. You’re trained in MMA fighting and you’d go to jail.”
“Invite him over. I’ll do it once he’s inside. Law says that’s okay.”
She smiled and touched my cheek. Whoa. Her touch. I’ve missed that. I love that. What have I done?
“I never did anything to betray you. He and I just talk. Like friends.”
“Invite your friend over and we can all be friends until one of us goes missing.”
“I’m setting you free. This is a good thing. This way it’s a healthy break.”
“I don’t want a break,” I held her shoulders and she took her hand away, “Jenzy, divorce is big. It’s not a timeout or a-, it’s for good.”
What inspired you to be an author?
When I was small, like three, I drew pictures out of boredom while my mom worked. She used to take me with her because there was a play area at the back of the store.
“What’s the story of this picture?” she asked me.
I hadn’t even put much work into the drawing, but she pressed me to tell her a story, so I did. She wrote it down on the paper and folded it in half. Then she told me that I made my own book.
After that, I started telling stories about everything and everyone. As soon as I could write, I was writing them down. She went on to homeschool me and devoted special attention to sharpening my storytelling skills. To this day, she challenges me and presses for my best. Every character I write has a hint of my mother in them. She’s my constant source of inspiration.
I was accepted at two publishing houses years ago. Happiest days ever! However, life threw me some curveballs and I lost my confidence and my mojo. I shelved my work and quit for a while to try other things, but I always came back to writing and I never stopped telling myself stories.
After my first son was born, mom bought me a laptop and told me to get going again. I started writing again but I didn’t try publishing.
In December 2013, I lost my partner to a car accident and it knocked me off my feet in many ways. I was due to have his son, my third child, in June of the following year. Writing became my way to cope but I wasn’t being serious with it.
In 2015, I decided to do a final revise of one of my books, and since losing my guy, I wrote with more of a learned and raw twist. My work came from a real place where I stopped holding back and then I self-published in December that year and snuggled with my first paperback.
So, I was inspired by many elements but in the end, I need to write, and I would do it if I was paid nothing and I would do it even if it was just for myself. I’m a storyteller.
What genre do you write?
I am trying to become a multi-genre author. I love the idea of having many different avenues of entertainment for readers. As of right now, I have, contemporary romance, historical romance, and paranormal.
What is your current project?
I’m currently working on a co-written book with author Steve Wilhelm. It’s a contemporary romance that we have been working on for over a year! We have had the best experience, constructing this together and learning from each other. The release is coming this August and we are waiting now, with baited breath to share our baby. I’m under a code of silence about the specifics because we are ironing out final kinks.
What were you like as a child? Did you like to write then?
I was, according to my mom, a really easy kid but it was just us and my mom has always been my best friend, so I think I was easy because I loved her so much. I wrote all the time, as soon as I could write, I did it constantly. In high school, I got serious about it.
What is your favorite book? Why?
I cannot do this question. Haha. Seriously, it is like asking me to pick my favorite kid. I’m also split down the center between the traditionally published world and the Indie world.
I can list some of my top favorite authors, though.
These are a few from many that I can’t get enough of, but I love them for their depth. Their ability to write from complex places and make you ask yourself profound questions. Each one treats their pages like a canvas for their art and disconnected me with reality while I read.
What is your favorite book that you have written? Why?
Ummmmm, it’s a toss-up between The Divorce and A Letter for Randal. Both are opposites, but I love them for it. The Divorce was never meant to be as big as it is with people. I wrote it thinking it might be one of those that just sit on the market forever unmoving. I love it because it speaks to everyone and has become my most faithful story. It’s earned me many new readers and brought me amazing new friends. I love it for what it represents.
A Letter for Randal, I love because I’m a history nut, and it’s set in an era I admire. I also adore the characters because they were most vibrant to me. The town I created in The Maybrook Trilogy is my happy place and the prequel (Randal) is where it all began so my heart is there.
Do you ever use a pseudonym? Why or why not?
No. I almost did when I started, but then I realized how much Strycharz sticks out. I mean, type my name into Amazon or Google and my books are the first thing to pop up. So, I decided to stay with it because for now, it sets me apart from the masses. I kept Nicole because I don’t mind my name and my close friends call me Nikki anyway.
Do you have a writing routine?
Hahahaahahaha— no. Three kids under eight means I take what I can get and lately it’s getting harder. I might be going on an extended break for a bit until I can better balance my home life.
How do you decide on character names and plots?
Plots come to me from various places especially when I hear other people’s stories. Most the time they come through music, though. I don’t think I would have any books if I didn’t have music. Lyrics can trigger an entire story idea or maybe even just a scene.
Names, sometimes I have to search for them, other times they just jump into my head. They must fit the character. I have written halfway into books and realized a name didn’t fit and was throwing off the character’s actions and therefore the book. Chris from The Divorce was Stefan for the first six chapters and it was screwing with the book so badly. My mother caught it without my saying anything and we started playing with new names.
She texted me, “He’s a Chris.”
I was like, “YESSSSSS!” and then Chris Clark was born.
Are you a full time author or do you have a day job?
I am not. I’m a single mom and we homeschool so it gets fit in where I can.
What is your latest book and what was the inspiration for it?
My latest book, ‘She Comes With The Tide’ was a contribution to a wonderful Anthology.
It is book four in Dark Waters A Mermaid Anthology. I’m sandwiched between some crazy talented authors such as Alexia Purdy, Jessica Ozment, Stephanie Jolicoeur, and Marsha Black.
My inspiration for it came from Homer’s The Odyssey and the darkest parts of my imagination.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I have three versions haha.
- This isn’t a competition. Books, our stories, are like stars. The night sky would never be as beautiful if there was only one. So, let’s brighten it together.
- Commit to your characters, even if that means they disappoint you.
- Embrace all reviews. Five or one stars. Because either way, you have reached the reader and many times a one star means you touched something at their core and that’s what a book is supposed to do. Not everyone is going to like what you write, but not everyone likes Shakespeare and Hemmingway either. It doesn’t mean they suck.
Click to buy:
“I devoured this book. It’s such a great story. It’s an honest look at the slow decline of a marriage and not realizing what you have until it’s gone.”
- posted by Angie on Amazon
Click to buy:
“I have found my newest guilty pleasure in the Maybrook Trilogy and this prequel does not disappoint! This is a skillfully crafted tale that will engage you from the first sentence, transport you back in time and fascinate you with well drawn characters and beautifully depicted scenes. Be prepared to ugly cry (especially in the beginning),giggle at times, and fall in love!
Perfect series for all seasons and I am on to the next one!
Five shiny stars!”
- posted by Mensa Mama on Amazon
Click to buy:
“My heart was tugged and squeezed. A romantic tragedy that will have your heart pounding, your arms covered in goosebumps and in the end, desiring for more. It was brilliant!”
- posted by Bookish About Love on Amazon
(Plot Monster review of Dark Waters A Mermaid Anthology coming soon.)
Click to buy:
“Samhain is a journey into another world – a world of fae, druids, gift keepers and other supernatural beings you’ve never even heard of. As the darker nights draw in you should treat yourself to a few hours in this world that Strycharz has so richly drawn for us with her magical words.”
- posted by The Black Rose on Amazon
Be sure to visit her on Amazon to check out her other books.
So what do you think?
Do any of these books look appealing to you?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.