Thursday, March 3, 2011

Interview with author Nicola Sheridan

Today, my guest is author Nicola Sheridan.  Nicole has written a fantasy romance, Magical Gains.

1) Tell me a little about your book.
“Magical Gains” is a romance between a woman and a Genie.  It’s set in a world where all Magical and Mythological beings are real, and simply considered  minority ethnic groups.  The main characters are Primrose and Imran, mistress and Genie respectively. Primrose is a pretty but inhibited woman whose conservative and repressed existence is shattered by Imran’s gorgeous but unwelcome appearance.  As wish-taking is illegal and magical gains tax is exorbitant - Imran finds himself stuck with a mistress who will not take his wishes.  Suffice to say, the path to true love never runs smoothly and combined with a jealous fiancĂ©, and a panoply of magical beings,  Primrose and Imran’s journey is no exception!

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I was inspired by a biscuit advertisement I saw on television. In this advertisement a woman is the mistress of a lovely male genie, and all she wants from him is a packet of biscuits that never ends… It got me thinking, with sky-high tax rates, the Government would surely make wish-taking illegal and tax magic... So what could you do with Genie? With that thought, the world of “Magical Gains” was born!

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I’m a full time mother and part time writer!  I write for probably about 18 hours a week and usually only get time to write at night. Next year however, I’ll get the opportunity to write full time… We’ll see how that goes. As lovely as the ideal maybe - I don’t know how healthy it would be for me to sit in my own little world for days on end!

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I always wanted to be writer, ever since I could write. Then for a while, I wanted to be a vet! I ended up being  a qualified Archaeologist (hence my love of mythological creatures!) – but essentially all I ever wanted to do was write stories.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I hope readers get a love of mythological and magical creatures from my stories. I honestly feel in our world of terrorism and skepticism, that we need a little magic in our lives. Combine that with a little bit of romance and you’ve got to be happy!

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I love writing paranormal/fantasy romance. I love studying different magical/mythological creatures, and wondering how they would work in our society if they really existed. It’s a lot of fun!
I also have dabbled in children’s fantasy, but I’ve never attempted to get any of it published.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
The toughest part about writing is revising and editing. I loathe it. It sucks the fun right out writing for me. Sitting staring at sentences wondering if I’m inappropriately using pronouns makes me frown, and I don’t want any more wrinkles!

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
No, alas, there aren’t any sexy Genie’s hanging around the lamps in my house… Shame, I need someone to finish my ironing…

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Well, some people have said Primrose is a little like me and I find this vaguely alarming! The only similarities I see are that she gets embarrassed by things I also would find mortifying. The insinuation she smells bad for example, I personally would be horrified by. So I would say I have the same embarrassment threshold as Primrose… but her reactions and dialogue are all her own!

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I’ve spent countless hours looking up Manticores, Satyrs, Sirens and Harpies. I tend to pick and choose what characteristics I use for my magical creatures. For example some Satyrs, have horses tails and no hoofs – whilst others have goat like tails, curling horns and cloven hooves. It’s difficult to get a common description of these beasts – so I choose those characteristics I like and fly with them.

I also tend to only set scenes in places I’m familiar with. “Magical Gains” is set in both Perth, Western Australia (my home town) and Kuching in Malaysian Borneo. By setting scenes in places I’ve been to the smells and sounds of the place are authentic. It’s a good job I’m fairly well travelled!

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
It depends on the character and scene. Mostly I find writing sex scenes difficult, because I don’t want it smutty or too erotic. So, I have to take a lot of care in the words and descriptions I use. Although there are a lot of words to describe genitalia – finding one that is just right is not easy! I want it to be exciting but not sleazy.

As for violence, my books aren’t very violent. I don’t write gore. There are a few violent moments but because they are infrequent, I find them rather exciting to write.

12) What about your book makes it special?
Ah, I think the combination of magic, mythology and romance makes it special. It’s humorous and fast paced and was written to purely to be good fun read.

13) What is your marketing plan?
As “Magical Gains” is my debut novel, I am a little green at this! I’ll be promoting “Magical Gains” mostly via blogs, facebook, my website, various forums and newspapers. I also would really like to get a book trailer happening. I am hoping to get some of my promotional material into shops around Australia and Malaysia before the book comes out.

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
You can follow my blog at or check out my website .

I also have a facebook group,
And I am also one of the Darkside Down under authors, so you can find me there too ( )

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Be creative and let your work be fun to read as well as write.  I honestly think that not all paranormal/fantasy needs to be so grim and dark! Research what makes a good hero, heroine and villain – and give them your own twist.  Make your characters real and feed them occasionally! I’ve read entire books where the heroine has not eaten a bite! Do some more research! Look into what is popular and selling at the moment and see where yours fits and how marketable it is.

Most of all, if you know you’ve got a good story. Don’t give up on it. The rejections aren’t personal, your book just has to resonate with the right person and the right person isn’t hiding in your desk top. Send out your work and be proud of it.

Imran is sexy. He is available – but taking anything from his is illegal, and could land you in prison, or at the very least – with an extraordinarily large tax bill.
Imran is a Genie and Primrose a government employee, and in a world where magic is heavily governed to ensure equality for all – their relationship appears doomed from the start.
When Primrose finds herself the unwilling Mistress of a gorgeous male Genie – her stifling suburban lifestyle is shattered.  Thrust in to the steamy Free Zone, filled with lascivious Satyrs and treacherous Sirens, Primrose discovers that three wishes can give her anything she needs, but can they give what she truly wants?


  1. Finding the right description for body parts is difficult (almost said hard but figured that was too discriptive-LOL). As long as my sons aren't peering over my shoulder, I can write, but if I think one of them is too near . . .

  2. P.L., thanks for stopping by. I find my kids and mom are pretty strict internal editors.

  3. LOL - Yes, it's very difficult. I don't want to use a term that would make my father-in-law cringe, or me to cringe when I know a family member is reading it!

    Thank you Penny for the interview :)

  4. Nicola,my pleasure. Glad you could stop by.