Nicole Maggi: WINTER FALLS

We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. One author, four questions.  Today we’re talking to Nicole Maggi, author of WINTER FALLS.  Here we go!

Hey, you’re getting published!  How’d that happen?

It has been a very long and twisted path to publication for me.  So twisted, in fact, that until I hold that book in my hands I won’t believe it’s actually happening!  I started writing for publication over a decade ago.  I had always written as a child and teenager, but moved away from it while I pursued my other passion, acting.  Then during a period of time when the acting wasn’t going so well, I returned to writing.  The first novel I wrote, which landed me my agent, didn’t sell.  After a couple of false starts with other books, I genre-hopped into YA and realized it was the true home for my voice.  Then a few years ago, I landed a 3-book contract with a Big Six publisher…only to have the contract cancelled 18 months later after my editor left the company.  It was absolutely devastating.  But like the phoenix I rose from the ashes to resell the book, and keep writing.  I am proof-positive that persistence pays off, and I think all the bumps I’ve had along the way make the successes all that more sweeter.

What’s your debut book about?  Can you share any cool details with us?

First, a little blurb about WINTER FALLS:

Alessia Jacobs is a normal sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small Maine town. Things start to perk up when a new family comes to town, complete with a super-hot and mysterious son, Jonah. But just as she begins to crush on him, Alessia’s world is turned upside down. She has visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon, and soon learns that she is a part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors who have the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies. In this transformed state, their souls take on the form of magnificent animals.

Little did Alessia know that her small boring town is actually the site of an epic struggle between the Benandanti and their enemy, the Malandanti. Both sides are fighting to gain control of a powerful magic in the forest that surrounds the town. As Alessia is drawn deeper and deeper into the Benandanti’s mission, and her relationship with Jonah intensifies, her life spins out of control. Unable to maintain the balance between her two identities, everything begins to fall apart and her two worlds collide with devastating consequences.

And now, a fun fact about the book. WINTER FALLS actually started out as historical fiction, the genre I started out in.  It was originally set in 16th century Italy, when the Benandanti first came to prominence (bonus fun fact: the Benandanti really existed!).  But several months into writing it, I got absolutely bored with it. Tip: It’s never a good thing when you’re bored with your own writing!  I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong, and then in a random conversation with my husband, I mused out loud, “Maybe it doesn’t have to be set in the 16th century.”  EUREKA!  As soon as I contemporized (hey, I just made up a word!) the story, it all fell into place.

What do you do in your daily life outside of writing?

Well, I have a 2 1/2 year old, so that keeps me pretty busy!  I was also acting right up until I got pregnant, and while I’ve contemplated a return to acting, I’ve realized that I actually like the writing life better.  I also have a seasonal job that’s kind of cool – I hire and manage the security guards for the Oscars.  It may sound kind of glamorous, but I’m literally stationed in the parking garage underneath the theatre, so it’s actually as unglamorous as you can get!  I do get to walk the red carpet before all the stars do…although it’s covered in plastic.  They only unwrap it like an hour before the cameras start rolling!

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

This probably sounds like a total Los Angeles cliche, but I’m a yoga nut.  I’m just so happy when I’m doing yoga.  When I’m on my mat I feel like, if I can do this crazy ridiculous pose with my leg behind my head, I can do anything.

I’m a Shakespeare geek.  In my previous life as an actor, I did lots and lots of Shakespeare.  It is amazing how relevant his works are today, four hundred years after they were written.  If I could take only one book to a desert island, it would be The Riverside Shakespeare; if I could meet only one historical figure, it would be the man himself (and no, I don’t believe that the Earl of Oxford or Francis Bacon or Queen Elizabeth I wrote the plays).

I love to travel.  When I was a kid my parents didn’t spoil me with stuff; they spoiled me with experiences.  I’ve been very fortunate to have traveled to many different places, and I think it’s influenced me greatly as a writer and a person.  When my daughter is a little older I hope to instill the same love of travel in her.

My tastes in movies, books and music are all over the place!  For example, my top four favorite movies are Rear Window, Doctor Zhivago, Gone With The Wind, and Tootsie.  Books are Les Miserables, I Capture the Castle, Anna Karenina, and the Harry Potter books.  Music ranges from Mendelssohn to Florence and the Machine.  I guess I just don’t like to fit into one little box!

Nicole Maggi lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a backyard full of fruit trees. She’s repped by the fabulous Irene Goodman and her paranormal YA novel WINTER FALLS debuts next year from Medallion Press. Check out her website and follow her on Twitter!