• Madison Siwak

Debut Spotlight: An Interview with Nicole Adair.

Nicole Adair is one of the most inspiring writers in our community. She is so hard-working and kind, always sharing bits of wisdom and lifting everyone up. I'm so excited for her debut novel A Tangle of Dreams (which releases the end of June) and to share this interview I did with her, where Nicole speaks about chasing goals, working for a dream, and her honest feelings about debuting.

-Madison Siwak

First things first, could you share a bit about yourself?

Hi! I’m an ambitious overthinking Hufflepuff that has an existential crisis every other day and listens to a lot of Taylor Swift. I’ve been married to my high school crush for nearly ten years, and we have three little ladies that keep us equally enamored and exasperated with them (my five-year-old just interrupted me for snacks, so right now I’m leaning more towards exasperation). I love to read (obviously), rewatch the same ten TV shows over and over again (Team Jess), and write (when the muse is with me).

What has your writing journey looked like?

Messy. Caffeine-fueled. Tear-stained? Back in 2019, I had the idea for my book but I didn’t know what to do with it; I’d never attempted to write a book before and the thought of trying was intimidating. But my idea kept poking me. On January 1st, 2020, I awkwardly sat down with my laptop and started writing. I decided to work on it every day until I finished it, whatever “it” was. So I wrote. Some days it was easy, but most days it was hard and I questioned every word. Some days it was fun and exciting and my characters surprised and delighted me; other days I had to go back and rework the same paragraph countless times because I didn’t know how to move forward. I think the only accurate way to describe my writing journey is to call it soul-stretching; stretching feels fantastic but sometimes it hurts a little.

Your novel A Tangle of Dreams releases at the end of the month! How are you feeling about debuting?

I swing back and forth between elation and stomach-dropping fear. I am both extremely excited and also extremely nervous, and I’m trying to give myself space to feel both things at once. It’s a beautiful thing to see something I’ve worked so hard on coming to life, and I’m thrilled to share my characters with everyone, but it’s hard to be vulnerable and let it all go; I’ve been holding onto it so tightly for such a long time now. But the best things in life make you ache with a happy-sad feeling, and this is one of those things.

Could you pitch A Tangle of Dreams for us?

Gemma and Ollie have been best friends their entire lives, but Gemma’s keeping a secret, one she swore she’d never tell: magic is real. And she’s waited her whole life to have it. On their seventeenth birthday, Gemma and her twin brother, Milo, will be Claimed by one of the three branches of magic. Gemma can’t wait to access her power, but as the day gets closer, she finds herself torn between the future she’s always imagined and the history she shares with Ollie. This goodbye feels impossible, especially with the way Ollie looks at her when he thinks nobody’s watching. But on the night of the Claiming, something goes wrong and Ollie’s caught up in a world he never knew existed as he finally learns the truth behind the lies. Together they must uncover the secrets of the past before fate claims them for its own.

What was the most rewarding part of writing this book?

This is the most committed I’ve ever been to a goal. I stuck with it, and I’m so proud of that. It’s incredible to see these thoughts and ideas that were once just floating around in my head turn into an actual story that has feeling and intrigue and edge-of-your-seat moments. It’s rewarding to realize that hard work and small daily efforts really do create something magical. The whole process has been a privilege.

What do you hope readers will take away from it?

My favorite part about reading is that fluttery, frantic, I-can’t-put-this-book-down feeling, and I would absolutely love it if my readers stay up way too late to read it. I hope everyone can sink into the story and stay awhile. But when they do leave, I want them to close the book with a wistful sigh and start questioning what’s around them; maybe magic really is next door.

How might it appeal to someone outside the target audience?

A Tangle of Dreams is a young adult novel, but I think anyone could enjoy it because the love story is golden. Teenagers are experiencing everything for the first time, whether that’s first love or first heartbreak or their first adventure; everything’s amplified and the stakes always seem higher than they actually are because to a seventeen-year-old, it is everything. That’s what I adore about the YA genre. My book is also a contemporary fantasy, which means there’s texting and magic, so for some readers that don’t necessarily read a lot of fantasy, they will still feel at home.

The cover for A Tangle of Dreams is absolutely stunning. How did your cover come to be?

Thank you! I’m still not over it. When I was writing my first draft, I had a very distinct image of the Superstition Mountain range come to my mind. One night I was up late googling different desert watercolors and I stumbled upon the Arizona artist, Paige Poppe. As soon as I saw her work, I connected with it. I reached out to her to see if she would be interested in designing a cover with me, and here we are.

One of my goals for the cover was to have it look like a piece of art I would hang up in my home, and Paige absolutely accomplished that. Her unique style and gift with watercolors brought the dream-like image in my head to life. I couldn’t be more thrilled with it.

Is there anything about the publishing process that challenged you, or in retrospect, you would have done differently?

Whether you choose to publish traditionally or independently, it’s hard. Some parts will be awesome and others will make you question why you even started this process in the first place. With self-publishing, I’m learning as I go, which gives me flexibility and room to experiment, but it also requires not just one leap of faith but many. I wouldn’t change any of it though. The dark nights of the soul have led to some pretty amazing sunrises.

Do you have any advice for other debut authors?

First of all, celebrate! You wrote a book. And that’s amazing! But don’t expect to feel awesome all the time. “Going for it” is uncomfortable because it’s way outside of your comfort zone. You can be nervous and wonder if anyone besides your mom will read your book (hi mom, thanks for reading!) and still cling to the belief that you wrote a best-seller. It’s okay to feel both things. Be here for all of it.

Where can readers find you and your book?

You can find me on Instagram at @writenicolewrite

A Tangle of Dreams will be available on Amazon at the end of June. Happy reading!