Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our ninth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.
We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author of steamy romance novels. Please join me in welcoming Nicolina Martin to ILRB! 🙂
Marie Lavender: Hello, Nicolina. Please have a seat.
Author Nicolina Martin: Hi, Marie!
Marie: Hey, it’s such a pleasure to have you here!
I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.
Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…
Nicolina: I write romance, living with my bad boys and fair ladies, 24/7, or so it feels. But what’s bringing food to my table is my day job as a radiologist.
Marie: Oh, nice! 😀
So, tell us…what is your family like?
Nicolina: I’m a mom of three teen daughters and three kitties. We’re a…loud family. The kids are very much teen ladies right now, with life being dramatic all the time.
I can’t remember being like that. Was I?
Marie: (Chuckles.) I hope I wasn’t that bad too! 😉
Let’s try something else, okay?
If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Nicolina: My parents were working class. Very tidy. Home cooked meals. Mom stayed at home with me and later on with my sister for the first five years of our lives. In Sweden both parents often work, so having Mom at home was a bit of a luxury. I had a very traditional upbringing, I think. A bit strict.
Marie: I see…
Do you have any hobbies, Nicolina? What do you enjoy doing?
Nicolina: I sing in a gospel choir, and I love gardening. I should work out, you know…it just doesn’t seem to happen.
Marie: (Laughs.) I know what you mean!
So…what is your greatest dream?
Nicolina: Well, authoring related it is to make an impact, to know that readers get a few hours of complete distraction, and that they close the books with a deep satisfaction. That, and I could live off writing. That would be cool.
The greatest, greatest dream is that my daughters will have rich, fulfilling, and happy lives.
Marie: Can’t blame you for wanting all of that! 😉
Let’s try another question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Nicolina: I wish I was more outdoorsy, and more social. What’s stopping me is probably laziness, and that I’m too comfortable where I am.
Not to pry too much, but who was your first love?
Nicolina: A blond, skinny boy in school named Tobias. 🙂 We were 17. That was my first love. It didn’t last long, ha ha.
But it was fun while it lasted. He was kind, and a really funny guy.
Marie: All right, let’s try something else now.
What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Nicolina: When one of my daughters, then only two months old, and as a twin, much tinier than a normal two month old baby, nearly died from RS virus. There is nothing I’ve experienced before, or since, that comes even close to the horror.
OMG! How terrifying. 😥
Let’s move on to a lighter topic, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Nicolina: Actually, to become a doctor, so I did achieve my dream. I can’t remember what I expected. More glory? Ha ha. I don’t know.
It’s a very self-rewarding job. I’ve never regretted my choice.
So, who is your role model, Nicolina?
Nicolina: Stephen King. Both as an author, but also as a person, his integrity, how he has stuck to his writing and not let the critics deter him, how he fought his way back after he was injured. I feel he stands up for the little people, the ones without a voice. He’s amazing.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Nicolina: Ha ha, no. Really, no. I’m a pretty honest and direct person.
Marie: Good to hear!
And what is your deepest desire?
Nicolina: Find love again, maybe? Real, deep, passionate romantic love. I’ve been single quite a while…
Marie: I see.
So…what is your greatest fear?
Nicolina: That no one will bother to come to my death bed. That was dark. Sorry!
That my egocentric persona will have driven everyone away.
Marie: Oh, no… 😦 I’m sure that won’t happen.
Let’s try another question.
If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.
Nicolina: Books, for sure. Good sheets and two pillows. Was that four items already? Damn. Coffee!
Marie: (Laughs.) There you go! 😀
Readers, let’s shift somewhat and get the author’s perspective on one of her characters. 🙂
We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Nathan Russo. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?
Nicolina: The hero of my latest release, Heat, is one of five siblings born to a mobster life. He grew up in a violent and unloving environment and feels like there’s a void in him; that no matter how many women and how much wealth he has, there’s something lacking. Until he meets the woman who becomes the real and only love of his life.
Ian Somerhalder, the actor, IS Nathan, and I don’t think I’m allowed to use an image of him just like that… I do have a Pinterest board, though, with both Nathan and his love interest Sydney.
Marie: OMG, love it…Ian is sooo hot!
And what are Nathan’s greatest strengths?
Nicolina: He isn’t afraid to make snap decisions, to take command. He’s loyal, and determined.
Marie: Cool! And his weaknesses?
Nicolina: His fear, that he won’t acknowledge, of being alone, unloved.
Marie: 😦 I think a lot of people feel that way…
Let’s try something fun, shall we?
What are some of his favorite foods?
Nicolina: Anything Italian. Seafood.
How about another question?
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Nicolina: That he is capable of tenderness and compassion.
Marie: Nice! 😀
Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Nicolina: They love him; they don’t want to, because he’s violent, and rough, dominant, and scary. But he has a softness to him that shines through, and that makes it near impossible not to care for him.
Marie: Awesome! Sort of an anti-hero, then…
Now that we have a real taste of Nathan, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.
What first gave you the idea for Heat?
Nicolina: Heat was the first book I started on after I came back to writing, having suffered a block for eight years. I just saw this couple hitting it off on an airplane, going to some exotic place, him with a big dark secret, she a naive young woman, enticed by his attention. It built from there.
Heat had many, many versions, and titles, before it found its final shape. Initially it wasn’t part of any mafia world, or a series. It wasn’t great to begin with, and I even shelved it and wrote another book, Break My Chains, in between, along with working on two shorter stories and publishing them. Eventually I came back to Heat, found its voice, whipped it into its final form, and here we are.
Marie: Wonderful! And readers, I can fully vouch for Break My Chains. Check out my book review of that title on the blog here.
Well…it’s interesting how the muse works, huh? 😉
Let’s try something else.
What is your writing style like, Nicolina? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Nicolina: I’m a pantser, but I’ve begun plotting when I get stuck, so I seem to shift into something in between as my stories get more complicated. I write a bit choppy, minimalist, very non-purple, I’d say. With my stories you have to look around the corner and read between the lines, to build the whole picture. I know it sounds weird, saying it like that, but it’s how it feels. I like to NOT describe everything, but leave a little up to the reader to fill in. Many people say that reading my work is like watching a movie, and also that my plots are unpredictable, and my characters are unusual. Those are among the best compliments I can get, because I really strive to find my own way within the tropes, and to renew myself with every book.
I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Heat or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Nicolina: A friend told me to submit Heat to Blushing Books. I was so sure a publisher would never be interested in my work, that I very nearly didn’t, but then I submitted Break My Chains, just taking the chance with it, and got accepted, so later on I dared submit Heat as well. I wasn’t going to pursue the traditional publishing route, I was so sure I was going to self-publish, but now I’m really happy with the collaboration with Blushing Books. So that’s maybe one advice: dare to put yourself out there.
For Heat, being my first work after that long, long break, I had a ton of beta readers over the course of several months. A ton of betas bring a ton of different opinions, and it isn’t easy navigating everyone’s advice. Stay strong with what you feel is the ‘voice’ of the book, and yourself, and filter the advice through that.
Also. Write. Writing feeds writing. Words give birth to more words. Love the story you want to tell. Unless writing is what stands between you and a house over your head, don’t force yourself to write something you don’t feel, for it should be a passion. It should be fun. Then it will show in your books.
I write what I want to read. Writing to me is like existing in my favorite movie 24/7 for months.
Marie: Well said!
It was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Heat appears to be… ♥
Anything can happen during the hot nights in the Dominican Republic.
I just wanted a tan and to sip drinks with little umbrellas in them. I didn’t know that vacation would mean sleeping with a hot stranger, being drugged, and nearly killed. My instincts tell me there’s more to the smooth facade of Nathan Russo, but my heart won’t listen. He’s my opposite: hot where I’m cool, experienced while I’ve never really lived. What starts out as a steamy fling can’t be more…can it?
I’m a dangerous man with a mission to complete and people to kill. Sydney Lewis might literally cost me my life. As the stakes increase, I have to decide whether to follow my head or my heart. My life is too dangerous, I’m too much of a monster. She’s a good girl. She can’t be a part of this. I have to be cruel. I have to cut her out.
But she’s the only one who can save me.
Heat will take you on a journey to paradise, through hell, and back.
Publisher’s Note: This steamy, dark romance may contain triggers. It contains elements of danger, adventure, explicit scenes, power exchange, and a guaranteed HEA.
Nicolina is also offering us a teaser from the book!
I hurry from room to room. There are opened double balcony doors and long white curtains that move lazily in the warm breeze. The wood panels are dark, the colors of the bedspread, decorative pillows, and carpet are warm and inviting.
On the bed I find neat piles of my things. I rummage through them and am satisfied to see that everything seems to be there. In the bathroom someone has already arranged my toiletries. I frown. Who took the liberty to go through my things? The man who drove me here? Nathan? The hotel staff?
I see no sign of anyone else living here. It confuses me. I would totally have expected him to install me in his place. Will he come? Or is it all for me? Will I see him at all? I sink down on the bed and wait. Nothing happens. I listen to the distant noise from the city, the sound of birds singing, and the soft rustling of the curtains. I feel ridiculous in my bikini, so I pull the tunic over my head and drop it next to me. As I look for something to wear, I find the two wrinkled skirts, smile at the memories and put them to the side. Stripping to change, I realize I’m sweaty, and a bit sandy. Shower it is.
Through the clattering of water against the tiles, I keep listening for sounds from the outer rooms, but nothing disturbs my weird solitude. After, I wrap a towel around me and go sit on the balcony, still wet. I’ll dry in the heat soon enough and it’s a wonderful way to cool off. Comforted by the noise from the street, I fall asleep in the recliner, in the shadow, with the warm breeze caressing me. I dream of being a passenger on a ship, with no idea where I’m going. I dream of hands on my breasts, of a soft voice in my ear. ‘Sydney’. I wake with a jolt. I hold my breath and listen with a pounding heart. I’m alone. Still nothing but silence from inside. I pick up my phone and look at the clock.
It’s been three hours. I’m confused, annoyed, and very hungry.
It’s six p.m. I’ve had it. I’m not waiting for the bastard.
“Miss Lewis.” In the reception the same man from before greets me with a wide smile.
“Good evening. I was wondering if you know anything about the person who rented the room I’m staying in?”
“I’m very sorry, Miss. The information about your stay has been relayed to us over the phone.”
“Yes, but…Do you have the number that was calling you, maybe?”
“This is not information we can give out.”
“Okay, fine. That’s fine. No worries,” I growl, and I grit my teeth. “Are you at least able to tell me the location of a nice restaurant?” There’s venom in my voice, but I can’t help it. I feel that this man is an accomplice in my abduction, and I have now lost yet another half day of my vacation. I’m so gonna kick Nathan’s ass when I see him.
“By the ocean or in town, Miss?”
I force a smile. I have no reason to take anything out on him.
“Ocean,” I mutter.
“Absolutely,” he says cheerfully.
I get directions to a restaurant. Outside, I’m met by a wall of sounds, and scents of flowers and food. I relax a little. I guess I can at least have a meal and watch the sun sink behind the horizon before I get back to seething. I curse Nathan to Hell. Is he toying with me? I thought we were going to meet. I buy a paperback in a little shop I pass. The sleazy romance I was reading got lost when I ‘moved’. It’s probably being ‘accidentally’ read by some other lonely woman right now. At least she won’t have to encounter fucking James Fintan, as they told me his full name is. He’s locked up. For a very long time, I hope.
At the restaurant I have a shrimp salad and a glass of white wine. One glass turns into two and I enjoy the book as my only company. This is, in part, what I wanted to do on this stay. No obligations. No one calling me. Just me and some peace.
Staff has changed when I get back. I present myself to the front desk woman. “Did anyone leave a message for me?”
“No, Miss,” she says in what sounds like British English.
“Okay…Did anyone come here, maybe? Is there anyone up in my room?”
“No, Miss.” She shakes her head and smiles.
I grind my teeth and make my way back up to the room, cursing Nathan to Hell again. The door closes behind me with a whisper. I stand in silence and listen. Nothing. No one is here.
“Nate?” I call.
I groan out loud. Fine!
I pull off my clothes and toss them over a chair, brush my teeth and wash the day off my face. Then I slip under cool sheets in a heavenly bed. It smells clean. It doesn’t take long before sleep claims me.
A noise startles me awake. I sit up straight, my heart pounding. In the doorway I see the silhouette of a man. I scramble back and fumble for a light switch without finding one.
“Enjoying your new accommodations?” The voice is quiet, husky.
I recognize it more than well and a shiver runs through me.
“You fucking, arrogant jerk!” I spit.
He laughs and strides closer. “That’s the way you want to greet me?”
“Yes! I can’t believe I came here.”
“And yet you did.”
I realize I’m sitting up without a thread on my upper body, having gone to bed in only my panties. I quickly pull at the sheet to cover me up before I feel for the lamp again. I flip the switch and a soft yellow light illuminates us. Nathan sits on the edge of the bed. His unreal eyes have a dark edge to them. They’re filled with hunger and some emotion I can’t define that makes my stomach clench.
“You realize, Sydney, that by coming here you passed a line.”
I swallow hard, fighting the flutter in my chest. “Line? I—”
“You gave yourself up to me. I commanded, and you obeyed.”
“No…I—” He doesn’t even have to touch me. A flurry of tingles shoots straight to between my legs. “What are you talking about?” I whisper.
“You know more than well what I’m saying, Sydney.” He leans in and brushes his lips against mine. He smells faintly of smoke and cigarettes, tinged with a hint of metal underneath the fresh soapy scent. His eyes are dark like a bottomless well, then he claims my mouth and I gasp, my body responding immediately. He caresses my neck, stroking along my throat, then his hand finds its way to my nape and pulls me closer. As he deepens the kiss, his other hand follows the curve of my shoulder down along my arm, pulling the sheet with it as it progresses downward. Cupping my breast, he rolls the nipple between his fingers.
“Naked?” he whispers into my mouth.
I shake my head. “I have panties on.” I barely recognize my throaty voice.
He pushes me down on the bed, leaning closer, covering my body with his. “Didn’t I tell you never to wear panties?”
“No,” I half squeak.
“Yes, I did. Take them off.” His voice is rough, demanding.
I hold his gaze. “What happens if I don’t?”
“You wanna play games with me?” he says, his eyes shaded and his voice suddenly dead serious.
His tone makes worry flutter in my stomach. I swallow hard.
What do I really know about this man? I was safe on the plane, surrounded by people; this suddenly feels very unsafe. “I…no…you—” I say shakily, my voice wavering.
“Syd.” He puts a finger to my lips, silencing me. “Don’t be afraid. Do as I say. Remove your panties.”
Ooh…sizzling! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/mY15gV
We’ll be sure to get a copy of this mafia romantic suspense! ♥♥♥
About Nicolina Martin
Nicolina Martin is a Swedish born author who escapes the long, dark winter nights by writing hot contemporary romance/suspense.
She’s a mother of three teenage girls, a medical doctor, a quirky loner, and a social human being. She has traveled the globe, has had more lovers than she can count, has loved and hated, succeeded and failed, has gone through marriage and divorce. She has seen darkness and despair, as well as light and happiness.
All these experiences, she pours into her tales, taking her readers for a wild ride while twisting their minds. She loves showing that stories can be different even if the trope is the same.
Nicolina believes that life is too short for regrets and in looking forward, no matter what. She wants to enjoy every moment, and cherish life.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Nicolina Martin, here are some author links…
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/nicolinamartin
Once again, I want to thank Nicolina Martin, the brilliant author of this mafia romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥