Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fantasy Romance author Nicole Zoltack

I have the distinct pleasure of sharing Nicole Zoltack and her work with my blog friends today. Nicole Zoltack has been creating stories since before she could even write. She loves to read everything she can get her hands on but fantasy romance holds a special place in her heart. She also loves everything that deals with the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and loves to go to the local Renaissance Faire. She and her husband have a sword collection and even had a Renaissance-themed wedding.

Nicole is happily married to her college sweetheart and has an adorable son. She lives in Pennsylvania where she enjoys the four seasons but wishes that winter would stop cutting into the warm springtime.

Katie: Nicole, you have written “Knight of Glory,” a medieval fantasy romance targeted towards young adults and adults. Here’s a blurb:

Sir Geoffrey, along with some companions, has been sent away from Arnhem, entrusted by Queen Aislinn for a special mission, and has to leave behind the mysterious lady Celestia. On his journey, he uncovers seeds of a sinister plot, learns a horrible secret, and makes a new friend in exile Jenanna.

Their mission completed, Geoffrey and his companions rush to two different kingdoms to ask for aid. Danger and betrayal lurks around every corner, and even allies have secrets that could prove deadly. Geoffrey's feelings for Celestia grow and wane. After learning some of Celestia's secrets, he begins to have second thoughts about his love for her and is even drawn to Jenanna.

Rumors abound that the Speicans have enlisted a mage of their own, to work unspeakable, forbidden magic. The war between Speica and Arnhem has just begun. Will Geoffrey survive the battle to live another day and discover which woman he truly loves?

Katie: What was your inspiration for writing this story?

Nicole: “Knight of Glory” is Book II in the Kingdom of Arnhem series. Book I, “Woman of Honor” focused on one girl’s journey to become a knight, so that book was much more historically inclined. With “Knight of Glory,” the characters spend a great deal of time outside the kingdom and I was able to play up the fantasy side of their world. I wanted to create another world in which magic was used by different races for different purposes but yet that world wasn’t much different than our own. The planet, Terra, is an alternate world from ours. When Pangaea split apart, instead of forming the continents of North and South America, on Terra, a new continent formed called Alethereia. Arnhem and Speica, the two kingdoms at war in the series, are on this island, where magic is rampant. Europe and the other continents do not have magic, do not even know about their existence, although it would be fun to write a book about when Christopher Columbus comes over. Hmmm…. J Basically, I was inspired to create a fantasy world within a medieval setting, complete with different races and their histories.

Katie: What is the appeal for you of medieval times and fantasy?

Nicole: I love the Middle Ages because I romanticize it. I know most knights were actually evil people, corrupt by their power, thinking that everyone else owed them everything. Jousts and tourneys were barbaric events to the death. But I love the idea behind the notions of knights – honor, chivalry, love of country and of God.

As for fantasy, I used to live in my daydreams, creating other word where people had powers or magic. The impossible, the unexplained, different creatures so like us and yet dissimilar… that’s what draws me to fantasy.

Katie: You have your own sword collection. What led to acquiring and saving these swords? Do they find their way into your writing?

Nicole: A lot of the swords are movie replicas, mostly from LOTR. My husband and I have gone to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and the first time we went, we first walked into the pirate ship. Inside the pirates and wenches were selling all kinds of medieval weaponry, some based on movies, other not. Toward the end of the day, they had a pirate auction and we couldn’t pass up on some of the steals of deals for swords. There are many more weapons we want to add to our collection including Gimli’s axe. This house is too small but at our next one, we want to purchase glass display cases (with locks) to show them off.

As for my writing, yes, I have written some of the swords into my books. Sometimes I’ll just examine their hilts or the way they feel in the palm of your hand. Other times, I have been known to fight an imaginary foe to try to better understand the motions and movements of a battle scene. Ah, the crazy things us writers will do for our craft! J

Katie: How much research did you do for “Knight of Glory?”

Nicole: I lot less than I needed to do for “Woman of Honor”! I actually did a some digging into one of the races I introduced in this book. I based my trolls on the Scandinavian legends. The men were hairy, strong brutes while the women were tall, beautiful, majestic creatures, almost La Belle Dame sans Merci type enchanters.

The other race you would recognize that I used was dwarves but I also made their woman an important part. Dwarven women seem to never be mentioned in stories so I thought that needed to be changed. After they reach puberty, the women never change their appearance, always having their child-like beauty. Extremely fragile creatures, they are greatly outnumbered by the men and many die in child-birth. I also did some research on armor and weapons. Falconry too.

Katie: Do you find that your research for one book helps you write subsequent books?

Nicole: Absolutely! Some of the reason why I didn’t have to research as heavily for “Knight of Glory” was because of the research I had already done for “Woman of Honor.”

Katie: How do you deal with world creation? What are the specific challenges you find in creating your own world?

Nicole: I drew maps for myself so that I could keep all the different locations and kingdoms straight in my head, including the water. That was a big help.
I also wanted to do more than have different races, I wanted them to have their own history too. I hint at the major conflicts that caused the trolls to flee as far eastward as they could go. They were Speican slaves for a long time until one troll stood up and banded them all together. Some of the ramifications of their exile still existed today, as that leader was female, and the trolls have been ruled by an Empress ever since.

Katie: You have some great names in your book. How did you come up with them? Did you use a fantasy word generator?

Nicole: I do use fantasy word generators. I’ll also use names based on their meanings as well as make up some names.

Katie: Is this book traditionally published, self-published, or in e-book format?

Nicole: In e-book format.

Katie: What are the three most important things you learned about the publishing venue you chose?

Nicole: First, ereaders and ebooks are definitely the next step in the publishing world. Even though the bigger publishers are trying to crack down on ebooks by having high prices or waiting to release the book in electronic format, they are soon going to realize that the public should be the one making the decisions, not them.

Second, even though ereaders are selling well, there are still a lot of people that need to be educated about ebooks. I don’t think that ebooks will every completely eliminate the need for print books, nor do I want that to happen.

And third, with some many different ereaders on the market, the prices are going to drop and become more affordable for more people. Once that happens, I think ebook sales will greatly increase.

Katie: Thanks, Nicole, for being a guest on my blog today. You can learn more about Nicole and her books at,, and


Donna McDine said...

Fascinating interview. Thanks for bringing this exciting author to my attention. I live in the Northeast too and agree the winters could be a wee bit shorter.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks for having me, Katie!

I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview, Donna. :) I hate the coldness of winter but love having distinct seasons so I guess that's the trade-off.

Unknown said...

Hi Katie and Nicole! Thanks for a good interview. I loved learning about your sword collection today. Interesting comment about knights being evil because of power issues. But then we all have the distant dreams of Camelot and the knightly virtures right?

The more I read about your research and your alternate fantasy world the more I want to read these books. :o)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks for dropping be, Martha! If you do read my books, be sure to let me know what you think. I love to hear feedback! :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading the interview Katie. Well done.

Knight of Glory sounds like an interesting book and I really like the cover.

Virginia S Grenier said...

Hi Katie and Nicole! Fascinating interview. Thanks for bringing this Nicole and her books to us. Very interesting learning about your sword collection today. Reading about your research and how you built your alternate fantasy world really helped me focus more on the book I'm currently writing.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks for dropping by, Susanne. I love the cover too!

Glad that I could help you focus, Virginia. :) I love to both read and write fantasy so maybe one day I'll read yours.