Nadia Lee | NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author of Contemporary Romance » Interview by Kait Nolan

Interview by Kait Nolan

Originally posted on Shadow & Fang in June 2010.

I recently had the great pleasure of reading A Happily Ever After of Her Own by my Twitter pal Nadia Lee. It’s a fabulous blend of Fractured Fairytales, Shrek, and romance that’s sure to appeal to anyone who loves a good Happily Ever After. Here’s the blurbage:

A HAPPILY EVER AFTER OF HER OWN by Nadia LeeMelinda Lightfoot, a preschool teacher with an unusual ability to flit in and out of fairy tales, never thought she would get into trouble…

…until the Fairy Tale Police arrest her while she is in Beauty and the Beast. They offer her a deal: Find Beauty, who left the story when Melinda trespassed into it, or be charged with the ultimate crime—Fairy Tale Killer. If that’s not bad enough the Beast tags along in search of his true love, and Melinda starts falling for the fairy tale prince. She must choose between doing the right thing and having her own happily ever after.

Warning: This title contains the following: Fairy Godmother, the Wicked Witch, dysfunctional fairy tale families, ax-wielding executioners and a happily ever after (or two).

After that I just had to drag her over here for an interview so I can introduce all you lovely folks to this fascinating writer. Without further ado…

Why Beauty and the Beast? Is that your favorite fairy tale?

I love lots and lots of fairy tales, and I’d hate to call any one my favorite. Let’s just say Beauty and the Beast is a favorite story. :)

Where did you get the inspiration for this particular story?

Haha, good question! I was taking a hot bath one day and thought, “What would happen to the Beast if Beauty disappeared before he could undo the curse?” And the rest just came to me. I wanted to write something light-hearted and short at that time (it was after having written two long and angsty stories), so it worked out well.

Tell us about Melinda.

Melinda is just a normal everyday woman. She likes to read, loves her job—for which she’s very grateful—and is very conscientious about her actions. She’s concerned with doing the right thing above all else, even if she doesn’t want to. Maybe that’s why she’s such a fantastic preschool teacher…you have to be able to set a good example for children.

Will there be any more stories in the fairy tale world you’ve created?

I can’t say. I’ve written a very hot novella loosely based on Cinderella, but it’s not set in the same world. You won’t see the Beast’s twin or Fairy Godmother.

Are there other books you’ve written that will tide fans over until you release your next project?

I’ve published a contemporary romance titled Devil Falls with Samhain. It’s out under another name—Angelle Trieste. You can find it on Kindle and in other e-book stores.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on two projects. One is tentatively titled A Goddess to Love, set in the world of Greek mythology, and featuring Aphrodite, Ares and Hephaestus. The second one (currently untitled) is about an assassin who wants to retire but can’t because her accountant fiance is actually a government agent who wants her dead. So she has to turn to her ex-lover (who is also an assassin) for help, even though he is furious about the way she dumped him.

I totally love me some good assassin stories!

You recently married your own Prince Charming. Tell us something fun about Hero Material.

Hero Material is great—an adventurous bibliophile. And he makes fantastic omelets! He’s also a French baron, though I have no idea how that really works. (I’m more familiar with the British system.)

So does that make you a baroness?

Uhh…I guess…?

That is so flipping cool…

Tigers and sharks and elephants, oh my! Tell us about your encounters with these assorted beasties.

Well, fortunately it wasn’t all at the same time. I met the sharks first. It was before Hero Material and I hooked up. I was on a cruise, and one of our stops was Belize. And awesomely enough it offered a “swim with sharks” tour. So I figured why not?

The speed boat took us to a place called shark alley or something (I can’t remember the exact name), and we went in, no cages or anything. Our guides told us it was very safe…except that one of the sharks we found wanted to eat my thumb. I was shocked more than hurt, and the guides pulled me out of the water immediately before the smell of my blood could attract tiger sharks, which are vicious man eaters. The cruise company thought I might sue them, so their doctor on the ship treated me for free. (I was surprised that they thought I’d sue them over a very minor accident! I still have my thumb, unscarred.)

Clearly they are used to Americans who sue at the drop of a hat.

I guess. But I’m American too, so maybe they thought I’d sue for sure. :)

Anyway, the cool thing was, everyone on the ship heard about my little incident, so it was super easy for me to meet people. I became “the girl who got bit by a shark”. LOL.

As for the tigers and elephants—I got to see them up close and personal on Hero Material’s and my honeymoon in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We went to Maesa Elephant Camp and got to watch them play and ride on one of them. The camp treated their elephants very nicely, and they had elephant hospitals with trained vets to treat animals that have been hurt by old landmines and so on. (The jungle in that area is close to the Thailand-Burma border, so a lot of the elephants that work in the field get severely injured.) The elephants were gentle but total moochers! They’re always begging you to feed them. Fortunately the camp had lots of banana and sugar cane vendors. One thing that surprised me—sometimes elephants coo to thank you. :)

The tigers at Tiger Kingdom were caged, but we got to go inside the cages. They weren’t chained or anything, and they were very sweet and sleepy. The weather in Thailand is hot and humid, so the animals prefer to sleep during the day. There aren’t many wild tigers left, and Tiger Kingdom does its best through breeding programs and so on to ensure that the tigers don’t die out.

I didn’t realize how fragile elephants and tigers were until I got to see them. We only hear about how big and powerful they are, but they’re at the mercy of their environments. The destruction of their habitats and poaching have done immeasurable harm, and the only way they can really continue to survive is through special programs and human intervention.

Do you write in other genres?

No. I write romance.

Did you always want to write?

Not really. :) I’ve always loved reading, but I never thought I’d be a writer one day. I always assumed I’d get an MBA and become an investment banker or something.

So how did you get into writing?

I did the Corporate America thing that was expected of me and hated it! So I wanted to do something else and started writing.

What’s your favorite word?

Vermicular. I saw that from Webster’s Word of the Day, and just fell in love with the way it sounds.

For the uninitiated:

ver·mic·u·lar — adjective

  1. of, pertaining to, or done by worms.
  2. consisting of or characterized by sinuous or wavy outlines or markings resembling the form or tracks of a worm.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what?

It depends on my mood & the music available on my computer. I usually listen to classical, J-pop, K-pop, OSTs, etc.

Do you get to write for a living or are you juggling a day job?

I have a day job, but I’m not sure if I’m really juggling it. It has its ups and downs, and right now it’s pretty slow, so I have quite a bit of time to write.

Who inspires you?

People who overcome exceptional difficulties to become number one.

So you’ve traditionally published under Angelle Trieste with Samhain and put out AHEAOHO (wow that kinda sounds like a sneeze) on your own. Where do you stand on publishing? Are you considering the indie track or are you more interested in building your audience for a more traditional publishing career?

I think you have to know what you want out of your career long-term and decide what you want to do with your individual projects. I don’t think indie publishing is right for everyone. OTOH I don’t know if traditional publishing is the answer for every writer out there either. Both options have their own pros and cons, so you need to research and do what’s right for you.

Right now, my primary focus is on building a more traditional publishing career. That doesn’t mean I’ll never do another indie project or anything like that. But for me right now, I think that the more traditional publishing route is better. :)

Nadia, thanks so much for coming to visit us today!