TNA: Welcome to The Novel Approach, Nicole, I’m so glad to have you with us today! Why don’t we start off by having you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Nicole: Thank you so much for having me! Well I’m a self-published author of the Chance Assassin series, which has me thinking about murder in one way or another for most of the day. But if you look at my browser history you’ll likely find searches for gunshot wounds and car accidents in equal amounts as kitten videos or feel good coming out stories. I currently live in Portland, OR, and I have a little monster-dog that takes up as much of my time as she can.
TNA: This will probably seem like a weird lead off question to anyone who hasn’t read the Chance Assassin series yet, but will make perfect sense to those of us who have. How would you describe your sense of humor?
Nicole: It’s a little dark and somewhat quirky. There’s also quite a bit of schadenfreude, especially when it appears to be karma in action like watching the jerk who cuts you off in traffic get pulled over by a cop just up the road.
TNA: Where did Frank, Vincent, Casey and Bella come from? How did you conceive of these four vibrant characters with such unique personalities? Are there bits and pieces of yourself, or people you know, in them?
Nicole: The characters really develop as the story does, but I find it really interesting when people aren’t what they seem, like Frank being a stone-cold killer who obsessively reads classic literature and Vincent looking the way he does and ending up just as twisted as his partner. There are definitely aspects of each character in me, but I think a lot of that comes from writing being so therapeutic for me.
TNA: If you were casting their roles in the Chance Assassin movie, which actors/models/celebrity types would you choose to play these four characters?
Nicole: That’s a tough one. If there was a Chance Assassin movie I think I’d end up having to check into a mental institution, but here goes…Andreja Pejic (formerly Andrej) would work for Vincent since this is not actual casting and gender wouldn’t matter, not to mention that she’s way too tall. Frank is nearly as difficult for me as Vincent, but I like Colin O’Donoghue from Once Upon a Time (obviously without the Captain Hook eyeliner, but where’s the fun in that?) I think Trent Ford would make a great Casey, and as for Bella, I honestly have no idea. But Marion Cotillard can do no wrong, so with a little red hair dye I think she could pull it off. Plus she already played an excellent assassin in A Very Long Engagement.
TNA: I have to confess that Bella is sort of like my soul sister (except without the murdery bits). I *expletive* love my *expletive* shoes too, plus, I love to say *expletives* a lot. Is there one character you relate with above all the others? Why?
Nicole: Bella is a lot of fun and I wish I could be more like her. Love her or hate her, she is who she is and she doesn’t take shit from anybody. Honestly I find Miko, the newest character, the most relatable. He comes from a place of insecurity and over-thinking, he doesn’t get things right, but he tries his best and his heart is in the right place.
TNA: Thinking of some of the best adjectives in the English language, what are some you’d use to describe this series to someone who hasn’t read it yet?
Nicole: These wouldn’t necessarily be the best adjectives, but idiosyncratic, depraved, and romantic pretty much sums it up.
TNA: Let’s do the same thing, except with Frank, V, Casey and Bella? What words would you use to describe each of them?
Nicole: Let’s see…For Frank I would say enigmatic, V is narcissistic, Bella would be volatile, and Casey is exuberant.
TNA: Let’s chat a bit about your new book The Consequence of High Caliber, which is a spinoff of the Chance Assassin series. Tell us a little bit about Miko, aka the Mako Shark. What are some of the things you love about his character?
Nicole: You really can’t help but root for Miko. He’s had such a rough time and yet he’s so enthusiastic about things. He’s loveable like a puppy even when he’s at his worst.
TNA: How did the spinoff series come about? Was Miko just too big a personality to fit into the Chance Assassin series?
Nicole: That’s exactly it. Miko was originally going to have a small part in book three of the Chance Assassin series, and somehow he wriggled his way into book two. By then I realized he had his own story to tell.
TNA: Would you like to share a short excerpt from the book with us?
Nicole: Sure! This is right from the beginning:
Blurb: Miko is a devoted son. An irresponsible brother. A protective friend. An anonymous lover. An assassin, nicknamed the Mako Shark after the sheer violence of his hits. Miko is deadly. And damaged.
Miko is in love.
Excerpt: The server shifted his weight, nervously asking, “Is everything all right, sir?” when it was very much apparent that everything was not all right.
Miko stared unblinkingly at his dinner, seeing dead gray flesh floating in a plate of blood where there was only filet mignon with a side of steamed vegetables. He was trembling, his face pale and glistening with sweat. “I am a vegetarian,” he said quietly, finally turning away from his plate.
“But…you ordered it. Rare, sir. Extra rare.”
Gripping the steak knife in his shaking hand, Miko managed to stammer, “On a separate plate.”
“Yes. I’m…I’m sorry, sir. You are correct. It’s my mistake. I’ll bring you—”
“No. Please, the check. The check.”
“Of course.” He departed with a bow.
Miko released the knife and draped his napkin over the plate, his stomach turning. The napkin remained bleached white, failing to soak up the inches of gore that were not actually there. He loosened his tie, then pushed the plate away and slowly brought his hand into his coat pocket where he kept his nine millimeter. And his sanity.
The waiter arrived with the check just as Miko slipped a little red candy between his lips, closing his eyes and pressing it against the roof of his mouth with his tongue. Spicy, sugared relief flooded his senses and he sighed languidly. “Thank you,” he said. His English was not particularly clear even without having his mouth full, but Miko did not care whether the waiter understood him. Or if he understood what his error could have cost them both.
TNA: Would you care to tell us a little bit about what your working on next, current WIPs and upcoming releases?
Nicole: Absolutely! I just finished the first draft of Chance Assassin book three, and I’m working on the sequel to The Consequence of High Caliber. They should both be out next year, probably within a few months of each other.
TNA: Thanks so much for joining us today, Nicole. Will you tell readers where we can find you on the internet?
Nicole: It was my pleasure! Readers can always find me on Goodreads and my blog at http://nicolecastlenotblog.blogspot.com/. One of these days I’ll break down and join facebook, but I’m still dragging my heels to be antisocial.
The Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED
The Blurb: Vincent Sullivan is down on his luck. When a chance encounter generates a job prospect he’s too desperate to decline, Vincent is well on his way to a career in crime. But after the job goes wrong and he’s gravely injured in the process, things couldn’t get much worse. Except that he may have just killed a man.
With the entrance of a mysterious stranger, life is finally starting to look up. Unless his luck is about to run out for good.