Interview: Nina Romano

Nina Romano

General Info:

Name (or Pen name you want used): Nina Romano

Your city, state; country of residence: I live between Florida and Utah in the US of A!

Please provide a general Author Bio that you would like used:

Author’s Bio

Nina Romano earned a B.S. from Ithaca College, an M.A. from Adelphi University and a B.A. and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from FIU. She lived in Rome, Italy, for twenty years, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish. She is a world traveler and lover of history, and her novels, short fiction and poetry reflect these aspects.

She has authored a short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, and has published five poetry collections and two poetry chapbooks with independent publishers. She co-authored Writing in a Changing World.  Romano has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry.

Nina Romano’s historical Wayfarer Trilogy has been published from Turner Publishing. The Secret Language of Women, Book #1, was a Foreword Reviews Book Award Finalist and Gold Medal winner of the Independent Publisher’s 2016 IPPY Book Award. Lemon Blossoms, Book # 2, was a Foreword Reviews Book Award Finalist, and In America, Book #3, was a finalist in Chanticleer Media’s Chatelaine Book Awards.  

Her latest novel, The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley, a Western Historical Romance, has recently been released from Prairie Rose Publications.

Titles & genres of your available books:

The three titles of my Wayfarer Trilogy are works of literary, historical fiction:

The Secret Language of Women

Lemon Blossoms

In America

My latest title is a Historical, Western Romance:

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley

Links to your works on Amazon, B&N, etc:

Amazon: The Secret Language of Women  https://amzn.to/2MQZpNC  

Amazon: Lemon Blossoms  https://amzn.to/2TWqzYt

Amazon: In America  https://amzn.to/2Hl2VzT

Amazon: The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley  https://amzn.to/2Mawrvv

Goodreads:            https://bit.ly/2DCJ2lg

Twitter:                  https://twitter.com/ninsthewriter @ninsthewriter

Facebook:              https://bit.ly/2BFi38l

Website:                 www.ninaromano.com

If you have more than one book, please highlight the book you are currently

promoting on our site:  The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley

Brief description/teaser/blurb of selected book:

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley

When Darby McPhee falls in love with Cayo Bradley, a wild cowboy from a nearby ranch, her world is ripped apart. Caught in a lifeless existence of caring for her father and brothers since her mother’s death, Darby does little else but work. But a death-bed promise to her mother to get her education now stands in the way of her heart’s desire to belong to the rough-and-tumble Cayo Bradley.

Darby is Cayo’s redemption from a horrific act in his past that torments him. After being captured as a young boy by the Jicarilla Apache, he now tries to settle back into white society—but how can he? If he loses Darby, he loses everything.

Darby is determined to keep her promise to her mother, but will Cayo wait for her? In this stunning tale of love and loss, Darby comes to understand that no matter what happens, she will always be THE GIRL WHO LOVED CAYO BRADLEY…

Blurbs from authors on book:

Romano’s story sizzles with the tension of lovers—one struggling to blend Apache ways and white, the other torn between East and West—searching for a way to join two lives going in opposite directions.

— Ruth Hull Chatlien, Blood Moon, and The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley, a superbly crafted romantic page-turner, is a deftly spun tale of ill-starred sweethearts in the American West. Darby, a charming farm girl, and Cayo, Apache raised, a secretive man with a disturbing past. Sparks ignite, burning intensely despite cruel circumstances to separate them—an expertly woven story with witty dialogue, fast-paced plot, and stunning, enchanting prose! 

— Michelle Cox, award-winning author of the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series.

Twitter handle: @ninsthewriter

Facebook address: https://www.facebook.com/ninaromanoauthor/

Website address: ninaromano.com

Any additional means of contact: E-Mail: ninsthewriter@gmail.com

About your writing (FICTION AUTHORS)

What inspires you to write?

STORIES! Characters, images, history, geography, foreign and/or exotic cultures.  THE WORLD AT LARGE, EVERYTHING THAT SURROUNDS ME! Inspiration comes from so many different, varied, and unique sources, it would be impossible to list them all. Suffice it to say, anything can be inspiring: lyrics to a song, a book title, a movie, a street scene, an interesting turn of phrase, nature, a play on Broadway, a flower, a foreign word, an opera, ballet—you name it.  It’s there for the taking, so authors only have to reach out and grab.

What do you love most about writing?

The challenges it presents—each work is different and demanding.  I love research and my novels, up to this point, have all been historical.

What’s the most challenging part?

I want everything in the novel to be authentic and real except for the fictitious story, which means I do a great deal of research and it’s very time-consuming. I don’t outline, and my stories and novels are character-driven. Following a character around to see what there up to can eat your days! As long as it pays off, who cares? It’s frustrating when you’re tailing someone in your novel for months and he/she is only eating, sleeping or grocery shopping! That’s when you hope and pray that the subconscious mind takes over, and the writer is ever grateful for it, because it is in sleep with dreams, you’re able to invade the lives of your characters! Pure bliss!  

How do you craft your story & characters?

Thinking about writing is a huge part of crafting. Once I’m into the actual writing of a story or novel, all of the characters assault my psyche. Basically, they take over my life so that I see them everywhere. I listen to what they’re saying—morning, noon and night. If they do things I don’t expect, I write it down!

How much research is involved?

Of course this depends on what I’m writing, but it certainly is as much time, even more than the actual writing.

How long did it take from idea to finished book? My western grew from a short story that I wrote years ago. I had bits and pieces of it, and finally put it together in about a year and a half.

Do you have any writing rituals or habits?

I like to write on a computer when I’m writing a longer piece.  Poetry—I can scribble on anything: bills, grocery lists, envelopes—and later type it into a file.

Who influences you the most?

There’s not one particular person who influences me, but usually, when I read a well-written novel, it inspires me to want to write better—more efficiently, perhaps, or more concisely. I never have a problem writing lyrically or poetically—that comes quite natural to me.  What I’m careful about is not over-writing or writing what’s known as “purple prose.”    

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

I enjoy writing historical fiction. My poetry tends to be quite narrative and involves the people I’ve met, various cultural diversity, landscapes of islands and countries in which I’ve travelled.

Which character you’ve created is your favorite? Why?

In the novel, The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley, it’s Cayo—some people carry a lot of personal baggage to a relationship, but he brought a steamer trunkful.

Do any of your life experiences worm their way into your books?

I think any author who answers no to that question is lying. Yes, many personal life experiences have found a way into my stories. Of course, these have been changed or camouflaged to fit the scene I’m writing or the characters I’m portraying. I can’t say there are any in this Western.  However, I remember vividly suffering over a huge event in Lemon Blossoms, the second book in the Wayfarer Trilogy.  The character Concetta, Rosalia’s cousin’s childbirth, resonates a true-life experience of my own cousin Pat’s third childbirth.      

How do you like to connect with readers?

I love connecting with readers—this happens at readings and signings, at presentations at Book Fairs, at “Meet & Greets’ in bookstores, and sometimes through social media—more so on Twitter than on Facebook. 

What do you hope readers take away from your books?

A sense of the Universal. I love when there’s an “ah-ha” moment for a reader that they tell me about—a particular act or a piece of dialogue that resonates and sounds like a truism.

Who helps you with the critique and editing process? Do you ever hate something you’ve written? These are two separate and distinct questions.  For the critique and editing process, I was a member of a writing group for eleven years, however we went our separate ways, and now I don’t have anyone to critique my work. I have one dear friend, an avid, voracious reader who reads and comments on my work, but she never line edits or critiques in the true sense of the word.    

The second question: Do I ever hate something I’ve written? 

I don’t think so.  However, if I dislike it or think it’s unclear, I’ll probably revise and rewrite it. 

How do you overcome any nagging self-doubt that inevitably creeps in?

I don’t ignore it.  I believe there’s a reason for the uncertainly or insecurity—and it’s probably because something needs to be addressed, clarified or revised—perhaps it isn’t working well.  

Do you read all reviews?

Yes. Every single one of them, and every single word.

Why are reviews important?

Authors can learn from reviews about the things readers find worthy or worthwhile in their stories, and what’s working well, and what’s not.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

I’ll say what my mentor/advisor/professor said to me in one of my Graduate classes—“I tell everyone if you can do anything else in life other than being a writer, be it.”

What can you tell us about what we’ll see from you next?

How does that saying go? “The road to heaven is paved with good intentions.” The novel I’m working on is extremely challenging because I’ve never written anything like this before. I haven’t a clue if my current WIP will make it to publication, but I have no intention of self-publishing it. All of my books have been traditionally published by small, independent publishers. However, I’ll only know what to do with the manuscript when I’m finished and right now, I don’t even have a completed first draft.

About Indie Publishing

Why did you choose to publish as an Indie Author?

Being an indie-author in my case, doesn’t mean that I self-published. I didn’t. I sought out small, independent publishers who then published my novels, story and poetry collections.

What obstacles have you encountered?

Tell me first what isn’t an obstacle in the world of publishing today and maybe I can answer that question.

Marketing and promotion are costly in both time and money—a few words about that?

Let me say that I tried advertising—I don’t think it works unless you have a big publishing machine behind you and they can shell out elephant dollars. I have mousey dollars and you don’t get far with that kind of money. 

How did you overcome those challenges? What has been the highlight of this journey?

I think marketing is the biggest challenge today—too many books, too many people who think they know how to write one. There are other ways of marketing besides getting a publicist—which by the way, I had for my first novel and it was , in my humble opinion, a complete waste of my time, energy, and advance money! Other people have been lucky with publicists—I have not.  There are writers who have spent not only their advance money, but their savings on publicists—some have been successful, others, I fear, like me, have not. In past, I would give readings, do signings, teach workshops, do presentations at book fairs, or writing conferences, appear on panels or with discussion groups. But for my latest book, The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley, I did nothing! I let it fly solo—it’ll make it or not on its own merit without any help from the author. I’d love for word-of-mouth to help spread word of this book, because I feel its deserving, however I’m not doing a single thing to promote it. I feel this is a younger person’s game.  

But to complete this interview and answer your question— what has been the highlight of the writing journey. Certainly it’s the great joy derived from the writing itself and finishing a project.  An excellent review from a person who really “gets” what you’re trying to convey is always a plus, and reading or hearing something complimentary about your writing is a mood booster for sure!

Any tips for someone considering going Indie vs Traditional

No tips.  No advice.  I can only speak about what I did and will continue to do—try the traditional publishing route first—right from the get-go of trying to hook a literary agent.  I had one for Lemon Blossoms, but she was unsuccessful scoring a publisher, and I didn’t stick with her.  So even if it’s a small, independent press, like mine have been, I’d say try those before self-publishing. For one thing, it alleviates the anxiety of formatting and printing the book. 

Thank you so much, Carol, for this delightful interview, and your meaningful questions. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

And thank you, Nina, for consenting to take out some of your valuable time to share with us today. It has been a joy to host you!

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