I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Discovering the Woodsman with a Q&A with N M Brott.
Find out the inspiration behind Discovering the Woodsman, a little about the characters, a free download and much more!
First, here’s more about Discovering the Woodsman:
In the beautiful and peaceable kingdom of Evgenia, it is rumored that mysterious creatures still survive long after the secrets of magic have been lost. Lady Heather Bloodstone’s headstrong nature impels her to discover whether the creatures known as Woodsmen truly exist outside of the fairy tales she adored as a child. When she meets Jasper—a handsome Woodsman with deep blue eyes, wild grass-colored hair, and a cocky smile—she is nearly overwhelmed by his kiss.
Jasper the Woodsman’s life consists of fulfilling requests from the maidens and ladies of the castle—be it for a healing potion, a kiss, or to become lovers. When the lovely Lady Heather refuses his offer of the latter, he is nevertheless intrigued by her request to become friends. A dangerous situation arises when their friendship deepens, because those who cross noble bloodlines with a commoner’s are banished from Evgenia forever.
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise Discovering the Woodsman in 20 words or less.
Discovering the Woodsman is a forbidden romance tale of a noble lady, and an intriguing and handsome fantasy creature.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
I woke from a vivid dream and quickly wrote a few paragraphs to describe the unusual man I’d seen. His hair reminded me of the kind of grass you see waving in the wind and his skin looked a bit like wood bark. His eyes were dark blue and had the kind of intensity that made me want to jump my husband after I’d finished writing (but he snored on, darn it). Several years went by before I re-read those paragraphs. I’d completely forgotten the dream, but the unusual man’s description intrigued me so much, I wanted to know his story.
Please tell us about the characters in your novel.
Lady Heather is a young noble lady who believes loyalty and proper behaviour are her best qualities. She’s enjoyed more freedoms than other ladies her age due to her friendship with the princess. Her headstrong nature leads her to push the bounds of those freedoms. She doesn’t worry about leaving the protection of the castle to fulfil her childhood dream of discovering whether Woodsmen are only fairy tale legends or truly real.
Jasper is a Woodsman—a helpful creature of the forest, who provides healing potions to any folk in need, and also makes love to any maiden who asks. Which they all do. Although he enjoys a relatively carefree lifestyle, he usually avoids noble ladies, having had his heart broken by one, but conversations with Lady Heather leave him wishing for much more. But that she doesn’t wish to have from him.
What scene was the hardest to write Nina?
The first scene in any book is usually the hardest one to write, but since I rewrote it about fifteen times, I think it’s just the hardest one to choose. (haha) The hardest scene for me to imagine, and the one I kept putting off, was the second love scene, mainly because it had to be very different from the first one. I can’t say more without giving the plot away. (wink, wink)
Did you do any research for Discovering the Woodsman?
For Jasper’s vast knowledge of healing potions, I had to research plants and their uses as holistic medicines. (However, there is not plant like the lakewort, unfortunately.) I also researched what life was like in the Medieval era to give the story a more authentic feel. Finding out they only rubbed their teeth with a cloth instead of brushing with toothpaste made me appreciate living in modern times.
Does your novel tackle a social barrier?
In the kingdom of Evgenia, the noble class is kept elevated from the commoners by law. Crossing bloodlines is punished with banishment of all parties involved. Lady Heather’s loyalty to her father and Princess Malva impel her to keep from considering Jasper as anything more than just a friend. But when her feelings for him deepen, she has to decide whether she can give her privileged life up to be with the one she loves.
Do you have a theme for your book covers Nina? Who designs them?
Since I am self-publishing, I was extremely fortunate that my daughter’s college roommate, Margaret A. Bennett, is a very talented artist. She did the artwork and designed the cover for me. It was amazing to see the ideas in my head brought to life. She actually just sent me some preliminary sketches of Crispin the jester who is the hero of my next book.
Your novel is part of a series, what is in the future?
Discovering the Woodsman is Book One of the Evgenia Trilogy. Book Two is Pursuing the Nixie, the tale of Crispin the jester and Hal the Nixie. And Book Three is Redeeming the Malachi, which is Princess Malva’s story. The stories must be read in sequence since the stories often overlap. It was intriguing to me as a writer to go back to some of the scenes I’d written and redo them from another character’s point of view. I’ve also written a prequel novella, A Rare Gem, which is the story of how Lady Heather’s parents met and fell in love. It’s available as a free download through my website: https://nmbrott.wixsite.com/evgenia
Do you have a most creative time of day?
Anytime the house is empty (days when my husband goes to work) or quiet (when everyone is asleep). My two kids are finally both in college so I now have three days a week to myself. But while I was writing the trilogy, I mostly wrote at night. I rarely sleep more than 5-6 hours a night so that gave me several hours in which to write in peace. Unlike other writers who have a playlist that helps them focus, I can’t have any sort of distracting noise.
Finally Nina, have you joined any writing groups? What have you gained?
I’m a member of the Chicago-North chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA). They’ve helped me tremendously with the craft of writing through critique nights, not only by telling me what I was doing wrong (in a very supportive and gentle way), but by hearing what other writers are doing right.
Thank you for being my guest today.
Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
After reading Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ book, Women Who Run with the Wolves, back in 1994, Nina had the notion that her dreams could turn into interesting stories if she wrote them down. So she did. While she raised her children, she refined her craft and is now ready to share her stories with the world. Her wish is for readers to find them as entertaining to read as they were for her to write.
When she’s not expanding her dreams into stories, Nina spends time with her husband of 27 years (when he’s home from work), their two children (when they’re home from college), and their two rescue dogs (when they’re not sleeping). She loves watching hockey, going to plays or concerts, and baking (especially scones).
She’s a proud member of the Romance Writers Association (RWA), and especially, the Chicago-North RWA Chapter, without whose gentle criticism and enthusiastic encouragement, she wouldn’t be a published writer today.
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