Meet The Author - Nicola Mar

Last month I was given the oportunity to read a recently published ebook under the name of 'A Red Tale'. This book was so good that my review of it reflected, almost exactly, how I felt about it and somehow its author took notice of it and contacted me later on, thanking me for reading and taking time to write a positive feedback.

This earned me a paperback copy of the book and also the oportunity to interact with the author, which was very happy to answer a couple of my questions.

The Author

Source: Google Images

Nicola Mar was born on March 16 under the sign of Pisces. After spending her preschool years in Austria, Nicola grew up on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, where she was discovered at age 15 and recruited to start modeling in local fashion magazines. At 18, she moved to the U.S. to continue her education, graduating from Rollins College with a Bachelor's degree in anthropology and a specialty in creative writing. Between classes, Nicola continued to develop as a fashion model in the American market while also working on her writing. In March 2014, Nicola published her first novel, A Red Tale, which was inspired by her childhood growing up on St. Maarten. Nicola Mar currently resides in New York City with her two dogs. (Retrieved from her official website.)

The Interview

1. Why did you decide to become a writer?

NM: Writing always came naturally to me. I loved writing stories as a child, but I never thought of it as a career. I constantly started writing books, but never finished them, because I was distracted by new stories that would pop into my head. A Red Tale was the first story that I just couldn’t stop writing. The character wouldn’t get out of my head and I felt like the story just needed to be told. Once I finished the novel, I felt so accomplished and I knew then that I wanted to write full-time.

2. Did you have any influences? 

NM: My favorite writers are Anne Lamott, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Ursula K. Le Guin. But I would have to say that Madeleine L’Engle made me want to become a writer. I read all of her work when I was growing up. Her stories are so captivating.

3. How did you come up with the idea for “A Red Tale” and why did you choose this title?

NM: I’m a very spiritual person and I’ve read all sorts of books about psychics, reincarnation, time travel, energy healing etc. I’m also a big fan of fantasy. I started the story because I had just finished an interesting book about past lives, and I thought it would be great to write my own story about someone who becomes aware that she lived before. The title is a play on words. I thought it was a cute pun because the dragon’s tail radiates a red color (literally) but the meaning of the red energy that comes from him is why the book is a tale of red.

4. Do you have any ideas for your next book(s)? If so, mind sharing a bit with us? 

NM: I’m working on the next book in this series. In the next book, we will see more of Abe and more of Amelie’s talents.

5. Do you have a special place to write and/or is there a specific routine that you follow before you start writing? 

NM: I have two dogs so I can’t write at home because they either want to play with me or I want to play with them! I wrote the majority of A Red Tale at a small cafĂ© a couple blocks from my apartment. They have a cozy basement area that is dark and quiet, so I spent many hours down there writing. Even if I don’t feel like writing, I force myself to sit there until I can put something down on paper, even if it’s just ideas.

6. Other than an author, you are also a model. Was it difficult to make them both work together? 

NM: Not really because my schedule is very flexible as a model. On my free days when I’m not shooting, I write! It’s the discipline that’s hard.

7. Also, do you think that being a model helped you with your writing? Or with being published and reach a bigger ‘crowd’? 

NM: I definitely have a lot of stories about the modeling business, so I have good material when I’m ready to write about the fashion world. I do have people who follow my work in modeling and I think some of those fans will buy my books, but really it’s a completely difference world so I’ve been transitioning slowly. I feel so grateful to all the people who have accepted me as a writer and have wanted to read my book.

Now with some off topic questions: 

1. What’s your favorite book and why? 

NM: My favorite book is A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A lot of the characters have the same long name, so the book is so difficult to understand. I read it three times until I completely understood the message. And once that happened, I just couldn’t believe how genius it was. A must read for everyone.

2. And if you had to choose between a printed book, paperback or hardback, or e-books, which would you choose and why?

NM: I love the smell and feeling of books in my hands, so I’d have to say a physical book, and probably a hardcover. It’s beautiful to have a book that you can keep forever. I have a lot of the books my grandfather owned, some of them published in the 1800s! I treasure them so much. But I have to admit that traveling with my Kindle is more convenient!

3. What’s your favorite book that is now a movie? 

NM: I really liked Water for Elephants and The Lovely Bones. I also thought they did a really good job with The Hunger Games. I’ve read all 3 books, but have only seen the first movie.

I wanna thank Nicola Mar for being such an incredible sweet person and taking her time to contact me and also answer my questions.

You can also visit her official website for more information on her modelling career and her book.

Review - Boom!: (Or 70,000 Light Years)

Title: Boom!: (Or 70,000 Light Years)
Author: Mark Haddon
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Release Date: January 1st 2009

My Rating:

An explosive, highly charged, and hilarious middle-grade adventure from Mark Haddon, acclaimed author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

From the moment that Jim and his best friend, Charlie, bug the staff room and overhear two of their teachers speaking to each other in a secret language, they know there's an adventure on its way.

But what does "spudvetch" actually mean, and why do Mr. Kidd's eyes flicker with fluorescent blue light when Charlie says it to him? Perhaps Kidd and Pearce are bank robbers talking in code. Perhaps they're spies. Perhaps they are aliens. Whatever it is, Jimbo and Charlie are determined to find out.

There really is an adventure on its way. A nuclear-powered, one-hundred-ton adventure with reclining seats and a buffet car. And as it gathers speed and begins to spin out of control, it can only end one way . . . with a BOOM!

My Thoughts

I decided to read this book after I found it on a bookstore for a really cheap price and also because I remembered that I read something else by this author not long ago - needless to say that I really enjoyed the "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time".

This book was pure fun from page 1 to page 194. I have never laughed so loud and for so long whilst reading a book in my life. I even made a fool of myself on the bus because of it.

The plot was amazing for a kid's book. Aliens, teachers, curious kids with a love'hate relationship with their sibling... Fantastic.

The ending was the only thing that prevented me from giving this book a 5 star, since it seems to me that the story doesn't really end. Which is not always a bad thing, but on this case it left me wanting more.

I would advise this book to anyone with a soft spot for kids book's.

Review - Allegiant

Title: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent
Book #: 3
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: October 22nd 2013

My Rating:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

My Thoughts

'Allegiant' was very different from its previous books, since it provided us with two different views - Tris's and Four's - which the author already prepared us for with the release of the retelling of 'the knife throwing scene' from Four's perspective - Free Four - and also because it was bittersweet to the end.

As we all know, Veronica Roth is not afraid to kill her characters, in fact she does it quite often through out this trilogy. Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy this (wow can I sound any more like a psycopath?) but on this book it was simply heartbreaking. But we'll get to this in a minute.

Reading from Four's perspective was crucial to this book, not only because of how it ends, but also because it provide us with more information about this character and how he thinks. I liked this a lot, since I couldn't get the all story from Tris's perspective, especially when they argued or went through a situation together that always left me thinking of what was going through his mind.

I was so very excited to get to know what was going on outside the fence, but once I 'got' there I only wanted to go back inside of it. Knowing how the world outside was in this book, was as traumatizing to me as it was for the characters.

* Attention Spoilers *

Uriah's death was devastating to me. He was always so nice and the way he dealt with the loss of his friends was so brave in my opinion. I got used to 'seeing' him around and when that freaking bomb blew him away I just could not deal with it. I just kept staring at the book with my mouth open waiting for the words to change and somehow erase that event from the book.

When his family unplugged him I almost cried. It was a very endearing moment when it happened.

Now, Beatrice's death... I didn't enjoy this. Not because I disagree with the decision of the author on doing it, but because I don't think it got the attention it needed. I expected it to be a magnificent death, with some very exciting and brilliant events happening afterwards and it did not live to my expectations.

This being said, I liked the fact that the main character died here (again, can I sound more like a psycopath??).

All in all, 'Allegiant' was a very good book and a somewhat good way to end this series. Let's end this review with one of my favorite quotes from it:

"There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.
But sometimes it doesn't.
Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of everyday, the slow walk toward a better life.
That is the sort of bravery I must have now."