GET TO KNOW NICOLE LUTTRELL

Nicole is a speculative fiction writer. That means she writes about dragons, spaceships and ghosts. Sometimes she writes about the ghosts of dragons on spaceships. She lives in Western PA with her husband, a spoiled dog and a cat who thinks she's a tiger.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW BOOK.

Missing Stitches is the end of the Woven Trilogy, and a lot of things that my characters have been struggling with are coming to an end: Lenore's relationship with her parents, Victor's coming to terms with who he is at the end of the story. Oh, and of course there's a massive civil war going on on the boardwalks of the city. And a homicidal religious sect is trying to regain its dominance over the people.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR THIS BOOK?

Most of the book revolves around Lenore and Victor's daughters and niece being kidnapped. And, like when you miss a stitch when knitting, the fiber of their lives unravels without them.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK? IS IT PART OF A SERIES?

I started writing Woven to tell the story of a boy who wove visions in a world where men didn't have magic with thread. I think we see lots of books, including my own, with women who break the constraints society has on them. But for a boy who's fighting against social norms, it's harder. I wanted to write Devon for boys who are quieter, who don't fit into what society says men should be.

HOW MUCH OF YOUR BOOK IS BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES OR THOSE OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW?

I think there's a little of every writer in every character they write. Lenore certainly has my mouth. I think my life inspires parts of the book. For instance, in Book  Two there's a few chapters about a coal mine, and how the miners are treated. I live in Western Pennsylvania, where these are things we live with every day.

WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH WENT INTO WRITING YOUR BOOK?

I learned a lot about several different cultures to write this book. Italy, the Middle East, Russia, Japan. Anyone who reads the books will see the influences of these countries in the food and architecture of the world. And in the swearing.

WHAT CRITERIA DID YOU USE WHEN SELECTING THE COVER FOR YOUR BOOK?

I wanted to convey the depth of the story. This is a dark final installment, and some people I loved through the first two books don't survive. I love that the cover hearkens back to book one, with the blue colors, but is much darker.

WAS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR BOOK THAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CONVEY?

I didn't write it to have a message, I just wanted to tell a good story. But, now that it's done, I think I ended up writing a story about perseverance, sacrifice and the difference between the family we're born with and the family we choose. 

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR BOOK?

If I could go back, I would change Lenore's mother's name. It's too similar to hers, and I think it gets confusing.

IF YOUR BOOK WOULD BE MADE INTO A FILM, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY THE LEADS?

Oh that's hard, because the characters are in their late teens, early twenties, and the actors I think of are all sort of older now! But I think Zendaya would be great as Sultiana.

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU BEGIN WRITING?

I started writing when I was thirteen, because I realized that I actually loved writing assignments in school. Any opportunity to write sparked joy in my life. But I think I've always told myself little stories in my head.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER?

The first time I checked out a copy of the Writer's Market from the library and submitted a short story to one of the magazines. Spoiler, it was rejected.

DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE.

When it comes to planning time to write and getting my butt into the chair, I have a very businesslike approach. I plan time to write like an appointment, and I've got to show up. But when I'm creating, I'm very spiritual. I freewrite everything, no filter, working off a rough outline that will change several times through the drafting process. I have to get it down on paper, I can't rough draft on a computer. I feel like what happens in the story isn't really up to me until draft two or three.

WHAT IS THE HARDEST LESSON YOU HAD TO LEARN AS A WRITER?

I can't control how other people will read my story. What I think I'm saying is not always what other people are going to hear, just because they've lived a different life than I have. They say no one reads the same book, and I know that's totally true. But it's hard to think of what I'm writing being perceived in a way I never intended.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A WRITER?

Girl, time! I never have enough time to write as much as I want, do all the social media and marketing work I want. I have all these story ideas and novel ideas and I feel like I'll never get to all of them!

NOT INCLUDING FAMILY, WHO SUPPORTED YOUR EFFORTS TO BECOME A PUBLISHED AUTHOR?

Everyone in my life. My friends are so good about answering random questions when I'm working. A friend suggested my book to a book club. One friend has bought every one of my books and keeps pushing them into people's hands.

My fellow writers online have also been so supportive. I've never been involved in such a loving community.

WHO WAS YOUR FIRST PUBLISHER AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?

My first publisher was Solstice Publishing. It was kind of an amazing experience, to be honest. I mean, I'd had short work published before, but there's something totally different getting that acceptance letter from an actual publisher.

I learned a lot from the experience, about working with other authors and with an editor for the first time since high school. I absolutely loved it.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW WRITERS?

Be patient with the process. Writing takes time, and getting published takes even longer. But don't waste the time you have to spend waiting. When you start submitting your work and you're waiting to hear back, there are two things you should be doing. Living your life and writing your next piece. Go on vacations, explore your city, watch new movies, read new books. Experience as much new as you can, because that's what's going to feed your work. When you're working on your new project and living your life, it won't seem like such a long wait to publication day.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS?

For me, it comes down to three authors. Stephen King, Natalie Goldberg and Tamora Pierce. King's work keeps me reading until the end, even when the end is highly unsatisfying. Goldberg makes me feel like an artist. And Pierce, well she's just the best fantasy writer ever.

WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?

I'm reading Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. I honestly can't recommend it enough.

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?

Toy Story III.

IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE WHO EVER LIVED, PAST OR PRESENT, WHO WOULD THAT BE?

Natalie Goldberg. I would love to sit down at a coffee shop and just talk with her forever. Even better, freewrite with her.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS AND MOVIES?

I love science fiction shows like Star Trek, Futurama and X-Files. I also love everything Joss Whedon has ever done. But my favorite movie of all time is Pleasantville. It's a seriously underrated film.

WHAT KIND OF MUSIC TOUCHES YOUR SOUL?

I'm pretty eclectic when it comes to music. I love Dolly Parton, but I also love Eminem. But I also love musicals. I think I've listened to Hamilton a million times.

WHAT DO YOU WANT WRITTEN ON YOUR HEADSTONE?

Loving wife, friend, storyteller.

DO YOU HAVE A BLOG OR WEBSITE READERS CAN VISIT FOR UPDATES, EVENTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS?

My blog is called Paper Beats World. I post twice a week about speculative fiction books, either writing them or reading them.

In Devon’s world, magical work is as common as turning a pot or fletching an arrow. What isn’t common is a man with thread magic. When Devon finds that he is a seer, weaving prophetic tapestries, his family tries to keep it a secret.

But the family can’t hide Devon’s visions after he predicts a devastating plague in the dragon lands of Coveline. He travels there to help the dragon queen save her people.

Meanwhile, Devon’s sister Lenore joins the Church of Singular Light. As Lenore learns to serve, and falls in love with her city, she discovers a dark underbelly to the church.

Lenore fights for her city, and Devon rushes to find a cure to the plague, while an unseen enemy raises an army to destroy Septa from within.

After years of war between Montelair and Septa, the two thrones are united by family. Victor's nephew, Morgan, is sharing the throne with the last heir of the royal line, Jacob. He and Lenore decide to travel to Montelair with their newborn daughters to help broker peace.

But peace among their own people is harder to achieve. The city is tormented by a terrorist who calls himself The Tinker. He and his group of anarchists plant bombs through the city and call for the death of the new kings from every street corner.

Meanwhile, in Calistar, Sultiana and Devon are marching to war with Kussier. The ancient hatred between the two countries is sprung anew when Sultiana is declared heir to the Calistar throne.

Waiting at the border, though, is a much darker enemy. A force from legend threatens to consume both countries, and possibly the world.

The city of Septa has barely had a moment of peace since the death of their king, Michael. Lenore, the princess, and heir, hopes that she and her husband, Victor, can bring some stability. Meanwhile, her brother Devon and his wife, Queen Sultiana, come to visit and meet Lenore and Victor’s twin daughters. Sultiana comes with a heavy heart, having just miscarried her own child, and lost her father.

Instead, Lenore finds herself battling against her uncle, Joseph, over her right to the throne. As he stirs the city into civil war, an ancient enemy reveals itself. Brother Brennan, who claims to speak for The Creator, is killing Septa citizens in the streets.

Then, Lenore’s daughters are kidnapped. While Victor and Devon hunt the city in search of the princesses, Lenore and Sultiana must lead her city in a war against her uncle, and a twisted holy man. The canals run red as Lenore fights for her city, her family, and the safety of the world, in the conclusion of Woven.

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