Q&A with Author Nicole Fanning

Q: What was the first book that you have written and published? My first book was “Catalyst (Heart of the Inferno Series: Book I)” and it is the first of a planned four-book series! It’s a dark mafia thriller-romance, with some mystery elements that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Q: When did you get started as a writer? 
I started writing at about ten-years-old. I was always a reader, devouring every book I could get my hands on. I also grew up in a neighborhood with few children my age, so my imagination was constantly motivated to come up with my own entertainment. As I got older, I found a friend in junior high that had the same passions as me. The two of us would write through our weekends, working on our stories and exchanging chapters on Monday. It was like we were writing our own little soap operas!

Q: What are the pros working as an author? 

If you can see it, you can write it…no matter how big it is. Writing fiction is the ability to see worlds and plots inside your head and finding ways to paint them for your reader to see too. It means that not only can you tell stories, but also give your readers a bit of escapism from the daily drudge of their normal lives. It’s creating magic, and nowadays the world could always use more magic.

Q: Did you always want to write?
As a child, yes. But when I hit adulthood and had to go out into the world and make something of myself, I got a little distracted. However, it never really left me. I always dreamed of becoming a writer, even when I was driving to my regular job every day. When the pandemic hit in 2020, and I suddenly found myself with a lot more time on my hands, I decided to write something just for fun. I sent it to a few of my bookish friends thinking nothing of it, but then found they actually LOVED the story. With their pushing, and a ton of supportive influence from my husband, I decided to publish it for real. I like to think that child-me would be very proud.

Q: How many more books do you have planned for the Heart of the Inferno series? 
There are four books planned for the Heart of the Inferno Series, however, they will be the canon for what lies ahead. In total, there are 14 books planned in the “Mafiaverse” we have created with HOTI. Two prequel novels, a five-part novella series about the Alpha Squad, and three standalone novels with different characters in the driver’s seat, will showcase the beautiful world readers fell in love with from different perspectives.

Q: What three words would you use to describe your writing style?
One of my fans once described it as “enthralling, intoxicating and subtle…yet drenched with intention,” and that seared itself onto my soul. I want my readers to be able to see where I am taking them…and then be shocked when I take them somewhere else entirely.

Q: Tell us, readers about your main characters: Natalie and Jaxon. 
On the surface, Natalie and Jaxon could not have come from more different worlds. Natalie, is an incredibly intelligent and skilled nurse, who gives new meaning to “quiet but not weak.” She is not the overly aggressive heroine, but she isn’t a wallflower either. Growing up in a loving, rule-following family, she is secure in her person and her values, and will always be brave enough to stand up for the ones she loves. She comes to Chicago to attend her cousin’s wedding, and just wants to survive the week-long trip with no drama…but then she meets Jaxon Pace. Jaxon is many things: billionaire, hotelier, playboy…as well as a generational Mafia Don, whose family has run Chicago’s underworld for nearly a century. He’s also a single dad, and when good-girl Natalie saves Jaxon’s daughter from a kidnapping attempt, their worlds are thrust together. And neither one will ever be the same. Over the course of the series, we see this couple redefine not only what love is, but also how love can redefine us, change us, and make us grow for the better. 

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Find your TEAM. Believe me, everyone wants to do everything themselves. Write it, read it, edit it, design the cover, market it, etc. But it’s damn near impossible to do ALL of those things well. Having a team of people who love you, and your work, and want it to be the best it can be, is really how you will advance in your writing career.

Q: What themes can readers find in your latest release, Ignite
Ignite is definitely a wild ride. I would hope that readers could find inclusion, empowerment, forgiveness, as well as a strong sense of family, loyalty and honor. While our mafia boys can have questionable career paths, they still intrinsically have a strong sense of loyalty and honor to each other and their mafia family. Additionally, when Natalie enters Jaxon’s life a whole new sense of vulnerability and emotions are resurrected, bringing with them a myriad of lessons only love can teach us. And finally, when faced with some of the hardest decisions and heartbreaking loss, we see Jaxon and Natalie cling to each other for support, sometimes clawing out of the darkest of holes an inch at a time. Their love, “right, wrong, or insane,” teaches us to love passionately and completely, while appreciating every moment we are given.

Q: Where can readers find you and your books online?
Amazon and Kindle

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