Author Chelsea Cameron stops by TeamNerd to chat all things Nocturnal, the first book in her Noctalis Series. She opens up about what makes her worthy of the title Nerd *wink*, about her characters and story, and what kind of paranormal story she would create if she were played the lead in her own story. Check out the super fun interview!
Annabell: Here at TeamNerd, we’re very proud of our status as hawt nerds *wink* What are some qualities that qualify you as a hawt nerd?
Chelsea Cameron: Well, I think I rock the glasses pretty hard :) While I love to stay home and watch old Jane Austen movies, I also love to go out and listen to live music and dance. I think it's all how you carry youself. When I was young, I tried to hide my nerd status; I was ashamed of it. Now I wear it proudly and when someone calls me a nerd or a dork, I take it as a compliment.
Annabell: As a nerd, I love to collect notebooks and pens *hehe* Are there any nerd like things you like to collect?
Chelsea Cameron: Well, books would be at the top of that list. I'm also a crazy tea collector. My pantry is filled with boxes and boxes of it. If I had more money, I would have a complete Victorian wardrobe with corsets and parasols and the works. Someday . . .
Annabell: What were you like in high school: nerd, athlete, popular cheerleader?
Chelsea Cameron: The funny thing is that in high school I was a cheerleader, but they weren't popular. We actually got made fun of a lot. That's why I hate it when books always have the stereotypical popular girl be a mean cheerleader. I kind of did a lot of things. I cheered and played lacrosse, was academic and I dabbled in theater as well. I definitely wasn't popular, though I had some amazing friends.
Annabell: Nocturnal is set in Maine. What is it about Maine that made the perfect setting for the Noctalis Series?
Chelsea Cameron: Because I live here? LOL. That's really the best answer. I've lived in Maine my whole life and it was easiest for me to write. I also feel like there are several other paranormal books that are set here, and they don't accurately portray what Maine is like. (Not Stephen King. His books are dead on.)
Annabell: Nocturnal has a very interesting twist to the age old story of vampires. How did the concept for Nocturnal come about? What made you decide to jump into the world of vampires?
Chelsea Cameron: I was not into vampires AT ALL until I read Twilight. That stupid sparkly book. Then I started reading other vamp stories, and I came across Sunshine by Robin McKinley. If you haven't read it, you NEED to. It's Beauty and the Beast with vampires. Nocturnal was sort of like my love letter to that book.
Annabell: Peter has this regal like way of acting but he’s also distant due to his past. Was there anything specific that inspired the personality behind his character?
Chelsea Cameron: I think Con (the vampire in Sunshine) had the biggest influence on Peter. At first I'd written him as more sarcastic, but it didn't seem to fit. Peter is an emotionally detached character. It's like he's lost the ability to feel emotions, and then he meets Ava and he's bombarded by them. It's strange being inside his head, but I love writing about how his feelings grow and deepen over time.
Annabell: Ava has to deal with the tough situation of her mother being diagnosed with cancer. As would be expected, she goes through a constant emotional upheaval as she struggles to understand how to keep living when her mother is dying. Why did you decide to go in that direction with the plot?
Chelsea Cameron: I wanted it to be about more than the romance. I wanted Ava to be more than a girl who was in love with a boy. In my original draft, her mother had already died and she was dealing with the aftermath, but it didn't have the punch I wanted. So I tried writing it with her mother still alive, and it worked.
Annabell: The backstory to Peter is definitely an interesting one and one that I was surprised by! Why did you decide to use the history behind the story of the Titanic?
Chelsea Cameron: Confession time: I was OBSESSED with the movie Titanic when I was 12. For real. I spent HOURS reading facts about the ship and downloading pictures and just being a crazy fangirl. I even had a fake Heart of the Ocean necklace. When I was thinking about Peter, it just sort of clicked. I don't know where it came from.
Annabell: Jamie, one of Ava’s best friends, also struggles through a really tough situation. I didn’t like the fact that his situation wasn’t really addressed in the novel as it should have been. It seemed too passed over. Will his situation be handled better in the second installment?
Chelsea Cameron: Poor Jamie. He's dealt with a lot in his life, and his main goal is to not show it. To be that bright person who takes care of everything and everyone. In the second book, things start looking up for him, and in the third he meets someone who understands, but that's all I'm going to say about that ;)
Annabell: Di is the main villain of the book. Peter, Viktor and Ivan have a history with her and are bound to her essentially against their wills. Will the second installment, Nightmare, showcase more of Di and the bound curses? Will Viktor and Ivan play more of a bigger role? Will readers get a chance to see Peter’s relationship more with his brothers?
Chelsea Cameron: Yes, yes and yes! I don't believe that you can have an amazing love story without a lot of obstacles and struggle, so there will be a lot more conflict before the happily ever after. I also love writing about relationships. I'm an only child, so I really spend a lot of time trying to watch how siblings interact and put that in my books. Ivan has a HUGE scene in Nightmare, but I won't spoil it for you. Let's just say he's not as evil as everyone thinks.
Annabell: What is your favorite aspect to writing a book? What is your least favorite aspect?
Chelsea Cameron: I love it when the story flows and I get hit with an idea that literally makes me gasp. This has happened a few times, and usually I'm alone so I get on Twitter and yell about it. I get so excited when things click, or I'm having an issue and suddenly the solution is staring me in the face. I love it when I write something that makes me laugh in an unexpected way. My least favorite is probably the doubt. There are days when it's hard to even get 100 words because nothing seems right. Those are the hard days.
Annabell: What is your writing routine like? Do you have any music or snacks or odd little things you have to do before sitting down to write or while writing?
Chelsea Cameron: I work a full-time job during the day and get home around 4:30. I usually start work around 6 and go until 10 or sometimes 12. It depends on what kind of deadlines I have. Since it's crunch time for Numb to get to the editor, I've been drinking a lot of Monster and staying up late. I know most people like quiet when they write, but I'm the opposite. I like as much noise as possible. It helps my brain focus better because I have something to tune out. Ideally, I have the television on low (I write in my living room on the couch) set to something mindless like an old movie I've seen a million times, or infomercials, and then I'll have music as well. I know it sounds bizarre, but it works for me. Most of the time when I'm writing, I forget to eat. When I do remember, the kitchen seems SOOOOO far away, so I have to have something right there, usually chocolate and/or something salty.
Annabell: Where is your favorite spot to write? Where is your favorite spot to read?
Chelsea Cameron: Gotta be the couch. I have to be comfortable to write. I have back issues so I can't sit in a chair for a long period of time, so I prop myself up on lots of pillows and put my feet on the coffee table. Someday I will have a recliner, but for now the couch is what I have to work with. I can honestly read anywhere. I do love reading outside in the summer on a blanket in the yard, but only if there is enough shade. I burn like a lobster.
Annabell: What drives your passion and love for writing? And for reading?
Chelsea Cameron: I write because I can't NOT do it. Even if I wasn't typing things up and publishing, I'd still be writing stories in my head. I write so the voices will shut up and leave me alone. I write to deal with things that I can't deal with. I write to try and understand people and their actions. I write because I have to :) Reading? I was a very, very lonely child. Books were my best friends, my lifeline, my escape. I got teased a lot in school and was very depressed for a while. If I hadn't had books, I don't know how I would have gotten through it. I can safely say that they saved my life back then.
Annabell: If you could become the lead in your own paranormal book, what would the story involve? What would be your new name? Would you be a paranormal character or stay human? Where would your story take place? If you could pick a favorite actor to play the role of your love interest, who would you choose?
Chelsea Cameron: Ooo, I like this question. I'm a sucker for vampires (haha), but I also like zombies. Hmm . . . Can't I just have both? My name would be something badass and romantic, like Jocelyn or Victoria. I'd probably want to be the paranormal so I could have cool abilities and be the powerful one. Although, if I was a human with a lot of gadgets and weapons, that would be awesome too. I wouldn't want it to be in a city, because I have a horrible sense of direction. Maybe in Maine, because at least I would know the territory. As for actors? I love Channing Tatum and Robert Pattinson, but I think I'll have to go with Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey. He just has the most amazing eyes, and I think he's more than sexy enough to qualify. Also, he has a killer accent. *swoon*
Annabel: Thank you to Chelsea Cameron for stopping by TeamNerd and the really awesome interview!