Nicola Haken

 Nicola Haken!!!

I am so happy I get to have an interview with you!!You know I am a huge fan!!
But, I’ll stop swooning all over you (xoxo) and get on with it…

I’ll start the interview by teasing you, my friend. During the Saving Amy Blog Tour, you revealed 20 Fun Facts about yourself. And Look at that! Take my hand includes a Gleek (check), Twilight movies (check) and a character or two who detest school (check)..How did you accomplish that?
When I reached your first mention of Glee, I was laughing..When the mention of Twilight came, I was like : ”Yeah she totally entered the book this time!”

Haha. Is that a good thing or not? J I’ll be honest - I have no idea how that happened! I see a lot of myself in Emily – the only difference being I have a much filthier mouth J I always start out with a plan for how my characters will turn out but somehow they always end up changing themselves whether I want them to or not. Emily and Rachel remind me so much of me and best friend so it just seemed ‘right’ that they liked the same things.

Amy’s character is very different from Emily’s, which is one of the things I admired about your work. What inspired Emily’s character?

Well I had Dexter’s character mapped out first. I knew immediately how I wanted him to go but it actually took me a while to figure out where Emily fitted in. I’ve always been drawn to broken characters so instinctively I started wondering how Emily could be broken too. But then I decided I wanted Dexter to be REALLY broken and it made more sense that Emily would need to be the stronger one of the pair.

As for how her whole character turned out… like I said earlier they sort of decide for themselves. Now, please don’t call the psyche ward on me when I admit this… but it’s almost like I can actually hear them talking to me while I’m writing. If I close my eyes I can literally see the scene I’m writing playing out like a movie in my head… Okay, on second thoughts I totally wouldn’t blame you for calling a psychiatrist J

In both Saving Amy and Take my hand, we see characters struggle with addiction of some kind as well as suffering from abuse. Was that your goal? To point these matters to the public? Do they hold any significant place in your heart? I for one want to thank you for raising these matters to the surface, because thousands of people suffer because of them and they need to know they’re not alone. Reading about others can be very helpful to them and their families and be quite eye-opening.

I don’t have firsthand experience with all the subjects I write about, though there are bits of me and my life hidden in all my stories in some way. But nevertheless I do feel they are issues that need to be talked about and need to be understood and accepted a lot more than they currently are. That is one thing I do have experience with – people who are quick to judge things they don’t understand.

Self-harmers? They are attention seeking.
Addicts? They bring it on themselves.
People who commit suicide? They’re weak and selfish.
Those are just a few of the comments I have heard too many times. But nobody grows up aspiring to be any of, or carry out any of, those things. People should remember that just because they aren’t aware of someone’s deeper internal struggles, doesn’t mean they’re not there. Fear of being judged or criticized may be the deciding factor in someone feeling too ashamed or embarrassed to seek help and that in my opinion, is so very wrong.

I feel I only glossed very briefly over the topic of addiction in Saving Amy, choosing more to focus on self-harm. She hadn’t had chance to be completely consumed by the drugs she dabbled with before she found the help she needed. Though that was something I really wanted to explore. I have read so many books where someone is an addict for a few weeks, goes to rehab for a few days and gets their happily ever after. That is not real life. Yes my books are essentially fiction however I do like to reflect real-life issues as best I can (obviously I like to embellish certain things – a guy with a pot-belly and zits who comes in from work and whines about the price of the latest gas bill wouldn’t make such a hot book boyfriend now would he? J)

That’s where Dexter comes in. I knew straight away I wanted Take My Hand to be part of a series because I knew Dexter’s story was too complex to wrap up in just one book. He and Emily have a long road ahead of them before they can even begin to think about getting a happily ever after. Book 2 especially will take readers on an intense ride, but hopefully it will all be worth it in the end J

Not to mention any spoilers or anything, but we see that Emily is much stronger of a person than Dexter, despite her shyness. Of course, Dexter has been through worse, as many would point out. Personally, I found it very refreshing for the girl to be the rock for support, rather than the other way around. Did you want it to be this way or did it just happen like that?

I completely planned it that way. If I was certain of one thing before anything else to do with this story it was that I wanted the hero to be broken. I knew when writing Saving Amy that I wanted to delve deeper into the issue of addiction and I also knew I wanted to really focus on a guy this time. I love writing from a guy’s POV it’s so much fun to be inside their heads (or pretend to be!).

As you’ve probably figured out, I loved Take my hand. It is surely a romance. However, it refers to so many sensitive subjects, such as abuse, addiction and people with special needs (I don’t particularly like the term, so if you know of any better, please correct me Nicola!). You involved all these matters and still did it in a graceful way! And that is another reason why I admire your work. But didn’t you find it difficult to do?

I find it emotional for sure, but not necessarily difficult. It’s my favourite kind of writing! I like to do things a little different. There are so many types of different people in the world and hope I reflect that in a good way. Again, unfortunately some people (I say ‘some’ because I am sure it is the minority of people) are too quick to judge people with disabilities and I hope I manage to pull of the fact that it makes entirely no difference to who they are. If Emily didn’t describe Rachel’s wheelchair, I doubt the reader would have any idea she was disabled. The same goes for the issues of abuse, drugs, and everything I have written or intend to write about. It’s impossible to physically ‘see’ what makes a person who they are by what they look like or how they cope with life. Again it boils down to me wanting to reflect real life and I’m so happy you think I handled it well.

I don’t remember if I ever told you but I do have an exceptional memory. And if I remember correctly (which I do lol), you also mentioned on your Fun Facts that you have a vast collection of tattoos. Soo, how many do you have? Have you had any new done, since the Saving Amy Tour?            Spill it, sister!

I don’t have any new ones but I am sure there will be more in my future! Give me a minute while I count….
Right, I have a half-sleeve on my left forearm with lotus flowers, cherry blossoms, peonies and a dragonfly with black swirly stuff (I’m pretty sure that’s not the technical term!) knitting it all together, and above that I have a Japanese lucky cat (for no other reason than I think they look cool!) and a little girl angel with ‘Nanna’ inked underneath it. On my right wrist I have a pretty bow and on the top of my arm I have a pretty big koi fish surrounded by water and Japanese cherry blossoms (I hope to turn that into a full Japanese sleeve one day). On my back I have a sugar skull and roses that spans the full width of my shoulders (that one was done in one 9 hour sitting. I was seriously trembling by the end of it!) and last but not least, my favourite of all, is a picture my eldest son drew when he was 7. My tattoo artist traced the picture and recreated it on my lower leg, right down to the places he’d smudged out of the lines when colouring it in. I plan to get one of those when all of my kids turn 7 J

Ok now prepare for a very hard question..Hope you’re ready..Here we go..Who is the hottest man on the planet, according to you? Your man is excluded, I’m afraid..No offense, Mr.!   And who is the hottest book guy you’ve read about? Again, your fictional men are excluded!

Oh my god are you seriously expecting me to choose just ONE??? And don’t worry – I wasn’t planning to choose my hubby anyway J (Hubby if you’re reading this – you know I love you!!) Ok, don’t judge me, but I’m going with Robert Pattinson. Watching him on screen makes me go all giddy inside… he’s so… woof! Oh no but that means I can’t choose Ian Somerhalder, Henry Cavill, David Gandy, Charlie Hunnam…. Damn.

Book guy? Now you’re really asking something making me nail it down to one. I have so many (*cough* book slut *cough*) but right at the very top of that humongous pyramid has to be the one and only Christian Grey *swooooooooons big time*. Guess that means I won’t mention Dean Holder, Jake Wethers, Kellan Kyle, Woods Kerrington, Andrew Parrish, Rush Finlay, Jared Ryel, Gio Vecchio, Gideon Cross, Jack Henry, Travis Maddox….oooops!

Sorry – I just totally cheated J

And the previous question inspired this one. You must have seen all the buzz about the 50 Shades of Grey movie. What is your opinion on that? On the cast and the buzz itself. I read and heard about some crazy stuff that left me reeling about the human sanity, to be honest, like the hate mail the author received.

I am SO excited for the movie! I thought Charlie Hunnam would have made the perfect Christian Grey and if he were here with me now I would give him a piece of my mind (right after stripping him naked of course haha)! But seriously, it’s all fun. Or at least it should be. The people who have taken it to the extreme sending hate mail or starting petitions are ridiculous and I refuse to spend too much time thinking about them. As hard as I’ve tried I just don’t understand it. If you don’t like the books or the choice of actors, don’t watch – simple. I think people see EL James and the actors involved with the movie as public property, forgetting that they are real people too. It’s wrong and stupid and I just don’t get it. Besides, I’m sure EL James is too busy living a fantastic life with all the money she’s earned from writing such an amazing series to be bothered by the sad little people hiding behind their keyboards.

This is what I call a Random Question. Tell us something that you simply want to share with us. It could be something completely random or it could be about the sequel of Take my hand..Mmm yes I’d like to hear about

I suppose I should say (in case you haven’t already guessed) I like to talk a lot! But because I think that’s pretty obvious I’m going to say this instead - So many people have shared their love for Rachel and Jared with me and I don’t think too many people are aware that they are getting their own book. It’s actually my current project. Book 2 (Hold On Tight) is now finished and being sent to my beta readers (yay!) and Rachel and Jared’s story (Lean On Me) is book 3 in the series. Then, everyone’s stories will be wrapped up nicely (after a bit more drama and a few more surprises of course!) in book 4 J

My last question is about last things…

Last book you read: Double Full by Kindle Alexander. It went straight to my all time favourites list!
Last movie you watched: Twilight of course! I’m seriously not exaggerating when I say I watch them ALL the time J
Last album you downloaded/listened: More Glee songs J
Last concert you went to: The Script. LOVE those guys. Danny O’Donoghue? Mmmm yes please!
Last country you visited: Tenerife. It’s like a second home to me. I love it because it’s filled with British people lol. I am a home-bird and a fussy eater so somewhere hot that also has plenty of British restaurants is the perfect holiday place for me J
Last person you stalked online: Kindle Alexander. I’d never heard of her before reading Double Full and now I want to read everything she’s ever written!

You cannot believe how much fun I had compiling the questions! 

I had so much fun answering them. Thank you for compiling them for me – you are AWESOME! I do hope I didn’t ramble too much and take up all the space on your blog! J

Nicola xxx

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