1. How did you come up with the title?
It’s great to be visiting at Tribute Books. Thank you for the interview!
The Twelfth Paladin’s title came about because while doing a major rewrite on the book, Jake Cottrell…the reluctant hero of this supernatural thriller, became more complicated as the story progressed. Jake’s life spins out of control because he foolishly dares Hell to burn him through a series of emails. Jake believes the threatening emails are purely a joke, but Hell invades his virtual space to steal his soul. So, the book was titled @hell. During the rewrite, Jake evolved into more than a man running from Hell. He is also running from his past and he spends all kinds of time avoiding his future.
After Jake realizes he’s been chosen to be a supernatural warrior, commanded by one hardnosed, rebellious angel named Micah, he begins to change for the better. I did not make this journey of self-exploration easy on him! Since Micah’s heavenly unit equals twelve, amazing men, and Jake is the newest addition to the group…he trains to become the twelfth paladin. That sounded like a fantastic title for the updated version, so I kept it. I considered The Twelfth Soldier? Nope. The Twelfth Warrior? Not quite. The Twelfth Paladin…yes!
2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
It fascinates me how two people can react differently to the same exact situation, or how what tempts one person may not tempt another at all. For example, isn’t it interesting how some people are tempted to let go of commonsense, causing them to fall into dangerous situations? No less compelling is the ability of some people to love unconditionally—and then those who seemingly cannot love at all, and hope always intrigues me. Hope is a powerful thing. Since I’ve lived long enough to see people make dramatic changes in their lives, I know great potential can hide deep inside…until something forces it to shine. That people can change and positively affect those around them is the message I believe readers will recognize in The Twelfth Paladin.
3. How much of the book is realistic?
Oh, my! Fabulous question, and since The Twelfth Paladin concerns a battle between a warrior angel, some highly determined demons, and a temptress extraordinaire from Hell, let’s just say I am very happy this book is a work of fiction. However, it was inspired by a super creepy email I received years ago. That email was an invitation, possibly a prank—that invited me to fool around with wickedness. For about two seconds, I thought about clicking on the link within the message, but I decided no good would come from it. With my luck, had I ventured into that link’s virtual world, my computer might have crashed, or who knows...maybe I would’ve slipped into a virtual Hell. So glad I deleted that one!
While it’s true this book is a supernatural/thriller and highlights the relentless battle between good and evil, The Twelfth Paladin has also been called a coming of age story. Jake Cottrell is a seeker of mischief in the beginning of the book, and he’ll do just about anything to feel alive…get a rush. He lives a selfish existence. Yet, in no time, his heart and soul come face to face with life and death situations that mark him forever. Once he enters the supernatural world once believed to dwell only in dreams and nightmares…he cannot escape his destiny. So, yes, this novel is fiction, but it also deals with many real-life issues.
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Do writers ever feel their books are finally finished? I’m not sure, although I will always be able to think of things to change in just about everything I’ve written. Why characters behave like they do, their history, is what I most want to update in my stories. Now, that being said, since The Twelfth Paladin was birthed from a previous novel, I’ve changed so many things up to this point I could not count them all. It was a real pleasure working on this book because I knew the characters very well, so their actions, dialogue, and motivations fell into place easily. If I could change one thing in this book, I’d give Angie Helms more breathing room. She’s feisty, a likable girl who manages to infuriate Davis Travers (the super nasty antagonist) so much it’s funny.
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing The Twelfth Paladin was rounding out the demons’ personalities so they did not all blend together into one demon. Davis Travers, Rachel Darnell, and Rathe Blackwell all have distinct personalities and pretty much despise each other even though they are playing on the same team. Of the three demons, Rachel is my favorite. She is from Hell, very naughty, yet I do take time to show she sincerely feels for Jake and protects him from the other two. Make no mistake, Rachel is wicked, but her history, which spans thousands of years, makes it easy to understand why she is so lonely.
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Absolutely! This book takes a rowdy, young man with no hope for a bright future and sends him on a perilous journey to become a remarkable warrior. Eventually, Jake accepts he has more to offer the world than fulfilling his own selfish desires. It was through Jake’s trials and errors that I was reminded of how important time and patience are while raising teenagers. Always in a hurry to grow up, to test everyone and everything, teens slowly become who they are meant to be.
Choosing my words carefully…that is also another thing writing The Twelfth Paladin reminded me to do. Jake was deeply hurt by his mother and father, by things they said and did. His perception of the world was altered because of their personal struggles. Yes, Jake taught me many things about trying to be good to those around me.
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Goodness, if only my mother knew way…way back when I was supposed to be paying attention in math class that my mind was wandering into fantastic realms located in the frightening woods behind my childhood home in West Virginia. Those woods, with fallen and crumbling trees, strange mounds of dirt covered with massive amounts of leaves, and a seemingly endless supply of animals to make me jump inspired me. What if? Two, tiny words that would make sure I’d have to back track to catch up and complete math assignments! What if the trees were falling and disintegrating because of toxic dust from an asteroid? What if that dust got inside of us? Oh, no! What if aliens are buried under those strange mounds of dirt that seem like they are hiding something…something dangerous?
That’s what did it for me. Those dark, spooky woods ruined my chances of becoming a math genius!
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
This is a tricky question because I respect and admire so many authors. Being that I write in the speculative genres, it is probably no surprise I love reading Edgar Alan Poe and Stephen King. Poe’s poetry and short stories have made me cringe because they scream with profound misery, but his boundless imagination and determination to write disturbing works made me curious about him a long time ago. Every time I read Poe, I’m always impressed.
Stephen King. Well, I could write a book as to why this man’s work strikes me. One thing about King’s work is that he takes ordinary situations and people, like in Dreamcatcher, where friends gather at a camp site for their yearly hunting trip, and then he turns their lives upside down due to an alien invasion. The friends are not super heroes from another planet wearing costumes, so they appear like everyday people. I really enjoy how King pulls you from everyday ho-hum and then shoves you into his world of horror and science fiction.
9. Tell us your latest news.
Danger is coming my way since secrets of betrayal are revealed that blow away Zane Grayson’s world in the sequel to Guardian 2632, which is my science fiction adventure. Time travel assists Zane, Elite Guardians, and Mercs, while super-computers named Gabriel and Acamar—battle for supremacy in the future.
Jake Cottrell never lets me rest, so naturally...he’s gotten himself into a supernatural situation that will test his fellow paladins, especially Obadiah and Suero because they do not trust him. So a sequel to “The Twelfth Paladin” is in the works as well.
For whatever reason, I write more poetry in the winter, therefore, when a line or two of something bizarre hits me…Zane and Jake must wait!
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I most definitely appreciate the interest in my writing, and I encourage everyone to write! If writing is not your thing, then explore your creative side through music, painting, dance, or any other option the arts have to offer. With all of the online communities that connect new writers, artists, and musicians with more experienced ones, any questions you have can be answered.
If you do write and are looking for markets to submit your work to, then check out duotrope.com and ralan.com. You won’t believe how much information there is on those two sites. Remember to always follow the guidelines for each market exactly as they are posted.
One last thing…if you are still in school, then please pay attention in math class!
About the Book
In The Twelfth Paladin, good against evil battles as angels, demons, and a temptress extraordinaire, named Rachel Darnell, vie for the soul of Jake Cottrell. Jake foolishly dares Hell to burn him. Hell agrees. Scarred with angelfire by a rebellious angel, named Micah, Jake Cottrell is sanctioned to become the twelfth paladin in Micah’s supernatural unit of slayers. However, regret abounds as Micah is banished and ordered to protect what he now despises…a human he believes is unworthy of such an honor. Never fear, Jake is a seeker of mischief who soars on a blistering blacktop to escape the wrath of Hell while he transforms into the twelfth paladin.
Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Publisher: Melange Books
Release Date: 2011
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, Melange Books
About the Author
Nora's publishing credits include the anthologies Mind Mutations, Cyber Pulp’s Halloween 3.0, and Dark Pleasures. Other venues in print and online include; The Hacker’s Source, The Dream People, Hoboeye, Abandoned Towers, Dark Moon Rising, Shadowkeep, Insolent Rudder, Poe Little Thing, Soul Engravings, Dark Walls, The Murder Hole, Word Salad, Lost in the Dark, Static Movement Online, Escaping Elsewhere, Decompositions, The Kudzu Monthly, The Burning Word, The Seeker Magazine, Dream Forge, The Sidewalk's End, and The Harrow. She took first place in a Lotus Blooms Journal’s past poetry contest. Her latest novel, Guardian 2632, came out in January 2011, from Melange Books. The Twelfth Paladin has just been released by Melange Books. Worlds Within-Worlds Beyond, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Trapeze Magazine, and Four and Twenty all featured her work during the autumn, 2010. Bete Noire has accepted work for 2012, and 1889 Labs just published Down in Death Valley. Crack the Spine published Nora's work in February 2012. Feel free to download previous interviews with Nora on Blog Talk Radio’s, Not Picture Perfect. Her blog is the Noracast.
Nora has also had the pleasure of reaching people through the airwaves on radio stations throughout the US. She's been a guest on WBIG/ 1280 am/ People to People with Paul Morgan, and KFIZ/1450 am/Backstage Live with Joe Scheibinger. Radio interviews took place with WDLB/1450 am/Insight with Ryan Lindsey, WFAD/1490 am/ Jerry Germaine & Jae Show, KBAR/1230 am/ In The Dark with Bill Shields, WJON/1240 am/The Midday Show with Kelli Gorr, Trip N Tyme In The Morning / Ellusions Radio Network, LLC and with Jack Landman of Cybercity Radio.
Nora is available for radio/podcast interviews to discuss writing and/or Internet safety.
Links to connect with Nora:
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