Monday, March 22, 2010

Interview with Nicole Zoltack, author of "The Kingdom of Arnhem"

Hi everyone! I have author Nicole Zoltack popping in today to talk about writing and her "Kingdom of Arnhem" Series. I read Nicole's first book in the series, "Woman of Honor" and I enjoyed it very much! Enjoy the interview!

STEPH: - How did you come up with the idea for the Kindgom of Arnhem series?

NICOLE: I'm obsessed with everything related to the Middle Ages and the Reniassance and knights and chivalry. My wedding was Renaissance themed (there are a few photos on my website). My hubby and I have a sword collection. Many times, we're gone to the Pa Renaissance Faire, and I'll wear period garb.

Anyhow, I love to read everything I can about this period as well. During some research, I began to wonder if any females were knights, knowing how women were treated back then. To my surprise, there were. In fact, I learned about an entire order of female knights! When Aislinn goes to the king to ask about becoming a knight, she cites these brave women as to why she should be given her chance.

STEPH - Do you cast your characters? If so, who plays Caelan? Geoffrey? Aislinn?

NICOLE: Sometimes. I find it a lot harder to cast my female characters for some reason so I didn't cast Aislinn. But Caelan is Gerard Butler (only with darker blue eyes) and Geoffrey is a short grey-eyed Paul Walker.

STEPH: Sigh... Paul Walker. He's a handsome guy, isn't he? Swoon... I love Paul Walker. I used him in my Moldavia series as "Viktor."

STEPH - What story was easier to write? Book 1 or Book 2 in the series?

NICOLE: I would have to say Book 2 just because Woman of Honor had a deeper historical slant while Knight of Glory opens up the fantasy aspect more. It was a lot of fun to explore the world through Geoffrey and to be able to introduce other races. There are dwarves. Unlike a lot of fantasy books, I actually mention the females. And there are trolls. I harken back to the Scandinavia myths about trolls. The females are actually beautiful (definitely not the typical outlook on trolls!) and are always elegantly dressed. The men are large and muscular and hairy.

STEPH: - How do you write? Do you plot the story out or do write a scene and go from there?

NICOLE: I can't completely plot out a story or else I won't finish it! I like to be as surprised by the ending as the readers will be. I guess you could say that I write to entertain, both my readers and myself.

I usually start first with a character or a situation and work from there. Definitely a panster. I don't always write scenes in order either, sometimes I'll skip a scene if the characters refuse to cooperate. And yes, my characters do talk to me. :)

STEPH - Do you write other genres than fantasy? What are your favorite genres.

NICOLE: I write lots of genres: medieval, YA, paranormal, contemporary, horror, and romance. I'm not published in them all (yet!).

My favorite? Wow, that's a hard one. Most of my stories have some aspect of romance in them, even if only a subplot, and sometimes even though I didn't plan for it. The hardest for me to write is contemporary, because I love to add magic or mythological creatures to my stories, which is probably why I write so many fantasy/paranormal stories. Even the horror WIP that is currently on the back burner has a zombie in it.

STEPH - Who are your favorite authors? Did the way they write or the stories they wrote influence or inspire what you write?

NICOLE: I have so many that it would be impossible to list them all!

I love Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. The combination of time travel, history, romance, action and adventure... Each book is a heavy tome but they are well worth the read.

Another series I love is Tamora Pierce's The Lioness Quartet. This series is also about a girl that wants to become a knight, but she lies and pretends to be a boy. All of her books set in her Tortall world are great, but I must confess that I don't care for her Circle of Magic books.

Because of my background in forensics, I love to read true crime books as well as books on serial killers. I have some story ideas for mysteries but I don't know if I'll ever write them. In order to make mysteries work, you have to be a plotter, so I don't know. But I'm always up for a challenge so maybe someday! STEPH: I that's so neat that you have a chemistry degree and a background in forensics! How diverse!

Speaking of mysteries, I love Mary Higgins Clark. My favorite book of all time is Les Miserables. And if I don't stop now, I'll just keep listing books and authors....

STEPH - What's the latest movie you saw?

NICOLE: Avatar. I thought it was visually stunning. The special effects were incredible. But the plot was lacking. I was really disappointed with the storyline. At first, I was swept up in how wonderful and pleasing to the eye it was, but then I reflected on the story, and my enjoyment level shifted. I don't make it out to the movie theaters very often so I wish I saw a better movie instead. I'm sure a lot of people disagree with me but that's just my opinion.


You can find Nicole on the Internet at:
and on facebook.

Her books are available at the Kindle store on Amazon and at the Desert Breeze Publishing Website:


  1. Starting my day learning something new. That has to be a first. I didn't know there had ever been women knights. What a hoot.


  2. Really interesting! I love your ideas and themes and very much love your romantic covers!

  3. Thanks so much for dropping by, Toni and Julia.

    I was just as shocked as you are, Toni, when I first found out about women knights.

    And I love the covers too! *sigh* I'm a helpless romantic, Julia.

  4. Just stopping in to say hi and wish you both the best!

    Anyone been to the Cleveland Museum of Art? They have a terrific display of armor and such.

    Liana Laverentz

  5. Liana, that's cool to know. I've never been out to Cleveland, but I'm keeping that in the back of my mind. When I was in Germany, I visited a town called Rotenburg ober der Tauber (translated, Rotenburg over the Tauber River) and they had a museum with a collection of medievel torture equipment including iron madiens and chastiy belts. It was creepy, cool, and a bit unnerving, yet fasincating to check out.


  6. Thanks, Liana. If I ever go to Cleveland, I'll definitely have to check out their museum.

    I would have thought that awesome, but I'm weird like that, Steph. lol