MoAA Interview #14: Lea Nolan

Today, MoAA is proud to present YA author Lea Nolan!


Alethea Kontis: What’s the best thing about writing?

Lea NolanLea Nolan: Making stuff up! In my other life, I’m a part-time health policy researcher and college instructor, which requires precision and very strict attention to details in law and policy. Borrrring! Trust me, it’s much more fun to create wicked flesh-eating curses and soul-sucking monsters.

My other favorite thing about writing is when I’m chugging merrily along, drafting a scene and something unexpected pops up. These magical little nuggets often end up being pivotal elements for later plot points. I’ve learned not to second guess them so I let them flow and see where they take me.

AK: What’s the worst thing about writing?

LN: Pounding out the first draft when I don’t completely know the story. I’m a plotter at heart so those black holes make me anxious. I try to remind myself that the unwritten manuscript is a giant jigsaw puzzle and I’m just fitting the pieces together. If I don’t have all the pieces at once, eventually they’ll come to me. And sometimes, they appear as those magical nuggets I just talked about.

AK: Finish this sentence: “Writing is like…”

LN: …giving birth. It’s hard and takes a lot of labor, but when you’re done, you’ve got a beautiful baby.

AK: If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be?

LN: Actually, I already have the perfect writing situation. I spend most days at a Panera Bread Café sitting across the table from my best friend and fellow writer, Laura Kaye. We kick each other’s butts in gear, bounce plot points off each other, laugh, cry and fret about our characters together. It’s the best! I am very, very lucky. And there’s plenty of bread, pastries, hot chocolate…

AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.

LN: These cover ALLURE, the second book in The Hoodoo Apprentice series:

Darker, Twistier (I don’t care that it’s not actually a word, I’m using it!), Creepy, Succulent,  Revelatory

AK: Pick five words to describe you.

LN: Short (I’m 5’2”), Analytical, Arthritic, Funny, Happy

Conjure AK: What’s your favorite type of tree?

LN: Dogwoods. Not only do they remind me of my grandmother, but my husband is a huge horticultural hobbyist and he’s planted a beautiful collection of white and pink dogwoods on our property.

AK: What were you like in high school?

LN: I was the original Rachel Berry. A classically trained singer, I could belt out any Barbra Streisand tune on command and was the class actress to boot. And, as much as I hate to admit it now, I was probably just as annoying as Rachel, too. Sadly, I did not date a football hottie like Finn.

AK: If you could give one piece of advice (writing or otherwise), what would it be?

LN: I try to live my life, and teach my children to live by the three R’s, which are commonly attributed to The Dali Lama, but actually come from Life’s Little Instruction Book written by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.:

Respect for self.

Respect for others.

Responsibility for all your actions.

I think these pretty much cover everything you need to be a good human being.

AK:  The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?

LN: 1) Write more books, especially ones that stick with readers and make a difference in their lives.

2) Raise happy, healthy, and successful children.

3) Travel abroad with my husband.


Lea Nolan writes the kinds of stories she sought as a teen—smart paranormals with bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance, and a sprinkle of history. She holds degrees in history and women’s studies concentrating in public policy and has spent nearly twenty years as a health policy analyst and researcher. She lives in Maryland with her heroically supportive husband and three clever children. You can learn more about Lea on her website, on Facebook, Twitter and on GoodreadsCONJURE is available at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon, the sequel, ALLURE will be released in October 2013 and is available for preorder on Amazon.