Ask the Author: Noelle Nichols

What would you like readers to know about you?
I’m a pretty down-to-earth person who likes to think about things and create stories that others can experience. I try to write my story in a way that there’s no definite “answers”. There’s no black and white. There’s a lot of in-between. And I try my best to create heroes who are courageous and fearless, but who also experience real hurt, and overcome very real struggles.

What is Shadow’s Hand about for those who haven’t read it?
Shadow’s Hand is the first book in a heroic epic fantasy series, inspired by Japan’s samurai and their warrior code Bushido. It’s a story about the makings of a hero and the hero’s sacrifice. 

What has been your inspiration for writing Shadow’s Hand?
My biggest inspiration were the samurai of Feudal Japan. I’ve always admired and loved their warrior code, so I wrote out a warrior code for my own samurai/ninja-like characters. It’s an important part to the story and to the characters. I’ve been trying my best show the importance of that and the reality of how ideals are forged in a changing world. I also really enjoy reading about Shintoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, as well as the old text of the samurai master Miyamoto Musashi and Sun Tzu’s Art of War. It’s a mixture of a lot of different thoughts with a discovery of magic that hasn’t yet fully been explained.

What was your favorite scene or part of Shadow’s Hand to write?
There’s a fun part in Shadow’s Hand, about 3/4ths of the way through that I lovingly refer to as the “trippy/trippy dream world” chapter. It’s sort of the tip of the iceberg in the sense that I’ve been teasing the magic in the book for a long time, and finally you get some answers. It’s the most fantasy-like chapter in the book, and I still don’t quite explain things, which I feel is part of the fun of the book. I get the feeling it’s more than what people were expecting, and that goes for the entire book. 
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Robin Hobb and Carol Berg will always be authors who inspired me to love stories. They’re some of the books I remember reading when I was younger, and those kind of book are special to writers. I also am a pretty big fan of anime and manga, so I feel that maybe has influenced a lot of my work as well. More than that though, I enjoy using stories to work out different thoughts in my brain. I like writing about some pretty deep moral issues and exploring the “big things” in life like death, the meaning of why we’re here and the relationships between people. 

I’m constantly new authors and books I love. One of my most recent favorites is the Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn. I haven’t even finished the first book, but I am in love.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Be fearless with whatever you do. Publishing a book is not an easy feat. It doesn’t matter if you choose traditional publishing or self-publishing, or if you choose to do a hybrid of the two. There’s always going to be something that will stand in your way. It’s a very long journey, but never forget that you’re not alone on this journey. There are so many writers, like you, who are fighting for their dreams. They are writing the words. Cutting the chapters. Waiting for that special reader to come a long that will make every step of the journey worth it. It’s not easy, but there’s a spark inside every writer. Dig down deep and find the will to keep going.

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