Recently, by happy chance, I was presented with the opportunity to interview contemporary romance author H. L. Nida who took the time to share some insight into her book Arrested Heart, indiependently published May 28, 2019.
Thank you for agreeing to do an interview with me…I appreciate your time. First, please tell me about your book Arrested Heart.
Arrested Heart is my first novel. It is a sweet romance story about a young single mom, who has a past that is hard for her to overcome and creates a lot of distrust of men. She has a chance meeting with a law enforcement officer who catches her eye, but not her heart. She’s protective of her young daughter and has a hard time letting her guard down. Her world takes twists and turns, as happens to us all, and it’s her journey that I tell. I take you with her as she’s tries to navigate toward a better life for her and her daughter. In her head she wishes that she had the company of a man and believes it would be good for her daughter to have a male influence in her life, but when she learns about his past, she can’t see moving forward with him. You’ll have to read it to see how it turns out.
What sorts of things did you edit out of your book Arrested Heart?
I edited a few scenes that I felt just didn’t work. During my writing process, I sometimes let my mind wonder and it just went down the wrong road.
What was the most difficult scene for you to write?
The scene at the cookout, while they’re eating dinner.
I understand that there is a second book coming to the Arrested series, what can you tell us about that book? When will it be released?
Yes, there is. The second book will be a continuation of the story of Mark and Molly, who meet in Arrested Heart briefly. The book title is Arrested Mind and it should be released in the Spring of 2020.
Do you want each of these books to stand alone or are you trying to build a body of work where each other stories are connected some how?
Each book can be read as a standalone, but they are a series, and it will make the most sense if they are read in sequence. Hopefully it won’t matter if you start on a different book and then go back and read the others.
When writing romance and erotica do you try to be original in your delivery or do you prefer to provide readers with what you know they want and expect?
My book is a sweet romance story with steamy sex scenes. I don’t write erotica. I do have some explicit sex in the book, but it’s really a story about people you’d want to know and hang out with. I try to be honest to my characters and the story I’m telling. I am not interested in what’s expected, I’m interested in writing characters that get into your head. I feel that I write fictional people that while you’re reading, you are wishing they were real.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing believable characters of the opposite sex?
Hmm, I don’t think it’s easy but, I also don’t think it’s very hard. I’ve been married for a long time, and I’ve been listening to my husbands’ inner thoughts for years, so it wasn’t super difficult, LOL. My husband was very helpful in guiding me in the right direction and providing feedback when I felt “stuck”. I like to write men that I would be interested in dating (if I was single).
Do you do any kind of research for your books?
Oh, yes, of course! I have a few cop friends who have helped me out immensely with scenarios and how procedures are performed in real life. My husband is a retired law enforcement officer as well, and I was around law enforcement officers for years, while he was on the force. I learned a lot about how they “work”, and what a bunch of goofballs they actually are.
How many hours a day do you write?
I wrote this book in two weeks. I had the idea in my head for over a year, and when I finally sat down, it just sort of overtook my life for a couple of weeks. I didn’t really do anything else during that time, other than write. I do like to write often, but there’s so much more to this business, that when you’re writing you’re first book you’re not thinking about. I am putting the finishing touches on the editing, book cover art, and I’m starting the marketing process with this Arrested Heart. I’ve finished writing Arrested Mind and as soon as I get done marketing Arrested Heart, I will start the same process with this book. I am also in the middle of writing book three (Arrested Body) and it’s coming along nicely. It seems to me that each book is taking longer to write, as I have so much to complete with my previous work still.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
For me, it’s focus. As I am writing book three, I have to remember what my characters have said and done in the past books and, try to stay true to their personalities. It’s fun and sometimes I have to stop and think more than when I started out, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
If there was something you could have done differently in your youth that you feel would make you a better writer today, what would that have been?
I would say that I should have paid more attention in English classes. But my youth was some time ago, I don’t’ really look back on it with regret. It’s because of the mistakes I made in my youth, that I have a better amount of ideas and situations to pull from, to write about today. A lot of my stories are about my personal experiences that I’ve fictionalized.
Is there a book you’ve read that’s made you think differently about romance novels?
Oh, gosh, that’s a tough question. I have read so many different sub-genres of romance, and everyone has their own writing style. I guess I would say that with my reading, I have found out what I don’t like or wish to write about. I also want my characters to be believable. I don’t want my characters to be too “outlandish” or overly full of themselves. I really enjoy the parts of people that are broken, especially if they’re trying to fix themselves. I like the human condition and how it can bring out the best and worst in everyone.
What does success look like to you? When will you know that you’ve made it as an author?
For me, I’d like to be able to make a living at what I love to do. That would be writing sweet steamy romance novels for people who want to read them. I have a lot of stories in my head, that I’d like to get out onto paper for people to enjoy.
What do you hope your readers take away from your books?
That you can overcome your past, you can change, you can be happy alone, and if you’re really not trying, you can find love and happiness.
Thank you again for your time and your willingness to be the debut author interview for Necessary Whimsy!