Author Interview with Nancy Uliano
Updated: Aug 28, 2018
My next author interview is with fantasy/horror writer Nancy "Bug" Uliano. Nancy has recently announced that her sword and fantasy novel, The Awakening of the Queen, has been picked up by Mighty Quill Books. The novel was originally self published in 2016 and will be re-released at a future date.
But for now, let's hear more from Nancy herself about what writing projects she's working on next.
1. Why do you write?
Books have always meant a lot to me. They’re a way to explore the depths of another person’s mind and another place without ever leaving the house. Growing up, I didn’t have many friends and never really learned how to properly socialize or express myself, so writing seemed to be a way to express all the things I couldn’t say to people. I never shared my work with anyone else until a few years ago, but I feel that it has helped me feel closer to others and show others that they aren’t alone in how they feel. Knowing that it could help others smile keeps me going and sharing my work.
2. What’s an interesting fact about you?
I have a lot of varied interests. Literature and music are the obvious ones, but I’m also fascinated by medicine, marine biology (especially cephalopods), dead languages, and freak shows. I took three years of Latin in high school and hope to pick it up again one day. As far as freak shows go, I love seeing people pushing the limits of the human body. I’m not a big fan of the more exploitative aspects of freak shows, like parading around differently abled people, but I love seeing sword swallowers and fire breathers, tattooed dancers, snake charmers and the like.
3. Do you have any other artistic talents beyond writing?
Not particularly. I’ve never been able to keep interest in anything long enough to get good at it. I’ve dabbled with drawing, but stayed consistently terrible, and I tried learning bass guitar as a teen, but never moved beyond learning a few basic songs.
4. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It energizes me. I love the sense of accomplishment. When the words are flowing, I tend to go into a manic creative state, where all I think about is my writing, characters, and plot. I seem to hit that point twice while working on each book. Once while writing the first draft and seeing everything come together, then again while revising.
5. Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Both. A big ego makes a writer intolerable. I hate seeing authors make proclamations about how awesome they are and how their work is better than anything else out there. However, a big ego can be helpful when it comes to self-promotion and working up the courage to query for an agent or publisher. A healthy ego is ideal, where the writer believes in their work and confidently promotes it, but they are humble enough to accept that it is probably not the greatest literary masterpiece of all time.
6. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Time management. With a full time job, I don’t get as much time to write as I’d like. Most days, I just want to relax after work, so I have to force myself to make time to write. I’ll stay up an extra hour or two, or spend my whole day off working on my current project. Plus, video games are a huge vice of mine.
7. Have you ever gotten writer’s block?
Yep, and it’s a huge pain. I usually work on something else when I get stuck, because ideas like to come to me when I’m not actively searching for them.
8. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I considered it for a brief period. Ultimately, I decided to use my real name because I didn’t want to hide. I wanted everyone and anyone to see what I’ve been up to. The thought of an old classmate or ex googling my name and seeing my books makes me giddy.
9. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I don’t really know. I suppose I just write what I want and if readers like it, great! If not…well, at least I like it.
10. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Sure, as long as they have basic empathy and compassion to understand how emotions affect people and situations. I’m not a particularly emotional person, so I do struggle with writing emotion sometimes, but I observe people a lot to understand how they tick.
11. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m not really close with many other writers, but I have a lovely community surrounding me on Twitter. The two closest writer friends I have would have to be @CateSpice (Caitlin Spice) who writes lovely horror shorts, and @SomeCallMeTrey (Trey McIntosh) who I co-authored a fun little horror novella with. Trey and I have bounced a lot of ideas back and forth through the last few years, and Cate honestly inspires me with her willingness to foray into alien territory, blending genres and concepts seamlessly.
12. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A raven, simply because it’s a goth cliché that I can never give up.
13. How do you select the names of your characters?
Naming characters is the bane of my existence. Generally, I want something that sounds pleasing to the ear, but also has a fantasy feel to it, so I go through fantasy name generators until I find something nice, then tweak it a little to make it original. Also, my boyfriend helps a lot. He named Kirin for me back when I first started my series.
14. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Convincing myself that my work is worth finishing and figuring out how to make sense of all the plot points.
15. Does your family support your career as a writer?
Somewhat. My boyfriend, mom, and brother think it’s so cool that I write books, but my extended family seem to think it’s a little weird that I spend so much time writing about people and places that never existed outside my head.
16. Tell us about your new book?
This might be a bit complicated. I just finished the first draft of the second book in my series. The only thing is, I’m waiting on my publisher to release my first book, so I suppose I’ll talk about that book, Awakening of the Queen. It’s sword and sorcery fantasy. The story opens with a young princess worried about her father’s impending death and her missing older sister, the rightful heir. The princess, Raine is so reluctant to rule that she decides to set out into the world to find her sister. It begins with a light fairy tale feel that soon changes into a dark and tragic story about love, betrayal, friendship, and responsibility.
17. Who’s your favorite character?
It’s between Kirin and Adrian, depending on my mood. Kirin is a powerful young mage who struggles with morality. He’s loyal to a fault and would gladly die for his friends. Adrian is a bitter necromancer who has a horrible past and a hidden heart of gold, but readers won’t see too much of him until the second book.
18. Why should we read it? Give me your best elevator pitch.
A reluctant princess. A dying king. The future of Altria is in Princess Raine Blackwood’s hands after her older sister disappears without a trace. Now Raine must find her sister or face her worst nightmare; ruling a country. What she discovers on her travels makes her question everything she’s ever known, including her own sanity.
19. What’s your idea of success about this book?
Well, I already hit one major goal I had for this book, landing a contract with an indie publisher. Other than that, I’d love to gain some readers who pester me for the rest of the series, maybe some creative people who make fan art of my characters.
20. Where can we find your book?
21. If someone wrote a book about your life what would it be called? Who would play you?
“Red Wine, Solitude, and Necromancy: A biography of Nancy Uliano” I’d be played by Helena Bonham Carter. I don’t care that she’s older than me. Her and Carol Kane are the only actresses that could portray my particular flavor of weird, and they’re both much older than I currently am.
22. Epitaph on your grave.
Ideally, “She lived through her books.” Although, it’ll more than likely be something along the lines of “Daughter, friend, crazy cat lady: She both loved and hated everyone.”
I want to thank Nancy for being my guest interview. If you're on twitter, don't forget to say hi and watch for updates on her book release.
You can also find her at nancyuliano.wordpress.com