Interview with Nicole Loufas: The Lunam Ceremony (+ GIVEAWAY)

Nicole Loufas dabbles with the YA contemporary genre. She has written and published two books thus far—the first being Thizz, A Love Story which was released last November 2015. Additionally, she recently finished a novella entitled The Excursion.

Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native; however, she’s lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might call her a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, six cities, in thirteen years – give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels.

Long story short – kids that lie become writers.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, Nicole! Let’s start this interview off with a couple of questions about you. If you weren’t a writer, what career path do you see yourself in?

Writing is my dream job, but if I had to choose something else I’d want to run a hotel or resort in some really awesome place like Figi or Greece. That sounds really weird, but it’s like living on vacation! My job would be all about making sure people are having a good time. I like that.

I’ve heard that you took your nomadic childhood as an opportunity to constantly reinvent yourself. What is the most memorable story you used to “reinvent” your identity among new peers?

In 7th grade, I had just moved back to San Francisco from southern California and I told a bunch of skateboarders that I was related to Stacy Peralta, the guy who discovered Tony Hawk and created the Powell-Peralta skateboard. My last name is Peralta. Loufas is my married name. I was looking for a group to fit in with and one of the guys asked me if I was related to Stacy Peralta, so I said yes. They believed me for like two hours, until someone figured me out! And the fact that I couldn’t ride a skateboard.

Have you watched Captain America: Civil War? Are you on Team Captain America or on Team Ironman?

YES! And I’m Team Ironman all the way!!! I love Tony Stark.


ABOUT WRITING

How did you feel when you had your first book published?

It was very surreal. Even when I held my book in my hand it didn’t feel real. Also, I was scared to death!!

What are the three most significant lessons you learned about the whole writing, editing and publishing process?

First – it is a job. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do this for fun. Once you make the choice to be a writer, you actually have to commit to writing.

Second – Editing is hard. Editing doesn’t mean hitting the spell check button. Edit, read, and read again. There are a lot of things I missed in my first book because of lazy editing.

Third – Don’t take criticism personally. People may hate your book; it doesn’t mean they hate you. I welcome all criticism; in fact, I feel like people that find flaws are being real. And have really developed an opinion about my work. I love all reviews, especially good ones. But when someone leaves a critical review, there is some real thought and emotion behind it. You have to appreciate that.

You recently released a novella that touches marriage and infidelity. What else are you working on?

In the back of my novella there is a sneak peek to my new book, Alee. It’s a tragic romance. I think. I don’t really know how to classify it. It’s about a girl thinking back on her life on the day she plans to die. It is really about depression, suicide, family, and love. It is told in present tense and bounces between today and the events that lead her to the decision to end her life. It’s dark and I feel like it’s my best work yet.

Right now – I am starting to work on the 2nd and final book in the Thizz series. I never planned to write a follow up to my first book, I liked the ambiguous ending, but my readers pretty much demanded to know more.


ABOUT THE LUNAM SERIES

Since The Lunam Ceremony is the only one of your books that I’ve read so far, I hope you don’t mind that a lot of my questions will be about Kalysia’s story. My first question is: What inspired you to write this?

I love the royals. I was intrigued by their vales. The fact that children are born and their whole lives have already been determined based on their family name. Children have no say, the follow the same cycle as their parents for hundreds of years. I wanted to create a modern day version of the royals, but it felt too cultish. I didn’t like the character traits of just blindly following their parents’ wishes. So, I made them wolves. To me it made the story more believable.

Is the story’s heroine Kalysia or any of the characters based on yourself or people you know in real life?

I have two nieces named Leah and Cassandra. Although, Cassie wasn’t born when I wrote this book! My brother didn’t know I used the name and I didn’t want to influence his baby name choices. He didn’t find out until he read the book. He thought it was funny. Other than that, I didn’t base any characters on actual people.

As you already know (because I believe we’ve talked about it before), I am not a huge fan of Kalysia’s character—although that did not really hinder me from enjoying the book. Still, would you care to share some more insight on her character and why she acts the way she does?

I think it’s great that you didn’t like her. She is quite annoying and makes horrible decisions! In this book, Kalysia is trying to play grown up. She thinks she is worldly and independent, but really she’s more sheltered than anyone. She lived on the fringe of the human world, socializing and going to school with humans, but never really being able to live a normal teenage life. She knew virtually nothing about the pack or her father. She goes into Lunam blind. When she comes out on the other side, she isn’t sure if what she feels is real. Her doubting and second guessing is what frustrates readers. Without giving anything away, I think the situation at the end of the book, will force her to finally step up to the plate and accept her life and the choices she has made. Sometimes life makes the decision for you, that’s what happened to Kalysia.

What kind of character development can we expect from Kalysia and Dillan in the sequel?

I’ve written the first few chapters already and I’ve sort of outlined the first half of the sequel. Right from the beginning, we see a stronger Kalysia. A more focused Dillan. Kalysia is clear in what she wants now and determined to make the pack, the world they live, a good place.

One of my favorite things about The Lunam Ceremony was the way you showcased how the bloodlines, relationships and ties are deliberately used in a play for political power among the packs. How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you to emphasize on the political dynamics of the packs?

I just pulled from my obsession with royals. How families fight for power, whether it’s overthrowing a monarchy to pushing their daughter to marry the king. It was really hard to keep everyone’s bloodline in order while writing so I made charts. I have family trees, Lunam ceremony match-ups, births, I have it all charted. I touch on the fact that the purebloods will be too close in relation to match, that is directly from my charting. I realized that they couldn’t sustain their bloodlines forever and decided to write that into the book.

In one part of the novel, you wrote, “A woman’s worth should have nothing to do with her ability to breed.” Is feminism an intentional theme?

Yes! That is one thing I wanted to have Kalysia deal with. It’s one trait that did carry over from growing up outside the pack.

Sometimes women assert power by using sexuality or manipulation because they believe those are their only weapons. Kalysia has watched her mother, Layla, do this her entire life. Although Kalysia respects her mother, she doesn’t want to follow her footsteps. In the next book, we see will see Kalysia evolve into a leader that demands respect, rather than someone who works behind closed doors digging up dirt on her enemies.

Honestly, I was a bit hesitant with reading the book because of the whole “mating during Lunam” aspect; however, while Kalysia and Dillan’s relationship is technically a form of insta-love, you handled it very well. In fact, I really liked how it turned out. What was your approach regarding the romance element of the story?

I’m not a huge fan of insta-love. I toyed with so many ways for them to fall for each other quickly. I was going to have them drink some kind of love concoction or make it magical, but I ended up with this: It’s lust, not love. People fall into lust all the time and think it’s love. They ride the wave a few months, weeks, hours, then it’s gone. That’s what we see happening with Dillan and Kalysia. They are on a Lunam high, that slowly starts to fade as time goes on. More so for them than the rest of the pack because of the pressure they are under.

As far as the rest of the pack – they had relationships before Lunam or at least knew each other. So, it isn’t as insta-love as it may seem.

What was the most difficult part in writing this novel?

The end. It was so hard. That’s why it’s a series. Originally, it was a stand-alone, but I couldn’t fit a proper ending into one book without it being Harry Potter sized!

What is your favorite quote from The Lunam Ceremony?

It’s the one I used in my teasers:

Phasing from a wolf to a human is more realistic to me than love at first sight. I’ve seen my mom phase; I know it’s real. I’ve never seen her in love.

THOUGHTS AND AFTERTHOUGHTS FROM SHEALEA

When I first read The Lunam Ceremony for an online book tour (read my review!), I was left with plenty of questions and curiosities. As much as I struggled with the characters (especially with Kalysia), I equally wanted to better understand them. I think it’s highly courageous of Nicole to write about such flawed characters because doing so inspired a greater sense of appreciation once these individuals started exhibiting growth as the story progressed. They’re flawed, yes-—but more significantly, they’re wonderfully realistic. And I genuinely think that’s great and immensely refreshing.

With that said, thank you very much to Nicole for agreeing to do an interview with me! Her answers certainly gave me a substantial amount of insight regarding her book, the characters in it and the themes it deals with. I can’t wait for her to finish the sequel! I hope I get to be one of the first to read it!

You can definitely purchase The Lunam Ceremony via Amazon or The Book Depository!


By the way, signed paperback copies of Nicole’s Thizz, A Love Story and The Lunam Ceremony are up for grabs!

What are you waiting for?


Twitter: @bookshelfbitchInstagramGoodreadsBloglovin’

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Published by

Shealea

First of her name. Queen of millennials and the constantly caffeinated. Protector of books. Breaker of norms. Iskolar ng bayan.

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