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Author Highlight: Nicholas Gagnier

Nicholas Gagnier is the author of ten books, including the eight-book Shroud Saga, composed of the Olivia & Hale series and its spinoff The Book of Death. His newest release, The Phantom Fires, is the first of The Sommerland Chronicles, an epic portal fantasy you won't want to miss.

You can find Nicholas on Instagram @gagniernicholasauthor, where he posts writing updates, new releases, and hilarious memes.

How did you come up with the story concept for The Sommerland Chronicles? My newest series began when I wrote the prequel, Embers of Aloessia. My daughter was only six at the time, but had been seeing what I was doing with the previous series, and asked if I could write her a story that starred a princess. I released that book in 2019, but always had an itch to return to its world. I just didn't feel like puttering on with it though — I wanted to do something really special for the follow-up, which is when I started looking at incorporating portal fantasy, and Earthlings into that world. What do you love about writing Urban Fantasy? What do you hate (or maybe just dislike) about it? My whole thing is breaking down genre barriers. I’ll give you an example. One of my early novels was about mental health— a family story set against the injustice of the criminal system— and it still managed to be a fantasy novel by the end. I think I love the baseline for urban fantasy because it’s such a great mix. You can take a little from the real world, then throw in the fantastical for great results. When it comes to world-building do you have any particular tricks or techniques? I don’t really have a master plan as to how these things are done — it really depends on the story. Many are set on Earth, which requires less building and more of a snapshot. Something like Atlas (Heaven) or Sommerland, I build piece by piece, scene by scene, until it becomes a whole. What was the most difficult part of the publishing process for you? In the beginning (10 books ago), it was the actual publishing process. Now it’s getting the word out.

What does your writing space look like? I write everywhere. I have a station at home, but sometimes I’ll write on my phone. Thank goodness for the cloud— we can work where ever we end up! What are your tricks for juggling writing while maintaining a personal life? I work full-time in security, as well as having a kid to look after. Suffice to say, my free time is fairly limited. The trick, I’ve found, is not massive word sprints but consistently hitting those small daily goals. That 500 words, or 1000 words adds up very fast. What's the best piece of advice you've received about writing? I have received many useful pieces of advice over the years, from many wonderful individuals. A lot of this advice conflicts, because what works for Bob doesn’t work for Joe in the marketplace. There are common reasons some authors succeed, but by no means are they universal. For aspiring writers, the best resource that helped me was SK’s On Writing. It is my writing Bible, and contains some of the most useful help on defining characters and story. What is the best book you’ve read recently? I read a lot of books (particularly indies) so I’ll give a few shoutouts to amazing books I’ve read this year: The Canellian Eye trilogy by Caroline Noe The Fire Salamander Chronicles by NM Thorn Last Thursday by Dale Robbins

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