Friday, May 30, 2014

Finding Fiction Friday - Nic Tatano

Today on Finding Fiction Friday, we get to know Nic Tatano, a multi-genre author with a very interesting background.  Let me allow him to introduce himself ...

I'm a HarperCollins Author and television news veteran. Right now I'm spending most of my time writing romantic comedies and young adult novels, but I still work in broadcasting.

I spent more than a decade as a television news reporter and anchor before becoming an author. My work has taken me to some incredible places... from the floors of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions to Ground Zero in New York to Jay Leno's backyard. My stories have been seen on NBC, ABC and CNN, and since I'm past my on-camera expiration date, I currently work as a freelance network field producer for all the major networks.

Nic, tell us about your journey.  When did you first think about writing for publication and how did it all come about?

Back in 1998 I had left the news business for a time and was running political campaigns. There's a lot of down time in a campaign and I got an idea for a novel set in the world of television news and politics. Of course I didn't know what I was doing when I first sent it out, so I spent some time with a few local authors who helped me a great deal. I also attended a few writer's "boot camps" along the way and re-wrote the first novel a few years ago.

"The Race" by Nick Harlow available
on Amazon and elsewhere
By the way, that first novel is titled "The Race" under the pen name Nick Harlow and is available in ebook form. It actually sells pretty well and often cracks the top 100 in political thrillers.

I've written about a dozen novels along the way and I'm a genre-hopper. Four rom-coms, three young adult, four thrillers, one sci-fi. Last summer I got my first book deal with HarperCollins for three romantic comedies, then later signed another contract for young adult books.

Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.

I once had a "tryout" with the Atlanta Braves. They were in town holding open tryouts and I was a reporter at the time so I thought it would make a fun story. I borrowed a uniform from the local minor league team and the Braves scouts played along and let me pitch one inning. I gave up four very long home runs, and they made a big production number out of walking to the mound, calling to the bullpen and taking me out of the game. It was a blast and a very cool memory.

Available now in e-book and
in paperback on June 12, 2014
First, I know it’s not your first work, but tell us about your book “The Adventures of Jillian Spectre” that has just been released.

This is my first Young Adult book, which is a paranormal romance. Jillian is a seventeen year old mystic seer with extraordinary powers… she cannot only see the future but makes a connection with an angel in the afterlife. She also discovers a second power… the ability to "project" herself and be in two places at once. She lives in Manhattan's "Mystic Quarter" which is a neighborhood filled with people who have supernatural powers.

This is basically "good vs. evil" story and Jillian has to team up with other supernatural characters to defeat the forces of evil. It is also a series, with the second book set to come out this summer.

What was challenging to you about writing a Young Adult novel, or did it come easy to you?

It came naturally, which surprised me since I don't have children and never had a date in high school. But my wife is a teacher, so I'm around kids a good deal. And I like to read YA. (Ironically, when I was a kid I read Jacqueline Susann novels I "borrowed" from my mother.) I really enjoyed the innocence of the first Harry Potter books and wanted that feel since I'm rather tired of dystopian YA books. I think young people need a more positive view of the future and hopefully my book will be uplifting. Teens have enough angst in real life.

Find out about "It Girl" and Nic's other
books on Amazon
You also have an ongoing series with HarperImpulse.  Tell us about that and what is special about your upcoming release in that series.

It's not necessarily a series as the characters change, but the heroines in my books are always snarky redheaded TV news women. It's a series as far as the titles are concerned (Wing Girl, Boss Girl, It Girl, and the as yet untitled fill-in-the-blank Girl.) "It Girl" is something different in that it is a serialized novel which will be available in three different formats, ebook, paperback or six episodes. On June 6th the first episode will be released, with a new one every three days or so. Then the full versions will be out on the 26th. So readers have the option of reading along the way or all at once. The first episode is free.

We're also trying something new with the serialization. Episodes two through six will have recaps of the previous episode, while episodes one through five will feature coming attractions, just like a serialized TV series.

This book is also different in that it is an "across the pond" romance, as the heroine is American and one of her love interests is British.

How have you brought your own life experiences to bear in your fictional writing?

All the heroines in my books work in TV, and I draw on my own experience in the field. As for knowing how women think, you'd be amazed at the sex talk in newsrooms; women aren't shy about discussing their love lives or asking guys for advice on the subject. I've always had a lot female friends since the industry is dominated by women. And I've always been that "guy friend" women have when they need advice or a shoulder to cry on.

But none of the characters are based on real people, nor are they composites.

If there is one character you’ve written or are writing that you would really like people to meet, who would it be and why?

I think people would really enjoy meeting Veronica Summer, the heroine in "It Girl" because she says exactly what she thinks on live morning television. She's also one of those gals who is gorgeous but has no clue that she's seriously attractive. She's spunky as hell and incredibly loyal, the kind of take-no-prisoners gal you'd want in a foxhole. If, you know, women hung out in foxholes. But if she was real, you'd dig one for her, and she'd stock it with booze and chocolate.

What about being published with HarperImpulse and the book industry in general has most surprised you?

I had heard horror stories from other authors about big publishers. One took three years to get a book to print. Another had a book coming out in a few weeks and couldn't get his publicist to return his calls, then found out two days before the release that she'd left months ago. Others signed contracts and the books were never published at all.

I'm amazed at the speed that HarperImpulse gets things done. Within one year of signing a contract, they will have published four of my books. And since I've spent my life in a fast-paced deadline oriented business, I really appreciate people who move quickly. They are very professional and treat you as a member of the team. And, of course, being Brits they're extremely polite. Finally, I enjoy talking to them on the phone because I love those accents.

Is there someone you can point to as being your biggest encouragement in moving forward with this book and writing in general?

My first professional sale was a Star Trek short story bought by editor/author Dean Wesley Smith. In addition to having written about a hundred novels he runs boot camps for writers, two of which I've attended. I've learned more about the craft from him than anyone and he's always been very supportive of my work. He also got me to stretch my talent, which is how I ended up writing romantic comedies.

As for "It Girl" my editor at HarperImpulse Charlotte Ledger and publishing director Kimberly Young always have kind words for me. They're the ones who asked me to be part of the serialization, and I'm very flattered to be the first one chosen for this.

What is next on your plate after “It Girl”?

I just finished the aforementioned "fill-in-the-blank Girl" which features a heroine who loses her network TV job and ends up working in the world of politics. She catches the eye of a presidential candidate who happens to be single and their relationship turns into an American version of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Will she be the next Jackie Kennedy and bring Camelot back to the White House, or find that true love and politics don't mix?

Before we get to the close of the interview, a quick hit – favorite sport and team?

NFL football, and the New York Giants. Don't even bother trying to get in touch with me on Sundays in the fall because I have the Sunday Ticket package on Direct TV and go into an eleven hour NFL coma.

Ok!  To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  Here they go!

  1. What is your favorite word? Firefly.
  2. What is your least favorite word? Closure. Overused in the news business and it doesn't really exist for people who have endured a tragedy.
  3. What turns you on? Redheads. I married one.
  4. What turns you off? People who talk about money.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? The ocean.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? Rap music, which is an oxymoron.
  7. What is your favorite curse word? $#!*%@! (Sorry, wife is a teacher and her students might read this.)
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Advertising. I was a copywriter for a time at a radio station, and I think I might have made a good Don Draper. (Without the adultery, chain smoking and drunken stupors, of course.)
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Toll collector. Imagine people giving you money all day and not being able to keep it while breathing car exhaust.
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? "I know you're going to ask me this first, so I'll just save you the trouble and tell you that Lyndon Johnson had JFK killed, aliens landed at Roswell and most of Jimmy Hoffa was buried at Giants Stadium."
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? I wish someone would ask me to be a commencement speaker at a college. My opening line would be, "Welcome to the real world, kids. Guess what? Not everyone gets a trophy."

Nic, thanks so much for spending time with us.  Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your book?

My twitter handle is @nictatano

My books can be purchased from any online retailer and paperbacks can be ordered through any bookstore.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post, you guys! Nic, you never fail to make me smile! Wonderful job!