About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Things I Love About Series…

I love discovering new series—that wonderful feeling you get when you really enjoy a book and you know there are a whole load more to come. I love falling in love with characters and knowing I’m going to meet them again. And getting immersed in a world and knowing I’ll get to visit over and over and no doubt learn new things each time.

For the same reasons, I also love writing series. Usually, I don’t start out with the intention of writing more than one book, but then something occurs. This tends to be me falling madly in love with a secondary character and needing to know more about them (this has even happened with the ‘villain’ of a book who’s later found himself the hero of his own story.) Or I can’t bear the thought of saying goodbye to my hero and heroine—I have to know what happens to them—I want proof they are actually living their happily ever after.

Also, although I believe all stories should have a distinct beginning and an end, I love the idea that each individual story is just part of something bigger. A sort of snapshot in time, and there are a whole load of things going on either side of the beginning and the end that I just have to know about—I’m nosey!

So I start to write the next book—it’s a compulsion.

But things were a little different with my latest release, UNTHINKABLE.

unthinkable_v2-500UNTHINKABLE

They were promised a world with no more lies…

Jake Callahan, leader of the Tribe, has always believed he’s one of the good guys. Now, hunted by the government he used to work for, he’s taking a crash course in being bad. What he desperately needs is a bargaining tool, and that’s unfortunate for Christa Winters, daughter of Jake’s former boss.

Christa is a scientist, a total geek, and a good girl with a secret hankering for bad boys. Which turns out to be embarrassingly inconvenient when she’s kidnapped by a stunningly gorgeous—but obviously bad-to-the-bone—man intent on using her against the father she loves. A man with a seemingly uncanny ability to know exactly when she’s thinking about kissing him—which is most of the time.

But people are dying, and it becomes clear that the stakes are much higher than Jake ever imagined. Someone is out to obliterate the Tribe and everyone associated with it, including Christa. Only by working together to uncover the secrets behind the past, can they ever hope to have a future.

UNTHINKABLE is book 1 in my brand new Beyond Human series. And in this case, I set out with the intention of writing more than one book. Four in fact, and while each is a separate romance with a happy ever after, there is also an overall story arc (though I admit I don’t know exactly how book 4 will end.)

What about you—reading or writing—do you prefer a series or do you like your stories different each time?

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Holidaying at Home

Thanks to a wonderful couple of house sitters, we had a great holiday back in July, but we decided last night, that we need one more holiday before the summer is over.

But we have a whole lot of animals and getting away takes a lot of planning, so we decided to have a holiday at home. Rob reckons we should start it with a trip to the airport, pretend our flight’s delayed, sit there for a few hours…just like a real holiday. I vetoed that one. But how do you make it feel like a holiday when you don’t leave home? Here’s a few ideas we’ve come up with:

  • Cocktail of the day – I think we’ll start with margaritas.
  • A beach day – we can actually see the Mediterranean from our house, so it’s not too far to go – about 8 miles as the crow flies (a lot further along the windy roads.) But a day on the beach is a must for a holiday. Add a nice long lunch of grilled sardines and a jug of sangria…perfection.
  • An activity day – we bought ourselves a Kayak for Christmas – so we need to find some water and have a go (work off those cocktails.)
Alhambra at sunset, Granada, Spain

Alhambra at sunset, Granada, Spain

  • Sightseeing – we live about two hours away from Granada and we have never been to the Alhambra. So that will be on the list for a daytrip.
  • A walk – there’s a circular route around our local village that we’ve never done. So we can pack up a few beers, load up the dogs and get some exercise (work off those beers.)
  • Stay up late – I admit it, most days we’re in bed by 10.30, especially in the summer when we get up with the sun. But when we’re on holiday, we stay up late. One of the reasons being a lot of Spanish restaurants don’t open until 9pm, which means we eat a lot later. So no going to bed until midnight.
  • All you can eat buffet breakfast – okay maybe this one’s a no for various reasons. But maybe all-you can-drink mimosas to start the day…
  • And my favourite – sit by the pool and read…all day (Rob says I will be charged for the sunbed though, otherwise it won’t feel like a holiday.)pool4

How about you? How would you make your stay at home vacation feel more like a holiday?

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

To Blog or not to Blog?

Seems a strange question to ask on a blog.

I’ve resisted having a personal blog for years, but that resistance might just be crumbling.

I’ve been published for a few years now and I’m growing a backlist. And the time has come to finally buckle down and think about (and maybe even do something about) branding. I’ve avoided thinking about it too much in the past, as it’s a difficult subject for me because I write in so many genres.

I recently attended a conference where my publisher, Liz, gave a fascinating talk on author branding. It seems there are all sorts of levels of branding, from branding a single book, to a series, a genre…an author.  But there’s also an online brand, where it’s all about the author’s online personal presence rather than their books. And it’s this that I’m going to attempt. And the good thing is it doesn’t matter how many genres I write in, because it’s all about me. And if it works, people who have never read science fiction before will be willing to try it because they know me and trust me. Actually it’s all a little bit scary.

Living off the grid...

Living off the grid…

Liz suggested that I base the brand around living off-grid (her actual suggestion for a tagline was “living off-grid one drink at a time” Apparently I very rarely have a photo without a drink in my hand – who would have thought it.)

I’ve just been reading a book by Kristen Lamb called, Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, which talks a lot about branding and ties it neatly with Liz’s idea of an online brand. This is from the blurb:

“Branding has broken free of marketing’s shackles and merged with personal identity. If we want to thrive in our new environment, we need to adapt, to apply technology as an extension of our humanness.”

Kristen makes a lot of sense and I found the book very interesting. She believes having a blog is absolutely vital to building an author brand, and that the blog should not be about writing, but based around your own personality. And it should be high concept and have broad appeal. She also thinks you need to blog at least three times a week. This seems a little excessive to me, but I bow to her greater experience.

So it looks like I’m going to be blogging soon.

Keep a look out…

What about you – do you blog, read blogs, or do you think they are a total time-sucking waste of space?

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Trying Something New…

The main reason I started writing was because, first and foremost, I’m a reader. I love to read, most kinds of fiction, every day, sometimes all day.

And then, a while back, I went and put myself into a situation where I ran out of books to read.

Agh!!!

Lake Kariba at twilight.

Lake Kariba at twilight.

This was years ago, in the time before ebooks. I was working as a volunteer in Zambia, on the banks of Lake Kariba, a man-made lake a little way down the Zambezi River from the Victoria Falls. It was a stunningly beautiful place, and the experience was life-changing. It was also far, far from any source of books.

Occasionally, we’d make the journey to the capital, Lusaka, (a trip involving boats, motorbikes and 4-wheel drives) and I’d visit the British library and stock up on whatever I could find. And my lovely mother (also a voracious reader) would send me parcels. The occasional visitor would take pity and leave a book behind.

But it wasn’t enough. Nowhere near enough.

And I suffered horrendous withdrawal symptoms.

One of my jobs was running training courses for the people who had been displaced when the Kariba damn was built, so I had access to a lap top (a huge thing run by solar power as we had no mains electricity) and in one particularly low point (I think I’d just finished The Lord of the Rings—one of the books I took with me—for about the fifth time) I decided, my only recourse was to write my own.

And I loved it.

Now I write just about every day… sometimes all day.

Some of the biggest, most life-changing things come about because of something seemingly unconnected. I never planned to become a writer, but now I can’t envisage a different existence. And all because I ran out of books to read.

Have you ever been in any situations that forced you into trying something new? Something you’d hadn’t considered before, but which has changed your life in ways you never expected?

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Communicating with Horses…

I usually write about something related to writing but today I’m going for something completely different.

I believe we should never stop learning and should take every opportunity to try new things. Recently, I was lucky enough to spend a week at the Tracy James Natural Horse Center, learning about natural horsemanship with Tracy James Ford and Mary Walker. Basically, learning how to make my communication with my horse clearer while developing a unique understanding of the horse’s language… Horses are prey animals. Humans are predators. We have to understand and work within those parameters.

These are the sort of questions we were asked during the course: Are you as effective working on distance as you are on the end of a rope?? Does your horse look to you for support, guidance and leadership…when he has a choice?

P1010029We did a lot of work in the round pen with the horses at liberty, learning how to send them away (Tracy and Mary teach that if you have the right energy and understand a little of how horses react then you can move a horse with nothing more than your breath—and it works. I saw it in action) and also to draw them to you. It’s an amazing feeling when a horse is free to go anywhere and chooses to approach you (and absolutely no bribes were involved.)

 

One of the main things I learned was that I have a huge amount of things to unlearn. I’ve been sitting all wrong. 12141596_1057061770979587_7578747853320624303_nAnd I’ve been letting my mare, Gencianna, into my space and allowing her to move me around as though I’m the lowliest member of the herd.

That has to change, but the change has to come from me rather than her. I had this pivotal moment half way through the week, when I realized that it’s not about me training my horse to do anything, but rather training myself to listen to what she’s saying to me and communicate what I’d like from her in a clear and horsey way. Neigh!

Back home now, I’m trying to share what I’ve learned with Gencianna. I’m not entirely sure she’s convinced but we will persevere. Robin my husband seems equally skeptical when I tried it on him.

If you’d like to learn more about Tracy’s work visit her site at: http://www.naturalhorseridinginspain.com/

Gencie

Gencie

What new things would you like to learn?

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

The Future is Coming…

66d23b69-49f1-4691-87a6-2eb5839f5eeaUsually, I write romance. All sorts of romance: contemporary, sci-fi, paranormal—sometimes a mix of all of them. But over the last year, I’ve become involved in a fabulous venture—The Future Chronicles. A series of sci-fi anthologies based on different themes, including robots, telepathy, dragons…

One of my stories is related to series I’ve already written. A Diversion in Time, included in the Dragon Chronicles, takes place in my Dark Desires world. One is the start of a series, The Tribe, which I’m working on right now. And one, I really hope to follow up and start a new series later this year.

There is something quite liberating in writing short stories (these are between 4 and 10 thousand words). I always have a problem when I finish one project, in that I have to decide what to work on next. And whatever story I choose means I don’t get to work on any others for at least a month (I like to immerse myself in my story world, so I try to stick to one at a time.) But short stories can be written in a day, and they let you explore ideas you might not be totally sure of, go off at tangents, discover new worlds.

Anyway, I’ve loved being involved with the Future Chronicles and this week is Future Chronicles week. To celebrate we’re giving away a kindle loaded with all the stories in the series.

Just enter by the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And in September we are releasing a taster book with a variety of stories from all the anthologies. At only 99 cents it gives you the chance to sample what the anthologies are all about.


FUTURE CHRONICLES
Special Edition

A compendium of select previously published Chronicles titles as well as 5 new stories to whet your appetite.

PRE-ORDER NOW

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

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