Friday, March 13, 2015

AMONG THE STACKS: Nirina Stone


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Nirina!!  *waves*  Welcome to The Gal.  It's so great having you here today.
            Let's start this whole thing with something easy: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Nirina Stone:
My name's Nirina Stone.  I'm a Canadian living in Sydney, Australia.  More than anything, I'm a wife, a mom, an ex-lots of different jobs, and a new authorpreneur.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Nirina Stone:
  1. Most people don't know that I'm shy, like ridiculously, painfully shy.  When new people meet me, I can be loud, confident, and silly.  But yeah, another typical introvert here, who also happens to be, you know, shy :)
  2. I've lived (not traveled or passed through - lived!) in five different countries on five different continents.  It's a hobby, or a problem (depending on who you ask).
  3. When I'm nervous (which is often), I tend to joke - something inappropriately.  Think Chandler Bing from friends...My inner filter forgets what's going on, and before I know it, I've managed to make a non-kid-friendly joke in front of other parents and their tots.  It doesn't help that my hubby has the same sense of humour I do.  We just perpetuate the problem...
  4. As a kid, I wanted to grow up to become a ballet-dancing nun.  Still have no idea where that idea came from, but I'v moved on since (yay me?).
  5. I met Madonna once, when I was ten, I think.  I wonder if she remembers as fondly as I do...?
The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Nirina Stone:
Gobbolino, the witch's cat (Ursula Moray Williams).  I know I've read books before that one, but it's the first that sticks in my memory, the first that made me cry, and the first I read over and over again.

The Gal in the Blue Mask: 
What are you reading now?

Nirina Stone:
The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins).  It's my second read-through.  I'm a big fan of books from the point of view of unreliable characters, so I tend to read them obsessively.  I tell myself it's mostly research, but I love generally "getting lost" in books.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Nirina Stone:
I can't remember a time when I didn't write.  I've kept diaries and small stories and dream diaries since I was about seven years old.
            It only occurred to me recently that I should pursue this full-time as a business and not just on the side while I kill myself working in a career I despise!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Nirina Stone:
Any place where I can sit with earphones on.  I've written on boats, in cars, on grass getting eaten alive by ants ... give me my laptop and music, and I'm good to go.  Right now, I'm in my office, overlooking our backyard, and CCR blasting in ear.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Nirina Stone:
I'd say 'no' but my husband will disagree!  I usually have a brew - coffee or tea, make sure the house isn't too dirty, laundry done, bills paid ... then I write for hours on end.  Oh, and I have various alarms on my phone to remind me to eat and to pick up the kids from school, for example.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Nirina Stone:
They hook themselves to my brain at about 2-3am when I'm exhausted beyond belief and just want some shuteye!  I have a notebook on the bedside table, to catch them in time before I fall back asleep and forget.  Or, at least, that's the intent.  The chicken scratches I read the next day don't help much.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?

Nirina Stone:
Oh boy.  The list is long, so I'll pick my top one.  Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.  That work still affects me (my High School English teacher would be happy to hear that!).  It was the first parallel storyline book I'd ever read.  I have a story coming up (still early stages) that's been mulling around in my heart for years, because of that book!  Other than that, just about every single work by Margaret Atwood!  And, whenever I feel doubtful, I read Stephen King's 'On Writing.'  It's a great motivator!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Nirina Stone:
Writing on its own comes easily to me.  I've always been a better written communicator than an in-person communicator.  Editing and marketing, on the other hand ... the 'business' of writing is a tough one to navigate, for me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Nirina Stone:
One that draws you in and keeps you there.  One that has you so engrossed in the world and the people that everything and everyone around you disappears.  My taste is fairly eclectic, so as long as a book does most of the above, I'm a new fan.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Nirina Stone:
I don't think I have one of those yet.  There's one in my head that hasn't come out on paper, because - like me - she's a timid one.  It will take a while for me to pull her whole story out.  When I give her a voice and a name, you will know!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why did you pick this particular genre?

Nirina Stone:
I haven't picked a specific genre, so I guess I'm a Literary Fiction writer.  My debut novel is a literary psych suspense, my upcoming series is speculative fiction, and third will be mystery, the fourth ... you where I'm going with this :)  The stories pick me.  I wish I could pick just one genre!  Then again, my reading taste is eclectic, so I'm not surprised about the writing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Nirina Stone:
I think my writing style is fairly straightforward, because I write what I see in my head.  So, although literary fiction can get a tad maudlin or falls into a lot of navel-grazing (and I'm guilty of some of that too), I try to keep pictures moving in my readers' heads.  I also don't write to a formula, and hope to stay that way for a long time.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your "trunk"?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Nirina Stone:
Oh man, I have a few of those.  I'd like to think I'm crafty (and I'm really REALLY not!) but boy do I love to try.  I once 'made' a bag out of three old jackets, and was so proud of it.  It was horrible, but I loved it lol.
            My husband and I had this idea about making an ant farm once...that didn't pan out so well, but it was a fun project while it lasted.
            Right now, there's a broken old coffee table in our garage that I'm trying - boy am I trying - to convert into an interesting shelving unit thingo for my kids... for now, it's sitting under a pile of other unfinished projects.
            Hey!  I wrote and published a novel!  I get things done :D

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Nirina Stone:
I think I listed a lot of it above.  "What doesn't kill us" is just the beginning.
            I'm doing line edits on a spec fiction book now and typing the second installment like a crazy person.  The third book (my mystery) looks like it will be a novella, but I've shelved it while I finish up the series first.  There is so much running around in my brain.  I can't wait to share it all!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for coming by, Nirina.  This has been an awesome interview and I'm so glad I met you!!  We have a lot in common. :)
            One more thing before you go: Where can we find you?

Nirina Stone:
I'm still new to this social media stuff.  I'm not a luddite...just...nervous (again, see above).  But you can find me at my website or on my Facebook page.  Twitter and I really don't get along, but I'm there.

About the book:
Lucy Reynolds is at university, where her abusive childhood continues to haunt her.  She learns to protect herself from pain by avoiding attention, and keeping secrets at any cost.  Her only desire is to quietly make it through school, then disappear into an inconspicuous life.
            A Secret Society called the Seven has other plans, and intends to make her one of their own.  They induct her and another girl called Talia; both girls are powerless to resist their advances, and both are quickly drawn into their inner circle.
            Talia goes missing, and Lucy wonders what's in store for her.  She's intrigued by the Seven and realizes they are far more powerful that she could imagine.  Their secrets become her's; but she's not sure if she's prepared to do whatever it takes to protect them.

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