A Conversation with Nicole Maggi
Nicole Maggi’s Twin Willows Trilogy follows sixteen-year-old Alessia Jacobs into an ancient rivalry between the Malandanti and Benandanti, warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals.
The trilogy has been praised among fans and reviewers, and Kirkus Reviews writes of the third book, The Blue Woods, “Maggi’s strength lies in her ability to blend fantastic magic with ordinary life. Boy problems, overprotective parents, and sibling rivalry exist side by side with Clan wars and magical abilities…. Fans of the series will cheer as Alessia embraces her power to fight for those she loves. A satisfying finale.”
Get to know Nicole, and look for The Blue Woods on bookshelves starting January 12.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in upstate New York, in a boring town, always dreaming of something more…just like Alessia. I went to Emerson College in Boston, earned a BFA in acting, and hightailed it to NYC to be an actress. There were many ups and downs in my career as an actress, but I’m proud of that work. I focused mostly on the classics and did a lot of Shakespeare. Then in 2007 my husband and I grew tired of NYC and moved to Los Angeles (he’s a film editor, so NYC or LA are really the only two places where he can work). I acted for a few years in LA, with some moderate success, and then we had a baby. The acting career sort of ground to a halt when that happened, but the writing career took off! Now I devote my time to writing and mommyhood. We live in a lovely corner of LA surrounded by orange, lemon and fig trees with our young daughter and two oddball cats.
What led to your decision to be a writer?
I don’t think there was ever a conscious decision. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, though at first it was just poems about unicorns and rainbows. I always knew I would be a writer. Then I detoured into acting for many years. A few years into my decade as a struggling actress in NYC, I suddenly realized how much I missed writing. I wanted to start writing again, but I just didn’t know what to write. Then one day I got the image in my head of a woman walking through snow. I opened up a blank document in Word and started typing. That became my first (unpublished) novel. A few months into working on that novel, I realized I wanted to seriously commit to writing for publication. And here I am (many years later)!
Tell us what it took to get your first manuscript published.
Many, many, many rejections. There were times when I really thought it wouldn’t happen. But through it all, I never stopped writing. And deep down, I had faith that it would happen.
What is The Blue Woods about?
In this last installment of the Winter Falls trilogy, Alessia faces new challenges as the war with the Malandanti comes to a head. She must set aside her own personal desires in order to complete her mission and bring down the Malandanti once and for all.
What real-life themes are explored The Blue Woods?
Destiny, transformation…that it’s our choices that shape our destiny and those choices have far-reaching consequences.
What is your favorite part of The Blue Woods?
In this book, we go “on the road,” so to speak; there are a couple of sections that take us out of Twin Willows and across the world to some of the other magical sites. I really loved writing those—doing research on those parts of the world and taking our familiar characters and putting them someplace unfamiliar was a lot of fun.
How do you hope your readers are affected by The Blue Woods?
As this is the third book in the trilogy, I hope that readers find it a fitting end to the characters’ journeys. I always want to feel satisfied when I read the end of a trilogy, that we took a long journey but ended up in a good place. So I hope my readers feel like that.
What are the three most important things aspiring writers should know about getting their work published?
- Never give up. It took years to get my first book published, and I had to climb over more than a few hurdles.
- Surround yourself with loving, supportive people. When I went through a rough patch, it was my friends and family that got me through.
- You can edit anything except a blank page. Even on days when you don’t feel like writing, get your butt in the chair and do it. You can always change it later.
Aside from writing, what are your hobbies or areas of expertise?
I love to do yoga, and I love to bake. I’m not an expert in either, but I do make a great apple pie! I also love hiking, traveling, eating great food, and spending time with my family and friends.
Where can your fans go to get in touch with you?
I’m accessible on Twitter, Instagram, and my Facebook author page. I also try to keep the Events page on my website (www.nicolemaggi.com) current, and readers can always e-mail me through the website as well. I love hearing from my readers, so get in touch!