[Debut Author Alert] The Marine’s Secret Daughter by Carrie Nichols

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This third installment in the Authors ’18 Book Interview series, features a Romance because (in my opinion) all good stories include some elements of romance! We’re all part of a group called Authors ’18 and you can check us out on Facebook, GoodReads and www.authors18.com

If you’re an author, check out the questions about their writing and publishing process.


Author: Carrie Nichols

Book Title: The Marine’s Secret Daughter

Book Genre: Romance

Publisher: Harlequin, available digitally TOMORROW February 1st, 2018



Years have passed since marine sergeant Riley Cooper last held his best friend’s sister in his arms. Bound for Afghanistan, he believed walking away from Meg McBride was the kindest thing he could do. Now that he’s home, he doesn’t blame Meggie for hating him. But she hasn’t told him everything. And he hasn’t met the little red-haired girl whose gray eyes so resemble his own…

Question: Where did you get the idea?

CN: I actually got the hero first. Years ago I was a member of a local writer’s group and each month we’d write a very short piece using a ‘prompt’. That month’s prompt was: You get a call from an old high school friend who needs help and asks that you meet them in a favorite hangout. It was a nothing little piece but the guy who answered the call, Riley Cooper, wouldn’t leave me alone. He continued to tell me his story and that the person needing help was his best friend’s younger sister. When he told me he’d do just about anything to help and not ask questions, I knew I was onto something.

Question: What’s the story behind the title?

CN: As I was working on the story, I called it Rescuing Riley. The story won the 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® for short contemporary as Rescuing Riley. Harlequin asked me to come up with possible titles; and I knew from years of reading Special Edition what sort of titles they had. I came up with a few including The Marine’s Surprise Family which the editor loved and it was that title for about 30 days, but marketing thought The Marine’s Surprise Daughter worked better and that one lasted about 30 minutes before it had morphed into The Marine’s Secret Daughter.

Question: Tell us about your favorite character.

CN: That would be Fiona, the little girl in the story. But she gave me fits because she was larger than life and threatened to hijack the story whenever she was on the page. I had to let her personality shine through without letting it overshadow the romance between her parents.

Question: How long did you take to write this book?

CN: Years and years. LOL! The story underwent a lot of changes since I knew nothing about plotting and story arcs when I first wrote it as a series of scenes. But these characters wouldn’t let go and I’d learned enough by the 4th draft to start winning contests and to sign with my dream agent.

Question: What kind of research did you do for this book?

CN:I love research so I did way more than I needed. I researched the fictional setting of Loon Lake, Vermont, including the loons that make the lake home. I consulted several nurse friends for the hospital scenes, a friend whose son was a marine and my critique partner whose husband is a Respiratory Therapist.

Question: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

CN: I’m a recovering pantser. I had the luxury of years to write and rewrite my first story but knew I had to learn plotting basics to sell on proposal. I still struggle with plotting but with the help of Laura Baker’s Turning Points and Discovering Story Magic online classes, I’m slowly becoming a plotster. I have a skeleton with the big scenes and story/character arcs and fill in the rest as I write.

Question: What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?

CN: Plotting and coming up with things for them to do. My characters love to talk and would be content to sit and talk through the whole story but that would be way too boring.

Question: Have you ever gotten writer’s block? If yes, how do you overcome it?

CN: All the time! When it happens I know I’ve done something wrong with the story or I’m forcing my characters to do something they don’t want. Luckily, my wonderful and talented critique partner listens to me whine, talks me off the ledge and we figure out where I went wrong.


Carrie Nichols

About the Author

Carrie Nichols, is a hardy New Englander transplanted to the deep South, where two inches of snow can bring a city like Atlanta to its knees. She loves to travel, is addicted to British crime dramas and knows a Seinfeld quote appropriate for every occasion. 
Carrie has one tolerant husband, two grown sons and two critical cats. To her dismay, Carrie’s characters, much like her family, often ignore the wisdom and guidance she lovingly offers.
USA Today called her short story, Snowbound with the Stork, “a charming debut”.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorCarrieNichols/

Twitter: @carolopal

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15104405.Carrie_Nichols

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