Biographers International Interview

Hi everyone. I know it is has been a while but a lot has been going on behind the scenes that I am hoping I will be able to tell you about soon. Also, I just got back from the Chanticleer Authors Conference and have lots to report on there as well.

But right now I wanted to share an interview that Biographers International, one of the organizations I belong to, did with me recently. It’s in the member-only newsletter but I figured it would be okay to share since it with me, not anyone else. And “new” is a relative term; I’ve been a member for a few years now.


Nicole Evelina

What is your current project and at what stage is it?

My first biography, America’s Forgotten Suffragists: Virginia and Francis Minor, is currently in copy editing and will be published by Globe Pequot/Two Dot Press on March 1, 2023. Virginia was very important in the suffrage movement in St. Louis from the 1860s until her death in the 1890s. Her husband, Francis, was a strong male ally and used his position as a lawyer to help Virginia take the issue of women’s suffrage to the Supreme Court in 1875—the only time that ever happened. Both Minors were close friends with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and gained a fair amount of notoriety in their time, but have since been forgotten. This is the first biography ever written about them.

What person would you most like to write about?

I have several subjects in mind, but one I’m willing to talk about is Marie Rose Ferron, a Catholic mystic and the first stigmatist in the United States. (For non-Catholics, stigmata is when someone mystically receives the wounds of Christ in their body and suffers the crucifixion in union with Jesus.) Supernatural phenomenon like this is very controversial, but I feel like she should be declared a saint. Even if you take the stigmata and visions away, she was a woman of great virtue.

What have been your most satisfying moments as a biographer?

The moment I finally tracked down exactly where in St. Louis the Minors’ estate, Minoria, was located. It no longer exists, but using deeds, surveyor’s reports, and old maps, I was able to find the exact lot number and location and translate that to a modern address. There previously had been speculation about where it was located, but no one else had definitively identified it. While that is a small thing, it was very important in understanding their lives during the time they lived there. Unfortunately, today, that address is in a very bad neighborhood, so it isn’t safe to do more than drive by the empty lot.

What have been your most frustrating moments?

The Minors left precious few personal letters and no journals or other personal writings. We do have some public speeches, but those don’t give the insight that more intimate correspondence would have. It was very frustrating to not have these types of sources when I was trying to reconstruct their personalities and relationships.

If you weren’t a biographer, what dream profession would you be in, and why?

Well, I write historical fiction and history as well, and my day job is in marketing. If I could have another job, it would be as an historian who researches and publishes rather than teaches. But if you want something totally unrelated, I’d love to be a makeup artist. Makeup is a hobby for me (I seriously have more than 40 shades of eyeshadow), and I find it a great creative outlet. I’m not nearly as good as people you see on shows like Glow Up, but it is so much fun to play with.

What genre, besides biography, do you read for pleasure and who are some of your favorite writers?

Historical fiction and fantasy are my two favorites, but I also like gothic [fiction] and a good domestic suspense. Favorite historical fiction writers include Kate Quinn, M. J. Rose, and Susanna Kearsley. Favorite fantasy authors are Kim Harrison, Erin Morgenstern, and Seanan McGuire. Gothic: Ruth Ware, Diane Setterfield, and Carol Goodman. Domestic suspense: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (they are co-authors), Liane Moriarty, and Kerry Lonsdale.


Getting to Know the Person Behind the Books: Nicole Evelina

So I will get back to historical posts next week, but I decided to steal this idea from Dianne Sylvan and do something fun to help you get to know the person behind the books. She calls this State of the Author.

Here we go. These Days I Am…

Rocking Out To: I’m on a Lana Del Ray kick right now, listening to her first album, Born to Die, over and over. I think it has something to do with the coming summer. That album always makes me want a martini and a cigarette (and I don’t smoke). Getting to listen to it poolside with a drink is heaven. I also just realized she has a third album out that I need to check out. (Couldn’t get into the second one.)

And as always, Kill Hannah is on constant rotation.

I’m also listening to a ton of audio books. My latest are the books in the Selection series by Kiera Cass (I’m on #4 The Heir, so far the first one was the best. Not sure if #4 and #5 will add anything to the overall story) and At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier (It’s one part day in the life of a pioneer family who settled in the swap, one part Signature of All Things. Not sure where the story is going.) Plus, I’m slowly listening to first pass recordings of Camelot’s Queen.

Wearing: My usual business casual clothes to work and shorts and a t-shirt or tank top on weekends. It’s definitely sandal weather around here. I’m also big into crystal jewelry in the last few months. I like feeling the properties of the stones working on me throughout the day.

Eating:  Everything in sight. So not good. I’m trying to get back to healthy again, but it’s hard. I’ve been eating a lot of seafood because I love it and now that it’s fresh fruit and veggie season, I’m hoping that will get easier. I need to get back to exercise too, but that’s a whole different story…

Drinking: Fruit infused water. I drink plain and sparkling water all the time (I can’t do anything caffeinated), so this is a nice change. My mom got me into this. Yesterday was strawberry-lemon-mint. Today is blueberry-lime-cilantro, which is so refreshing. Lots of recipes on Pinterest. I can’t wait to try something with the apricots and nectarines I have in the fridge.

I’ve also been on a vodka kick. No idea why. And summer is perfect for Sauvignon Blanc.

Tweeting: I’m having a love-hate relationship with Twitter right now. I know I need to do it, but it seems like every day there is some new thing that gets everyone all upset. Some of the things are justifiable, but others are just plain stupid. So I try to ignore that, talk to friends and RT what I think is important.

I’m on better terms with Instagram and Pinterest right now. That’s where you’ll find me the most.

Watching: Orphan Black! I am so obsessed with that show. And Murder in the First comes back in like a week and a half. I am so excited! I also watched three movies this past weekend, the first ones I’ve watched in ages:

  1. The Duff – Cute, but totally predictable. The actress I watched it for (Skyler Samuels) wasn’t even in it much, but I did find a new actress I like who could totally play Mia in Been Searching for You (Bella Thorne).
  2. Pitch Perfect 2 – Very good, but still not quite as good as the original. But I liked how it wrapped everything up. They do not need another one.
  3. Deadpool – I am so NOT a superhero person, so this was the right kind of superhero movie for me. I loved how self-aware and irreverent it was. And it was hilarious. But also very violent (it gave me nightmares!)

Making:  Myself take a break. It’s hard for me to go from the warp speed of the last few months to backing down to normal. I’m trying to pretend every weekend like I’m on vacation to help quiet the constant thoughts that I should be doing something book-related or at least figuring out which book is next. I know it should be Mistress of Legend (Guinevere’s Tale: Book 3), but I have three other books pulling at me. My brain feels like a tangled ball of thread right now.

reading-listReading:  A lot! It’s nice to have time to finally read books I want to read. I bought a ton of them at the conferences I was at, so I’m trying to make it through the ones I’ve started in the last few months. (See list at the right.)

Oh and I just finished beta reading for my friend Lyra Selene. She is the most talented writer I know, y’all. I can’t wait for you to get to read her stuff. I’ve gotten to beta three books for her, all some form of fantasy, but very different, and they are three of the best books I’ve ever read. Her latest, Amber & Dusk, should be on the best-seller list!

Cooking:  After a month of eating on the go, it’s nice to be back to cooking again. I made a great mussel and pasta dish the other night and a lovely Caprese salad last night.

Playing:  With my cats. And my daily games of Free Cell and Solitaire on my Kindle. I need to incorporate more fun in my life!

Smelling:  Sunscreen when I lay out. Herbs in my cooking and water infusions. Lavender water spray for good vibes and peace.

Following: The presidential election (and I HATE politics). I have a vested interested in tracking Hillary’s progress because I’m writing about Victoria, and Trump scares me. No comment from me on who I personally favor…not a debate I care to get into. (Nor do I want to hear about your political views.)

Disliking:  Mean people on the internet. But that’s a given. The verdict in the Stanford rape case. People who are abusive to animals and others. People who are famous for no reason.

Needing: My brain to shut off for a while. See the “Making” section above. More time. And a patron would be nice.

Wanting:  Money, but don’t we all? 🙂 A vacation that actually lets me relax. I love the conferences I’ve been to, but they are go, go, go.

Pinning: I’m finally getting back to regular Pinterest time, which is good because for me, it’s very relaxing. According to Pinterest, I have 24,413 pins and 100 boards. No, I don’t have a problem, not at all…

Here are some of my most recent:


Admiring:  Victoria Woodhull and all the amazing women throughout history who have fought for our rights as women. Anyone who has the guts to join the military. The support of the writing community, both online and off.

Missing: A sense of balance and a clear path forward. It will come.

Giggling at: These two pictures:


Those of you who know of or who have witnessed by obsession with crowns will get why that one is totally me.

I know I said no politics, but I have to share this. It made me snort. Twice.


What about you? What’s your “State of the Blog Reader?” Anything you want to share? 

Big News: I Have an Agent!

My new agent, Jen

My new agent, Jen

You may have noticed I missed my normal Monday blog this week. That’s because there were big book things afoot and now I can talk about them. Please help me welcome Jen Karsbaek from Larsen Pomada Literary Agents (the web site hasn’t been updated, so she’s not listed yet). I’m her first client. I am so excited to be working with her to get Guinevere’s story out to all of you.

I got “the call” around 8:35 p.m. last night. She and fellow agent Pam van Hylckama Vlieg were on the phone. We talked a little bit and then Jen made me the offer. I didn’t really have to think. I knew it was meant to be. I signed the contract this morning and that made it official.

If I had any doubts (which I didn’t), they were assuaged when Jen tweeted this today, “Trying to take a break from @nicoleevelina‘s manuscript so I can look at it again w fresh eyes, but sort of just want to return to her world.” It is so wonderful to have someone who loves my world as much as I do and is excited to find out what happens next!

Next up is another round of revisions, and after that, I’m not really sure, but Jen is there to help me through it all. I’m excited to keep you guys up to date as things progress!

Signing my contract!

Signing my contract!