Stressing the Heroine from Been Searching for You by Nicole Evelina.
Nicole Evelina is a multi-award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her most recent novel, Madame Presidentess, a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America's first female Presidential candidate, was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.
Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, was named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, took the Grand Prize in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, won a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Been Searching for You, her contemporary romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.
Nicole’s writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, Curve Magazine and numerous historical publications. She is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. As an armchair historian, Nicole researches her books extensively, consulting with biographers, historical societies and traveling to locations when possible. For example, she traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.
Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors, the Independent Book Publishers Association and the Midwest Publisher’s Association.
About the Book
Title: Been Searching for You
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Book heat level (based on movie ratings G, PG, PG13, R): PG-13
Annabeth is a hopeless romantic who believes in soul mates. In fact, she’s been writing to hers each year on her birthday since she was 16.
Now, at 34, she’s still holding out hope of finding Mr. Right even though he’d be fighting an uphill battle to gain her trust, thanks to a traumatic experience years before that’s left her unable to commit.
When Annabeth meets a handsome literature professor named Alex on her 34th birthday, she thinks her quest may finally be at an end. Things don’t quite go as planned, so Annabeth resolves to do everything she can over the next year to find the unknown recipient of her letters. But blind dates, Meetup events and online singles sites have nothing on what fate has in store for her when a co-worker unexpectedly quits and Annabeth finds herself working in close quarters with both Alex and her long ago ex, Nick. Fighting her attraction to one and loathing for the other, Annabeth is forced to face all of her old insecurities while keeping an eye on a scheming frienemy who may derail her hopes and dreams.
Written in the tradition of Bridget Jones' Diary, Kim Gruenfelder’s A Total Waste of Makeup, and Melissa Pimental’s Love By The Book, this romantic comedy shows that love on the sweet side can exist for the modern girl, if only she’s willing to trust herself and search hard enough.
Been Searching for You was the winner of the 2015 Romance Writers of America Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.
Stressing The Heroine
Every heroine has a story. She has a background, a history, and a past. This interview allows us to meet a heroine and get to know her better, by focusing on how she handles being relaxed, as well as how she handles stress.
The Heroine's Relaxed Side
This heroine is at a party. Considering her story, describe the party.
Annabeth actually attends a party in the second scene of the book. It’s a celebration of Chicago’s top singles and she’s there to support her best-frienemy, Mia, who is one of the honorees. It’s a swanky affair at the Drake Hotel downtown, with white table cloths, champagne, roses, and guests in chic finery.
How does the heroine feel about being this particular party, and what body language is she displaying that gives it away?
It’s her 34th birthday and she’s feeling down and a little bitter because she’s single yet AGAIN in addition to being a year older. She crosses her arms and scowls. But when she spies a handsome stranger talking with her other best friend, Miles, all that changes. She’s interested and more than a little nervous, wiping sweaty palms on her dress and drinking a little more for liquid courage.
Is she more likely to mingle or remain aloof?
She’s shy, so she sticks with the people she knows.
If she drinks, what is her drink of choice at this party?
She likes to drink. Tonight she’s enjoying champagne.
How much drink is her usual?
She can have three before being drunk, but she usually tries to stay around two when she’s in public. At home, all bets are off and she drinks as much as she wants.
The heroine figures out where the hiding places are and then goes there. Is it to hide, to avoid someone, or to go drag a friend back to the party?
Annabeth is an introvert, so she’d be there to hide. When she’s had too much of Mia, which happens easily and often given Mia’s larger-than-life personality, Annabeth will go get some fresh air to clear her head and put her attitude right again. Mia would be the one to drag her back to the party.
Is she likely to latch onto a friend and stay with him/her and ignore others, or is she the friend that others latch onto?
She sticks with the group she came with unless someone particularly catches her interest, as Alex does.
If someone picked a fight at this party, how is the heroine going to handle it?
If it was someone she knew, she would try to break it up before it came to blows and even if it did, she’d get between the opponents. If it was a stranger, she’d stay out of it and probably snark about it with Mia.
Is the heroine the one most likely to get tossed out of the party, or the one who does the tossing?
No, Annabeth would likely be the first to leave. Mia would be the one to be tossed out.
Will she know when to leave, or stay late and make a nuisance of herself?
Same answer as above.
The Heroine's Stressed Out Side
How does the heroine handle it if the cops or some other authority figure pulls her aside when she was blameless in a situation?
Annabeth is a rule follower. She’d be so nervous and upset even if she was innocent because she doesn’t like to be called out. However, as we see in a scene where her boss blames her for the behavior of a subordinate, she will fight back if she feels gravely wronged and that doing so upheld the idea of fairness.
How does the heroine react to hearing a scream?
Depends on the kind of scream. If it’s a call for help, her first reaction would probably be to go give aid. If she felt like that would put her in danger, she’d call the cops. If it was a horror movie scream, she’d run the other way – girlfriend ain’t stupid. If it was a love scene kind of scream, she’d roll her eyes and make a grossed out face. She’s probably heard that from Mia enough times to last the rest of her life.
If she sees someone being assaulted, what is the FIRST thing that crosses her mind?
“Oh my God! Is that really happening?”
If she sees someone being assaulted, what is the FIRST thing she does?
She’d look around for help or go for her phone to call the cops if it was a violent situation. Filming it would never cross her mind.
This heroine attempts to rescue someone and realizes that she is in over her head. The odds are against her and there is no way out. She is going to get her butt handed to her. What does she do?
She’d stick with them to the bitter end unless they do something to cross her. She’s very loyal.
The heroine runs into the one person from her past she wanted to avoid. She can't get out of the situation and must interact with him/her in some way. What does she do?
Ha, this actually happens in the book. The person from her past is her ex, Nick. I won’t say how they have to interact because it’s a little bit of a spoiler, but she does her best to remain calm and professional, even though on the inside she’s screaming, shouting and crying. But that only lasts so long. When this situation is a repeat one, she eventually loses her cool and tells him off.
Someone younger than the heroine is in charge of the situation, and they are handling it badly, perhaps bungling things. How does the heroine deal with it?
This kind of happens in the book as well, although Annabeth isn’t yet directly involved. In the book, she just rolls her eyes and lets the person, Jenna, do what she’s going to do. If Annabeth had been Jenna’s boss or somehow otherwise directly involved, she would have tried to teach her ways to improve what she’s doing and be a mentor. You kind of see this a little in her working with Nick, where she is much more corrective of him than he deserves, although she still managers to hand him his butt on a plate.
The heroine is in physical pain but must bear up under it and keep going. What does she tell herself in order to get through the situation?
What mentor's words come to mind in a bad situation?
Her father’s. She’s very much a daddy’s little girl. He’d remind her how special she is and how strong she is and that she can triumph over anything.
What lesson from her past gets her through a stressful situation?
That no matter what happens, her family will always be there for her. She’s very close to her parents and sister, so she’s had ample opportunity to feel their love and support.
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