Interview with Nichole Naumann, author of If You Come To California

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Publish Date: December 18, 2012

Order From:  Amazon

Author Interview: Q. Please tell us about your current release.

IF YOU COME TO CALIFORNIA is about dreams, growing up, love, loss and betrayal. Josie Foley, home-schooled loser, finds solace in one thing in her miserable life: music. When U.S.A Talent auditions hit the East Coast her geeky, only-friend urges her to leave their small hometown and attend the forbidden event.

Josie is suddenly hurled into L.A.'s underbelly, an unfamiliar world of drugs, parties and crime introduced to her by the bewitching and mysterious Vanessa. Along the way, she encounters an assortment of strange, dangerous new friends that accompany her on a once-in-a-lifetime journey. There's Dante, the unhinged drag queen; Christian, a hot Sunset Strip rocker; Mickey Solomon, Hollywood's favorite drug kingpin; and SNL, the spoiled little rich girl in pink.

As the show comes to an intense climax, Josie begins to question what reflections are real—even her own—and discovers that nothing here is what it seems.

A shocking plunge into a raw and realistic Los Angeles, IF YOU COME TO CALIFORNIA is a fictional black market tourist’s guide for anybody who has ever had a Hollywood dream.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

The people always inquiring about California inspired me! I’ve lived in Los Angeles for almost seven years now and so many people ask me what it’s like, if Hollywood is really so glamorous, etc. I think people from other places have a totally different perception of L.A., a love affair with the culture they experience through TV, but they never see the darkest sides of it. I wanted to write a really realistic account of a person like you or me then make the wildest “what if” become a reality. I met so many fame junkies out here that have been desperately trying to get into show business and working at it for years. I wanted to reveal what can happen, what might happen, and what usually does happen when you chase a huge dream out to L.A.

Q. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?

I grew up in a really small town in Pennsylvania and went to L.A. when I was twenty; I remember being shocked by so many of the things/people I’d seen when I first got here. Cliché, but it really was a different world. I’ve had so many incredible experiences while living in this city, but I’ve also seen some really terrible things that are hard to forget. I myself, like Josie, was extremely naïve when I arrived and had to learn how to survive. There are some really horrendous, frightening people out there; there are also some very, strange, cool, zany ones. I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of them in person to get some solid characters.

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about the book?

I think I would have ventured deeper into Vanessa’s psyche, explored her past a little bit more, what made her the way she is.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Honestly, I really wanted to do another chapter, a sequel, etc. for Josie. I wanted her life to be like Rasheeda’s and I was rooting for her so much, but I knew the story ended the way it was supposed to. It was realistic; it was my own photograph of contemporary life in L.A. I guess the hardest part was letting Josie grow-up…

Q. Do you have a musical playlist you listen to when writing? If so, what kind of music?

Not a specific playlist, but music was obviously huge in my book. The Rolling Stones show up in almost everything I write. I’d hear certain songs and they would remind me of a character and I’d write the tracks into the story—I do this with most of my works. I remember hearing Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ and thinking, This is a Dante jam for sure… Also, whenever I hear ‘Venus in Furs’ by The Velvet Underground it reminds me of Vanessa, the pool scene—it sets a really sinister mood.

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

A lot—not all, but a lot—of my characters start out as people that I know. Sometimes I have a hard time doing things to them in the book because I feel guilty. I have to then write something about the character that changes him/her and makes him/her someone else so I can continue the story. Then I fully develop them. Ridiculous, right?

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

Oddly, I’m working on a SCI-FI romance right now (RANDOM!).

Q. Please tell us your latest news.

My paperback for IF YOU COME TO CALIFORNIA just came out. It’s available on Amazon and Createspace and you should be able to order it directly from Barnes and Noble in a few weeks (if you want to avoid shipping costs). The KINDLE version is live—I know this is more affordable for many. Follow me on Twitter @Vonkoko or add me on (Nichole Naumann) to find out when I’m doing free days for kindle and book giveaways. I’m also doing a paperback giveaway on Goodreads right now, if you’re interested in winning the hardcopy (I have an amazing graphic designer, look for the sugar skulls!).

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I want to thank you guys, profusely, for checking out IF YOU COME TO CALIFORNIA, giving it a chance. Your support and feedback keeps me happy and writing. I’m also so thrilled that many of you have explored this dark, unconventional YA story. It’s refreshing to see that people are willing to deviate from the vampire/erotica stuff for a bit and delve into a different type of writing/story. I love you guys. Thanks for everything.

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