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An Interview with Kristina Carmela

We have another Friday treat for you this week, This Time Around (ha!) with Kristina Carmela, author of the Nelsonville Book Series. Discover more about this gorgeous contemporary romance collection in the interview below, as well as the reasons and inspirations behind Kristina's exciting brand-new website relaunch, where you can find all sorts of fun bonus content for your new favourite characters!

 

Hi, Kristina! Thanks for joining us! First off, Tell us about your romance novels, the Nelsonville Book Series, and what inspired you to write it.

The Nelsonville books will follow five female main characters who have all ended up in this beachy town for a fresh start. Each of the five women will get three books, their own mini trilogy, and the books will bounce between them while all the stories weave together. As readers, we will be on their journey to finding themselves, falling in love, figuring out what they want to do with their life, navigate family drama and create these friendships and traditions together. The books are relatable, filled with romance & spice, and you’ll feel like you’re hanging out with your very own friends on the beach!




Tell us about the setting of your books. Is Nelsonville a real place in Rhode Island, or, if not, was it inspired by any particular place? Why did you choose this small coastal town as a backdrop to these love stories?


Nelsonville, Rhode Island is a fictional town based on a real town, my absolute favorite place to visit! This real town, which I’ll never quite confirm which town it is, has always been this place I have immediately felt at home. I wanted Nelsonville to almost have this magical ability to pull people in who needed a safe place to start over. I love writing small town vibes. There is this cute Main Street with local businesses we spend a lot of time visiting. The beach felt natural, I feel like so many people connect with the ocean and love being there. Writing characters in this cozy town felt right.



Can you tell us a little bit about your characters? Which, if any, did you identify with most and why?


The five female main leads are all very different, in good ways! Our first main character, Georgia Fields, is based on me actually. She is insecure, anxious, very creative and sarcastic. She loves lists and little rituals. Anything from her past is based on my real life, so I weaved in a lot of my own memories and experiences. But the journey she goes on once she’s in Nelsonville is all her own. It was a fun challenge to get to see what a version of myself might do if circumstances were different! I plan on tying in different big, important pieces of myself into the five main characters. All the women will be strong and ambitious in their own ways!



What are your favourite romance tropes to read and do any make an appearance in your work?


I love a good soulmate trope, and it was the first one I wrote in! I love exploring all different tropes and it’s fun to add in my own spin, so I think I’ll get the chance to challenge myself into writing as many tropes as possible. Except for the miscommunication trope, that’s my least favorite ever!



There are currently three books published in this series. First of all, which has been your favourite to write so far and why?


I’ve loved writing all three books but for such different reasons! The first book, This Time Around, I’m so proud that I actually wrote a book. I think I grew so much when I was writing the second book, So It Goes, and it shows. I’m really proud of how much my writing and storytelling improved. I loved writing that book because I felt so much more sure of myself as an author. I love reading my storytelling in that one so much. But the third book, Violet Wildflowers, is the first one with a new main character - Penny Carson! That was a whole different challenge and I struggled in the beginning to have her really establish her own voice. But she gave me the boost of confidence I needed to keep writing from other characters' perspectives. So they’ve all been fun but in such different ways.



Secondly, how many more Nelsonville books do you have planned, and can you give readers a hint of what to expect next?


The series as a whole will be fifteen books, with five trilogies essentially. The books pick up right where the last left off just with a new main character. So as readers, you’ll be really deeply invested in all the lives of a lot of characters. You’ll get to know different side characters in different ways and really explore relationships, which will be so fun! On top of the main fifteen-book series, I am writing a novella series! The novellas will be from the side character points of view. These will take place both in Nelsonville and outside of Nelsonville throughout different decades! It’s a fun way to get to know these additional characters even more.



Did you find any challenges while writing these books? How did you overcome them?

Of course! Once I realized I was writing a series, I had to figure out how to make sure I was writing stories and characters that could last over such a big series. Plus, trying to predict any plot holes or setup that might be needed feels so impossible! I try to keep track of as much detail as I can and refer back to the books I’ve written as I’m writing new ones to make sure it all makes sense!



Have any shows, movies, books, or games influenced your own work at all?


I feel like a little bit of everything I love! I find inspiration in the way Taylor Swift tells stories in her music. She makes you feel like you’re part of the story and that she gets you. As the friend group in the series evolves, I definitely find that I want you to feel like you’re part of this friend group so I look to the dynamics of Friends or any show like that!



On September 18th, you relaunched your website. How exciting! Tell us about your decision to make all your content exclusively available this way.

This definitely wasn’t a decision I made overnight. A big reason I have chosen to self publish in general is the idea of having the overall control of my series. Selling only on my website gives me that in certain ways. Not only do I get to super easily toss something on sale or run a promotion, I am able to sell merch that’s related to my series! Which I know you can do in other ways too. But I love knowing who is buying my books. I love the connection to readers, I love packing up the orders and adding in a handwritten note and freebies. I love getting to help create that experience. And more than that, I work so hard to write, publish, create content, market, and connect with readers, I don’t want to share the rewards and profit with yet another company. So when I looked at my sales numbers, I had sold over 6x more books on my website than I had all the major platforms combined! To me, the few amounts I sold elsewhere wasn’t enough to keep me. I get lost on other platforms because I sell more on my own. So why not make this experience entirely my own? No, I won’t be a best seller by title but that’s not why I’m writing books.



This relaunch promises new and exciting bonus content! What can we expect to find?


I saw this relaunch and taking my books off of everywhere else as such an opportunity. Because I’m writing a series, I felt that I could really continue to pull people in with more content that would keep them coming back for more and more. I want my readers to constantly connect and relate, so I’ve been spending months making bonus content! All three books, and I’ll continue to do this for all the books in the series, have chapter by chapter blog posts written. So you can read about my inspiration, original plans, see why I made certain choices and so on with every chapter. Because they’re blog posts, readers can also ask questions or toss in comments! I also made bio pages for all the main characters and main side characters. Every single business on Main Street has a logo and history, and every Nelsonville tradition has a background page! Plus I have pages for fun things like who I would cast in my non-existent TV show, inspiration behind book titles and covers, all the ways the main characters are based on me, things like that! I’m also planning some zoom book discussion events for 2024 and the shop is getting an overhaul! You can order books, original paintings that are written in the books, stickers, bookmarks, buttons, keychains, pins, a bunch of digital downloads and more! You can read the books, fall in love, and always know that there is more to come back to especially in between books!



You also host your own podcast, Greetings from Nelsonville! Why and how did you decide to create this project, and what do you hope listeners will gain from it?


I have always wanted to start a podcast but never had anything I knew I could talk about week after week. But publishing books gives me a ton to talk about! Each episode kicks off with something Nelsonville-related and then I shift to interviewing indie authors! I love being able to connect with other authors but I also think the indie community is so special. We are so supportive and are in this together. There’s room for all of us and getting the chance to help share an author is so much fun. I hope my listeners find a new favorite author or try an indie book if they never had. I want to help continue the conversation that indie authors are real authors and that what we do is pretty darn incredible.



Our podcast focuses on media we’re currently loving. Are there any books, shows, movies, or games you’re enjoying at the moment? Any recommendations for our audience? Bonus points if it includes sapphics!


I’ve been so focused on Nelsonville leading up to the relaunch that I haven’t been watching or reading anything new!! I have been rewatching Schitt’s Creek and will always recommend that to anybody who hasn’t given it a shot!



Get inside the mind of new author Kristina Carmela in her debut novel, This Time Around. Kristina was born and raised in Westchester, New York where she fell in love with books at a young age. While she has tackled countless creative avenues, mostly including sewing and painting, writing a novel has been a bucket list item for as long as she could remember. She is most proud to share the fictional world that has been alive in her imagination for so long. But more importantly, she is excited for everybody to meet Georgia Fields, who mirrors the best and most interesting parts of her.


When Kristina isn’t writing, she enjoys doting on her dog Asher or rewatching her favorite tv shows and movies. Kristina likes to try out any creative project and loves exploring; making memories with the people she loves most in her life. One day, she hopes to adopt senior dogs and fall in love with a British man where they can spend their days growing old on the beach together.



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