Hi guys!! Today I have a very colorful interview with Nina Lane, who was more than awesome in agreeing to answer my questions. She really put her heart into this interview and I apreciate it immensely 🙂 Nina wrote the amazing “Spiral of Bliss” series, which tells the story of Dean, a very hot profesor, falling in love with his student, Olivia. I loved each book and if you haven’t read it yet, please do:) It is a must. I’ll leave you here with Nina to tell you something about herself, books, hobbies and future projects. Enjoy!
Ramona: Please share something that defines Nina Lane, for the readers to get to know her better.
Nina: Wow, that’s a big question! The best place to start is my childhood. I grew up in California, to an Indian father (he was from Calcutta and moved to the US to attend UC Berkeley), and a mother of Russian descent. I have an older brother and lived in the same house for most of my life before attending UCLA with a major in Art History. I went on to earn my Master’s and PhD from UC Riverside and McGill University, Montreal, and then moved to Wisconsin where my future husband was attending graduate school. I enrolled in the library sciences program to supplement my Art History degree–so clearly if there’s anything that really defines me, it’s a love for both studies and books!
Ramona: What is your favorite childhood book?
Nina: I LOVED the „Little House on the Prairie” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’m reading them to my daughter right now, and I have a new appreciation for the actual writing, but when I was younger I just loved the story. I thought Laura had an amazing sense of adventure, and her stories about life on the prairie were unforgettable.
Ramona: What do you love doing besides writing?
Nina: Spend time with my kids! Now that they are a little older, we’re starting to travel more, and that’s proving to be both fun and educational. I also love working out and (of course) reading.
Ramona: If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Nina: I would have paid more attention to crafting my own voice rather than trying to imitate other writers. I tried to write romantic suspense for a long time, but realized later that it wasn’t really my genre. So I think I would have just learned to follow my own instincts rather than think about what someone else was doing.
Ramona: What made you decide to write a series about a love story between a professor and his student? Personally, I have a crush on this type of books and always jump to reading as many books as possible with this topic.
Nina: A professor-student relationship is one of my favorite dynamics. The authority and intelligence of a professor does it for me every time! I think for Liv and Dean is just worked so well for him to be a professor since he was Liv’s teacher and mentor in so many other ways. Also, I know a lot about academia and felt like I could write Dean’s character as a professor authentically.
Ramona: What authors inspire you ?
Nina: Any author who can write a compelling story with character who will not let me put the book down, no matter how tired I am. 🙂 Some of my recent favorites are Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes, and Bryn Greenwood.
Ramona: Tell us how „Spiral of Bliss” series came to be.
Nina: At the risk of sounding rather nutty, I can say with complete honesty that the inspiration for Liv and Dean’s story came from Liv herself.
One afternoon in July 2011, I sat down at my computer to write a short, erotic story that I was planning to self-publish. I didn’t have much of an idea in mind, except I thought that if I wrote about a woman who was trying to get pregnant, that would certainly leave plenty of room for sex scenes.
But when I started writing, Olivia West walked right into my head and started talking to me. To this day, I have no idea where she came from. I don’t know anyone like her, she’s not based on anyone I know or even any other fictional characters I’m aware of. Instead she just emerged, fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus, with all her hopes, dreams, insecurities, wishes, doubts, and fears.
I initially wrote the book in a diary format, as if Liv was keeping a journal of her thoughts, and the first draft started with her introducing herself as “My name is Olivia West. I’m medium-height, with long dark hair… etc.” (later, I realized she was introducing herself to ME). So Liv is really the one who drove the story from the very beginning. In some ways, I feel like I was just going along for the ride.
As the story progressed, I became both consciously and unconsciously inspired by some of my favorite stories and themes—the idea of journeys and returning home in Alice in Wonderland, The Little House on the Prairie series, the Wizard of Oz, and themes of true love and betrayal in Gone with the Wind.
I also found a great deal of inspiration in classic fairy tales with motifs of defeating evil and finding your way through dark forests, as well as medieval legends about chivalry and the codes of honor that Dean represents.
And of course, the theme that inspired me the most was that of a couple so devoted to each other and so deeply in love that they will fight any battle to stay together.
Ramona: Who designed your covers for this series and please share with us the special meaning behind each of it.
Nina: They were designed by Victoria Colotta of VMC Art & Design (https://www.vmc-artdesign.com), and I love them so much. They’re all so emblematic of Liv and Dean’s relationship and tied to the characters. The cover for AROUSE, a flower in a nest, represents Liv on so many levels—her love of gardening, her desire for a home/nest and family of her own, her fragility, and her hope of blossoming into the woman she wants to be.
The cover of ALLURE, books and a butterfly, is equally tied to Dean. The books represent his intelligence and love of scholarship, while the butterfly symbolizes his struggle to let Liv take flight while wanting to protect her. The butterfly is also an allusion to Liv and Dean’s conversation in ALLURE about the monarch butterflies of Pacific Grove who always return home.
The AWAKEN cover of two antique keys and hydrangea flowers represents both Liv and Dean. The keys allude to the conversation in AROUSE about everyone having a “key” to unlocking their secrets. Liv soon realizes that Dean is her key, but together they have to fight through the consequences of unlocked, destructive secrets I also discovered that hydrangeas symbolize “heartfelt emotion” and are the “4th anniversary flower.” In AWAKEN, Liv and Dean celebrate their fourth anniversary as a married couple, and they certainly do have a great deal of heartfelt emotion!
The color progression on the first three covers represents Liv and Dean’s unity and reconciliation:
red + blue = purple
Arouse + Allure = Awaken
Liv + Dean = togetherness
The ADORE cover is symbolic of Dean’s desire to travel and Liv’s reluctance to leave the safety of home (as well as her letters from North), while ALWAYS again references the butterfly and the eternal heart that is always at the center of Liv and Dean’s marriage.
Ramona: Are you a kindle person or a paperback one?
Nina: I have a ton of books on my Kindle, but for me, there is nothing like reading a good paperback.
Ramona: Can you tell us something about your future projects?
Nina: Yes! I have several more Sugar Rush books to write about the twins Carson and Spencer, and adventure-boy Adam. I also can’t wait to write Hailey’s book — as the youngest sister with six older brothers, she will definitely have a story to tell. I’m also starting another professor-student romance, but it will be quite a bit angstier and darker than Liv and Dean’s story, and a standalone about an art historian. I plan to have a busy 2018!
Ramona: A message to the readers if you are so kind 🙂
Nina: First, thank you so much to everyone who has loved and supported both the Spiral of Bliss books as well as the other books I’ve written. I wish you all a happy, healthy 2018 filled with many wonderful books to both enrich your lives and spark your imagination!
For more on Nina Lane and her amazing work, check out the links below:
Oficial Site: http://ninalane.com/
Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5785925.Nina_Lane