One of my dreams a few years ago was to get to know authors behind the books.
I didn’t think it could ever be a reality but incredible authors like Noelle Nichols are proving that wrong.
Not only have I really gotten to know Noelle, but she writes incredible heroic stories that spur me to write the same. <3 Plus, she’s so sweet and encouraging!
If you would like to get to know her a little bit better too (and learn more about her sooooo good debut), tune in to our chat below! 😀
About the Book
The Shadows morals are absolute. At least, they used to be.
When a dangerous threat emerges, Kilo and Shenrae are called to serve. To find the truth and restore peace is the duty of a Shadow.
But this enemy controls an ancient magic, and no one knows its potential.
Is it as evil as those who wield it, or can it be used for good?
Faced with the burden of their duty, Kilo and Shenrae must gather the strength needed to defend those they love.
It is the duty of Shadow to protect, but is everyone worth saving?
Shadow’s Hand is the first book in a heroic epic fantasy, inspired by Japan’s samurai and their warrior code Bushido. It’s a story about the makings of a hero and the hero’s sacrifice.
– Hi Noelle! I’m SO excited to be chatting with you! For those who don’t know you, can you share three words to describe yourself?
Philosophical nerdy dreamer.
– Ooo! Love that! On your website, you mention that you enjoy creating art. As a person who can’t draw well, I think that is super awesome! What is some of the art you love creating? Willing to share any photos with us?
I’ve been getting back to drawing, as I’m hoping to create my own graphic novel one day, but I also paint every so often. It’s a nice change from working with words, and way less stressful. Since last year I’ve begun exploring fluid painting. It’s by far my favorite way to paint because you have very little control over it. I never know what’s going to happen, and that excites me.
As requested! Photos of my art!
– Eeekk! I love it! You are SO talented, Noelle! I know we’ve talked about anime a little bit together (and our love for the “Kenshin group”), but if you could recommend only three to five shows to someone, what would you recommend?
So, since you’ve already recommended Rurouni Kenshin to everyone, the other five I would recommend would be: Mushishi, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Spice and Wolf, Naruto Shippuden and Wolf’s Rain.
And yes, I did sneakily recommend six. Ha!
– Haha! Fine by me as I need some more anime to watch. 😉 Speaking of Kenshin, your book, Shadow’s Hand, was somewhat inspired by the manga, correct? Did it also inspire your fondness for samurai and the warrior code Bushido or were you already fond of those prior to reading Kenshin?
Yep, that is correct! Rurouni Kenshin, specifically the character of Himura Kenshin, definitely inspired Kilo’s character and the Shadow’s Creed, in sense that these characters, the Shadows, value life. A true samurai’s main purpose was to take life in the time, and over time they had to learn to adapt to the end of the era. That part I find fascinating. I’ve heard from most people that Kilo reminds them of Kenshin, but he remains his own person. That makes me ridiculous amounts of happy because Rurouni Kenshin is one of my favorite series.
Rurouni Kenshin was the first story I encountered where the value of life was stressed so much. Most shows don’t shy away from killing. I fell in love with the concept and had that idea in the back of mind for years and years. It was only when I began editing my first draft that I really understood how important this value was to Kilo in particular, and it was also the time I became really fascinated with the samurai and shinobi cultures. I always loved the politeness and honor of Japan, but editing and bringing my characters to life brought about a new appreciation of the Japanese culture into me. I tried to keep it true to the culture, but it’s by no means historical. It’s very much a combination of ninja/samurai and shonen anime/sword and sorcery fantasy.
– I love this! If you had the chance to explore Kiriku from your book in real life, what cities or villages would you want to visit? Anything particular that you want to do or try when there?
My first stop would probably be Vaiyene, closely followed by Konro. These are two of the places where I feel I’d best fit into the land. It’s also where I drew inspiration of beautiful places and calm atmospheres from the places I’ve been to in person. I’ve always imagined Vaiyene to be set on some really high mountainscape, the kind you would find in New Zealand, or like the 14neers you can climb in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. Konro is inspired by the same, especially by the San Juan mountains. Everything is so big and you feel so small there. I liked having that feeling that nature was greater than humans in that particular place.
I would definitely, for sure, without a doubt, learn how to use the Skills. The Skills fascinate me, and it’s one of those “you wouldn’t understand it” until you try it kind of things, so I would absolutely jump at the chance to learn how to use them. It would also be neat to participate in Shadow training, although I’m highly uncoordinated, but it would be fun nonetheless.
– Oh my goodness, can you please find a portal so we can go? I want to come too! (Though I might let you learn the Skills solo. LOL!) I’ve heard on numerous occasions that most authors can’t choose a favorite, BUT I wonder who you would want to hang out with for a day. Who’s the lucky character to hang out with? What would you guys do?
I’m surprised I’m not choosing Kilo, but I’m going to go with Finae for this one. The chapter regarding Zenkaiko is one of my favorite parts of the book, and I would love to be able to experience Finae’s vision of the future. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and I feel like anyone who comes in contact with her feels alive. Those kinds of people are special.
There’s a quote I love that goes “Stay close to people who feel like sunshine.” That applies to Finae so much. I just want to be her friend for a day and for her to show me around Zenkaiko.
– She would make a wonderful tour guide. Definitely would be a fantastic trip! For my last question, are you able to share any details about book two? (I am SO excited to read it!) Any release dates? Title? Sneak peeks?
Book two is titled “Phantom’s Lament” and should be releasing near the end of summer. I’m currently working my way through some developmental edits, but the story is really shaping up to be an action-packed sequel. “It gets complicated” it’s a good way of explaining things, and I’m trying to contain my overwhelming enthusiasm for how awesome the characters are in the sequel. Hopefully I can top it in the third book.
Here’s a snippet from one of the scenes I’m working on in book two. It will probably be tweaked in the final version of the book, but…..*drumroll*
“Being a Shadow means uploading the Shadow’s Creed. But that is not all it means. To be a Shadow is to accept the consequence of our actions as we follow the way set before us. If you feel compelled toward something, it is your duty as a Shadow to pursue it and accept what comes from it.”
He was unwavering in his duties, in his path as a Phantom and a Shadow.
He reached out toward me, kneeling down into the waters that surrounded the two of us. “Give me your sword.”
I drew the long, curved sword from its sheathe and knelt in the waters beside him, rippling the shallow waters across the cavern’s uneven surface. Phantom Asdar dipped the end of the blade into the waters. I had tried to wipe the blood from the edge, but the water seemed to pull a darkness from the sword. Blackness seeped into the waters, pooling around me, clouding the once pure waters. A slight glow traveled down the blade, as Asdar drizzled water over the metal surface. A light, a warmth—an emotion—washed over me. It seemed familiar somehow, like a gentle touch of the hand.
“Until now, the Shadows have never had to rethink their ideals. We’ve never needed to change who we were to serve our people.” He paused, scooping up another handful of water. “But these are not times like they used to be. It’s at the forefront of all our minds.”
The darkness from the sword’s edge continued to spread around me, engulfing me. Closing in from all sides. A panic began to rise in my chest. Images of blood, of men and women, rose in my mind.
The False Shadows.
All of it seeping out from me. Spreading like a disease in the waters. Flowing inside me. I could never be rid of it. I could never make things right again. I struggled to break myself away from the thoughts that clouded my mind. The thoughts that made me hesitate. I swallowed the panic rising inside me and lifted my head.
Phantom Asdar looked me in the eye and held my gaze.
“You need to accept what has been done,” Asdar said, as he dipped his hand into the water again, dropping a line of water over my blade. It hissed and the blackness that seeped from it darkened and clouded. “Or it will consume you.”
– AHHHHH!! I need more ASAP!! Thank you SO much for sharing and chatting with me, Noelle! I EAGERLY look forward to reading Phantom’s Lament later this year!
About the Author
Noelle Nichols is a writer, dreamer and creator. She writes to make sense of the world, often giving her characters choices that rely heavily on moral choice. Her current series, The Shadows Creed Saga was influenced by Japan’s samurai and shinobi. When she isn’t writing, she’s painting or daydreaming on hikes. You can follow her adventures on her website: noellenichols.com