Stay With Me Stay With Me Trilogy Book 1 by Nicole Fiorina Genre: New Adult Romance
In a desperate final attempt to save nineteen-year-old Mia from herself, she gets transferred to Dolor University, a reformatory college in the UK that housed deranged and dangerous young adults who viewed the private institution as their own personal playground. Mia didn’t care. She needed feelings to care. She’d keep her head down, ignore everyone, and make it through the next two years effortlessly.
Though Mia never anticipated Ollie Masters.
With green eyes, tattoos, and the voice of a poet, she is quickly drawn to him. But because of her sociopath tendencies, she knows it could only end in one of two ways. Either he will be the one to free her from her past, or she will be the one to destroy him.
**WARNING: Mature content, adult language, graphic sexual content, and disturbing matters may trigger an emotional response. Read at your own risk.**
Forget everything you thought you knew. Hell, I don't even know myself anymore. For seven months I've been gone only to come back to be tested in every way possible. They say keep your enemies close, and my demons welcomed me back with open arms. My downfall is a necessary evil. But Mia is my endgame.
Seven months ago, Ollie surrendered to the darkness, abandoning me in the process. He stripped me of my walls only to leave me defenseless. Now he's back, along with fresh new faces and obstacles standing in our way. He says trust no one. Not even him. How am I supposed to be strong for us both when I'm losing my grip?
"Just stay with me, Mia."
"Even when you're gone?"
"Especially when I'm gone."
It was so close, I'd tasted it–the freedom.
But the only thing I could taste now was the end.
Over the last two years, I’d let all outside forces dictate my life, my feelings, my head.
I’d allowed everyone to control what my punishment should be for all my wrong-doings.
I’d been tested and learned my lesson.
I’d paid my dues and suffered long enough.
Because in the end,
even the once-upon-a-damned deserved to be happy too.
How far are you willing to go?
I’d asked myself this very question countless times.
But never in my wildest dreams thought I’d go back in time,
chasing ghosts from my past for a chance to save our future.
So, there was no limit.
I’d cross time, the world, my morals.
Yes, I’d even double-cross myself.
So, how far would I go?
The answer had always been simple.
I’d go an eternity plus a day past crestfallen.
Nicole Fiorina is an independent author, debuting with the Stay With Me series. She lives in Florida with her loving husband, Michael, two children, Christian and Grace, and Great Dane, Winston.
Her writing style is unapologetic and emotional, striving to push buttons, hearts, and limits. Nicole's books fall under New Adult Romance, with a suspenseful, poetic, and gothic twist.
A lover of music, especially classic rock, she can rap most Eminem songs, dance, dabbles on the piano, and likes to use power tools and a paintbrush. She's addicted to coconut berry Red bull, coffee, and root beer, and makes sure to force down water to appease her mother. When she's not writing, she's probably chauffeuring her kids around, at family gatherings, or sleeping.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
A few years ago, I was involved in a car accident which put me on bedrest for 6 months. This was a huge eye-opener in where my life was going as far as my job. I hated it. I’ve always been a writer, but the car accident was a blessing in disguise, and the very thing I never knew I needed to push me into taking a chance on publishing.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I have sneeze attacks when my stomach is full after eating. My husband and kids especially get embarrassed when we’re at restaurants. We hightail it out of there when they see it’s coming.
What are some of your pet peeves?
When people make excuses instead of finding solutions. I also hate being tickled, is that a pet peeve?
Where were you born/grew up at?
Born in Illinois, raised in Florida. I’d go back to Chicago in a heartbeat.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
With my family. It doesn’t matter what we do as long as we were all together.
Who is your hero and why?
Hands down, my dad. He’s gone now, but every choice or decision I face, I constantly remind myself of the lessons he’s taught me. He was a man who fought hard for his dreams, and conquered every one of them. I’ve learned so much from him, but even more after his death. He’s in every book I write so I can always keep him alive in my own way.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
An emotional, giving one. The country would most likely go into debt because all the money would be spent on building extravagant villages for homeless animals and rebuilding cities suffering from poverty.
What are you passionate about these days?
Writing, art, music, my family, making a difference.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Sleep. I either sleep too much or not at all. I have the worst sleeping habits and could fall asleep pretty much anywhere.
How to find time to write as a parent?
We are not just a mom/dad, but our own person with dreams and purposes. When my daughter (or son) gets to be my age with their own children, I want them to see that they are never JUST a mom/dad or JUST a wife/husband. Their dreams are JUST as important as their children’s. It makes it all that much more special to include your children. Show them the process and how much work it takes to get there. Celebrate the small victories together, show them the bad and how to overcome them. Include them in the process. Because I do this, when they see me writing, they know Mom is not JUST working.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less:
This girl is a mystery.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was twelve and I wrote my first book (I still have it!)
Do you have a favorite movie?
No, lol. Pretty much any Bruce Willis movie. I like action, psychological thrillers, horror, crime, murder, romance, etc. The only movies I can’t get into are western.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
All of them. I write them as I would see them in a movie.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
None yet, but I plan to do many!
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
This is hard, probably a can of Red Bull.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to introduce myself as a published author, period. This series is me in a nutshell. Like, here I am, take it or leave it. I had no plans or plot when I started the prologue and allowed the story to guide me naturally. I’m so happy I did because I couldn’t have written this series any better. I have no regrets.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Honestly, expect nothing. I’m an emotion based writer who could write a psychological thriller one month, then a soulmate fantasy the next. What do they say? Expect the unexpected.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Yes, Ethan will be coming 2021.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in the Stay with Me series?
Mia, the main girl in the story, suffered from a tragic event which caused her brain to shut it out and force to forget as well as turned off all emotion. She’s quiet, a loner, making reckless decisions to feel something again. Ollie is the male lead, and he’s the complete opposite. He’s an empath, one who has hyper-sensitivity. He’s an aspiring poet, a dreamer, and believes everything happens for a reason.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the Stay with Me series?
I wanted to create a book (series) to show that we are all villains and heroes. The story is about accepting every part of us, even ones that we dislike about ourselves, so we can move forward with self-love, growth, and purpose. Each character of the story is a side of myself, some in which I’ve learned to accept and love during my writing process.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
The two main characters had different names in the beginning, but they ended up changing as I wrote because it didn’t feel right. All my characters always end up naming themselves.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed every bit of writing this entire series, especially the first book. It’s relieving, like stepping into a gym and beating a punching bag. My stress reliever. But I think the challenge into writing such complex characters is my favorite part. I’m constantly trying to challenge myself. I think I wrote an entire sex scene based on pure emotion without writing any “action”. It was difficult, but it ended up being my favorite sex scene in all three books, and there is A LOT of sex.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Without a doubt, Mia’s is sex and touch. She’s so lost inside her head that touch brings her back, grounds her, especially once Ollie showed the difference between sex and lovemaking. Everything makes Ollie tick considering he feels everything. Is it possible to feel a scream? Because Ollie does, as if it physically affects him. He’s always trying to see the good in people, understand and save them. Ollie wants to save the world.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
I had a different title in the beginning, but about half way through the book, it changed. Stay With Me (as generic as it is) just seemed more fitting. No other title fit. I actually hate the title of the first book, but when a book names itself, you don’t question it.
Who designed your book covers?
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope, not a thing. I’m completely satisfied with how the last book turned out. It could have gone down a completely different path, one that the readers were expecting and probably hoping for, but as I wrote it, it didn’t feel right. I had to backtrack numerous times until it did feel right.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes, I learned to continue to write for me and publish for the readers.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I watched Arrow the other day and I was speechless when a character reminded me so much of Mia. Willa Holland or Lily Collins for Mia. For Ollie, I have no idea.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Try new reads. I always hear things like “I only read first person, this trope, this genre, etc…” There are so many great authors and books out there, and just because you couldn’t connect with one, don’t shut out the entire group. You may find a gem or a new author you never knew you would love.
What is your favorite part of this series and why?
Oh, I have so many favorites. The growth in myself as a writer, the vibe of the series (each book is different), the growth in the characters … I could go on.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Oliver Masters. We would probably go to a local coffee shop in Surrey and talk about love, life, poetry, writing, and philosophy. He’d show me his favorite book store, and if I’m lucky, take me to the cemetery to show me where famous writers were buried. Mia can come along and take pictures. I’d be cool with that.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Entirely from imagination.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
My characters definitely hijack the story. I’m a panster writer at heart, preferring to allow the story to develop naturally, and follow a very loose BPP (bullet point plot) to make sure this happens. Some of the best scenes and plot twists came because I didn’t follow the rules or put restrictions on myself.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes, a lot, and they will be published. I’ve grown a lot as a writer and would like to go back and re-write my earlier projects. I’m a firm believer that every story deserves to be out there in the world. The story came to us for a reason and needs to be heard. Someone, somewhere is waiting for it.
What did you edit out of this book?
A sex scene with Ethan and Mia. Numerous times. Lol.
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Dead, I’d pick Edgar Allen Poe. Alive would be Marshall Mathers because he’s brilliant with word play, or Stephen King because I feel as if we’d click and understand one another. I’ve watched plenty of interviews and even read his “on writing” book and we have the same beliefs when it comes to story development.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
Hints for some of my future projects are sprinkled throughout the entire series. Mostly everything is done in threes. A library in my hometown was the inspiration for the library at Dolor. With each book, I incorporate all song titles from a favorite musician and each book has a new artist (you will never find them). I learned to play the piano for Mia’s character.
What book do you think everyone should read?
This is hard considering not every book is for everyone. I do think everyone should read something they’ve never considered, to step out of there comfort zone.
How long have you been writing?
For as long as I can remember.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
It depends. With this one, they came as I wrote. I do have characters but no story yet, so I’ll have to wait until their story comes. Sometimes as I write a new story, my homeless characters will say, “Hey, I belong here,” so I’ll plant them in. It just depends on the story and where they belong.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I research a lot before I dive in and I’m constantly researching as I write. Research is so important. I research everything between the location to where my characters are, situations and how others have reacted in the same cases, medication, hobbies. I even pick up the hobbies and try them myself. I learned to play the piano for Mia’s character in SWM series, and even played during writing it with a keyboard set up next to my computer. I’ve learned the electric guitar for another unpublished book, and watercolor for yet another. My favorite part of writing is learning and experiencing new things. I’ve always wanted to do, try, be everything, and go everywhere, and with writing I can.
Do you see writing as a career?
No. Whether I made money doing it or not, I’d still be writing.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
That’s a loaded question. Over the last ten years, we’ve seen a trend. The Twilight series hit, then a trend of vampire books followed behind. Fifty Shades hit, then again, the trend followed behind. In the end, it’s the authors who are struggling, fighting for their books to be noticed in a sea of the same crowded genre. With the rise of social media and influencers, we’ve become a generation of followers rather than leaders. I believe in order to be seen and heard, you have to do something that’s never been done. “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” –George S. Patton
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
Yes, I (try) to read every night before I go to bed and every morning. Any sub-genre revolving around romance is my favorite, especially psychological thrillers.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
It depends on what I’m writing, normally silence but at times I do play music with my headphones on to turn off my brain. It’s constantly going and sometimes hinders my writing process. Music helps entertain my brain so I can write freely without overthinking.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
Usually one at a time, however I am an emotion based writer. Sometimes an idea comes, and I cannot get it out of my head until I get it out through writing. This happened to me while I wrote my most recent book. I had to stop and bang out a few chapters for the new idea before I could continue writing the current manuscript.
Pen or type writer or computer?
Poetry: pen. Manuscripts: computer.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
There is a detective named Eggs I LOVE in Caroline Kepnes book, Providence. The entire story I adore, but the detective was probably my favorite character I’ve ever read. He’s funny, determined, has a heart, and so real.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
Being able to write full-time and help others, makes me feel at home and more myself than I’ve ever been. I’ve always felt lost and never knew my purpose in this world. With finally taking the plunge into publishing, I’ve found my place, and I’m staying.
A day in the life of the author?
Wake up (sometimes as early as 5am) and write. I take a break to get my kids ready and off to school then go back to writing and researching until I pick them up, most times with my dog constantly harassing me. By two, I pick them up, help with homework, cook dinner, and spend time with them until they go to sleep. Then at night I answer emails, social media, and do all the dirty work. I also run a side business to help other indie authors so my days are all over the place. I’m either writing all day or coming up with design concepts, talking with clients, untangling plot holes, editing, formatting, helping with covers, ideas … You name it, I’m doing it. Either way, I’m constantly on my laptop with a thousand things on my to-do list and a ton of books to write and get to. I live on chaos and caffeine.
Advice you would give new authors?
Write for you, publish for them. I live by this.
Describe your writing style.
Dark, broken, and beautiful.
What makes a good story?
One that can make a reader emotionally react, whether it makes them laugh out loud, cry, get mad, or too afraid to go to sleep at night. If you can do that, it’s a good story.
What are you currently reading?
Verity by Colleen Hoover.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I’m a panster writer, so I just write. I don’t have a brilliant plan or process. Only write until I can’t write anymore. If I’m ever stuck, I’ll do my bullet point plot to guide me the rest of the way, but don’t always follow it. I prefer to let the story develop naturally.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Lack of confidence and fear of rejection, which is what all authors (already published or not) face throughout their writing journey, sometimes with every book they write. You can and will get through it. I always say, a rejection is far better than a regret. You can learn to overcome with rejection, but regret will haunt you for the rest of your life.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Knowing when to stop. Sometimes I’ll be up until four or five in the morning writing, and forget about the world around me and my household responsibilities. With writing, my kryptonite is that I always add too much. Too much detail, too much emotion. I have to remind myself to tone it down a bit to not lose focus on the story.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Original. Always stay original.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Quit your job, Nicole, you hate it anyway, and start publishing. Don’t wait until your thirties. Start NOW.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
The opposite sex isn’t hard for me. I think the biggest misconception is that a male has to be an asshole, which is completely false. If you can write a strong female character, you can write a male. If you can write a sensitive male character, you can write a female. See what I did there? Every character is different, has their strengths and weaknesses, personality, and beliefs. Continue to challenge yourself. Writers are artists. Make art.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the book. My shortest time was 6 weeks and my longest was 4 months, and that is just the first draft. I go through my book three times at the very least before it is sent to beta readers. I don’t stop revising until I’m completely happy and can close my laptop with a smile on my face.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and no. In my personal experience, a block comes when there is a block or hole within my story. My first instinct is to find solutions, so I’ll go back and re-read a few chapters, keep writing to see if it untangles, or I’ll pick up other writing methods to free my mind from the current manuscript, allow it to breathe a bit (journal, poetry, short story, etc). This goes back to my pet peeve of making excuses or grieving over problems, and instead, I find solutions.
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