Odette C Nassar Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
Odette C Nassar: I am a fantasy romance writer who lives in California. I love history and many of my daydreams and story ideas are influenced by historical events that I rewrite in my head. I like playing around with the idea of magic in my stories, largely due to the influence of D&D and other role-play games that I share with my kids.
Although I’ve been writing for years, I never had the guts to share my work until recently. With the active encouragement of my family, I finally decided to publish my favourite work, Earth Healer. However, the more I developed the world, the more stories I imagined. I soon realized that the story of Angeline and Damien and their experiences in Fenris were bigger than one novel. Each new set of characters leads me to discover new things about the work that they do and the world they live in. But the best thing about writing each story is playing with how relationships build and grow.
I’m now living the life I’ve dreamed of for many years. And I relish every new day that I can create and imagine and then write it all down and share it with other readers.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
OCN: Escape to Omnos Island where magic and romance join forces to break a curse and free the land.
IBB: Where do you like to write?
OCN: I have an office/studio that my husband set up for me in the back of our garage. Views of the backyard and plenty of natural light inspire me to write—most of the time.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
OCN: Uninterrupted time. It is very distracting for me to start and stop and start and stop. Sometimes that’s hard with the quarantine and everyone home. However, if I can get two solid hours uninterrupted in a day, I can really focus and make inroads into a story.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
OCN: I’m a child of the classics so my foundations lie in narratives written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie, Louise Cooper, Anne McCaffrey just to name a few. More recent influences are Nora Roberts (her memorable characters) and Nalini Singh (her amazing Psy-Changeling world).
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
OCN: My willingness to face my fears. For so long, I had so many stories running through my head. I would write but I was scared about what people would think about my work and about me. Now, I recognize that my creative storytelling is an asset. And I’m more willing to put myself out there. Of course, it helps that my kids and my husband are supportive of my efforts. They encourage me and offer me great advice.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
OCN: I write stories that I like to read. What I would hope is that people who read my books remember the characters I write as if they are old friends from college. I want the world of Omnos Island and the people who live there to be so vivid and memorable that after people put the book down, they get flashbacks of the story as if it was a personal memory.
IBB: Have you received a favourite review of your work?
OCN: A friend of my mom’s texted, “I wish I had earth magic. Beautiful story and goodness and love prevailed.” When I hear people say they wish they could be like one of my characters, it makes me feel pretty good.
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
OCN: The process of getting the word out is not a natural one for me. The correct word for that is, of course, marketing. But I would much rather write my heart and brains out than have to worry about the marketing side of things. It has definitely been a steep learning curve for me to figure out, learn, and grow that part of the publishing process. I’m doing it but I’d much rather bury myself in writing and research.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
OCN: I write every day in some shape or form. I believe that the more you write, the better you get. And as I used to tell the students in my English 1A class, practice makes you a better writer. The more you write, the better you get at it.
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
OCN: Respect tempered with a sense of humour. Also, both the editor and author have to be willing to make changes either to the manuscript or to their point of view.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
OCN: People who have read Earth Healer and enjoyed it make my day. We usually end up talking about Angeline’s experiences as an earth witch and the technical sides of Omnos Island magic. If it was someone I haven’t spoken with before, I would tell them, “If you liked this one, just wait until the next book!”
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
OCN: Keep writing even when you think you’re not writing well. Keep writing even when you don’t feel like it. Keep writing even if you only have 30 minutes to write right before you fall into bed. Just keep writing.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
OCN: I am so excited to continue writing the rest of the seven books in the Omnos Island Elementals Series. Earth Healer was released last September. The second book, Fire Seeker, is coming in March. And I’m already daydreaming about book three, Air Singer.
I honestly love creating each of the characters in these novels. I enjoy seeing them grow and learn about themselves and others as if they were real. Part of that love means I’m also writing short bits and pieces about some of the secondary characters in the novels. Each new story that I create lays a foundation for the world of Omnos Island.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
OCN: I have some great ideas in my head of what I want the art to look like but it isn’t always possible to deliver on them. And unfortunately, I have about as much drawing talent as a raisin. I usually will share my ideas with my drawing team and then we go back and forth until the cover is something that we all love.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
OCN: I read at least two to three books a month. In fiction, I’m currently reading reimagined fairy tales. I’m hooked on Emma Hamm’s works, right this second. Generally, I like fantasy with really great world-building.
In non-fiction, I tend to go for the motivational genre. I’m currently in the middle of Steering by Starlight by Martha Beck and The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. I find that reading writers who inspire me to be a better person balances out the fears and self-criticism that I invariably have about publishing my own work.
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
OCN: Well, there are a few novels I’m in the middle of that I think are pretty good.
Stray Witch by Eva Alton is one of them.
I’ve recently read a few Emma Hamm novels but especially liked her duology Heart of the Fae and Veins of Magic. Also, A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova was a beautifully compelling read. And I’m still carrying Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom in my head like a fond memory.
And I have The Marked Princess by EP Stavs on my list next. Judging from the previews, it looks very promising.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
For more on Odette and her work, please visit: