Reader 1: Welcome, Nicole - thanks for joining us!
Nicole Pyland: Thanks for having me!
Reader 2: Welcome, Nicole!
Nicole Pyland: thank you
Reader 1: So Nicole, you’ve already been to book club, it’s the same as last time. For those of
you who are new, it’s one hour of Q&A - ask Nicole whatever you’d like about Ascending and/or
her writing in general, and it’s pretty informal so just throw ’em out there as you think of them
Reader 3: Nice to have you here Nicole
Nicole Pyland: thank you
Reader 4: Hi, Nicole. How long is this series?
Nicole Pyland: 4 books. The last one (Awaiting) comes out on 8/24.
Reader 4: Excellent
Reader 3: Awesome
Reader 3: Are there only 2 books
Nicole Pyland: Nope. There are 4. Ascending is the first one. The 4th one comes out on
Reader 5: I really loved Ascending! I found myself completely escaping into the book and being
in Elizabeth & Palmer’s world!
Nicole Pyland: thank you!
Reader 6: First off let me say I loved this book as well as the whole series.... What was your
Nicole Pyland: I had this image in my mind of a princess who never thought she'd be
queen sitting in a room by herself contemplating a loss and that sort of drove the whole
Reader 6: Amazing I love it
Reader 3: Totally awesome
Reader 1: It starts with a hell of a bang. I was like, “I’m just gonna read the first chapter and then
I’ll go to bed.” Famous last words.
Reader 7: And what a loss it was!
Nicole Pyland: [Reader 1] sorry about that? Lol
Reader 3: Interesting twists
Reader 5: Yeah I started it and then I just couldn’t put it down. I read most of it in one sitting
Reader 6: Haley , same lol
Reader 8: Im finally on.
Nicole Pyland: Hi!
Reader 3: I wanted the 1st book to go another 400 pages. I felt dropped at thr ene.
Reader 5: I said in my review that I could read about Palmer & Elizabeth for a long time! It was
Nicole Pyland: Another 400 pages? lol I think my hands would have just fallen off. Lol
Reader 3: On and on
Reader 9: [Reader 3], I could happily have read the rest of their lives. By the end, was one of
those books where you close the back cover and feel like you’ve lost touch with a couple of
Nicole Pyland: Those are my favorite kinds of books.
Reader 3: Well put. Can't I get my friends back
Nicole Pyland: they're in the other books in the series at least.
Reader 9: Good to know! I already added book 2 to my to-read list earlier today!
Nicole Pyland: they appear throughout the rest of the series, so you'll get life updates on
Reader 8: That is kind of like me. I’ll see how it goes and then i will stop with the next chapter
but i kept doing that until like 4 am.
Nicole Pyland: I hope you didn't have anything to do the next day.
Reader 5: Haha! Been there, done that on more than one occasion with Nicole’s books!
Reader 10: Same! More often then I care to admit
Reader 1: Did you have to do a lot of research to create St. Rais?
Nicole Pyland: Yeah, mainly since I decided to place it in the North Sea, I needed to think
of the history (how it became a country) and how it evolved from there. I looked into
different monarchies and combined things from the people who would have been there
first, and went from there.
Reader 8: That must have been hard work.
Nicole Pyland: Not really. I'm a nerd who is constantly taking in information and I've
studied history, so I had good starting and reference points. I just needed to verify
accuracy and timelines for the most part, but it did take some time upfront.
Reader 9: When in the day do you write? Are you a crack of dawn writer, an up-past-midnight
writer, or do you have another routine?
Nicole Pyland: Not crack of dawn, but first thing when I wake up, I usually write a chapter.
Then, I'm at my day job. I cook dinner and do all that "life" stuff and write at least one
more chapter that day. On the weekends, I can usually do more. Depends on what we're
Reader 3: Wow. That is totally inspiring
Nicole Pyland: thank you!
Reader 4: Do you use outlines? Or just go for it?
Nicole Pyland: I used to just go for it. Now, I use bullet outlines. Nothing too detailed.
Just enough to get me going. There's about a bullet per chapter.
Reader 4: Follow up question: do you develop your characters first? Or is the plot development
Nicole Pyland: Depends on the book. I usually get a quick plot idea like, "princess who
would never be queen and then tragedy happens" and then I build the characters and
story from there.
Reader 9: I may try to steal that idea, if I ever try again to write a novel… I enjoy the freedom of
pantsing, but never get anywhere. And any time I’ve tried to outline, I’ve gone way too specific.
But bullet per chapter might be the right amount of structure for me to actually get somewhere!
Nicole Pyland: It works because it still gives me the space to be creative as I write. If I
outline too much, I'd feel like I have to stick to everything I put there. I prefer to be able to
maneuver based on what the characters tell me.
Reader 8: Are your characters all mapped out ahead of time or do you creat them on the fly?
Nicole Pyland: I get their names and their jobs and some basic stuff before I start writing
(along with the basic plot), but I build them as I write. Little things come up from the
dialogue or however the plot is moving. Like the flower thing with Palmer wasn't planned.
I just thought of it and made the connection to her dad when I got to that part of the book.
Reader 5: that was one of my favourite things!
Nicole Pyland: I'm so glad I added it then.
Reader 4: Whoops. Ignore my question. Didn't see this.
Reader 8: Mine too love those flowers. I didn’t realize they had stories that went with each type
Nicole Pyland: that probably took me more time to research than the whole rest of the
Reader 1: A question from a reader who isn’t able to attend today, since it kind of goes along
with the ones above… “How are you able to write so many books per year? I assume you’re a
very organized person in general, are you?”
Nicole Pyland: Yes, I am very organized. I write books quickly, so I write more than I
actually publish each year and the rest go out the following year, etc. I type fast and I just
don't seem to get blocked. Writing also brings me energy, so it's one of my favorite
things to do, which helps.
Reader 5: Not only a lot of books but GREAT books! I’ve loved all I’ve read of yours Nicole!
Nicole Pyland: thank you!
Reader 6: I'm glad you write so many a year...keeps me on my toes looking out for more great
Reader 6: Was it hard to write the sad parts of this one?
Nicole Pyland: Oh, definitely. I don't usually cry when I write, but this one had me a few
times. I would picture Elizabeth and the fact that she lost her whole family and her
girlfriend that no one knew about and I would try to focus on the fact that I was bringing
Palmer to her and that I needed to finish the damn book, so they could get their happy
Reader 8: It had connections to some of the outrage that exists now and the fear and concern
Reader 5: I shed a few tears throughout this one but nothing like the scene where it’s
discovered that Elizabeth and her former girlfriend no one knew about had written to each other
through books…that was brilliant, heartwarming and incredibly sad all at the same time.
Especially when she loses her along with her whole family
Nicole Pyland: I got that idea at first, but wasn't sure if I was going to use it until I started
writing it. It seemed like something they'd have to do to be able to share their feelings
with one another and keep the secret at the same time.
Reader 3: I agree. That was very touching
Reader 5: It was beautiful…I’m so glad it made the cut!
Reader 1: It was perfect. Part of me wanted to see some of her relationship with Teagan, but
she was meant to be with Parker, so this detail was just right.
Reader 3: My soulmate would leave loveletters in my brief case evey day.
Reader 8: Elizabeth got her share of sadness that is for sure
Nicole Pyland: I thought about doing flashbacks in this one to her relationship with
Teagan, but it felt wrong because I wasn't trying to move her back, but forward.
Reader 1: Does that mean we get flashbacks in later books in the series?
Nicole Pyland: No, no flashbacks. The next book is about the Queen of Norway falling in
love with her private secretary and Elizabeth and Palmer make appearances and help
them out with that.
Nicole Pyland: The 3rd book is a different made up country and has a civil war element to
it, so they make appearances there and same with the 4th book.
Reader 1: Oh nice, I was thinking it was a continuation of Parker and Elizabeth. So basically this
series is “All the Queens are Gay”
Reader 5: And it’s glorious!
Nicole Pyland: haha sort of, yeah. it's how they all get to be Queen and help each other
when they realize that they're gay and monarchs.
Reader 11: They are all amazing and I’m excited for the 4th book. So far the third book is my
favorite but I love how all the characters are pulled into the other books so you get the update.
Are you planning on doing the “What happens after?”
Nicole Pyland: No, there won't be a What Happened After for this one. I don't consider it
one of my true "Friend Connected" series. It's more theme connected and they all make
appearances, so I decided to leave it at the 4th book.
Reader 11: Sad! I look forward to that to learn more about the people that are focused on at the
end of the series. I’ll be OK though
Nicole Pyland: haha I hope so.
Reader 11: If you decided to do that later I’m sure everyone would enjoy it… maybe it’s just me.
Reader 11: What was your favorite scene to write?
Nicole Pyland: That's a tough one. I really liked writing the scene when they're first in the
car together and Palmer didn't know how to act, but that was somehow perfect for
Elizabeth. It's something small, but it was fun to write because that's how, I think, a lot of
Americans would react when meeting royalty. I also liked writing any of the flower scenes
because she was slowly revealing through those gifts little things that she felt or that she
wanted Elizabeth to know.
Reader 11: I liked that first car scene. Just made things real, yet still trying to figure things out.
Definitely enjoyed all the flower gifts/pieces as well.
Reader 8: I would be a blubbering fool!
Reader 1: I loved all of the backing out of rooms
Nicole Pyland: it's the rule. Haha
Reader 11: Oh yeah! That was an awesome rule. Just made me laugh every time and was a
way to lighten the mood with all the other sadness that was going on.
Nicole Pyland: That was a challenge. How funny can I be given what she's going
through? I wanted Palmer to be able to lighten the mood, but also know when the mood
should remain heavy.
Reader 11: It makes, it was a good balance I think.
Nicole Pyland: thank you!
Reader 5: Did you identify with any of the characters in this book?
Nicole Pyland: Just the annoying American who doesn't get royalty. Lol
Reader 5: Hahaha!
Reader 1: I only read book 1 so maybe this gets answered later in the series, but where do you
think Parker and Lizzie would be right now if the monarchy vote had gone the other way?
Nicole Pyland: That's a tough one to answer because I think Elizabeth would still want to
do whatever she could in St. Rais, but she might also want to get away for a while. So, I
can see them basically doing what they're doing now. Working for the people, taking time
to be in the US with Palmer's family, etc. They'd still have the money and the notoriety
just not the title.
Reader 4: You're such a prolific writer. How do you keep all your books separate? Keep your
Nicole Pyland: I'm not sure I do anything specific for that. I mainly just like a lot of
different things and learn about as much as I can, so I try to add those things to my
books whenever possible. I also force myself to say "What if" a lot when I'm coming up
with characters or plots, and I like to challenge myself to write differently. I wrote an
erotica, for example, a time-traveling sci-fi book this year and that helps; varying topics
Reader 1: What’s your go-to for learning new things, like books, podcasts, documentaries, etc?
Reader 5: That time-travelling book was next level! So good!
Nicole Pyland: Mostly, I'm either watching documentaries about just about any topic or I
find something on Flipboard, which is my favorite news app because I can control what I
see there, and I'll read articles that might get me interested in learning more.
Nicole Pyland: I do read books as well, but I mainly listen because I don't have time to
read on my phone, so Audible is great, and I listen to true crime, history, etc.
Reader 4: Got any favorite podcasts?
Nicole Pyland: I don't really listen to podcasts these days, no. My wife does. I guess We
Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach is the last one I listened to,
but that was a while ago now.
Reader 8: How did you come up with a monarchy set in the North Sea?
Nicole Pyland: I pulled up a map on Google and looked around. haha I started with
looking up where there were still monarchies, but that was about it outside of thinking
about how there could be an island there that time forgot and that the people could have
come from the countries surrounding it.
Reader 4: That was a great idea, partly because you can make up whatever details you need.
Was it harder setting a book in Norway, a country that already exists?
Reader 8: Coming from Montana, I could relate to the weather and the Northern Lights but jeez
it sounded cold
Nicole Pyland: that was something I added in as I went. Palmer would think she's from
the east coast and try to show off, but she's not used to that kind of cold. It gave me a
way to keep them connected in the in-between spaces (like Elizabeth giving her the gift of
Reader 1: Fancast - who were you all imagining as Elizabeth and Parker, vs. Nicole, who would
Nicole Pyland: I'll let everyone answer this one first... so I can steal their answers.
Reader 1: Gives you a minute to think about it if that’s not part of your character creation
Reader 1: I always pick someone because I need the visual, but then a lot of the time after I
finish writing the book I forget who I picked
Reader 11: I never imagine someone I know when I read.
Reader 8: I dont either.
Reader 4: I never thought of basing a character off someone real. Hahaha I just think of them as
themselves, when I write.
When I read, it's usually the same, although I did picture Elizabeth as a young Anne Hathaway
Reader 3: Not everyone gets to be a happy lesbian. Someone has to be the dramatic
Nicole Pyland: I didn't have any inspiration for these characters and I usually don't come
up with anyone as part of my process either. Not sure why. Just never really have.
Reader 1: Can you tell us a little about what you’re working on now (or what’s coming out next,
since you work ahead)?
Nicole Pyland: After book 4 in this series (8/24), I have a new erotica coming out after that
and two more sci-books by the end of the year. I'm working on something I can't talk
about at the moment since I don't know when it'll be released, but my wife is figuring out
the release schedule for 2024 now, so it might be out then.
Reader 1: Your wife gets to choose the release schedule, that sounds nerveracking Like, “Hey,
where are my words? They’re overdue!”
Reader 6: I'm looking forward to reading all the yummy goodness that is your writing
Nicole Pyland: haha! No, I'm really far ahead, so it's more like she might decide to take
something I've just written and move it up in the schedule because I don't usually tell her
what I'm working on in advance, so she doesn't know and then says, "this should go
after that" or something.
Reader 4: I recognize that conversation! My wife was always interested in publishing her newest
written, and I was trying to empty the back channel!
Reader 4: Along those lines, does your wife do your editing? Or do you go elsewhere for that?
Nicole Pyland: she's my editor, yes. This is her full-time job (one top of the one she has
where she's married to me- lol), so she does all the business stuff, cover design, release
schedule, etc. I get to write!
Reader 4: Awesome!
Reader 1: Best kind of marketer, someone who knows you that well!
Reader 9: For somebody who wants more of the Nicole Pyland experience, what book of yours
(but not in the Royalty series) would you suggest for a new-to-you reader to check out?
Nicole Pyland: Good question. I usually either say A. The Meet Cute Cafe because it's a
series of about 10k shorts that are all connected, so you get to see my style and a bunch
of different characters all at once OR B. Check out my website because I put things on
there like tropes and I tell you how much angst, heat, and sarcasm a book has so you
know what you might be getting into. If you like a good series, you can try The Holiday
Series and I have several stand-alone books that span topics/sub-genres as well.
Reader 5: The Chicago Series has a special place in my heart! Fresh Start was my first Nicole
Nicole Plyand: The Chicago Series has a special place in my heart! Fresh Start was my
first Nicole Pyland book
Reader 5: Ha! I didn’t know that! Lol
Nicole Pyland: First original novel I wrote and published.
Reader 5: Well now I’m even more excited to get the copy I won! I ordered the rest of the
Chicago Series online so I’ll have the full series
Nicole Pyland: Awesome! It'll be in the mail this week. I just signed, labeled, and packed
70 paperbacks yesterday. My hand hurts. Haha
Reader 5: I’m sure it does!!! I’m so excited to get it!
Reader 6: Ooo [Reader 9]...they are all so very good
Reader 9: Every one I’ve read so far has been… but I always enjoy hearing which of their own
books authors like most
Reader 3: I guess I need to read more
Reader 6: I feel that
Reader 1: Self-referential plug - we read All the Love Songs for book club in 2020 and there’s a
transcript available if anyone is interested:
Anybody have any more questions for Nicole? We’re getting to the bottom of the hour.
St. Rais, would we move there?
Reader 9: I grew up in Canada and had enough winters to last a lifetime… but March to October
each year? And then someplace warmer in winter? I could do that
Reader 5: YES! No questions asked. I’m packing my bags
Reader 6: Yep
Reader 4: I dunno. So cold!!
Reader 3: Too cold for me
Nicole Pyland: Whoever is coming, I'll meet you there.
Reader 4: Oh, well, that ups the ante.
Reader 7: Nope too cold unless I had my own Viking Queen.
Reader 1: And a tent beneath the Northern Lights
Well, Nicole, thank you so much for joining us for another book club - Ascending was wonderful
Nicole Pyland: Thanks for having me and thanks for the great questions, everyone!
Reader 6: Thanks Nicole for joining us
Reader 4: Yes, thanks!
Reader 1: If you all want to submit a book for next month, please use the form here:
Reader 3: Thanks again so much
Reader 8: Thanks much!
Reader 5: This was so fun! Looking forward to th enext one!
Reader 2: Thank you for being here!