When she isn't writing about girls wanting to be knights, talking unicorns, and zombies, she spends time with her loving family. She loves to ride horses (pretending they're unicorns, of course!) and going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, dressed in period garb.
To learn more about Nicole and her work, visit her website at www.NicoleZoltack.com or her blog at http://NicoleZoltack.blogspot.com.
Author website: http://www.nicolezoltack.com
Twitter @nicolezoltack: https://twitter.com/NicoleZoltack
Now that we know a little about Nicole, let's meet one of her characters. Selliki the selkie, the heroine in CHAMPION OF VALOR, has agreed to answer a few questions for us.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My love is Gabrael. He's a human mage. I'm a selkie. My place is the sea. How we can make our love work I do not know. I've tried to forget him, to move on, but I can't. My heart is his. It always will be his.
When and where were you the happiest?
Whenever I'm with Gabrael I am happy. But I can only stand being apart from the waves for so long. Only in the water can I be happy. My heart wants one thing--my body another.
What is your greatest fear?
That Gabrael and I will never be able to be happy together. Love is not enough.
What is your greatest regret?
Sometimes I think life would have been so much simpler if I had been a human. But then I would not have grown to become the woman I am today. Would Gabrael have loved a human Selliki? I think not.
Where would you like to live?
Somewhere with Gabrael. But we all know the tales of human lovers hiding away their selkies' skin so they can live together. Every time, without fail, when the selkie finds her skin, she returns to the sea. The call of the waves is too much to ignore. I have never been far from the water. A week or so at the most. And by that last day, I was so miserable. I wouldn't be able to bear it.
Sounds like a great character, and a great book.
Please enjoy an excerpt from CHAMPION OF VALOR:
Darkness loomed before Selliki. She stretched and stood. A brilliant light flashed, and she knew she was dreaming.
She glanced behind her. Where was Gabrael? He said he would be here.
She smoothed the beaded red skirt of her gown. Then she patted her hair. She wanted to look her best for her mage. Still Gabrael did not appear. She wrung her hands when she realized it.
Her hands weren't webbed.
She wasn't a selkie.
She was human.
Selliki squealed with delight. A union between a human and a mage would surely work much better than one between a selkie and a mage.
"My, someone's happy."
Selliki whirled around and flung herself into Gabrael's arms. He wore a long white robe, the mark of a high wizard. Their lips met in a tender kiss.
"Gabrael," she whispered. She took his hand in hers. "Look."
Gabrael examined her hand in wonder. "How can this be?"
"In dreams, anything is possible." She giggled.
Music sounded, and Gabrael bowed. Selliki curtsied, and they danced, twirling and laughing, their bodies close together.
The scene shifted, and Selliki walked down a long aisle. Gabrael waited for her, and she ran toward him. A man dressed in black said some words, but Selliki paid him no heed. All that mattered was Gabrael and the happiness in her heart.
Again the scene shifted. Their honeymoon. They were in the mountains, high near the clouds. Somewhere in the barbarian's realm, Selliki supposed. They enjoyed picnics and sightseeing, and even rode on a salamander's back. Selliki wore different gowns on each day, pink, orange, purple, yellow.
Even more time passed, and slowly, Selliki's happiness began to fade away. She remained a doting and dutiful wife to Gabrael, doing all he asked and wished, but still her unhappiness grew. One day, they climbed the tallest mountain. At the top, Selliki saw it. The wide expansion of water. The sea.
Now she always dressed in colors of the sea: teal, turquoise, blue-gray. She no longer cared to talk until the wee hours of the night, nor to do what would ensure Gabrael's happiness. She ignored him and withdrew. She became a shell of her former self, unable to eat, sleep, or even feel.
One day, she could not even bring herself to get out of bed. Gabrael carried her and brought her to the water. As soon as the waves crashed against her body, Selliki's hands became webbed again. The waves washed over her, and her happiness returned, yet she clung to Gabrael and soaked his white robe with tears.