Nobody’s Lady (Never Veil #2) by Amy McNulty
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
For the first time in a thousand years, the men in Noll’s village possess the freedom to love whom they will. In order to give each man the chance to fully explore his feelings, the lord of the village decrees all marriages null and void until both spouses declare their love for one another and their desire to wed again. What many women think will be a simple matter becomes a source of village-wide tension as most men decide to leave their families and responsibilities behind.
Rejected by the lord and ashamed of her part in the village’s history, Noll withdraws from her family and lives life as an independent woodcarver. This changes when her sister accuses her of hiding her former husband Jurij from her—and when Jurij eventually does ask to move in. Determined not to make the same mistakes, Noll decides to support her male friends through their new emotional experiences, but she’s soon caught up in a darker plot than she ever dared imagine possible from the men she thought she knew so well. And the lord for whom she still has feelings may be hiding the most frightening truth of them all.
OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
In a village of masked men, magic compels each man to love only one woman and to follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.
Seventeen-year-old Noll isn't in the mood to celebrate. Her childhood friends have paired off and her closest companion, Jurij, found his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever chosen her.
Thus begins a dangerous game between the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither is willing to lose.
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Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently writes professionally about everything from business marketing to anime. In her down time, you can find her crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.
Where are you from?
I’m a Wisconsinite, and I live near both Milwaukee and Chicago.
Tell us your latest news?
I finally finished another YA manuscript first draft after not finishing any for over a year! It wasn’t for lack of trying, though. It’s a fairy tale prequel.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer since I first became a reader as a child. I love that both reading and writing allow you to transport yourself to fantastical places without having to leave home. I love falling for characters who don’t even exist but feel like dear friends. I didn’t start trying to write a novel until 2003, but I would get a lot of writing done for a month or two and then take long, long breaks. I kept working on just one manuscript that was way too long and I still never finished it. Finally in 2012, I wrote the first draft of a finished manuscript in just nine days! That book went on to become Nobody’s Goddess.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve thought of myself as a writer since high school, when I figured out it was my best academic talent. Most of my jobs have related to writing. I didn’t consider myself a proper fiction writer until I finished a manuscript, though, many years after college.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’d been working on a (now shelved) manuscript for years that involved a young woman forced to court a veiled, secretive lord. (This was due to my love of Byronic heroes paired with strong, stubborn women, like in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, Jane Eyre and Beauty and the Beast.) Not too long after reading The Hunger Games series, I was struck with the idea to make my fantasy setting a bit dystopian-like and make it so all men in the village had to cover their faces, not just the lord. I’d also read or heard about a lot of dystopian books in which women were forced to be paired with men against their will, but I’d rarely heard of it being the other way around.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I initially was a pantser and wrote Nobody’s Goddess that way, although the book went through many revisions before publication. After I got to the climax of another manuscript only to shelve it because I had no idea where to go next, I got frustrated and vowed to always write an outline first. Of course, I allow myself to go off-outline if I come up with something better, but I feel better having that outline to fall back on. (Nonetheless, I’ve since shelved another manuscript—my second attempt at that other one, actually—that had an outline because I went way off-outline again.)
How did you come up with the title?
I’m terrible at titles! I didn’t come up with a single one in the series myself. Nobody’s Goddess, the first book in The Never Veil Series, was originally The Veiled Man’s Goddess, which I kind of got from The French Lieutenant’s Woman, a favorite book of mine. My publisher and I agreed it sounded more like an adult romance than a YA, so we brainstormed with my editor, who found “nobody’s goddess” in my manuscript and suggested it. I loved it and think it really works because Noll is both the veiled man’s and nobody’s goddess in a way.
But my publisher and I were both sad to see the word “veil” go since we just love the sound of it, so she came up with a bunch of possible uses for the word and suggested “The Never Veil” for the series’ title. (I didn’t have a title for the series yet.) I loved it so much but also felt it needed to actually mean something in the series (besides just sounding pretty), so I wrote something called the Never Veil into the third book in the series.
My working titles for books two and three were awful. Something like Under the Veil and Through the Mountains. My best friend and beta reader, author Melissa Giorgio, suggested we keep going with the “Nobody’s” pattern and came up with both Nobody’s Lady and Nobody’s Pawn. Perfect! Noll refused the lord throughout the first book and she refuses even now to step up and take on a position of power in her village, so she’s not the lady of the village as she was expected to be. She’s neither the lord’s wife, nor the village’s leader.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I love when readers take something away from my books! For Nobody’s Lady in particular, I’d love for readers to think back to their reactions to the first book. Many readers seemed to dislike that Noll was in love with her sister Elfriede’s man, Jurij—Noll’s best friend—because Elfriede and Jurij seemed happy together. But remember that Jurij, like every man in the village, was magically compelled to love Elfriede, and that Elfriede, like every woman in the village, could only count on one man loving her. Was their relationship true love then? Was the man forced to devote himself to Elfriede’s every wish really Jurij? What type of person would he and the other men be in a village in which they’re free to love or not love whomever they want? What type of people would the women be?
How much of the book is realistic?
Not much at all! I hope readers find the characters well-rounded and the relationships at least somewhat relatable, but with magic and elf ears and a very remote medieval-like village setting, I don’t think it’s very realistic.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
They’re more based on my favorite tropes and characters in fiction than people I know in real life. To some extent, Noll shares some of my awkwardness when it comes to romantic relationships, as I’m romantic asexual and I’m uncomfortable thinking about people potentially being attracted to or flirting with me until I get to know them very well. First, she crushes on someone who’s physically unattainable but who offers her friendship and comfort—that’s sort of romantic attraction for an ace. When Noll is thrown into a relationship with a stranger who professes his endless, insatiable love for her constantly, her throwing up a wall and acting rudely rather than trying to accept it at first—not because she means to be rude but because she really has no idea how to react to unexpected, undesired attention—is similar to me. Her withdrawing from everyone to get some peace and solitude in Nobody’s Lady is how I like to react as an introvert when things become too overwhelming. But I don’t write friends and family (or acquaintances) into my books.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Jane Austen’s novels (all of them), the Brontë sisters’ works, Harry Potter, Diana Wynne Jones’ books, and The Hunger Games.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Diana Wynne Jones. Not because I’m anything more than just a fan of her work, but because her fantastical whimsy, imagination and compelling characters are writing traits I hope to emulate.
What book are you reading now?
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
So many! I’m friends with so many authors online and I don’t even have time to read all of their works, but they all have such intriguing synopses for their books.
What are your current projects?
I just finished the first draft of a YA fairy tale prequel that I hope to start editing soon. I haven’t even revealed which fairy tale yet! Once I’m more confident in the work, I will.
What would you like my readers to know?
I appreciate every one of you who takes the time to read my books and takes a chance on an indie author! I know we all have to-read lists that are miles long, so it’s extra meaningful to me when you pick up my books even if you’ve never heard of me before.
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Giveaway Information: Contest ends April 15, 2016
· Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Nobody’s Lady by Amy McNulty (INT)