Welcome to another exciting edition of Author Spotlight, where we shine a light on the talented authors in the indie romance community. Today, we are thrilled to introduce you to Madeline Nixon, a multi-talented writer whose diverse experiences have shaped her writing journey. Madeline released her debut romance novel, “Emergency Lullabies,” in September. Let’s dive into her world and learn more about her inspirations, passions, and the intriguing stories she has to share.
Madeline Nixon is a writer with a knack for exploring various genres, from nonfiction to children’s books. She has worn many hats throughout her life, including being a dog walker, a baker, a chocolatier, and an editor. However, the title she holds most dear is that of an author. Madeline’s journey into the world of writing has been a fascinating one, leading her to create a diverse body of work.
Madeline’s debut romance novel, “Emergency Lullabies,” is a heartfelt story that promises to tug at your heartstrings. Set to release this fall, the novel follows the journey of Magnolia Callas as she grapples with the unexpected loss of her sister and sacrifices her singer-songwriter dreams to raise her niece. But life takes an unexpected turn when a sweet, single dad enters her world, potentially rekindling the music in her soul.
Let’s get to know Madeline Nixon better through this insightful interview:
Congratulations on your upcoming debut romance novel, “Emergency Lullabies”! Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the story and what led you to write this particular book?
The first spark of inspiration for this book happened when I was at a splash park with my little brother. I saw a father enter the park with his daughter, sit down on one of the benches, and start flirting with the woman there. Now, I have no idea what that situation was, but it tweaked something in my mind for a meet-cute, and I spent the next few months jotting down random bits of story in my Notes app.
“Emergency Lullabies” follows the journey of Magnolia Callas as she copes with her sister’s passing and gives up on her singer-songwriter dreams to raise her sister’s daughter. How did you approach crafting such an emotional and poignant storyline?
I’ve always been interested in those kinds of complicated emotions. Some of my favorite books deal with big grief and make me cry. I find it very human and very cathartic to explore things like that. I also knew as I was beginning the plotting of this book that there had to be a reason Magnolia was nannying because it didn’t feel like a natural career choice for the character I had in mind. And then, after I’d finished writing draft one of the book and was starting to revise, my grandmother passed away. So I really channeled all my own grief over that situation into Magnolia and her family.
Music seems to play a significant role in your novel. How did your own experiences and passions influence the portrayal of music in “Emergency Lullabies”?
I grew up in a family that sang Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat songs in the car and had all the karaoke games. My sister also did musical theater and singing classes most of the time while we were growing up. Though I wish I was, I am actually not musically talented at all. So I feel like, in part, I’m kind of living out part of a pipe dream through the music in this book. My vision for Magnolia’s musical style was folklore/evermore era Taylor Swift.
The book’s synopsis mentions a sweet, single dad who may be the key to bringing music back into Magnolia’s life. Can you give us a glimpse into the chemistry and dynamics between the main characters without giving too much away?
Theo is one of my favorite characters I’ve ever come up with. I have a soft spot for kids, so any guy who’s a good dad or good with kids is a winner to me, and I tried to bring that to his character. Part of Theo and Magnolia’s dynamic is that they knew each other in high school, but because they were in different circles and because of a certain funny little incident, they didn’t really like each other. Or, at least, Magnolia didn’t like him. But we come to realize very quickly that Theo had a bit of a crush on her back then and definitely never forgot about her.
As an indie author, you’ve explored various genres, from nonfiction to children’s books. What drew you to the romance genre, and what challenges did you face while transitioning from other genres to writing romance?
I’ve written in a number of different genres, for sure. I went to school for Professional Writing and Communication, and the writing part of that degree was heavily focused on creative nonfiction, aka things that actually happened but written as if it were fiction. My first book, “Feathers,” is very much like that. They’re short stories about my life. Since then, I’ve worked at a small children’s publisher/distributor, and part of my job there was writing books when they didn’t have another author at hand. And I gladly did it because I will gladly take any chance to write anything.
I think that’s how I’ve always sort of approached writing. I just wrote whatever feels right to me in that moment. I read across a lot of different genres, so I also write in a lot of different genres. The first thing I wrote after “Feathers” was a paranormal mystery, followed by “Emergency Lullabies” (which I’m publishing now, obviously), followed by a thriller. I’ve navigated back to romance again because I find writing them fun. I’m a big horror and mystery girl, but I think my favorite genre to read is romance. There’s just something a little magical about it. I also find writing romance easier than mysteries because I don’t have to know who did it and all the answers right from the start. Also, as I said a little earlier, I find human nature and complicated emotions/situations so fascinating and I think romance is a great genre to explore that in an accessible way.
Your writing journey seems diverse and exciting, from being a dog walker to a chocolatier. How have these unique experiences influenced your writing style and storytelling?
I feel like everything you do has a little bit of influence on your writing. For “Emergency Lullabies,” I relied a lot on my experience with nannying and my family’s experience with foster babies. There’s at least two specific instances in this book that are inspired by events that really happened. Probably more that I just don’t realize. Experiences seep in, and I’m probably a little more guilty of that since my primary writing training had to do with writing about your own experience.
As for working with chocolate… I’m now thinking that that would make a pretty cool book.
“Emergency Lullabies” is set to be released this fall. How do you feel about sharing your debut romance novel with the world? What are your hopes and expectations for reader reactions to your work?
I am so excited to finally get this out there. I wrote this for NaNoWriMo in 2021, so it’s been sitting and steeping for a bit. I’m an author who is no stranger to querying and how rough it is out there. I’ve queried three different books, this one included, and eventually I just realized I wanted this one in the world. I wanted it out there before someone somewhere higher up decided it was good because I thought it was good. And since I know how to self publish and have been marketing Feathers on my own for several years, when the clock struck midnight into 2023, I decided this was the year.
I’ve been really grateful so far for all the love and hype that I’ve gotten just announcing the book and revealing the cover. And I’ve been further grateful for the response upon publishing. Book people truly are the best people. I don’t have any grand expectations (though it would be nice to skyrocket to success haha), I just hope the people that do read it wind up enjoying it.
We know you have a passion for hunting ghosts and planning elaborate theme parties. How do these intriguing hobbies find their way into your writing, and do they offer any inspiration for future romance projects?
Yes and yes. The party planning aspect has already woven its way into a book. Before the pandemic, I would throw a murder mystery party for my friends each summer. I would write my own mystery and have my friends act it out to solve the murder. After sitting on it for a while, I turned one of the mystery scripts into a book. That book actually had a lot of agent interest in October of last year, but such is the industry, nothing panned out. So maybe someday you’ll see that one in the world!
As for ghost hunting and romance, there is most definitely a project in the works. I’m about 60K words into a romance involving the cast of a ghost hunting television show. The idea came to me after doing a ghost walk in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is allegedly Canada’s most haunted town. The idea took root and was gnawing at me as I worked toward publishing Emergency Lullabies.It is still a book I would love to have out one day.
Since publishing “Feathers” in 2018, I’ve attempted to build my own little community. It is absolutely a challenge to start out, and five years in, I think I’m just finally starting to come into my own. I’m hoping (and I’ve seen) readers of “Feathers” will follow me into this next part of my publishing journey. I’m on all the social apps @MarkedWithAnM if anyone wants to follow along too! I’m always willing to talk about books and anything else that’s a shared interest. Romance is such a fun genre to connect over, and I cannot wait until people get to do that with my characters. I’m going to keep showing up and promoting this little corner of my world with fun videos, character intros, and maybe some recipes.
Lastly, can you share any insights or teasers about your future writing projects? Are there more romance novels in the pipeline, or will you explore other genres in your future works?
For the foreseeable future, I think I’m here in romance. Mostly because I’m not done with “Emergency Lullabies” and may or may not have love stories planned for other characters in that world. I’m planning on writing the second book in the EL world for this year’s NaNoWriMo, so stay tuned for that if you’re interested. I always post little snippets of what I’m drafting and other fun inspo bits throughout November.
Madeline Nixon’s unique journey and diverse experiences have undoubtedly shaped her writing style and storytelling, promising a rich and emotional reading experience for romance enthusiasts.
You can connect with Madeline Nixon and stay updated on her writing journey through the following channels:
- Amazon Author Page
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/markedwithanm
- Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/markedwithanm
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/markedwithanm
If you’re an indie romance author interested in being featured in my Author Spotlight series, I invite you to fill in the form found on this page: Author Spotlight Submission. I can’t wait to discover more incredible talent within the indie romance community.