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Interview with Nacole Stayton, author of Beauty in Chaos

Welcome back to another edition of Author Spotlight, a weekly series here on Literary Inspired where we celebrate the talented authors within the indie romance community.

Today, I have the pleasure of featuring Nacole Stayton, a brilliant author whose debut novel, “The Upside of Letting Go,” soared to become an Amazon top 100 bestseller. Nacole, a resident of the Bourbon Capital of the World, has enchanted readers with her ability to weave intricate tales of love, lies, and deep-rooted betrayal. Her upcoming release, “Beauty in Chaos,” promises to be an exquisite addition to her collection, delving into the complexities of three hearts bound together by fate.

In “Beauty in Chaos,” Aurora Bradshaw, a young woman who has endured a tumultuous journey through foster homes, leaving her with deep-rooted trust issues. Set in a small town with a passion for bourbon and horse racing, Aurora finds herself entangled in a web of secrets within her new foster home. It is here that she discovers solace in her neighbours, Trice and Crew Jordan. However, as a jarring family secret emerges, Aurora is faced with an impossible decision between two boys, each claiming a piece of her heart for their own reasons.

With a skilful blend of captivating storytelling and relatable characters, Nacole Stayton takes readers on a journey of self-discovery, highlighting the beauty found amidst the chaos of life. This heartfelt tale will leave readers yearning for more as they navigate the depths of love, loyalty, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey as an indie romance author and how you got started in the writing world?

Back in 2012, my mom got me a Kindle for Christmas. I wasn’t a huge reader growing up, but as a child I wrote poetry as a form of therapy. I remember, I had replied to a tweet by Abbi Glines and met a “internet” friend named Erika Ashby. We chatted online and then via text for months and became fast friends. One day she said she thought she could write a book. So, we made a pact to both try and publish. That very next year we both published our first novels.

“The Upside of Letting Go” was a huge success as an Amazon top 100 bestseller. How did that experience shape your career as an author, and what lessons did you learn from it?

I never would have guessed that a book that I poured my heart and soul into and literal tears would have been received so well. After selling 40,000 copies, it still has not resonated almost ten years later. It continues to amaze me when I read a review or hear from a reader across the globe and he/she tells me how much my words influenced them. That is what it’s all about for me. As for lessons, oh gosh. I could sit here all day! The industry as a whole is much different than it was 10 years ago when TULG was published. I supposed I’d say that I learned that art is subjective even in written form and allow myself grace if a reader doesn’t like a plot line or twist. At the end of the day, I write to feed my soul. Having people read and enjoy my art is a bonus. So, staying true to myself, my beliefs and the story I choose to write is probably my biggest lesson.

Your upcoming release, “Beauty in Chaos,” explores themes of love, lies, and deep-rooted betrayal. What inspired you to delve into these topics, and what can readers expect from this book?

Having gone through a very trying adoption process, I learned a great deal about the foster care system that we have in the United States. My inspiration behind Beauty in Chaos really started from there and just blossomed into the love story that it is today. I feel like God has allowed me this platform and I have been called to use it to educate people on this system that needs some major work. No child should ever show up at a foster family’s house with just a black garbage bag with all his or her belongings in it and if my book can reach thousands of readers across the world and one single reader donates a bag to an agency in his or her city that aids a foster child, then I’ve done my job well.

The protagonist, Aurora Bradshaw, has to make a difficult choice between two boys. Can you share a bit about the process of developing complex and relatable characters like Aurora and the Jordan brothers?

Aurora aka Rory is a really spunky chick. She’s been through a lot and although she thinks she is unlovable because of her rocky upbringing in the foster care system she lands herself in a small town sandwiched between two brothers. My goal for this story was to create a female lead that readers resonate with. Any one of us could feel unlovable or unworthy for various reasons like a breakup, losing a job or a tragedy. Having this heroine who seems tough on the outside, but on the inside screaming insecurities was important because I think we’ve all felt that way at some point in our lives. The Jordan brothers were like a snowball effect. I originally was going to have her fall for her neighbor, but where is the angst in that? If you’ve read any of my previous publications you know that I’m a sucker for a good plot twist. However, I do not condone cheating, so while Beauty in Chaos gives off love triangle vibes it is NOT one. There is no cheating ever. I wanted one brother to be a light in the darkness that helps pull her out of her shell and one brother to set her soul on fire and I hope when you read the book you will see that I accomplished that goal.

Trust issues and rough living conditions play a significant role in Aurora’s life. How do these challenges influence her character development throughout the story?

I think with any character who has been through a trauma and survived there is a certain hesitation to trust again. Rory finding solace with her neighbors is an integral part of her trusting others again. Each helped her in very different aspects both platonically and romantically. As far as her family dynamics, I really wanted her to end up with a family who understood her history and gave her room to grief for once in her life without her having to be strong and I think I was able to deliver that from the Mett’s.

“Beauty in Chaos” is set in a small town with a passion for bourbon and horse racing. How did you incorporate these elements into the narrative, and why did you choose this particular setting?

I am from a small town in Kentucky and it’s heaven. From the little shops and small-town vibes, it gives off, I just wanted to recreate it for Rory. She deserves it. As for the horse idea, my father, stepfather and uncle were all racehorse jockeys. It just so happened that when I got to the climax of my book the Kentucky Derby was happening in my city. I pulled a lot of that into the book and it really worked in my favor. I write with intention a lot and having a setting that I am familiar with and knowledgeable about is important to me even though it is fiction.

As an indie romance author, how do you navigate the publishing process and connect with your readers? Are there any strategies or platforms that have worked well for you in building your author brand?

I took an 8-year hiatus between publishing my last novel, Bad Intentions and now. Taking some time away to obtain my bachelor’s degree and raise my son with my husband was great, but being dormant in the industry for so long means that I basically started from scratch. Especially with TikTok as one of the major platforms in marketing for authors. I’ve had to do a lot of research and find my grove in getting my brand back into the public eye. I do have a PR company and of course my literary agent so they’ve helped tremendously with finding my footing in this industry again.

Can you share a bit about your writing process? Do you have any rituals or routines that help you stay focused and motivated?

I am an outliner. I think someone as OCD as I am and not ashamed to admit it has to be. I usually have a notebook for every novel I write where I write down key components, character bios ect. Normally, I like to have a rough idea and then let my characters blossom and weave the story themselves. A lot of times the original notes and plan I had end up taking a backseat to what ends up in the actual book. As far as rituals, I cannot write with sound or music. It has to be quiet. Which was hard with a seven-year-old running around shooting Nerf darts at me, but I made it work.

Many indie authors face unique challenges in promoting their work and gaining visibility. What advice would you give to aspiring indie romance authors who are just starting their writing journey?

I would say just be 100% original and who you are. I often find that a lot of readers get invested in the actual person, not the author life that we so often let shine. Be yourself and trust that your essence bled into your writing style and the readers will see that. As for promoting, I’m still trying to catch up with this TikTok world. So, if you see me making a super awkward video, please just give it a heart and move on! 😊

What can readers expect from you in the future? Are there any upcoming projects or ideas that you’d like to share with us?

I’m really into reverse harem and why choose right now and I’m a firm believer in writing what you’d want to read. So, I am working on a rock-star romance and am super excited to get back to some of my roots which are a lot steamier than Beauty in Chaos, which was my soul project. I don’t like to set dates or anything because then it puts pressure on writing. To be able to give the world my best work, I have to just let the story flow and come out very organically. Nothing forced is worth reading. So, no dates or anything. But once I am finished, I will be sure to update my readers and hope that they’ll once again jump on board and support me.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Nacole Stayton, be sure to grab a copy of “Beauty in Chaos,” which releases on 20th July and will be available on Kindle Unlimited. To explore more of Nacole’s works and connect with her, visit her website at and follow her on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

If you’re an indie romance author interested in being featured in our Author Spotlight series, please fill out the form on this page. Stay tuned for more captivating interviews and exciting book recommendations, here on Literary Inspired.