Loveless fashion model Nola Nichols thinks being beautiful is a curse; that is until she is cursed and her looks begin to fade just a week before the most important photo shoot of her career. In her attempts to get un-cursed she finds herself taking part in a rather unconventional funeral, involved in a voodoo ritual, reveals one or two unrests in her own past and falls madly in love with a doctor. Erm, that would be a witch doctor, right…?
This was the second book I received from Loveahappyending magazine to review and I finished it in about an hour! Although it is a relatively short book it’s fast-paced and very amusing. It’s about a young girl called Nola who is, how do you put it? Quite stuck-up and self obsessed. Being one of the most beautiful models in the UK she feels that her beauty is a curse until one night, on a flight back from Barbados she encounters a woman who is making her flight hell. After numerous complaints the woman turns to her and puts a curse on her – unbeknown to Nola – that will gradually make her looks fade. Nola meets this woman’s son, Louis, who takes her on a strange journey through voodoo and spiritualist rituals, helps her come to terms with her past and unintentionally makes her fall in love with him. Nola opens up to Louis and reveals that she isn’t just a self-obsessed, ignorant model after all. Even if it did take a curse for her to realize.
For a short story, I thought this was a very enjoyable and clever plot. The author wasted no time tip toeing around what was going on and from the first page I was hooked. Hence why I finished it in less than an hour. The characters seem very well thought out and you begin to learn quite a lot about them – despite how fast-paced the story is. Although at first Nola seems like exactly the kind of person you wouldn’t want to meet, it’s interesting to read about a main character who isn’t your typical ‘good guy’. In fact, see’s extremely infuriating! But nevertheless, she interesting and the fun really starts when she gets cursed and her teeth start falling out. I really liked the character of Louis – he was everything that Nola was not and they really complimented each other however I wasn’t 100% clear on the time frame from when they first met till when they next meet. Their relationship is one which seems as though they’d known each other for years – which was lovely but from what I was aware of it was only a few days. She develops these deep, intense feelings for him in such a short space of time and although it seems unrealistic, I guess it can happen for those lucky few.
For a short story, this book was jammed full of drama, humour and a splash of unexpected romance. For the length of the story it lacked no description or imagine and It definitely shows that people shouldn’t underestimate short stories as they too can be extremely fun and enjoyable.
1) Hi Janice – thanks for answering some questions today! Firstly, can you tell us what the book is about and what we can expect?
Hi Jenny! Thanks for inviting me onto your fabulous book blog to talk about ‘How Do You Voodoo?’ the first in my series of romantic novellas for Kindle – each around 20,000 words or 70 pages and so perfect for that train, plane, or longer bus journey. The story begins with a rather self-centred but very beautiful girl called Nola, who thinks being beautiful is a curse. That is until she is cursed and her looks begin to fade just a week before the most important photo shoot of her career. In her attempts to get un-cursed she finds herself taking part in a rather unconventional funeral, involved in a voodoo ritual, reveals one or two unrests in her own past and falls madly in love with a doctor. Erm, that would be a witch doctor, right…? I’m thrilled that this book is getting great reviews – including yours, Jenny!
2) Is it difficult writing short stories in terms of trying to fit in everything you want to say in such a short space of time?
For me, the only difference between writing a novella and a novel is that with a novella I’m keeping to the main thread of the story and the viewpoint of the main character only. If ‘How Do You Voodoo?’ was a novel, for example, then the storyline would be exactly the same but it would include more complex subplots and I would alternate telling the story from both of my two main protagonist’s viewpoints. To answer your question – I find all writing difficult – long short or anything in between!
3) I felt that this book portrayed an important message that there are more important things in life than your looks. Was this intentional and do you think it’s important given today’s society and the emphasis everyone puts on looking good?
Yes, the message was intentional. Today’s society does generally emphasise beauty – or what we perceive to be beauty – above all else. As a writer, I thought I’d have a bit of fun with that so the book has a message but it also has lots of humour, magic and romance!
4) Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes. I’ve always wanted to be able to write stories capable of taking the reader out of their own lives for a while to a fictional place and for them to relish the experience. That ambition will keep me writing.
5) Was ‘How Do You Voodoo?’ self-published or published through a publishing company? Why do you decide to choose that option?
My first novel was traditionally published in 2004 through a publishing company but when they went out of business I decided to join the ‘indie revolution’ and self-publish my work. It’s a decision I haven’t regretted but that’s not to say I’ve ruled out traditional or hybrid style publishing in the future. My priority is to reach my reader.
6) Who are some of your personal favourite authors that you’d recommend?
I have so many and that list grows every time I read a fabulous new author’s work! My personal favourites start with Ruby Ferguson, Enid Blyton, Emily Bronte, Jilly Cooper, Jackie Collins, and more recently, Kate Fenton, Anita Burgh, Katie Fforde, Eileen Ramsay, Tasmina Perry, Linn B Halton and Mandy Baggot. I could go on and on – and on!
7) Are any of your ideas based on real-life events? E.g. have you ever had a curse put on you that made your teeth fall out?
Haha! You got me there! I was on a plane back from the Caribbean when I witnessed a spat between two female passengers and one appeared to put a curse on the other. My imagination went into overdrive and ‘How Do You Voodoo?’ was born!
8) Do you have any form of writing degree?
No. In fact my education and my grasp on grammar and punctuation was so poor that I had to teach it to myself as an adult. I’m improved, but I still work with a lovely editor, as I wouldn’t dream of putting my books out there without them being professionally proof read and edited.
9) What tips and advice would you give to aspiring authors out there?
If you want to be a writer then you must write but if you want to be an author you have to write something and finish it and then get it published. Dreams can come true – but in my experience there is always an awful lot of work involved beforehand!
10) Lastly, is there a sequel to How Do You Voodoo? Or are there any more books on the cards for the future?
I’m excited to say yes and yes! The sequel to ‘How Do You Voodoo?’ is ‘Voodoo Wedding’ and it’s out now as an eBook exclusive to Amazon for Kindle. The third novella in the series ‘Voodoo Child’ is due out at the end of October this year. I also have a full length novel in progress which I’m excited about and which will be available in 2014. I have lots happening in the Autumn/Fall with fabulous new cover designs for all my books, I’m also bringing out paperbacks for the first time to go alongside my Kindle eBooks, and I’ve been invited to talk about my writing and my books at several author/reader events including The Festival of Romance in November. It’s a busy and exciting time to be an author!
Janice Horton writes fiction with humour and heart. Look out for her Amazon Kindle bestselling eBooks ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ and her magically romantic Voodoo Romance novellas ‘How Do You Voodoo? and ‘Voodoo Wedding’. Her latest title is a nonfiction guide ‘How To Party Online’. Janice is a regular blogger and you’ll also find her partying on Facebook and Twitter. She is a Featured Author and Associate Editor at Loveahappyending.com.