Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Nicole Fanning Interview - Catalyst

Photo Content from Nicole Fanning

Nicole Fanning is a smitten wife and super proud dog mom to three rambunctious rescue dogs.

She is an old school romantic, with a proclivity for a little mischief, and an obsession with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Her debut novel, Catalyst, is the first incendiary installment of the Heart of the Inferno Series, which follows the story of a dangerous mafia don and the girl who became his only exception.


Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I would say that definitely has to be the fans. I also love that with platforms like social media I can chat with them in real time as they devour my books. I know every author thinks they have the best fans, but I truly do. They have encouraged me, inspired me, lifted me up and even built a Discord around their love of Jaxon and Natalie (or “Jaxalie” as we affectionately refer to them!) They are the most incredible human beings, and I am so lucky to have them.

Greatest thing you learned in school?
That no matter how smart or clever you think you are, there is always something more to learn.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Well, the third book ,“Flash Point” which is the conclusion of Jaxon and Natalie’s time as main characters in the “Heart of the Inferno” is due May 31st of 2022! But as I have told my fans, that doesn’t mean that’s the LAST we will see of Jaxalie as there are 13 more books in this planned “Mafiaverse” and they will be appearing as side characters in a handful of those additional novels and novellas still to come!

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Storytelling is one of the fundamental parts of the human experience. From the first humans who used storytelling as a way to explain the unexplainable world around them, to the epic and detailed worlds created by Tolkien, we use storytelling both to find our place in the world, as well as get lost in it.

Can you tell us when you started CATALYST, how that came about?
Jaxon Pace is the affluent, snobbish, and dangerous crime lord of Chicago, who falls for the outwardly “average” girl, Natalie Tyler. But don’t let her sweet and sometimes naïve appearance fool you, Natalie is no wallflower. She is a force to be reckoned with and shows us what true strength and courage looks like at every turn! They each find something they didn’t even know they were missing in the other, and after their worlds collide neither of them will ever be the same.

Additionally, I have a morbid fascination with the ancient crime organizations around the world (sorry mom!) and the way several of them have managed to remain in power for centuries. Although the media has always portrayed them typically as lunatic chaos fodder junkies (which in some cases is a fair assessment,) what if perhaps there was something more…something deeper. Because to me, when I look at the way some of these families are operated, and the respect and love they have for each other, I see intimately crafted and well-funded organizations that must be based on something more than just “fear” in order to incite loyalty and dedication.

I was convinced that by combining all of this, I could bring something DIFFERENT to a genre that is VERY much “rinse and repeat.” I wanted a mafia romance that wasn’t a forced marriage trope, or the Stockholm syndrome trope, but one that was based on both historical references as well as the emotional collision of two very different human beings from two very different worlds, with one hell of a shared connection and chemistry.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
“I think I know where she’s going with this…oh wait…never mind. Bamboozled.”

What part of your Jaxon and Natalie did you enjoy writing the most?
EVERYTHING! Obviously, I am a hopeless old-school romantic who likes a little mischief, so all the romantic and spicy scenes were fun, but there is so much more to their relationship!

I especially love the banter and their thought processes during any disagreements.

Jaxon and Natalie are very different personalities, which means they think very differently. It was so fun to write each of their perspectives and showcase their reasoning for the actions they take or the decisions they make. My hope is that the reader feels a sense of connection to them in the sense that they must find common ground with each other, but also in some of the massive trials they face together as a couple.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
That’s easy…TIKTOK. I’m convinced the beloved “clock app” involves some sort of wormhole displacement, as far too many hours flash by in the blink of an eye.

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Definitely. I chose more discreet covers for my books for two reasons: First, because while yes, a saucy fella on the cover would probably draw in a larger crowd, my book wasn’t just a spicy book. In fact, I would probably label it a “book with spice” as it is a combination of both a romance and a thriller (think Harlequin meets James Patterson.)

And second, my grandma wanted to buy a copy, and she never would have approved of a half-naked gentleman on the cover. And grandma gets the final say!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
This makes me laugh, as I have several fans that have mentioned they would love to see Jaxon Pace kick Christian Grey’s ass…I can’t deny, the thought certainly has some appeal. HAHA!

What was the last text message you received?
“They were very bedazzeled sweaters.”

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Have a customer service job of some kind. I think the world would be a much more considerate place.

Best date you've ever had?
Detroit Coney Island with my husband. I have never laughed so hard on a first date I just knew I had to keep him.

What was the first job you had?
I was crushin’ gender norms at 13 as the first female caddy at the local country club.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
When I let my best friend read my first draft of the first ten chapters of Catalyst. I took a bath while I waited for her reaction because I was so nervous. She text me a half hour later saying “GIRL…it’s good. Like, really REALLY good. I can’t believe your mind came up with this.”

I cried. A lot.

First Heartbreak?
That first genuinely MEAN review. The kind where it just felt personal and slightly out of line, and you just have to accept that your work won’t be for everyone. Even if YOU think it could be.

Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
I was in a competitive singing group in my youth, and we went to Hawaii to sing at Pearl Harbor.

Where can readers find you?
Amazon & Kindle, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok! Technically Twitter too, but let’s be honest-I have no idea what I’m doing on there.

  • Jaxon Pace has littered the entire lobby with white roses, in my honor…and put my name on every vase. —Natalie
  • “Fuck that, I said we were going to dinner, so we are going to dinner,” Jaxon says, revving the engine and shooting me a wild grin. “AND pissing off your ex at the same time.” —Jaxon
  • “I have no idea what I want. So I just stopped wanting.” —Jaxon
  • Is that what I am doing? I have no idea anymore. I have no thoughts whatsoever. My brain is completely devoid of thoughts entirely with her scent filling my nostrils. All I can think about is how pretty her face looks in the harbor lights as she stands here trying to piece my soul back together. —Jaxon.
  • “Look I don’t know what type of man you’ve been, or what sins you’ve committed in your life. But you said yourself that all of this comes down to choices, and from what I can tell you’ve at least tried to be a better man.” —Natalie
  • Jaxon Pace hasn’t gifted me a suite…he has gifted me a penthouse. —Natalie
  • “Don’t be so quick to judge a painting while the artist is still holding the brush.” —Steph.
  • “Jaxon, if we are to continue, like this, you have to let me in,” I say, placing my hand on his cheek. “I need you to be honest with me. Completely honest with me about everything orbiting around you, and me…and us.” —Natalie
  • Few moments in my life were such that I knew instantly they would stick with me forever. The day my daughter was born. The moment my father died. And the first dance I shared with Natalie Tyler. -Jaxon
  • “Sweetheart, I would take you right here…with everyone watching.” —Jaxon
  • “You are heartbreakingly beautiful, Miss Tyler.” —Jaxon
  • “Real love doesn’t care where two people come from, only that they find each other. And when they do, it is pure magic.” —Charlie
  • “Baby Girl, I know I don’t deserve you. But if you let me, I will worship you.” —Jaxon
Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from CATALYST
(Scene Background: Chapter 38 | Natalie and Jaxon have survived an attempt on their lives, and Jaxon has shocked everyone by inviting Natalie to his home where the two have finally taken their relationship to the next level. But with her cousin’s wedding now over, Natalie is set to return to Miami in two days. So, while dancing to Unchained Melody in the Library of Pace Manor, Jaxon asks the question they both desperately need answered…)

“So…what now?” I say softly.

This is it.

My heart begins to pound in my ears, and I am grateful for the music as the fear of what she could say next nearly paralyzes me in place. I know that she deserves more than this life. She deserves more than what I can give her. But that does not stop my selfish heart from wanting to keep this tiny piece of happiness I have found with her to myself. She has brought the sunlight back into my life, and now I find myself fearing the night that follows when she leaves.

“You mean…after I leave?” she whispers, lowering her gaze to the floor.

I nod, unable to speak.

“Well, if we think about this rationally, one could make the argument that this week has been incredibly intense, and perhaps we were just swept up in its current.”

“Agreed,” I choke out.

“…And we live over a thousand miles apart.”

“We do.”

“…And we both admittedly have a significant amount of baggage when it comes to trust.”


“But…” She whispers tightening her hold on me and unknowingly pulling me back from the brink of destruction with those mesmerizing eyes of hers. “For you, Jaxon, I would be willing to try.”

This moment is incomparable. Relief floods my body like a dam has broken. I can finally breathe again. Time seems to have slowed and the last five years pass behind my eyes.

I SWORE I would never let these walls down for a woman.

I SWORE it was something I did not need.

I SWORE it could only ever be a distraction.

I SWORE that it could not be good for Jessica.

I SWORE that I could never give this part of me away.

…But I lied.

Because in this moment every self-protective oath I have ever sworn to myself shatters into a thousand pieces on the floor.

“I am yours, Natalie Tyler.”

When Natalie Tyler arrives in Chicago to attend her cousin's wedding, she is just hoping to survive the week with her estranged family...And her ex-fiancé. One week. One uneventful week at the beautiful Hotel Jefferson, is all she has to endure before she can return to her quiet life in Miami.
However, fate has other plans.

A split second decision, unknowingly puts her in the path of one of the city's wealthiest bachelors. And one of the deadliest.
She finds herself thrust into a world she does not understand.

The world of Jaxon Pace.
Billionaire. Hotelier. Mafia Boss.
In an expansive underworld of crime, violence and deceit, Jaxon is KING. He is heartless, ruthless, and runs the city with an iron fist.
The devilishly handsome Jaxon is used to getting what he wants, no matter the cost.

However, Natalie did not come to Chicago for love, and certainly not for an ungrateful, spoiled playboy with a god complex.
But soon she begins to wonder if there is more to this mysterious man than meets the eye?

Entangled in their fiery romance, and a fleeting hope of happiness, Jaxon sets his sights on the beautiful and charismatic Natalie Tyler.
But his enemies have noticed Natalie too.

Can Jaxon win Natalie's heart, before everything goes up in flames?

You can purchase Catalyst at the following links below.

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CREATIVE EDGE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


  1. OMG! I dreamed once that I killed my Dad, or was somehow responsible for his death, and hid his body in the place we kept the garbage cans at the house I grew up in. This was many years ago but it still freaks me out to think of it.

  2. I don't have scary dreams, just a lot of weird ones.

  3. I have a recurring nightmare that I didn't graduate from college.

  4. I do not have scary dreams but i do have strange ones lol

  5. I could not find my house they all looked alike on the street

  6. I was being chased by something.

  7. i have the weirdest dreams all the time, the other day i dreamed my dog had human babies!!!

  8. "Most horrifying dream you have ever had?" It involved frying and breading....

  9. Most horrifying dream I ever had was not being able to find one of my kids when they were little.

  10. All I can remember of it is there were snakes hanging from a tree.