From the paranormal to the contemporary: the author finds success

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By ROBERT SCOTT, The Commercial Dispatch

Starkville, Miss. (AP) — Starkville resident Kait Nolan has been writing since middle school, but over the past decade has decided to make a career out of her hobby.

She hasn’t looked back since, having sold around 300,000 copies of her works in print, e-book and audio form.

“It’s this semi-classic ‘I’ve been doing it since I was a kid’ story,” she said. “When I was 12, in sixth grade, I met my best friend at the time. … We decided we were going to write a book. So, we did that that year in our big notebook. three ring spirals and we just had fun writing every year, aging the characters as we went and eventually she said that’s not her thing and I was like, ‘Oh that’s mine !’ That’s where I got stung by the bug, I guess.

Nolan, a Tupelo native, earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Mississippi, then moved to Starkville to pursue graduate studies at Mississippi State University.

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“I was finishing my master’s and I was preparing to do a doctorate. program, but I knew it wasn’t going to make me happy. I decided I didn’t want to spend another six years on a track that wasn’t going to make me happy,” she said. “So I quit with my terminal masters and started to treat (writing) as work in addition to all other real work.”

She was a research psychologist and instructor for MSU. After 15 years, she decided to hang up everything to pursue her true passion full time.

Her first book was published in 2010 when she started a streak to gain followers, and it marked the start of a streak she would never end.

“I’m self-publishing,” she says. “My very first book is deliberately out of print anymore. I started at the very beginning of self-publishing and was writing paranormal romance at the time. I decided to write short stories just to start to build an audience for the show I was presenting in New York. It caught the eye at the time and got me an agent.

After a few years, Nolan decided New York wasn’t for her.

“When I left that track, I ended up switching genres to contemporary romance,” she said. “So this series that I started was never going to be finished and I felt really bad about having to tell readers that, so I pulled them.”

Although this series never saw an official end, Nolan is currently working on the final book in his seventh series, having published over 50 books under the contemporary romance umbrella.

“I ended up switching to contemporary because I was extremely exhausted,” she said. “I love ‘White Christmas’ starring Bing Crosby, it’s my favorite Christmas movie and I watch it every year. I decided, as a palate cleanser, it would be fun to tell the story from ‘White Christmas’ against a staging of ‘White Christmas’ This story became “Be Careful, It’s My Heart”, which was the first book written in my “Wishful” series.

She sets most of her stories in Mississippi, but some branch out to surrounding southern states.

She added that it was an effort to address the preconceptions non-Mississipians have about the state.

“In my life I’ve faced a lot of prejudice coming from Mississippi,” Nolan said. “People, they don’t know Mississippi. All they know, if they’ve never been here, is the stuff that lives on the news. That’s not to say we don’t have problems, we do, but everyone else does, and so I kind of started this series because I wanted to show the good side of Mississippi to people who have never seen it before.

Nolan was the recipient of the 2018 RITA Award in the Contemporary Romance: Short Film category for her book “Second Chance Summer”. The RITA Award, now retired, was the highest honor bestowed by the Romance Writers of America.

“My RITA award was a stroke of luck,” she said. “It was by chance that I entered. I had a friend who told me that I had to enter, and that I had a good chance. I thought they were crazy, but I said ‘OK “.

Nolan will also be participating in an international Romance Author and Reader Events book signing event in the spring.

“My first signing will be in Melbourne, Australia of all,” she added with a laugh.

Ultimately, writing is a means of escape for Nolan.

“I think my favorite part of writing is also the same thing I love about reading, which is the escape,” she said. “A lot of the world is dumpster fire, and that’s what I want to give my readers in stories. That’s one of the reasons I love romance as a genre because that it’s an entire genre that’s all about hope and happy endings.

She says she is often asked if she is afraid of running out of ideas.

“I’m just laughing like a maniac because, no, that’s never going to be a problem,” she said. “I constantly get ideas from literally everywhere all the time.”

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