Sunday, May 1, 2022

Author interview Zel Winter / Book review - Unveiling


I’m delighted to introduce debut novelist Zel Winter to Tweetables and as she explains, ‘the "Z" in her first name is pronounced like French "J"’.

She says, ‘I’m a wife and a mother to two wonderful young women. I’m also a mom to three pets.’ On top of this, she’s also a writer, blogger, book reviewer and when we corresponded, she was also setting up a new business which is taking a lot of her time – she is one busy lady!

She writes in the genre of Contemporary Adult Fantasy/Romance and was first published in late 2020. I asked about ‘Unveiling’ and she explains, ‘This is my first book. The sequel is in the rough draft, and so are several chapters of the third book. I started another series, which I’m querying now. But I will definitely proceed with Mythical Creatures Trilogy.’

I asked what had inspired her to write it and she says, ‘I always liked fantasy. It’s an escape from reality, right? I thought it was a good plot, many options for future books in the series.’

I was interested to know how she selects her characters names and she replies, ‘Funny you should ask that. Humans and vampires (because they used to be humans) are named after family or friends. The rest of the mythical creatures I looked up under mythology. We have many of those in the sequel.’

So what does she enjoy the most about writing? ‘Oh, everything. I love to build the characters and the plot. I love the second draft, when you get a glimpse of the story. The third draft when the characters begin to feel like beings. The fourth draft when you start perfecting the dialogue and continue building those three-dimensional personalities. The fifth and sixth when the manuscript starts to take a shape of a book, things start to flow. And so on….’

This is one of the things that I love the most about writers – the passion for their craft and creating worlds and characters that we come to love. But it’s not just fun, it's hard work for writers too and I asked Zel what she finds the most difficult?

‘This was my first book, so I didn’t have much experience. I used self-publishing company, and it was expensive. They helped me find a fantastic editor, who I used for the second series that I’m now querying, but I would never again pay to publish my book.

Don’t get me wrong, they’ve been helpful and did a great job on the cover, but as every other publisher, they are not responsible for marketing; and that’s the area where (especially) debut authors need most help.’

PR is certainly an issue highlighted by new novelists regularly (and the main reason why I started this blog!) but Zel has all this knowledge now, so what would she go back and tell her younger self?

‘Query, query, query. It takes time, but you will get a helpful advice on your manuscript, which you could then revise and improve. It takes years, but I think it’s worth it.

If you don’t want to wait, publish an e-book through Amazon. It’s for free, (you need to check if your book would fall into that category), but they take a cut from each sale. Each writer should search this information for their own particular book.’

What brilliant advice for any aspiring authors out there! I thanked Zel for her time and asked her for a tweetable synopsis of Unveiling before we parted. She gave me this (press to tweet)

Failing to compel Nina to forget their encounter, Dan, an ancient vampire, suspects she's no ordinary human, but a being of extraordinary power, all of the Mythical Creatures have been looking for. Unveiling (Mythical Creatures Series Book 1)


I have a painful confession to make. I’m a huge fan of fantasy tales, anything vampire, werewolf or mythical instantly piques my interest, and I’ve seen countless films and TV shows (I’m still a huge Buffy fan!), but I’ve never actually read a fantasy book before. I’m horrified at the oversight 🀯 and it’s something I will be remedying, but this does mean that Unveiling is my first, which makes it even more exciting πŸ₯³πŸŽ‰

The book starts by setting out the lore of the ALL, just over three pages detailing the history and creatures of this world, including Dragons, Weres, Faes, Immortals, Mother Nature, Sorcerers, Shamans – you get the idea. Now I’m a plot-first girl and wanted to meet the characters and get going with the story, so I had to curb my enthusiasm and absorb this part first - it’s information heavy but pertinent to the tale so I was glad I did!

Then the story begins and we meet Dan, a powerful, ancient Vampire who has powers such as being able to turn into dust at will (I’d like to do that!). I liked Zel’s version of vampires, as both the vamp and human dually inhabit one body, and this leads to some interesting (and fun!) friction between them. Dan’s vampire side mainly feasts on blood bags and animals but once a week he has a human meal and this is how he meets Nina.

Our nineteen-year-old heroine, Nina, is an orphan with a challenging past. She’s on the verge of starting university when she meets Dan in a bar, which leads to a sexual encounter. He feeds on her but when he tries to erase her memory of their fling, his usual practice to cover his tracks, it fails – what is going on?

This scene really had me grinning as there’s some great banter between them and it sets up their relationship beautifully. Nina’s feisty and independent; Dan’s moralistic, powerful and protective towards her. There’s a great dynamic here which I really enjoyed.

As the story progresses, Nina finds out that she’s a Human Immortal and through her eyes we learn more about what this means (although some of these conversations slowed the pace a little). It’s obvious that Nina’s life will never be the same again and we follow her journey to the Elders. There’s a problem though. She has to mate to gain immortality but it can’t be with a vampire. But, and this is a big 'but', she’s falling for Dan, so what will she do?

I’m not telling you the answer to that one – you need to read it for yourself! What I will say is that I enjoyed the story immensely. I liked the short chapters and Zel’s writing style, which is easy to read and has lovely touches of humour. The characters are likeable and the age of our heroine, along with the building love story, did make it feel suitable for the YA market too, although there is occasional swearing (but the sex isn’t graphic).

The story outcome is satisfying and I definitely want to know what happens next – thank goodness she’s working on a second book in the series as she’s left a great hook! The novel has a lovely feel and it’s a great debut.

I would recommend Unveiling to anyone who enjoys romance and/ or fantasy novels and I look forward to reading more of Zel’s work and seeing how her career progresses.

Why not take a visit to the author's twitter, instagram or website pages to see more?

I'd love your feedback, so please leave me a comment (some browsers might not work, Google Chrome works best!) Thank you πŸ˜ƒ  

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  1. Great article with fab questions again. I love the sound of this book and will be adding it to my list to buy. Thanks Jane and Zel!

    1. Superb news, thanks so much for sharing with us Penny.
      I hope you enjoy it too.

  2. Really enjoyed your book review Jane. I’ll be adding The Unveiling to my Amazon basket! It sounds a great debut novel and Zel will be an author to watch out for 😁

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment and I hope you enjoy it as I did!

  3. Thanks for a great review of a very interesting sounding book. I’ll be adding it to my Amazon basket and watching out for more Zel novels 😁

    1. Thank you so much Sarah and I'm sure Zel will be delighted to learn this!

  4. Superb interview, really enjoyed it, thanks so much.
    Book sounds great too, I read loads of fantasy so this appeals to me a lot. Will be buying πŸ“š

    1. Thanks so much Gemma, let us know what you think of it!