While working her day job in real estate for the past six years, Nicole Paquin chipped away at her manuscript - the story of a woman’s triumphs, failures and redemptions. Based in part on her own life experience and that of others, she has created a story she describes as a mix of Bridget Jones Diary and Sex and The City.
Her book “Sofia Madison and the Voice Within” was recently released and Paquin describes reading it as “having an in depth, secret-divulging experience with your best friend.” Paquin’s audience is definitely female and her style is women’s fiction/chick lit. The character, Sofia Madison, is someone many can identify with.
“There is a part of her in every one of us, which is why she is so relatable,” explained Paquin. Her book is set in both Coronado and Imperial Beach.
The story of Sofia Madison, whom everyone calls Maddie, starts with a trip to Las Vegas for the wedding of a friend. There she meets an Englishman. When she returns to her home in Southern California she doesn’t expect to see him again. One week later she picks him up at a train station and they spend almost a year together. Although a little voice inside her kept telling her something was not right, she refused to listen.
Paquin’s book flows well, it’s easy to follow and fun. It’s a fast read but “most importantly it’ll get your mind off what’s going on,” she explained.
Paquin finished writing this first book in December 2019 and she has spent most of 2020 working on marketing and publishing it. She is already working on two more books as part of the Sofia Madison series.
Paquin grew up in the Coronado Cays and graduated from Coronado High School (CHS) in 1991. She loved the theatre and after graduation was part of a troupe that toured locally. She then moved to Imperial Beach and has lived there ever since. Although she has three siblings, Paquin grew up like an only child because they were much older than she was.
This brand new author with a bubbly personality started journaling at a young age and was a story teller. She has vivid memories when in third grade, instead of doing show and tell like the other kids, she would get in front of the class and tell stories she made up on the spot. Her teacher called her the Nunzi girl, the story teller.
When Paquin was inspired to write the Sofia Madison story she felt she had to develop her writing skills first. “When I got a hold of this story I decided that before I wrote it, I was getting an education. I took writing classes, any class I could get my hands on through Words Alive…it was instrumental in my development [as a writer]…Anything worth doing is worth doing well. I didn’t want to put it out there without being effective.”
As Paquin worked on her manuscript, she was sharing what she wrote with her classmates. Her critique group helped her improve as a writer. “They are breaking you down, but mostly it comes from a good place; my writing improved,” she admitted.
As a member of San Diego Writers Inc. she has taken advantage of all it has to offer. “It’s an endless wealth of resources, I’m constantly educating myself,” she said.
Paquin is happy with her first book she self-published. “I’ve been getting great response from my readers, even my beta readers are hooked. It’s so rewarding,” she said.
Paquin is now writing full time on her next book in the series, something she truly enjoys. She has been able to focus on her writing currently because the two businesses she owned before the pandemic - a high end short term rental management and real estate companies - both folded. Paquin is concentrating on “The Summer of 1987” through NaNoWriMo a National Novel Writing Month project that takes place in November with the goal to write 1,600 words per day. That means that at the end of the month of November that number will add up to 50,000 words - which is a manuscript. “The Summer of 1987” is a prequel to “Sofia Madison and the Voice Within.” It tells the story of her character’s 1987 summer when she was a teenager living in the Coronado Cays and then goes forward to 15 years later. This book is more a young adult coming of age story, she explained. As part of her research for “The Summer of 1987” she had re-read books she loved as a teenager in the 1980s to reconnect with the girl she was once.
Paquin has incorporated some of her passions in her books - distance swimming and bungee jumping. Paquin swam Escape from Alcatraz and also placed second in her age group at Sharkfest, a swim that runs from the Convention Center to Tidelands Park. She has participated in the 4th of July Rough Water Swim a number of times.
Writing for Paquin is part of a new chapter in her life. “It’s the most passionate I’ve been about anything. For now if I have to do something else for financial gain I will,” she said.
A few teachers at CHS influenced her in many ways. “I had a learning disability. I struggled [in school]. For me to end up in something this cerebral…[it’s hard to believe,]” she said. One of her teachers, Rebecca Black, who is still a teacher at CHS, “was instrumental in getting me through the challenges,” she said. Another teacher Mrs. Wright also had a strong influence on Paquin. “I still remember my Shakespeare monologue,” she said.
These days you’ll find her writing for six to eight hours a day in the company of her two dogs and cat. “I get lost in the story and creating. I disappear into this world,” she said. Even revisions are not daunting to her. “It’s like putting puzzles together,” she said.
“Sofia Madison and the Voice Within” is currently for sale at amazon.com and Paquin will hold a book signing on Dec. 13 at Bay Books in Coronado from 12 to 2 p.m.