Monday, November 25, 2013

Novellas in the Nick of Time

Today we're celebrating the launch of Cathi Stoler's new novella, Nick of Time, with an interview and a giveaway - stay tuned to the end of the post for details on how to win your own copy of Nick of Time. 

1) What is Nick of Time about?

This novella, my first, is a fast-paced international suspense thriller, featuring Nick Donahue, an American gambler living in London. Nick is in Venice playing Blackjack when he meets a beautiful woman in desperate need of help. He obliges and is soon embroiled in a whirlwind of mystery and intrigue.

Nick is kidnapped by a band of jewel thieves, then released and dumped in the woods outside Prague. Calling on his brother Alex, a banker at Zurich's SuisseBank, for assistance, Nick soon finds himself juggling Alex's problem: the murder of his boss and a world-wide money laundering scheme the bank has been running. When Nick blows the whistle on SuisseBank, its main client, the New York mob, is none too happy with his interference or their loss of revenue. They demand revenge and restitution, which only Nick, with all of his gambling tricks, can provide.

2) Why did you want to write a novella?

Nick of Time started out as two short stories, which I felt I wanted to expand upon. The format of a novella seemed right for what I had in mind. I could flesh out the character and create the story I wanted to tell.

The more I got into it, the more I enjoyed writing the Nick Donahue character—a male protagonist who was very different from the two female protagonists in my series—and setting him in intriguing and exciting places filled with dangerous and dramatic situations. Since I also enjoy exploring international settings, it made sense that Nick, a well-travelled gambler would be comfortable in this milieu.

3) How is a novella different from writing a short story or a novel?

Well, they all have a beginning, middle and an end. With a short story, the plot needs to move along and you have to be as concise as possible in describing the characters and situations. With a novel, you have the luxury of being able to develop your characters more fully. You can add back a backstory and introduce more twists and turns to the plot. To me a novella is a happy medium between the two, with characters who are readers can relate to and empathize with, and action that moves the story along at a good pace.

4) What is your favorite novella that you've read and didn't write?

I recently read The Foot Soldier by Mark Rubinstein, a novella about a young private fighting in the Vietnam War and a decision he makes that changes his life. While the Vietnam War is a distant memory for most of us, this book brings it back in chilling detail. You feel like you’re there on patrol in the middle of the jungle and it’s very scary. Putting the reader in the action, or embedding them, as the military might say, is what a good story should accomplish.

Now you can win a copy of Nick of Time. All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment below.  


  1. I like short stories so I'm sure I would like a novella format as well. Plus after I read this I'll donate it to my community college library. Pick me to win!

  2. I'm catching up from the holidays so I hope I am not too late to comment. This sounds really good.

  3. I don't know what draws me more, the cover or the description. This sounds really good!

  4. I like the sound of this one! The story, the characters, and the plot! Count me in!