Felicia Blaedel -Quirky, Heartfelt Romance with Real, Flawed Characters
Felicia writes quirky, heartfelt, and steamy romance with real, flawed characters. Felicia’s books have themes about being true to yourself, and she is passionate about mental health and authenticity. As an adult, Felicia received professional confirmation that she is actually autistic. You can find Felicia on Instagram where she posts about her author journey, mum-life, flowers, dinosaurs, musings about autism and anxiety, book recommendations, and much more. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Chasing Pebbles.
Please give us a short introduction to what Chasing Pebbles is about.
Chasing Pebbles is the first book in my new adult series, Without Filter. The first three standalones are live now. Chasing Pebbles is a nerdy, steamy, small-town romance. It’s a friends-to-lovers story about Oliver and Frida, but it’s also a story about everyday happiness, dealing with shame and guilt, learning to trust yourself, found family, and being seen for who you are. It primarily takes place in a summer cottage area in a small coastal town and at a local music venue. Frida is forced to go back home for the summer where she’ll have to deal with her past and mend her friendship with her childhood friend Olli. The thing is, he’s desperately in love with her and determined to make their summer memorable.
Tell us more about Oliver. What makes him tick?
Oliver is a nerdy guy who loves music, Star Wars, and Dinosaurs (we might have those in common). Oliver tends to take on too much responsibility, and he’s always trying to fix everyone’s problems, which is one of the things he struggles with in Chasing Pebbles. He is always moving, he’s bright, and he loves to learn new things. For as long as he can remember, he’s been in love with Frida, Blondie, his favorite human, but he also wants to be what she needs first. You’ll find him wearing a t-shirt with a bad science joke and his many bracelets that he needs to wear so he can fidget. He’s a different kind of romance hero, but he’ll make you swoon.
What makes Frida and Oliver such a great match?
A theme in The Without Filter Series is finding a love where you feel accepted and seen for who you are. Oliver and Frida know each other so well, and in Chasing Pebbles, they’re learning to trust their love as well. Frida has forgotten how to be herself, always attempting to be invisible after struggling in school and feeling judged by her peers. She needs to re-write the stories she tells herself, and Oliver is there for her. He sees her creative talents and big heart, and helps her believe in herself. Oliver will always care too much, and he wants to help his family, even if it means missing out sometimes. He needs someone who cares as deeply as he does and wants to be a part of his family.
Why did you pick Denmark as the backdrop for your story?
I chose Denmark because I’m Danish, and The Without Filter Series is my first published series, so I felt most comfortable writing something I know. I’ve always loved languages, and I read in English. My books are always professionally edited, and I work hard to improve my level and skills.
I wrote stories a lot as a child but less and less as school, work, and adulting took over. When I started writing again, it was at a really low point, and in the years that followed, I realized I wouldn't be able to work a traditional full-time job (I’m Autistic and have anxiety and chronic pain). That’s why I decided to write in English so I could self-publish since I dream of making my books into a career for myself.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m a big believer in doing things you’re bad at if it brings you joy. I realized that around the same time as I started writing again. So for me, that means that I draw just for me and I dance even though I’m incredibly uncoordinated. Other than writing, I’m not that creative, but I enjoy creating recipes, and I think I’m fairly good at it. I have synaesthesia, and I especially see data and numbers in colors, but also moods. Sometimes it’s helpful, but sometimes it’s just confusing.
Readers say that this book reads like a movie. How did you pull this off?
I write in first person, present tense, and dual POV. I write about characters who feel flawed and real, and about messy love.
I also use senses a lot in my world-building, and I’ve had several reviews point out that they enjoyed that scents and tastes were so naturally intertwined in the descriptions. I also associate each of my books with specific scents.
To me, Chasing Pebbles smells like salt air, freshly cut grass, rain, summer evenings, pink beach roses, sunscreen, and vanilla. All The Wrong Shelves smells like tea rich in bergamot and orange zest, like cinnamon, warm spices, brambles, saltwater, old books, and libraries. Only Sometimes smells like pine trees, wild juniper, black coffee, caramel toffees, whiskey, and dusty earth.
What did you have the most fun with when writing Chasing Pebbles?
Oliver. Haha. I also enjoyed the world-building a lot and getting to know the Ravn family. Oliver has two sisters who are the main characters of books two and four. I knew about Oliver before anything else, and I still talk to him even though it’s been more than two years since I typed ‘the end’.
I love how he’s caring and strong but also goofy and sensitive. He’s one of a kind.
Do any of your characters ever go off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
All the time. I plot loosely as my stories are very character-driven. Writing the beginning of a book is always slow for me because I’m getting to know my characters, and once I do, I let them lead, and my writing pace picks up.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
Usually, I start by knowing the characters. Sometimes that happens without any effort from me. Other times I do exercises where I interview my characters or just describe their everyday thoughts as they go to work, grocery shopping or other mundane things to get a sense of who they are and what occupies their thoughts. Moods, vibes, and emotions come early, too, sometimes they present as colors, and I need to decode what it means. I often draw my characters (badly) on my tablet in the beginning. I also love mood boards and Pinterest for inspiration.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I’m very fortunate to only work two short days a week at my ‘dayjob’, so I write when my son is in preschool on my days at home, usually from my sofa under my weighted blanket with a mug of Earl Grey tea or coffee within reach. I set alarms on my phone when I’m deep in the story since time gets away from me. Writing and reading are where I go to escape my anxiety. Getting lost in my stories helps my mental health.
This year, I’m trying not to give myself too strict deadlines since, let’s face it, the last few years have been hard. But I work best with plans, deadlines, wordcount tracking etc.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on the fourth installment in The Without Filter Series, and I hope to publish it later in 2022. It’s the last book (at least for now) in this series, and it takes place at a small unlucky hotel in the same small-town as Chasing Pebbles.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I love interacting and getting to know my readers. I have a newsletter you can sign up for (you’ll also get a bonus epilogue for Chasing Pebbles if you do). I’m also active on Instagram @feliciablaedel where I post about my writing journey, books I love, pretty flower photos, mum-life, and share my experiences as a (late-diagnosed) autistic.
I also have a readers group on Facebook called ‘Fe’s bookworms - Felicia Blaedel’s author group’. And my lovely PA also ‘forced’ me to get on Tik Tok, haha, as ‘Authorfeliciablaedel’.
You can also find more about my books on Amazon, BookBub, and Goodreads. Other than Chasing Pebbles, books two and three are also out. All The Wrong Shelves (2) is a slow-burn, brother’s best friend, roommates romance with a heroine who realizes she’s autistic. Only Sometimes (3) is a slow-burn but steamy frenemies to lovers, close proximity romance with a grumpy hero.
You can find my links here: www.feliciablaedel.com/links
Oliver might only get one summer, but he’s determined to make it memorable. Frida left her hometown a year ago. When she suddenly finds herself without a place to stay for the summer, she is forced to go back. Chasing Pebbles is a nerdy, slow-burn, steamy, friends to lovers romance set in a small coastal town.