BATAVIA – Author Beverly Nickelson, known also by her pen-name, Nicki Elson, just published her second romance novel. In this book, she features a main character who isn't human.
"Divine Temptation," which hit bookshelves on March 26, follows the developing romance between a divorced mother in her late-30s and an angel.
Set in the western suburbs of Chicago, in an area much like the Tri-Cities, the story follows a woman who works at a church and starts to receive visits from an angel. As her relationship shifts with her ex-husband, her feelings for the angel start to grow. Meanwhile, Nickelson said something "evil is lurking," adding suspense to the novel to keep the readers guessing what might happen next.
Nickelson, who lives in Batavia, said while there's a paranormal element in this latest story, she likes to write about reality. She believes in angels, she said, which is why she decided to make the romantic character an angel, as opposed to something she found less believable, such as a vampire.
And speaking of vampires, Nickelson said it was the Twilight-inspired fervor for young adult paranormal fiction that sparked the creation of "Divine Temptation." As she was reading it, the idea for her own story began to form.
"The guy would come in and take over [the girl's] life," she said. "I wanted to see how a mature woman would handle that situation."
In 2010, Nickelson published her first novel, "Three Daves," which is set in the 1980s on a college campus, inspired by Eastern Illinois University, where she attended school.
But Nickelson hadn't always planned to become a novelist. She pursued a business degree in finance and went on to get her master's degree in business. While working in finance, she discovered that one of her favorite parts of her job was writing the quarterly report.
"It was the summer after I turned 40 that I got serious about writing," she said. "I thought, if I don't do this now, I'm never going to."
She's working that business experience into the setting of her next book, which will feature a main character getting caught up in an office romance, while working on a big investment consulting project.
Nickelson, whose pen-name is made up of the letters in her last name, started submitting short stories to online fan fiction websites and was contacted by a publishing company, OmniFic Publishing.