Saturday, August 16, 2014

Interview with Mystery Guy Cover Model!

The cover for my first book, Sweet Evil, was debuted in Fall 2011. Since that day, the most frequent question I receive is, “Who is the guy on the cover??” At one point around the publication of Sweet Evil, I came across an article online from the male model’s agency announcing that one of their models was going to be on a YA book cover. I’ve always remembered that model’s name, but then the article disappeared from online and I could not find him. I was hesitant to share the name I’d learned, in case he wanted to remain anonymous.

Soon after, I met the female model on Facebook, a college student from New Jersey named Alexa. She’s an absolute sweetheart. But no luck on finding the guy who modeled for Kaidan.

After three years of constant queries about the male model’s identity and referring to him as “Mystery Guy,” I decided to Google him once more and guess what? My stalking paid off. I found Dominic Natale, and not only does he have a very cool name, but it turns out he’s also a very cool guy. He’s agreed to do an interview, given me permission to share his name, and even said he’d be open to attending a book event with me in the future! How nice is that?

So here you are, sweeties! Meet Dominic! :)

Dominic Natale
Tell us a little about yourself…

In high school I played many sports. I was the captain of both the swimming and diving teams and I also played lacrosse, ran cross country and wrestled part time. I was part nerd and part jock. I loved physics, quantum mechanics and numbers.

Post high school I focused on my passion for triathlons (which is a combination of swimming, biking and running respectively). I participated in the Ironman race when I was 18. The race consisted of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. It was a very long and painful day, but absolutely worth it.

Currently, I attend a college just outside of Philadelphia where I study business and network engineering and I just started classes to become a commercial truck driver. I also work in a high end restaurant as a server. I am an entrepreneur at heart. Over the past 5 years I have started 3 businesses ranging from a tech company to an urban lifestyle magazine. None of them have been wildly successful but that doesn't mean I am giving up!

In my free time I enjoy traveling, exploring, hiking, photography, fishing, surfing, and cooking.

Kaidan is huge into music. What kind of music do you like, and do you have any favorite songs or bands?

I love all music. From classical piano to country, australian hip hop, blue grass, reggae etc. Can't say I have one favorite but just to name a few.... SOJA, Hilltop Hoodz, Luke Bryan, Blink-182, Andrea Bocelli, Citizen Cope... I can go on and on!
(PS, Dominic does not play drums, teehee.)

Can you speak in an English accent (or do you botch all accents like I do??)

I cannot do it confidently but I have absolutely tried. (Typically when I'm in the shower or when no one is around.)

Dominic Natale and his grandmother
Are you nervous and/or excited about a bunch of Sweeties fan-girling over you? (Be nervous, Dominic!) ;)

Nervous of course! It might take some getting used to but hopefully my outgoing personality will prevail.

From what I understand, you and Alexa (the cover model for the character Anna Whitt) were photoshopped for some of the cover art. Is that correct?

Alexa and I spent HOURS trying to get the perfect shot. We spent about half of the day shooting together and the other half taking turns in front of the camera. On the cover of Sweet Reckoning I am, in fact, touching her shoulder but for the others I believe we were photoshopped together.

Alexa and Dominic on the Sweet Trilogy covers

I still remember back in 2011 when my editor sent me pictures of you and the other model the publisher had narrowed it down to, and she asked my opinion. I said definitely YOU, and I've been thrilled with how the covers turned out. Can you tell us anything about the photo shoot? Any behind-the-scenes stuff?

Well first and foremost, THANK YOU! I am so excited to see your books doing so well and with me on the cover! The photo shoot was honestly very tough. On the Sweet Evil cover I am actually jumping in the air with a running start because that's what the photographer thought would get the perfect shot (and it totally worked!) the difficult part was that I did that over 100 times! Another fun fact is that the hair stylist is the number one leading stylist for L'Oréal. It was awesome to get tips and pointers from him for my personal styles.

Do you still do any modeling?

Sadly enough I have not been pursuing many modeling gigs. Every now and then I get a phone call or accept a decent offer but it is very time consuming and competitive. But I definitely enjoy it when I am there and in the moment.

Dominic Natale
Do you like to read?

I am a boring reader. I basically read education books, magazines, blogs, editorials and so on. I enjoy reading/learning about zen and meditation as well as business related practices. I am currently reading a book called The Undefeated Mind by Alex Lickerman. Can't wait to get my hands on your books though!

(I am sending Dominic a signed copy of the trilogy. He needs to own the books he’s on, right?? Though, meeting Kai may not put him in a zen frame of mind, lol.)

Last question - this one from a reader - do you have any brothers??

I do in fact have a younger brother named Nicholas and he is 18.

Thank you so much to Dominic for being a great sport and being open to meeting readers! Hopefully he'll make it to a signing with me someday! Feel free to show your appreciation to him in the blog comments below.

Dominic Natale on Twitter

Dominic Natale on Instagram

Friends, please keep an eye on my blog for an upcoming contest and update - I STILL do not have wifi at home, but I NEED to have this contest asap for names to put in Kai's book!  :D

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  1. Thanks for being such a good sport, Dominic! I hope you are ready for the influx of online stalkers (I already followed you)!

  2. And so the stalking begins ... :D

  3. Hey Wendy:

    Firstly, I must complement you on the blog design! I just happened to stumble on it from retweet by someone. It makes my own blog look positively unimaginative!

    (The blue leaves at the top, in particular, really give it the idea of entering into another world---a concept popularised by my fantasy genre.)

    Secondly, I must say I am quite fascinated by the interview. People generally think of models as narcissistic, acerbic types that are very unlike other people. It's nice to see one of them with academic interests---and such a nice personality, too!

    (I'm starting to sound like an old man, now aren't I? And to think I'm just sixteen...)

    Anyway, thus concludes the end of my comment. I'll probably check your book out; your blog certainly drew me in. (I managed not to use an exclamation mark this time round, thank goodness.)

    1. The books are amazing, definitely check them out. The trilogy is over (Sweet Evil, Sweet Peril, Sweet Reckoning), but Wendy is now doing it all from Kai's (who Dominic played on the covers) point of view in one book, Sweet Temptation.

  4. I love this interview! It made me feel as if i can connect with the book more. It sounds a little absurd :P xD

  5. Oh and swoons are great indeed :D

  6. Wow this is so awesome. What a great idea for you yo find him and think to do this. Have you ever interviewed Alexa and I missed it? Lol

  7. I loved the interview! Dominic is Smart and sexy i like that :P

  8. Oh Dominic I am so fangirling over here! Thanks for interview!

  9. Time to follow him on Twitter and Instagram....

  10. Oh my goodness, my excitement was palpable when I saw that this interview was up. I can't believe that "Mystery Guy" is no longer a mystery! This is awesome. Now I'm forced to stalk through his instagram and twitter. ;)

  11. Followed him everywhere (online, I'm not a real stalker)! love the interview, Wendy! Hope you get WiFi soon and can't wait to read Sweet Temptation! More teasers please?

  12. Thanks so much for this! I can't believe this finally happened! I was so curious for AGES. Dominic, thanks for providing me an AMAZING image of Kai!