With books running from mysteries to memoir, Nancy notes: “As I have matured, met people, had encounters, failures and triumphs and learned about life, I have filed away hundreds of interesting characters, events, encounters and sights. Now my mind fills with stories to share and my challenge is to select the one that is right to tell right now.”
Her works include:
- Digger’s Izzy
- Valley of Shadows
- Ice in the Guise of Fire (published August 2022)
- The Cruelty of Swallows (to be published later in 2022)
Do you have a writing routine? Where and when do you write?
Not really. I have a list of stories in my mind that I want to tell. Once I find the one that inspires me at the moment, I pretty much devote myself to getting the outline, then a rough draft of the story. Then I may set it aside and work on something else or do something entirely different than writing. Once I come back to it, my mind is fresh and I read it again. This helps a lot! Once I get a complete story arc that I like, I get an edited copy for my beta readers. While they read the manuscript, I take another break. Once I get their feedback, I may mull over their commentary or not, but I don’t rush into the next draft. Time is my best friend in the process. Once I start work again, it is to complete a final draft of the work, although that may be many revisions later. When I have a complete final draft, I send it to be edited again.
Do you have any patterns or rituals associated with your writing time?
Only that I like background noise, music or even the television in the background. I prefer to be alone, but it’s not necessary so long as there isn’t conversation in the room where I am working.
Who do you do when you hit a wall with your writing?
Write. I find that there is always something to write about – even if it is what if feels like to hit a wall. Is it frightening? Is it frustrating? Am I blank or is it that there are too many competing thoughts. Whatever, it is a story to tell and it is movement in the process.
Do you plan your book in advance (plotting and outlining) or are you a “discovery writer” (AKA “writing into the dark”)? Or are you somewhere in between?
I start with a preliminary outline, very loose, but especially character development; who is the cast of this story? That is typically where the flow of the story begins. I might also list locations, sometimes a preliminary timeline. I might take a moment and put down very two dimensionally what I want the story to say. Once I start writing, it goes where it goes. And sometimes I get surprised where the story leads. That’s the fun and the creative part of the process.
What’s the last book you read that made you go “wow!”?
Maybe Circe by Madelaine Miller. I like Greek mythology and I loved the female take on the stories I have read and heard about all my life. Before that definitely Hunger Games! For some reason, I couldn’t put that one down. Not a great book but a compellingly fascinating story idea.
What book or author do you find yourself recommending and why?
I rarely recommend books unless I get an idea of what a person might like. I have a fairly eclectic appetite – which is why I belong to a book club so I get exposed to books I wouldn’t just pick up and read. Some I like and others not so much. I am always surprised at the fact that books I like, others don’t and vice versa.
What’s on your To Be Read pile?
Right now I am doing a lot of research for a story idea so mostly non-fiction like The Dawn of Everything (Graeber and Wenbrow). I like Dan Brown and I’d love to fall in love with an author. Hasn’t happened for a while. I was in love with James Michener, James Clavell, Agatha Christy, Michael Crichton, John Grisham and others. No one lately. Maybe I am just overwhelmed by the sheer volume of good work out there to be read right now.