The girls of Night Owl Romance are pleased that you have granted us an interview
We would love to get to know you
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I'm a very fortunate person because I'm doing what I've always wanted to do - writing books! I also have a full-time day job, a fabulous family (husband and daughter), and many, many rescued cats, so that adds - what? - maybe three more full-time jobs? Needless to say, I have to squeeze in my love of writing around life's other responsibilities, but I'm a fairly disciplined person, and I love writing enough to carve out time for it.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
Ah, to have a typical writing day.Because of the aforementioned schedule, my writing days vary tremendously. I do most of my writing on the weekends, in the mornings if possible, so I can devote afternoons and evenings to family time. I've just started a new job where I work longer hours for nine work days, then have the tenth off (every other Friday), and have the best of intentions to make that a bonus writing day - no errands, no housework, no cooking - just writing!
I also go on a writers' retreat twice a year. These are 3-day weekends with my critique group, and in addition to enjoying incredible conversations around the dinner table and `coffee bar' around the campfire, we get tremendous amounts of writing accomplished. We usually write (independently) from about 9am - 6pm, and maybe for a few additional hours late at night.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
It depends upon what's causing the block. Sometimes a particular scene is tripping me up, so I do all the standard writer things: go for a walk (or run), drink too much coffee, whine to other writer friends about my miserable, uncooperative characters. If it continues for more than a few days, I employ more drastic measures, like writing scenes beyond the problem one, or coming at it from a different angle, like another character's POV.
If the block is due to life intruding, I've found the only thing that works for me is dealing with life, getting past the issues, then getting back to work. After my family experienced the untimely deaths of two close loved ones a few years ago, I stopped writing for nearly a year. I needed all my emotional energy to get through the day and didn't have any left for my characters. But I'm a strong believer that if writing is truly a part of you, you'll eventually come back to it. Fortunately, this was the case for me.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
I'm currently working on a sequel to Taste of Liberty. The heroine is Liberty's little sister, who is all grown up and off on adventures of her own with a very sexy and persistent young man. I also have another historical paranormal romance, titled Playing to Lose, coming out in the next year. You can read excerpts on my website (www.nancyhunterbooks.com), but here's a quick blurb.
When two black sheep of society meet, Lady Angelique Barstow sees Lord Lucas Hayden as the means to losing her good reputation and being branded beyond redemption by those who seek to reform her. All seems to be going well, until their affair spirals into love and threatens to destroy Angelique's well-laid plans. When their affair is discovered, they must contend with marriage-minded relatives, accusations of murder, a restless ghost, and a mysterious killer who is closing in on them. And Angelique could lose much more than her reputation; she could lose the one man in the world whom she can truly love.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
While prepping to write a book, I keep a running list of topics I need to research. Then I go to the library and gather as many pertinent books as possible, including children's books - they have lots of pictures and are easy to read! I also pop online on occasion, but I stick to sites with verifiable sources.
I do enjoy research, and I'm a bit of a history geek (the Universe was smiling on me the day someone conceived of the History Channel). And for Taste of Liberty, I had a real interest in learning more about America's `foremothers' - those brave and resourceful women who helped settle the frontier and often single-handedly ran the homesteads and protected the land, with guns when necessary.
If you're anxious to read great love stories with dramatic historical backdrops and deliciously evil villains, my books are for you! What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
Best Writing Advice: `Submit your work and keep submitting until you sell your book or are run out of publishing houses.' - Friend Maria
Worst Writing Advice: `Don't put love scenes in your books. The great books don't have sex in them.' - Aunt Jeanne. Note: Sorry, Aunt Jeanne. Not only do I disagree on the point of `great books', but I'm afraid `the horse is already out of the barn' as far as love scenes in my books go :). Do you outline your books or just start writing?
Ah, the `plotter or pantser' question. I'm a consummate plotter, and subplotter, and re-plotter. I don't use a formal outline, but I do use my own format, which captures the opening premise/hook, turning points and character reactions to them, climax, and denoument. And for romances, the development of the h/h love story gets its own separate planning sheet so I can see the arc of the relationship. I also use character sheets, where I list everything from physical attributes to childhood traumas, whether or not those will appear in the book. All this takes place over a period of weeks or months before a single word goes into the actual manuscript. Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I belong to the world's best critique group (IMHO)! We call ourselves the Muse and Schmoozers. This is the wonderful group with whom I retreat twice a year. I thank them on the dedication pages of my books because without them, I wouldn't have honed my craft enough to make it to publication.
The only hindrance has come up recently, because I now need to write at a faster pace than they can read my work. There are 12 of us in the group, and the rule of thumb is that anyone with something prepared can submit a chapter a month (although I've been stretching it to two chapters a month for years). With four to six people submitting in any given month, I really can't ask them to read more pages for me, but I can't take a year to get feedback on my work. Hence my use of my wonderful beta readers (they read and give general feedback on the entire first draft), and my ongoing search for a critique partner who can critique large chunks of a manuscript at one time and who is also a good fit for me.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
Taste of Liberty, which came out at Cerridwen Press on July 17, is my first published work of fiction. I worked as a freelance writer for years and published many non-fiction articles, but my true love is fiction, so July 17 was a thrilling day for me!
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
The best way to reach me is at my website, www.nancyhunterbooks.com, via the Contact link. Sign up for my newsletter while you're there, and you'll get quarterly updates on my writing news and automatically will be registered for cool prizes that I give away!
Thank you for this opportunity!