Randall's Ramblings

An Interview with Author Nancy Wood

This week I’d like to introduce you to author Nancy Wood. She has plenty of experiencing writing non-fiction works and has now turned her expertise to fiction. Let’s learn more about her:

nancy_wood_author_photo

So, what have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest, professional or hobby.) I was a technical writer for 35 years, and retired in 2016. During my working life, I wrote all kind of things, including software ‘how-to’ manuals, guides for software engineers, programming manuals, help bubbles, marketing pamphlets, and newsletters. I started writing fiction as an antidote to technical jargon! I’ve written a ton of short stories (mostly unpublished), two attempts at literary novels (also unpublished), and two psychological thrillers, both published. They’re the first two books in a trilogy (I’m working on the third), titled Due Date and The Stork.

The books are set in the Santa Cruz, California, area, where I live. They feature surrogate mom and now aspiring PI, Shelby McDougall. In Due Date, surrogate mother Shelby falls victim to a scam involving the intended parents. The Stork, book 2, picks up Shelby’s life five and one-half years after Due Date. Shelby is apprenticing as a PI and is falling in love. But her life takes an unexpected turn when she receives a late night phone call–her birth son has gone missing.

Here’s the book blurb for Due Date: due date-001

Surrogate mother Shelby McDougall just fell for the biggest con of all—a scam that risks her life and the lives of her unborn twins.

Twenty-three year-old Shelby McDougall is facing a mountain of student debt and a memory she’d just as soon forget. A Rolling Stone ad for a surrogate mother offers her a way to erase the loans and right her karmic place in the cosmos. Within a month, she’s signed a contract, relocated to Santa Cruz, California, and started fertility treatments.

But intended parents Jackson and Diane Entwistle have their own agenda—one that has nothing to do with diapers and lullabies. With her due date looming, and the clues piling up, Shelby must save herself and her twins. As she uses her wits to survive, Shelby learns the real meaning of the word “family.”

the stork-001And here’s the book blurb for The Stork:

It’s been five and a half years, and Shelby McDougall is finally on track. Back in Santa Cruz, California, she’s sharing an apartment with her brother, and is in her second year of criminal justice studies. She’s landed her dream job as intern to local PI Kathleen Bennett. And her stone-cold love life is heating up.

Her past is behind her. Almost.

A late-night phone call puts Shelby’s perfectly ordered life into a tailspin. One of the twins she put up for adoption has been kidnapped, snatched from his home in the middle of the night. There are no witnesses.

After meeting the family, Shelby knows something is off. The adoptive parents tell her the children don’t sleep. They eat constantly, and their IQs are off the charts, qualifying them for either Ripley’s Believe It or Not or a sideshow act in the circus.

Against her better judgment, knowing that every cop in the state of California is doing their best to find this boy, Shelby agrees to help. By the time she realizes she’s up against something powerful, something evil, it’s almost too late. As Shelby fights for her life and that of the kidnapped boy, she learns the shocking truth about her babies.

And she also discovers her own truth, a lesson she has to learn over and over: her best instincts might have unexpected, damaging, consequences.

What are you currently working on and what is it about? I’m working on the third book in the Shelby McDougall series. It picks up Shelby’s story, about six years after The Stork. It will be the final book in the series, and I plan to resolve all the dangling questions. Not only from Shelby’s point of view, but also from the point of view of her nemesis, Dr. Helen Brannon.

Speaking of point of view, I’m contemplating writing this book from a third person point of view. Due Date and The Stork are first person. I don’t know if it would be too jarring to my readers to frame it from a different point of view. But I’m thinking about it!

What drew you to write in this genre? I went to a commercial fiction workshop 11 years ago now, and brought an idea for a literary novel, which turned out to be a dud. I was in a small group brainstorm session, and came up with the idea of using the themes in that novel in a mystery. At the time, the mystery/thriller/suspense genre was not on my radar at all. Now, I love it, and have become a certified addict.

Do you write full-time or part-time? Very part time at this point. I’m retired now. When I was working, I had a strict writing schedule. I’d get up and write for an hour before I headed into work. I thought I’d spend lots of time writing in retirement, but I’ve been travelling a lot. And I find I love to spend my days outdoors as much as possible.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Computer. Always on the computer!

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I have to have the plot fully figured out and each chapter outlined before I start writing. I also have to work out the clues and character motivations and settings before I start. Otherwise, I get lost.

What is the hardest thing about writing? For me, the hardest thing is the discipline of sitting down every day. I find that continuity is critical.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? The rewrites. I found out that the plot didn’t fit together and I had to go back through the entire manuscript fixing it.

What is the easiest thing about writing? Those days when everything fits together. The time I have to sit and the computer and write. The plot. The characters. The words!

Which writers inspire you? Dennis Lehane for suspense; Laura Lippman for love of Baltimore (where I grew up) as well as her great character Tess Monaghan; Jodie Picoult for everything; Chris Bohjalian for the inevitable startling and crazy twists; Jocye Carol Oates if I’m looking for something very, very dark; C.J. Box and Nevada Barr for settings; and David Sedaris if I’m looking for laugh-out-loud funny.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books? Ebooks. I travel a lot and use the Overdrive app from my library to borrow books.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? I do a lot of my own proofreading and editing, since I have a lot of experience in that area. After a few rounds on my own, I work with an editor for a complete manuscript review. Does the plot fit together? Do the characters’ motivations make sense? Does the structure of the manuscript work? Does the book start in the right place? My editor’s name is Mary Carroll Moore. She offers online classes and coaching as well as manuscript reviews. You can find her at: marycarrollmoore.com

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? Yes, absolutely. With the millions of books on Amazon, I think a cover that helps your book stand out is essential.

What do your fans mean to you? I’m astonished and humbled by my readers. I’m so grateful when someone picks up one of my books!

Where can readers find you? Here are a few places:

Website and blog: Nancy Wood Books

Email: nancywoodbooks@gmail.com

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-W.-Wood/e/B0088DJMAK/

Stay tuned for another author interview next time!

© Copyright 2018 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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