Meow! My guest today is author Nancy Parra!
Nancy J Parra AKA Nancy Coco is the author of 19 published novels which include three mystery series: The Gluten-free Baker’s Treat Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The Candy Coated Mysteries (Kensington), and The Perfect Proposal Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime). Her writing has been called witty and her protagonists plucky by reviewers around the world. Nancy is a member of the Killer Character Blog and loves to hear from readers. Find her at www.nancyjparra.com
- Welcome to the blog, Nancy!Tell us a little about your background – how did you get into writing?
Thanks ROCCO! I started writing I 5th grade. Then when I was in college and taking engineering classes I took a creative writing class for an easy “a” and realized that that was my true passion. I’ve been writing ever since.
- Tell us about your latest release.FLOURLESS TO STOP HIM. How did the concept for this series come about?
I learned I have Celiac disease and at the time there were not a lot of gluten-free foods. So was creating my own recipes. I would post the good ones on Facebook and a writer friend suggested I write a mystery set in a gluten free bakery and I did. The book was bought in two weeks and the series was born.
- You write two other series. Can you tell us about those?
I write the Candy Coated series as Nancy Coco. This series is set in a hotel/fudgeshop on Mackinac Island Michigan and is filled with fun adventures. I grew up in Michigan and love the Island that Time Forgot. The third series is the Perfect Proposal series set in Chicagoland. Pepper Pomeroy is the protagonist. She runs an engagement planning business and discovers that sometimes love is murder.
- How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I was purely a “seat of my pants” writer, but I’ve learned to use the Blake Snyder’s beat system based on screen writing. Still most of the time I don’t know who did it until the end- if I’m guessing than I’m hoping the reader is guessing all the way through.
- Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
I’m a huge character writer. They come to me as fully formed people with all their imperfections and joys and sorrows.
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
My biggest challenge? Getting published. I wrote 17 entire novels before I sold number 15- I’ve written 25 more since then – only one of those first 17 will see the light of day. I have since written four or five that haven’t found a publisher. Writing is a business. Not every book is going to find a market, but sometimes you have to write them anyway.
- Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
I love my agent. She is fantastic. The story is complicated. I had four agents before her and she is the only one who actually sold my novels. That makes her the perfect agent for me.
- What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
Right now I’m writing book 5 in the Candy Coated series and I’m writing proposals for two new projects. We’ll see where they land.
- What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
I have a full time job to pay the rent. But I typically write and hour or two a day. I’ve been writing for years and can write up to 20 pages in 20 hours. There are people who will argue that speed is bad, but I think it’s individual. The best part about books is that they can be rewritten up until the galleys. So there is always room for improvement.
- What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I recently quit my job and moved to California where I only knew a handful of people just because I was looking for good weather, ocean and mountains. It has been a great adventure.
- What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
People are surprised to learn I was in the US Air Force. I was the first woman to work on satellite downlink equipment. They sent me to Guam for 18 months where I worked with the Navy on Nimitz hill primarily tracking typhoons.
- What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
This is a terrible question- lol. What do readers really want to know?
- Where can we learn more about you and your books?
I have a website- www.nancyjparra.com and you can follow me on facebook @nancyjparraauthor or @nancyjcoco I also tweet under @nancyjparra
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? . Day- I love Sun
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Hee, hee - both
Beach or Pool? Beach – I love the sound of the surf.
Steak or salad? Steak- as a person with celiac I am forced to eat a lot of salad – it’s the safest thing on most menus so I like a good steak to mix things up.
Favorite Drink? Gin and Tonic
Favorite Book? Unfair- love all books- ALL books- lol.
Favorite TV Series? Right now it’s Castle – I’ve been a fan of Nathan Fillion since the series “Firefly”
Favorite Movie? Love them all- I’m such a story person.
Favorite Actor: Paul Newman
Favorite Actress: Helen Mirren
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Dirty Martini
Hawaii or Alaska? Alaska
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be ___________________ Jesus
If I had just one wish, it would be_________________________________________ to be able to make a living writing novels
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be _______Kate Capshaw
Nancy will give away a copy of FLOURLESS TO STOP HIM to one lucky commenter!
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
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* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
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Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends midnight, June 26!