Meow! My guest this week is author Nancy Haddock!
Nancy Haddock is an award-winning and national bestselling author of mystery romance who now writes cozy mystery. Basket Case, the first book in the Silver Six Crafting mysteries, will be released in Sept. 2015 with Berkley Prime Crime. Her earlier books, also with Berkley, are La Vida Vampire, Last Vampire Standing, and Always The Vampire, feature Cesca, aka “Gidget with fangs,” and are set in Haddock’s current hometown, St. Augustine, FL. Nancy draws on historic wealth, southern culture, and the plain old quirkiness of places for her books. She lives with her husband and rescue dog Baron, and hopes that a cat finds her soon.
R: Welcome Nancy! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
First and foremost, thank you so much for inviting me to spend time with you, Rocco! You are one slick cat!
To answer the question, according to my late mother, I dictated stories for her to write when I was three. I don’t specifically remember that, but I do recall stories consistently running in my head. I’ve loved reading and storytelling since I can remember, so I suppose writing is simply part of who I am.
R: What drew you to the cozy genre?
I love mysteries, the puzzle of them. Growing up on a diet of Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and the Hardy Boys helped, and I still read cozies by the handful. Can I stomach the more hard boiled mystery? Yes! But I don’t read them as steadily as I do cozies.
R: You’ve also written about vampires. Tell us a bit about those books.
La Vida Vampire, Last Vampire Standing, and Always The Vampire were actually mystery-romances with Cesca, a “Gidget with fangs” being an amateur sleuth! Cesca was buried for over 200 years, discovered during a home restoration, and now must learn to adjust to 21st century life with the help of her mentor/ girlfriend. She gets a job as a ghost tour guide, and when one oddball tourist is killed, Cesca is a suspect. I had a blast with Cesca, and her friends, including her mysterious guy, Saber!
R: Tell us about your new cozy series and first release, BASKET CASE.
When “Nixy” Nix visits her aunt in Lilyvale, Arkansas, she fears Sherry Mae may have dementia. Instead, Sherry and her five housemates are perfectly competent, and battling a real estate developer who wants Sherry Mae’s ancestral home and land. When the developer is found dead in the family cemetery, Nixy must prove Sherry Mae is innocent of murder before the killer strikes again.
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share? How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
My agent story is odd. My agent first rejected me, very nicely. I got that e-mail on a Monday. On Wednesday I got THE CALL. After consulting with several trusted writer friends, I phoned the agent who had rejected me to ask if she would look over the contract. Instead, she offered representation on the first contract, and we’ve stayed together since! Love the woman!
As to THE CALL, well, I’d been writing a very loooong time. When the editor phoned, I was so surprised, I had trouble taking in that I had finally sold. Fortunately, my RWA training kicked in, and I was able to behave professionally (save the loud gasps of OMG every now and then). Then, yes, I screamed a little and danced around my office.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
I used to have small rituals, but those went out the door. Now, it’s pretty much sitting down and getting to it. If there is distracting noise in the house—aka hubby—then I pop on the earphones and listen to new age/ spa/ nature sounds. Most music has me humming along, singing along, or chair dancing, so I don’t have a writing sound track.
As for creative aids, well, the occasional handful of frozen M&Ms doesn’t hurt. Or a handful of Mike and Ike Red Rageous candies.
R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
I don’t know about a single moment, but I love the British Regency period, and would love to visit that time period!
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I’ve done a Vision Quest on a Lakota reservation.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
Probably taking the Vision Quest trip. I went with people I didn’t know at all or know well, which was stepping out of my comfort zone. I slept in a tent when my idea of camping is a hotel without a restaurant. I prepared for the Quest for months, including taking Lakota language lessons. And, no, I didn’t understand everyone, but I understood some.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
I hope readers leave my books feeling good, feeling that they had fun with the characters and the story, and feeling that they want to read the next book.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I have a general outline with plot points, but for the most part, I’m a pantser.
R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
I used to have one craft after another going, and now that I’m writing about folk art and crafts, I want to get into those again. But, alas, I don’t have nearly the time right now!
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
My website is www.nancyhaddock.com, and you’ll find about anything you want to know there. And things you didn’t want to know!
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
No matter what, keep writing! Whether you want and choose to be traditionally published, or you elect to e-publish, keep writing. And keep reading! Polish your skills, find a good critique group, let the stories pour out of you. If you want to be a published writer, WRITE!
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? I’m a night owl, but I also need to see and be out in the sun for a while each day.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) I love dogs and cats. We have a recuse dog now, but I’m yearning for a cat. We haven’t had one since 2002 … which is waaaay too long!(R: I can understand that, Nancy! Cats are WAAAY COOL!) Perhaps about Christmas time?
Beach or Pool? I live a 2-minute walk from the beach, so it’s the beach for me!
Steak or salad? Love salad, but I need meat!
Favorite Drink? Sweet tea
Favorite Book? Argh! I don’t have a single favorite; I have dozens and dozens!
Favorite TV Series? Again, multiple favs, but NCIS is high on the list.
Favorite Movie? I’m going with Father Goose.
Favorite Actor: Cary Grant is my all-time fav!
Favorite Actress: Hmm. Katharine Hepburn.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada though I’m allergic to the alcohol in both.
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Jane Austen.
If I had just one wish, it would be … is world peace too Miss Congeniality? I would truly love to live in a world without conflict and constant threats.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be no one. We all have our unique talents and skills, life victories and life challenges. I’d rather deal with my own challenges than someone else’s.
Thanks, Nancy! Folks here’s where you can find out more about her:
Nancy will give away a copy of Basket Case, paperback or e-book, winner’s choice, to one lucky commenter! (US entries only, please)
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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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 Thursday October 22.