Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Interview with Nancy Parra

Interview With Nancy Parra:
By Pamela James

MM2: First, Terri, and I want to welcome you to our blog. Now would you give us some back story on why and how you became an author?

Hi Pamela, Hi Terri, Thanks for having me on your blog. How did I become an author? I guess I always loved to read. Then in 5th grade I asked my best friend to write a pioneer book with me. She said, "No." So I wrote on my own. I still have a Star Trek Fan Fic piece I wrote in 8th grade. I didn't take it seriously until I took a creative writing course in college and two nontraditional class members told me I should write novels for a living. Their random comment got me started. 

MM2: How many books have you written? 

Well, let's see, I wrote 17 complete novels -when #15 sold. Since then I've published 18 new novels with one more out this year- two next year. Plus I've written maybe ten more that couldn't find a home. I'm lucky in that stories are like a box of tissues. I finish one and another pops up.

MM2: Where is your favorite place to write?

I write using a laptop so that I can write in my office or on the couch or at a coffee shop. We have so many more options now that computers are mobile. I would say writing on the couch is my favorite because the dog sits with me and keeps me company.

MM2: Take us through a typical writing day?

I try to write 5 to 10 pages a day and my goal is to treat it like a job and write on weekdays and take weekends off. But then I procrastinate and so sometimes I'm writing weekends. Usually I get coffee and check emails and then write with a goal of hitting my page count before I can do social media. I love reading blogs and interacting on Facebook and Twitter and such. Sometimes I end up writing late at night because the day got away from me. But I really try to hold to my personal deadlines.

MM2: What writing advice have you received that you would like to pass on to others?

There are two pieces actually. 1) Writers write-write every day at first. Never leave a book unfinished. The middles and the endings have a lot to teach you. 2) And when you become published, this from my friend, NYT Bestselling Author Julie Garwood: "Never believe your own press." That means don't believe the good and don't believe the bad. You can't control how others think about your work. Just do your best with each work and make yourself happy.

MM2: Tell us about your latest book and future writing plans?

I'm currently working on book 4 of the Candy Coated Series from Kensington which I write as Nancy Coco. This series is set on Mackinac Island Michigan which is a beautiful place where cars are not allowed and there are many gorgeous Victorian summer cottages. People travel by horse and carriage or bicycle.  This series will have a holiday novella come out in October. I'm also working on three super secret projects that I hope to have announcements out on later this Fall.

MM2: Do you re-read any of your favorite books? Do you watch reruns of your favorite shows? If so what are the books and shows?

I do reread old favorite books and I re-watch favorite TV shows. Right now I like "Big Bang Theory" and "Criminal Minds" as well as "CSI." The favorite books are too many to share here and I have a stack of new books to be read. I think it's a great time to be a reader. There are so many wonderful writers to be discovered.

MM2: What would you like to say to your readers?

I would like to thank them for reading. Readers are why I write so much. There is something magical about what the reader brings to the story when they read it. Sometimes they leave comments about things I had not realized were even in the book. 

MM2: What would your characters tell us about you?

Ha! Good question. They might say I don't always let them do what they want. Or that I torture them. They might say I don't write fast enough. Some characters haunt me for years before I have time to get their story down. Some haunt me after a story is written because I didn't get it published. One time I told a character to go away. I wasn't a good enough author at the time to tell their story and 18 months later another author had that story on bookshelves. After that I quit telling them to go away. lol. And no, I didn't know that other author at all - we never met and we never discussed the character or their story.

MM2: Lastly but always fun: What is your favorite meal ? Place to vacation? Tell us about where you live and why you like living there? Your favorite movie? What comes first the plot, setting or characters?

I have Celiac disease so I have to watch what I eat. That said I've lived a long time in Kansas and I like good Kansas City Barbecue. I'm lucky in that there are many KC places making gluten free BBQ sauce these days that is just as tasty as original sauces. 

I like to take cruises. I took the TCM Classic Movie cruise. What a fantastic time that was - they showed three theaters worth of classic movies every day and interviewed Mickey Rooney and Debbie Reynolds. Rich Little was on board and Alex Trebek as well as all the TCM channel hosts.

I recently moved to the west coast. I've lived in the Midwest my entire life and it was time for a change. I'm really enjoying the weather and the hiking and ocean.

It is difficult to choose a favorite movie. I love movies as you can tell from my TCM cruise. It was actually Star Wars the original that made me want to tell stories that left people feeling like they did when they left the movie theater.
Finally, character always comes first. Then I have to ask, who are you? Where do you come from? Why are you here? What is your journey? What do you want? What do you hate? What keeps you from getting what you want? How do you need to change? Is it for the good? Or do you fear you must change for the worst? What is your secret? And boom a book is born.

MM2: Leave us with some sage words of wisdom for living your life?

In life you are going to be afraid-everyone is. But think about the things you are most afraid of such as: Success? Failure? Love? Loss? Then do it anyway because what you fear is your soul telling you what you need to do. If for no other reason than to try. I promise you'll have a story to tell your family whether you win or lose. So go- write, paint, knit, travel, rescue animals, say hi to an interesting stranger in a coffee shop. Make life your story. Cheers and thanks for having me on your blog. 


  1. When I went to KC a co-worker of mine and his wife had a dispute over which BBQ was best and where to take me! I don't remember where we finally went but it was delicious!

  2. When I went to KC a co-worker of mine and his wife had a dispute over which BBQ was best and where to take me! I don't remember where we finally went but it was delicious!

  3. I live in Parsons, Kansas. My daughter lives in Blue Springs, Mo and works in Kansas City, Kansas. Her law firm orders a lot Gates barbeque.
    Maybe you will find a favorite place to eat in California. Probably not barbeque but maybe food trucks might also be fun.

  4. I know Nancy, personally, but am a big fan of her work, as well. I just finished another one of her fudge books and can't wait to read more. I love them. Her writing is just like a gooey treat, you can't read just one. Good blog article on a very interesting person. Nancy Parra is a great human being. A winning combination of writer and person, for sure!


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