Interview with Nancy G. West
By Pamela James
MM2: Nancy what comes first, the plot, characters or the setting?
Pamela and Terri, Thank you for having me!
Aggie Mundeen popped into my head as a supporting character while I was writing my suspense novel, Nine Days to Evil. I looked around to see who was seated in class with my protagonist, Meredith, and was fascinated by Aggie. She was funny, smart, obstreperous and peculiarly wise. She announced she wouldn’t let me finish Nine Days until I promised to write a book about her. Or maybe a series. She’s not shy. I was snagged.
Details are revealed at https://stayyoungwithaggie.wordpress.com/
MM2: How many books and genres have you written and penned?
Nine Days to Evil – suspense. Winner of the Blether Gold Award
AGGIE MUNDEEN MYSTERIES
Single, pushing forty and afraid of nothing but descending into middle-age decrepitude, Aggie struggles to shape up at the health club before anyone discovers she writes the column, "Stay Young with Aggie." To capture the attention of a San Antonio detective, she tries to “help” with his investigations. He is not pleased.
Fit to Be Dead #1 – Lefty Award Finalist for Best Humorous Mystery
Dang Near Dead #2 – A “Must Read.” Southern Writers Magazine
Smart, but Dead #3 – Aggie, approaching the big 40, returns to college to learn about the genetic effects of aging. But she discovers a dead academic, winds up prime suspect and is on target to become next campus corpse.
(Available for pre-order August 24, 2015.)
MM2: Tell us about your writing schedule?
If I exercise and eat early, I write from eleven-thirty a.m. to about five p.m. On days I don’t exercise, I start at nine and work until five or until I poop out, whichever comes first.
MM2: Are there books you like to re-read?
Not really. I enjoy and absorb them the first time and make notes about lyrical language, winsome characters or intriguing plots. The better I like a book, the slower I read.
MM2: What writing advice do you have for writers who want to write series?
Create a character who fascinates you and is a mishmash of good and bad qualities. Know her background, current status, goals, desires, fears, the kinds of trouble most likely to unravel her, and her strengths and weaknesses. Is she multi-faceted enough to sustain a series?
Think about places and situations that will point up her assets and highlight her foibles.
Can you create character arcs for her so she learns something in each book that changes her? Can you have her grow and develop over the course of the series without losing her personality and voice?
What kinds of supporting characters and dilemmas can you conjure up to goad her into action?
Make notes on these items before you start writing the series.
MM2: After a long day of writing. What do you do to de-stress?
Watch the five-thirty news. It’s a different variety of stress. Have a glass of wine…crackers…cheese. Or listen to music in a breezy outdoor place.
MM2: What would your characters say about you?
That I’m a slave driver who won’t let them rest. That I put them in dangerous or humorous situations and expect them to claw their way out. That sometimes I weaken and let them have their way.
MM2: Are you a member of a writing group?
Yes, Third Monday Writers and Writers’ League of Texas. But I’d like to be in an online two-to-four person critique group of published (or soon-to-be published) mystery writers.
MM2: In closing what would you like to say to your readers?
Thank you for loving Aggie and her friends like I do. They’ll frustrate you, scare you, irritate you, endear themselves to you and make you laugh, but I don’t think they’ll bore you.
Thank you, Pamela and Terri, for sending great questions!
Come visit me here,
Henery Press: http://henerypress.com/nancy-g-west/
and check the sites for notice of contests, giveaways and miscellaneous shenanigans leading to the release of Aggie’s third mystery-fiasco-romance, SMART, BUT DEAD.