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Interview with Nancy G. West

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

MM2: How many books and genres have you written and penned?

       Nine Days to Evilsuspense. Winner of the Blether Gold Award

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,

Twitter: @NancyGWest_
Henery Press:

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.   


  1. Replies
    1. Me, too, Terri. Watching the news drags me back to the real world from Aggie's world. Snacks make the news sound better.

  2. Nancy,
    Thank you for doing the interview. I enjoyed your writing advice.

  3. Pam and Terri,
    Thank you for the great questions!

  4. What a great interview!

    Excellent writing advice, and I love that Aggie made you promise to write a book about her. :)

    1. Cynthia, I think Meredith (my other protagonist) and I were both tired of being serious. That's when Aggie popped up.

  5. Wow, Nancy, I admire your long days of writing. Great interview!

    1. Annette, I have to confess that all the days aren't that long. (:

  6. Great questions and answers! I really enjoyed this interview!

    1. Thanks, Susan. I really liked their questions.

  7. I think my comment didn't go through right the first time, but enjoyed the interview here. Your comments on creating character are great--and in tune with the very questions/goals I'm dealing with right now in thinking about one of my characters!

    1. That's great, Art. Now, if you'll just teach me how to write short stories . . ..

  8. Love this advice for new writers interested in writing a series: "Create a character who fascinates you." That way you'll never get bored :)

    1. I love it when Aggie does outlandish things. (Good thing Sigmund Freud isn't around.)

  9. As for being a slave driver. . .I think it goes both ways. Good writing advice, Nancy!

    1. Yes, Aggie can get on my nerves. She wants me to start writing a scene before I really know the nuts and bolts of the story.

  10. Great post, Nancy! I especially like your advice about creating character arcs before writing the series.

    1. Thanks, Cindy. I had to remind myself of that after the first book in the series. My brain has now become accustomed to that rhythm. With everything that happens, I'm having to look forward.
      Is it almost time for the news?

  11. Great advice, Nancy. And congrats on your upcoming release!

    1. Thanks, Terri. I bet I could get good advice from every one of you.

  12. I admire your disciplined writing hours.Mine don't start until after three cups of coffee and the NYTimes online. Also like the advice to create a character who fascinates me. Best wishes on your new release

    1. I agree, Bourne. Coffee definitely gets all the burners firing. The disciplined writing hours...maybe a slight exaggeration?

  13. I agree with wine and cheese break at five. Writing can get stressful, but you've obviously chosen characters that replenish you. Cheers to your new book.

    1. What else can both stress and replenish us that's so much fun? Thanks for the cheers: Aggie has been hounding me to get this story out.

  14. Thanks to Pamela and Terri for hosting me and giving me thought-provoking questions,
    and to all of you for coming, sharing your thoughts and making this a great day!


  15. I love your advice on creating a series! Great interview.

  16. Great interview! I love your advice for aspiring writers, Nancy.


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