MM: Nancy give us the backstory on your career?
I began writing when my kids were little (since they’re nearly 19 and 21, you get an idea how long ago that was), jotting down as many words as possible during naps and distracted playtime. I took writing classes, attended conferences, and joined a hardy band of fellow writers who were my greatest supporters and are still my friends. I began writing romance novels, winning RWA’s Daphne award for a historical romantic
suspense that landed me my first agent, but unfortunately not a contract. It would take
several more years, manuscripts and a new, utterly marvelous agent to finally get ‘The Call’. When my publisher closed their fiction line, however, I was left adrift. My agent knew about my historical romantic suspense and suggested I try writing a mystery. Which I did and which became ‘No Comfort for the Lost.’
MM: What type of schedule do you have?
When I’m working full tilt on a book, my day usually starts around 8 in the morning, when
I catch up on my e-mail and social media. I start writing sometime around 10,
working until about 4 (or later, if I’m nearing deadline), and will spend a few more hours
catching up on mail and posts and doing a little promo after that. I work 6 days a week,
including holidays, but even when I’m on deadline, I take Sundays off. I simply have to
recharge at some point.
MM: Tell us about your latest work?
I’ve just handed in the edits on the 2nd book in my ‘A Mystery of Old San Francisco’
series, which is titled ‘No Pity for the Dead.’ My books take place in the 1860s after the
Civil War, and feature an English nurse, Celia Davies, and a handsome (of course!)
Police Detective, Nick Greaves, along with a host of colorful characters. Here’s a mini-
MM: If you could sit down to dinner with five people. Who would they be? What would you ask them?
Given the time period for my books, I’d like to meet some of the famous folks from 1860s San Francisco. People like Mark Twain and Bret Harte; Emperor Norton, who wasn’t
really an emperor, but did become an extremely popular tourist attraction; Levi Strauss; or the intriguing Jesse Benton Fremont, whose house overlooking the Golden Gate in the early 1860s became a salon for the San Francisco intellectual elite.
MM: What is your favorite place to vacation, dessert, song, movie and book to re-read?
Vacation: I have to choose? Any place with interesting history, lovely buildings and good
food! England is a favorite (no, honestly, there is good food there) as is New York City.
Dessert: Hm. It’s a toss-up between my mother’s blueberry pie and key lime pie, I think.
Song: Tough one. As a vocalist, there are songs I love to sing (Bach/Gounod’s ‘Ave
Maria’ or Darlene Zschech’s ‘Shout to the Lord’ or Wilson Picket’s ‘Mustang Sally’!). As a
listener, it depends on my mood. I love Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Never Going Back Again’, ‘Wild
Horses’ by the Stones, and ‘Tonight, Tonight’ by Smashing Pumpkins, to just name a few.
Movie: I watch ‘A Christmas Story’ every year, but I adore old classics, especially
Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’. Appeals to the mystery author in me, I suppose!
Book: I can’t recall the last time I reread a book. But I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Peters’
Amelia Peabody series (so sad she’s gone) and Lindsey Davis’ work.
MM: What would you like to say to your readers?
I hope that you find my tales of the folks who populated San Francisco in the 1860s, a
city filled with immigrants from all over the world, interesting and that you come to love
Celia and Nick and their family and friends, with all their quirks.
MM: What would your characters tell us about you?
That I keep putting them into perilous situations they’d rather not have to deal with!
MM: Tell us about where you live? Be our tour guide>
I live in a fairly normal central Ohio suburb, but am happy that we’re very close to
countryside and have lots of parks to take advantage of (as well as lots of great
restaurants with good food and some very lovely buildings)
MM: In closing leave us with a character quote?
‘Danger finds her like a bloodhound tracks a scent.’ — Nicholas Greaves thinking about