A Peek Into Your Life Nancy Wood

A peek into your life, is a segment spotlighting authors, specialists, and friends who brave my countless questions day in and day out. It's the best way I can share with you all, the many people who taught me the bizarre things I know, who satisfy my thirst for knowledge and adventure, and who keep me motivated.

I met Nancy Wood through a publisher we share and her mystery series intrigued me. You can visit her at her site HERE.

Her books Due Date and The Stork are about a woman who agrees to be a surrogate mother for cash, but soon discovers that something is amiss with the family she is carrying twins for. I have yet to read it, but am looking forward to diving into this one. I jumped at the opportunity to interview Nancy and find out a bit about her writing and her life.

Where did you get the idea for The Stork?
This book is the second book in a mystery series. I got the idea when I was attending a writing workshop. The idea I'd come with was a dud, and I came up with this idea while working in a group. That was over ten years ago. It took me five years to finish the first book in the series, Due Date, and six more to finish this one. Hopefully the third won't take as long! The character's name is Shelby McDougall. In Due Date, she's fresh out of college and decides to become a surrogate mom. But the intended parents are not who they seem, and have their own agenda. The second book picks up Shelby's story five+ years later. The third, the one I'm working on, will be set in the not-too-distant future.
Is there a message you try to pass on while writing? Or a theme that emerges naturally?
When I was writing this book, I realized that I always like to write about nature. I live in a beautiful part of the world (Santa Cruz, California) and I love to place my characters in the outdoors, so that I can write about what's around me.

What is the best thing that has come out running your blog?
Definitely my author interview series. I post an interview every week with an author. I love meeting other authors, learning about their books, and discovering tidbits about the writing process.

Where do you do your best writing?
At my desk, on my computer. My ideal writing time is in the morning, just after I get up, with my cup of tea.

What book would you recommend as "this is a book every writer should read”?
I really benefited from Your Book Starts Here, by Mary Carroll Moore. It's an excellent how-to book with sections on planning, writing, and developing the story. Her wisdom really helped me figure out the inner and outer stories and how to weave them into a coherent whole.

What one thing did you learn that you wish to pass on to other writers?
When you're writing, try to ignore that inner critic. I think everyone has one, and it will get you every time! I know from years of personal experience. My critic often perches on my shoulder as I write and I have to work really hard to not listen.

What is the best thing about where you live?
Access to the outdoors, with multiple places to go to get away from it all. I live close to several state parks that span acres and acres of land, encompassing coastal redwood forests and beaches along the Pacific Ocean. I love to hop on my bike and ride along the trails, or walk along the coastal path.

Based on your experience or research, what is a great place to travel to or visit? Why?
I was lucky to be able to spend last summer in the city of Ghent, Belgium. It has not been discovered in the sense of being on the heavily travelled tourist circuit. It's a university city, and is the second largest city in Belgium. The interior of the city, the ancient part of the city dating back to the middle ages, is a pedestrian zone, with only busses, trolleys, and taxis allowed. The city is crisscrossed by canals, and has retained its beautiful medieval architecture, including the Gravensteen Castle; St. Bavo's Cathedral, with the famous Ghent Altarpiece; three beguinages; and dozens of churches. I discovered the brand-new library, De Krook, and was in heaven. It was built on a curve (de krook) in the Scheldt River and is a real marvel.

Thank you so much Nancy for the peek into your life! That sounds like a place I for sure have to add to my travel list. Thanks for recommending Your Book Starts Here, that isn't one I read!! 

For more information about Nancy, or to check out her books you can find her at:
Website and blog: nancywoodbooks.wordpress.com
Twitter: @NancyWoodAuthor

Interview with AHF

I was interviewed by Alternate History Fiction Magazine this year. This is a great magazine full of things any alternate history buff will enjoy from poetry to interviews and reviews.

Wanting to know if the ghosts in Ghosts on the Prairies are inspired by real ghosts or if the legends in Legends on the Prairies are based on real myths? Or who inspired the heroines in my stories or even designed the incredible covers?

Be sure to check out the full interview at: AHF. It will later be available on their website HERE.
Available on Amazon 

Losing a Pet

Her first time with her feet in the water
She was not impressed that I did this to her.
Our family lost our St Bernard this year to old age. She lived an incredible life, but ran through it much too fast. She was with her pack, her alpha male holding her close, when she passed on.

One moment she was small enough to hold in two hands and the next her head filled my laptop.

I must say our home is extremely empty now. In the last twenty-two years we've always had a pet, adopting her when our first two babies were in their senior years. Every time we turn around, she's missing.

Her trying to figure out why my breath
smells like peanut butter.
She was not impressed that I didn't share.
Owning a pet is huge commitment. But I have to say she made it easy. What a wonderful writing partner she was, walking companion, pillow, and best friend. And her memory was incredible, making her a great and safe pet for small children.

As a family we watched her grow from her puppy stages. She picked us for her family. It was quite amusing actually, to see her leave her brothers and sisters and just decide she was coming home with us. Our daughter and her bonded instantly and really, there was no choice to be made, she was one of us. We got to visit her many times before we brought her home, and every time was the same. She didn't even look back when she followed us to the car and just jumped in like she'd been planning her get-away and wouldn't leave us go again without her..

I can't say she was much of  a guard dog, because really, she loved people. So if someone would have tried to break in, we used to joke that she would have probably met them at the door to show them around. Of course, the wonderful thing about a giant breed is that they look intimidating and not like the teddy bear couch potato they really are. So we were safe with her anyway. Plus, she made a lot of noise when she got up, because she was so big, so there was that.

Refusing to come down the steps on
 her own.
Really not impressed that I wouldn't even
try to carry her.
She had one weakness: cats. Not sure what she would have done if she would have ever caught one, but she would run her short sprint, ears flapping, tail wagging, just happy as can be to be involved in the cliché chase. At first she would drag me behind her, sometimes on my ass. I had to practice letting go of the leash because my instinct was to hold tighter and I pulled quite a few muscles. So, as a family we had training sessions on how to let her go. Not as easy as it sounds, and we still struggle with this. Thankfully, she wasn't a long distant runner and usually gave up chase proud of herself in moments. But! Then every time we passed that spot for months, she'd relive the moment of that chase.

She hated water. Her fear was ridiculous. She wouldn't even go near the bathroom. I finally had to ask other St Bernard owners if it was just her or a breed thing. Turns out many St Bernards hate water. It made baths interesting and I'm sure over the years we gave our neighbours many chuckles since bath day was a family affair that involved bathing suits, hoses, brushes, towels, and a lot of laughter.

Her reviewing my work.
Still not impressed with me.
Sometimes, I see a meme where these dogs are running up and down the steps and the St Bernard won't budge on them. Yup. That was her. What a stubborn gal. But never in a bad way. If anything, she just made us laugh.

I think the best was watching her roll in the long grass on our walks. She made it look like so much fun! What a nut.

Our neighbours got a new pup recently, so she spent her last days watching him play. It seemed to amuse her as she tried to rest, content with life, as if knowing these were her final days.

There's so much to write about, so much she did in her long yet too short life, but most of all she helped make our house a home and we miss her. Gosh. We miss her.

Tell me about a pet that changed your life.