This week on Author on the Couch,
I conduct a session with
Nan is giving away a copy of A SAVANNAH CHRISTMAS WISH to one random person who comments on this blog!
Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Nan: My brother committed suicide when he was 38. He hid his depression too well, being the consummate salesman. His death was a catalyst to my father’s heart attack six months later and then my mother succumbing to her cancer thirteen months later. (That’s 43% of my family gone in 20 months.) Luckily my remaining three sisters and I have stayed very close.
Me: So often people who commit suicide are not thinking–or capable of thinking–about the devastation their action causes to others. It’s a sad situation for everyone.
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Nan: Optimism. There are so many rejections in this business. When I submitted to contests, agents and editors, if I got a bad score or a rejections, I would give myself twenty-four hours to grieve. Then I would move on to the next submission or book.
Me: What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Nan: Self-doubt. My previous career was as a financial executive. Most days, there were right and wrong answers. I used my creativity to think outside of the box and problem solve, always with the ability to bounce ideas off my team. Now, I pour my heart and angst into a book, spending months drafting and revising. Alone. I do have a critique group, but since I am now on deadline, they can’t get through my books fast enough. By the time I’m through with a book, I have no clue if the writing is any good.
Me: Self doubt is a dominant theme among my Authors on the Couch. I too suffer with it.
What was your high point as a writer—a time when you were happiest, on cloud nine, flying high?
Nan: The day my agent, Laura Bradford called to tell me I’d sold SOUTHERN COMFORTS. I’d talked to my pregnant daughter that morning because she’d been in the ER the night before. (If you check out my Facebook page, this is Fluffy Top’s Mom.) I slipped the phone in my robe pocket where it stayed most of the day. It was also during the Heartbreak virus, so I had my internet shut off. I worked until almost four before deciding I really needed to find my phone. Laura had been trying to get hold of me half the day! Phone, email, she’d even hinted on Twitter.
Me: What a fun story to be able to tell–missing the call, the email, the tweet…
What was your low point as a writer—a time when questioned your path as a writer, a time when you felt really crappy about your writing?
Nan: I was a 2011 Golden Heart finalist (SOUTHERN COMFORTS). The manuscript had gotten some interest from agents. One agent asked for an exclusive. Since it was so near RWA, I agreed. The exclusive expired without me hearing from the agent.
Disappointed, I sent out more queries. I ran into the agent who had asked for the exclusive at a party during RWA. We got to talking, she was saying all the right things about my writing and my career and she made a verbal offer of representation. I was ecstatic.
Two weeks later, the agent sent me a letter, rescinding the offer. When she’d made the verbal offer, she hadn’t finished the book.
I was devastated. I couldn’t tell anyone about this … disgrace … for almost two weeks. I did get a call from Laura Bradford during that time, rejecting the same manuscript, but telling me she wanted me to keep submitting to her. That call gave me the boost I needed to keep writing.
Me: Being a mental health counselor I’m curious… If you had to pick a mental disorder to have for only one day (purely for writer research purposes), which one would you choose? Why?
Nan: I would pick dyslexia. Nathan, the hero of my current work in process, is dyslexic. He believes his flaw makes him stupid. I cannot imagine my brain being wired so differently that I couldn’t interpret written or spoken language easily.
Me: How many books have you written? How long does it typically take you to write a book? What’s the most painful part of the writing process for you?
Nan: I’m pretty sure I have written 14 books. Why am I in doubt? Because the first books I wrote are backed up on hard diskettes!
Now that I write on contract, my process is becoming more streamlined. I allowed 5 months between books, but those five months included six to seven weeks of work on A SAVANNAH CHRISTMAS WISH. (I have spreadsheets that I use to track each step.) Drafting the book is the hardest steps in my process. But once I have something written, I can start to shape the story and figure out what stays and what goes. In SOUTHERN COMFORTS I cut a wedding, which I loved. Now it’s appearing in A SAVANNAH CHRISTMAS WISH from Bess and Daniel’s points of view.
Me: If you could have dinner with any famous author who would it be? Why?
Nan: Oh my–Rudyard Kipling because my grandfather was in the British cavalry in WWI stationed in India. He fell in love with the country. When my grandparents came and lived with us for a little over a year, he always recited or read his work to us. Grandpa Crapper even taught my five-year-old sister to recite the entire Gunga Din. (Yes – my mother’s maiden name was Crapper. That a whole ‘nother story!)
Me: Tell me about your book A SAVANNAH CHRISTMAS WISH
A relationship in need of renovation
Bess Fitzgerald is thrilled to be overseeing the expansion of her family’s B and B. Working with Daniel Forester, not so much. After one wild night, they agreed to stay out of each other’s lives. The attraction still sizzles between them now, but Daniel’s need to be in control and Bess’s impulsive nature continually drive them apart.
Keeping their relationship professional is harder than Bess anticipated. And it’s not long before they give in to temptation. Suddenly it’s clear Daniel needs her in a way she never thought possible. This may be the year Bess finally gets her Christmas wish!
Me: Share with us a favorite paragraph or two from your newest release. Why do you love this paragraph?
The music shifted to a jazzy slow wail. Daniel wasn’t about to hold Bess in his arms. He turned to leave the floor.
“Come on.” Bess caught his hand. Her hazel eyes sparkled with gold in the ballroom’s dim light. “You boasted you could be around me for an entire evening.”
He should run. Instead he stepped close and her hands slid around his neck. Like a jigsaw puzzle, her curves fit his angles.
He sucked in the heady scents of lemon, flowers and earth. This was a mistake, but he couldn’t pull away.
They were too close for a friendly dance. Close enough for him to feel her nipples, hard and firm under her dress. His leg slipped between hers.
She looked at him through half-closed eyes. “I hate you, you know.”
He exhaled. “I know.”
I love this section because Daniel and Bess have history. He hates her impulsive nature and she wants him to loosen up. To find their happily-ever-after they have to deal with the baggage they’ve carried around for ten years.
To Purchase A SAVANNAH CHRISTMAS WISH go to:
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