Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday's Guest - Author Nancy Cohen


Please help me welcome Nancy Cohen to It's Not All Gravy. Nancy is the author of Shear Murder and is here talking about her book and what keeps her motivated to write.
Question #1: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, ever since I can remember I’ve been writing. At first, it was poems and short stories and a Shakespearean type play which I forced my summer camp mates to act out. I began the submission process quite young, but it wasn’t until grad school that I decided to write a novel. One of the most important things I did to boost my career was to join Romance Writers of America and attend conferences and monthly chapter meetings.

Question #2: Tell us a little bit about your latest book. 
Shear Murder is the tenth book in my Bad Hair Day mystery series. It’s the culmination of a personal journey for my hairstylist sleuth, Marla Shore. It’s about weddings and new beginnings. Just when Marla is planning her own nuptials, she gets caught up in another murder investigation. Marla is a bridesmaid at her friend Jill’s wedding when she discovers the matron of honor—the bride’s sister— dead under the cake table. She has a lot going on in her life, but when Jill pleads for her help in solving the case, Marla can’t refuse. It’s a fast-paced tale with humor, romance, and suspense as Marla races to find the killer before her wedding day arrives.

Question #3:  I noticed on your Website that you write books that mix genres a lot. Why do you think those types of books are so popular with readers?  
Mixed genre stories stretch the boundaries. You’re not limited by conventions of a particular type. You can blend these expectations, add unexpected elements, and surprise the reader. I really like combining sci-fi and fantasy with romance. Those stories of mine are romantic adventure tales set in another universe. Paranormal mysteries are another type of mash-up, popular with mystery lovers who like an otherworldly touch in their stories. It’s like adding spice to a recipe. My mysteries, however, are straight whodunits with a touch of humor.

Question #4: Have you always been a lover of books and stories? What did you read as a child?
I was a devoted fan of Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, and Judy Bolton. I couldn’t wait for the next Nancy Drew book to come out. That was my favorite, but Cherry Ames stories inspired me to become a nurse. And Judy Bolton influenced my writing in that she grew and changed as a character. She got married, whereas Nancy Drew has changed very little over time. It’s much more interesting when you follow a character’s growth. Horatio Hornblower is another example of how a fictional character evolves over the course of a series. Thus my heroine sleuth, Marla Shore, matures during the stories to a woman who embraces her new family.

Question #5: Tell us a little about your family.  Has your family been supportive of your writing? 
My husband is retired and we’re empty nesters with two grown children. He knows to leave me alone when I’m writing, which is early in the morning. They’re all proud of my work.

Question #6: Most writers put a bit of themselves in their characters. Is there one in particular that you think has some of your characteristics? 
Marla Shore and I share similar backgrounds, traditions, and values. In some ways, she is me, but in other ways, she’s a lot braver! I wish I had her skills as a hairstylist, and I admire her talents. We also share the nurturing nature from my nursing career. Marla likes making people look good because then they feel better about themselves. It boosts their self-esteem.

Question #7: Many writers have pets. Do you? Do you include any in your stories?
Marla has a poodle named Spooks who takes after our late dog, who died at the ripe old age of nearly 17. Most of Spooks’ antics happened to our dear pet.

Question #8: What do your think your best friend from high school would say about you now? 
She admires my accomplishments. Seriously. We connected on Facebook.

Question #9: What is it that keeps you writing - money, success, readers or simply satisfying the creative urge?
Readers are the number one reason why I keep writing. So please continue your fan mail and positive reviews! Pleas for more Marla stories are what inspired me to finish Shear Murder after my previous publisher cancelled the series. If not for reader demand, I would not have completed this book. Also, being a writer is not a switch I can turn off. I love telling stories and sharing my imaginary worlds with booklovers. If I did it for money or success, I’d have quit a long time ago!

Question #10: What would you like to say to the people who read your books? 
Thank you so very much for being devoted readers, for following my work, and for your supportive comments. I have saved every letter or email written to me, that’s how much it means. You’re my inspiration. Keep reading!
~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy J. Cohen is an award-winning author who writes romance and mysteries. Her popular Bad Hair Day series features hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, while Nancy’s imaginative sci-fi romances have garnered rave reviews. Her latest book, and tenth in her mystery series, is Shear Murder from Five Star Cengage/Gale. Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets.

Shear Murder

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44 comments:

jenny milchman said...

Another cleverly titled mystery! (I've been reading about Lois Winston's latest). Best of luck with it!

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thanks, Jenny! I enjoy creating the titles for the Bad Hair Day series.

Allison Chase said...

What a wonderful interview! I so glad you decided to continue with Marla with a 10th book and I hope there will be more. You're so right about watching a character evolve over time-it's fun and makes that character seem like an old friend. By the way, your trailer is adorable!

Nancy said...

Lovely interview! Nancy, when I was growing up we had a cat named Spooky. I find myself wondering if you are still nursing and would you ever write a series about a nurse who solves mysteries? I do hope that you continue to write stories about Marla Shore!

Cathy Perkins said...

I enjoy reading a series, watching the characters grow and change. The latest in this one sounds like a fun read.

Nancy said...

I love this series and hope it continues. Marla is someone that I definitely could be freind swith.

Maryann Miller said...

Thanks for stopping by the blog on your tour, Nancy. Like so many others, I really like the concept of your series. Cozy mysteries are so popular and it's because of characters like Marla.

Maryann Miller said...

Forgot to mention how neat it was to read that you connected with your best friend on Facebook. Love it!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

just love your books thank you for writing such wonderful books

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful opportunity of winning a book! And, I am appreciating author's more and more each day!

Lynn/MI lynn@tangledyarn.com

Cynthia Thomason said...

So happy to see Shear Murder available, Nancy. I've read all the Bad Hair Day mysteries and this one is one of the best. Keep writing and believing in yourself.
Cynthia

Maggie Toussaint said...

I enjoyed your interview very much, Nancy. A lot of what you said rang true with me, especially that our characters are braver, bolder versions of our fantasy selves. I also admire your writing blended genre stories. I'm a blender myself (grin).

Wishing you all the best with Shear Murder!

Maggie Toussaint
Death, Island Style coming in March

Dru said...

Love the interview and I can't wait to read Shear Murder.

Diane Williams Shaw said...

Loved the interview, and I look forward to reading more. Congrats on the new book, keep 'em coming!

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thanks, Allison. I had a lot of fun picking out the characters for the trailer and selecting the music.And you're right about watching a character evolve over time.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Nancy, I am retired from nursing. As for writing a mystery series involving a nurse, I don't think so. Not humorous enough for me. And I do have ideas for more Marla stories.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Cathy, I hope you'll take a look at Shear Murder. It was a very gratifying book to write from the viewpoint of the character development.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Maryann, thanks so much for having me! I appreciate this opportunity and the chance for you to share this post with your friends.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thank you, Cindy, for your vote of faith! You know I couldn't do it with you.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Maggie, thanks so much for stopping by. I mostly wish I had Marla's hairdressing skills, never mind her bravery!

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Dru and Diane, I appreciate your comments. It's always nice to know someone reads these posts!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Nancy and Maryann,

A very interesting interview! I think mixing genres makes for more interesting reading. One of the things I do like about writing novels for Five Star/Gale is that writers do get to experiment and write out of the box. I'm not a fan of strict formula fiction. Here's hoping for your continued success!

Morgan Mandel said...

Very creative title for this book and the others in the series!
I also believe in mixing genres, one reason being my mind flits around a lot anyway.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Julie Palella said...

Great interview! It's been so fun keeping up with Marla! Great job, Nancy!

LD Masterson said...

Very nice interview. I'm a big fan of mixed genres. So nice not to be boxed in by specific expectations.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thanks so much, Jacqueline. Yes, that's the advantage of smaller presses and epubs. You can stretch the boundaries. Morgan, Julie, and LD, I appreciate your comments. In terms of mixed genres, I do like a romantic subplot in the mysteries I read. My paranormal romances are really where I blend the genres when I'm writing, though.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Nancy,
Congratulations on your new mystery. I look forward to reading about Marla's latest adventures.

I, too, liked Cherry Ames. Had every book in that series.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thank you, Marilyn. I imagine the Cherry Ames books would seem real dated these days but they were good for the times.

Maryann Miller said...

I must be the only purist who really doesn't like mixing a lot of genres. I know so many of my writer friends really enjoy writing outside the norm for a genre, and lots of readers love stories like that. I'm just a simple meat and potatoes girl. I like a mystery. Sometimes I like paranormal. But I don't want them touching. LOL

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Maryann, I've read some paranormal mysteries that I enjoy. Defending Angels by Mary Stanton is a recent title that was fun. And I like some historical mysteries, too. So every now and then, it's nice to try something new within a subgenre. Usually, I like a straight whodunit with a romantic subplot and a touch of humor.

Terry Odell said...

I've always considered myself a genre-straddler, probably because I thought I was writing a mystery that turned out to be a romance. I've enjoyed your Marla Shore books and will check out your others.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thanks for visiting, Terry. I enjoy your romantic suspense novels, too.

marybelle said...

You are a new author to me. I'm pleased to have found you.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thanks, Marybell, for dropping by. Glad you could join us!

Since I am an early to bed type, I'm going to sign off for now, but I will check again in early morning and respond to new comments then.

Maryann, thanks again for hosting me on your site!

cynthia said...

I love your bad hair day mysteries. I'm sad to hear that the original publisher cancelled it. I've loved following the adventures of Marla and am glad that you have the chance to finish it.

Maryann Miller said...

It was great having you here, Nancy. Glad that we had lots of visitors today.

Maryann Miller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy J. Cohen said...

Cynthia, thanks for your kind comments about my series. I hope you'll let me know how you like Shear Murder and if you'd want to read more Marla stories in the future.

June Shaw said...

What an interesting story, Nancy. I've always enjoyed reading your books, and now I know more about your creation of them. I look forward to reading number 10.

Maureen Hayes said...

Thank you for writing for us, the readers! Thank you for giving us a chance to in a copy of your book. I think it always shows when an author connects with their audience. I really liked getting to read your responses here and learning more about you.

GladysMP said...

Boy, I was a fan of Nancy Drew books,too. At our Junior High School the Nancy Drew books never went back to the library shelf before we found out who had a copy checked out and went to check it out when they returned it.

cyn209 said...

just discovered your mystery series!! already added to my WishList!!!

thank you for the giveaway!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Nancy J. Cohen said...

June, I hope you like number 10!Maureen, thanks for stopping by.
Gladys, didn't you wish the writers of Nancy Drew would have put out books more frequently? I couldn't wait to get the next one. Cyn, I hope you'll check out my series. Marla is a fun character to spend time with.