Hi Nancy! And thanks for coming to the site!
What genre do your books fall into? That’s a hard one, because I’ve written hard-core mysteries as well as some that fall toward being cozy. The two adult novels that I have out right now, “The Door to Love” and “Wannabe” are romance, with suspense (both from Wild Rose Press). My more gritty books (which I’ve not yet found a traditional publisher for) “The Spa Murders” and “The Virgin Murders” are now up on Kindle and will be out through Smashwords soon. My work for juveniles includes seven picture books (five now out of print) and one easy reader mystery. So you can see I’m all over the place!
What inspires you to write? I don’t know that I’ve ever felt ‘inspired’ so I’m not sure what that’s like. I just know it’s something I have to do and I can’t imagine how boring it (and I) would be if I wasn’t always thinking of characters and stories in my head.
Do you listen to music or set the mood somehow to get writing?
No. I’ve tried that but I found out that it’s too distracting. If I have music on I find myself singing along and thinking about who wrote that and who’s singing, and it totally takes me out of what I ought to be doing. I tried lighting a candle every time I was going to write, but that was pretty hokey. Guess I’m just stuck with me and my characters.
Do you come up with the plot or characters first? The MC first, and then her situation – who is she, what does she do, what does she hate, what are her secrets? Then what kind of man (or circumstance) is going to disrupt her life? Is somebody going to be murdered? Who? From there I try to plan a plot, but that’s the hardest part for me. I’m not a good outliner and have to bumble along to find my way.
Do you have a favorite book? Oh, my, yes – about a thousand ‘favorites!’ There are so many good stories over the years, but I don’t reread many because the new ones take over. When I’m choosing a new read I look for my favorite authors first, then new ones. Probably, if I actually had to choose one favorite from the many, I would say that Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine” wins the contest.
Who would you consider an influence on your writing? Again, that’s a hard one because there are so many authors and they each have particular talents. If I could only roll them all into one: ME! (Grin) If I’m working on a mystery, I’ll reread some of Ruth Rendell, James Lee Burke or Jeffrey Deaver. If a romance, Nora Roberts. For just plain wonderful writing of characters and description, Anne Rivers Siddons.
Tell me something quirky about yourself. Whew! Is it quirky to want to try something new all the time? Like bungee jumping off the high bridge in New Zealand? What a rush that was! I have a very short bucket list now: I want to sky dive. Maybe next summer.
What do you aim to make people feel when they read your books? First, I want to entertain them. That is, keep them interested in the story because they care about the MC and what’s happening to her. I want them to feel they are inside that character, going through the highs and lows of relationships and circumstances, and think about whether they should, or would, act as she/he does. Many times I think I sure wouldn’t do what they did, either!
Do you sing in the shower? I never think of it. Probably a good thing.
What’s next for you? I’m working on a mystery that takes place in the North Woods involving one murder and possibly another, a push-me, pull-you relationship between a writer and a deputy, both of whom have declared love off limits. I know where I want to get to at the end but darn, I wish I better at plotting!
Where can you be reached? I’m just getting into the marketing part of this business (which I hate – guess I was always brought up to not ‘blow your own horn’). I’m in the process of building a website (nancysweetland.com) which isn’t coming together much better than my current WIP. I have a blog (nancysweetland.blogspot.com) but haven’t done much with it and am just getting started with Facebook and Twitter. It’s all confusing and I need an assistant to do that stuff so I can just write!
Nancy Sweetland, writing ever since getting her first rejection at age 13, has published articles, juvenile stories, poetry, picture and chapter books and won awards in regional, national and international contests. Her romance novels, THE DOOR TO LOVE and WANNABE, (Wild Rose Press) are available from amazon.com. THE VIRGIN MURDERS, her first adult mystery, and THE SPA MURDERS will be available online soon. Always a reader, she thrives on fiction and the excitement of following her own characters through the unexpected events in their lives. She loves Scrabble, golf, and being with her large and interesting family. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.