Interview: Ms. Nancy Weeks, Author of “In the Shadow of Pride“
Interviewer: Miguelina Perez
Tell us about Nancy Weeks the woman and the writer.
NW: Sometimes, I think who I am changes daily or I’m a book still being written. I have been happily married for over thirty-two years and a mother for twenty-six years. I decided before having kids that I wanted to be home with them. It went against the norm, but I felt that one hectic career in the family was enough. The moment both my kids were off to college, I began to write. Maybe I should have been on this path all along because it’s so fulfilling. And I have to say, I’m so proud to call myself an author.
I think that is great and you should be proud. It takes a lot of work, commitment and passion to achieve author-hood. Who is your favorite author? Why?
NW: Honestly, I don’t have a favorite author, at least not just one. One thing I never expected about becoming a writer was how it changed my reading habits. Publishing five books in a series in eighteen months doesn’t leave much room for reading. When I do find time to pick up a book, it’s a friend’s book from either Maryland Romance Writers or a fellow Crimson Romance author. So every book I read lately is my favorite author because they are so good.
What is it about writing that you love?
NW: There is a magic that happens while I’m working on a story that is very intriguing. I always write up an outline of each story before I begin which contains a brief explanation of beginning, middle, the dark moment and the end. But as I get deep into the writing, the story develops a voice of its own and leads me to a place I never imagined. Some people may think that it’s not magic at all, but my ability to get closer to the story and my characters. I think there is more to it. I somehow begin to think like them and even feel their emotions. You see this happen all the time when you are watching a good actor or actress. They are able to get so deep into their role, they almost become that character. Authors can have the similar experiences with their characters. It’s this incredibly special bond when I just shake my head and think, “where in the heck did that come from.” I may always end back up where I’m supposed to be, but those rare moments of magic make writing the most exciting job.
In your newest release, In the Shadow of Pride, and first two books in the series, In the Shadow of Greed and In the Shadow of Evil, your heroes have the last name of McNeil. Are they related?
NW: Yes, they are brothers. In the Shadow series explores the journey my five McNeil brothers take to find their happy-ever-after. As law enforcement officers, the five brothers’ lives intersect with the worst that mankind has to offer. While each brother feels his world is too dangerous to share with that one special woman, fate butts in and gives that extra hard push-and my heroes fall hard. But falling in love for any one of the McNeil brothers isn’t your typical fall-in-love. It changes their understanding of the world and there is no going back.
Will there be a fifth in the series? Or are you planning something else?
NW: I’m working on the fifth book now. In the Shadow of Vengeance will be released December 2014 and it be Noah McNeil’s story. I’m bringing my entire McNeil family together in one place in this last book. Noah is going to need all of his brothers to deal with what I have in store for him and the woman who he will fine his happy-ever-after with, Elizabeth Merlot.
Awesome! From all of the books you have written, which one do you consider your masterpiece? Why?
NW: I love the word masterpiece. I can’t say I’m there just yet. While I’m very proud of all the books in this series, In the Shadow of Pride came out of nowhere and just knocked my socks off. And the most surprising thing is that it only took three months to write. [Of course, that timeline doesn’t include the revision process.] Mac and Lexie consumed my heart, mind, toes hehehe. No one has seen me in months.
If you can go back in your writing career what would you do differently or wouldn’t?
NW: My writing career is so new-only about four years. There is nothing I would have done differently. I just wish I knew four years ago what I know now. My poor, wonderful editor would sure have had an easier job.
As a writer do you feel you have come full circle, i.e., are you achieving your passion?
NW: Not exactly full circle, but more of two great passions that have help me become the woman I’m supposed to be—if that makes sense. While I was a full time mother, I couldn’t have been happier or feel more blessed that I could be home while my kids grew. Now, it’s a real joy to get up in the morning and lose myself into my work in progress. Different passions but both were just as exciting, ever-changing. And to be honest, there were days in each ‘job’ I felt I needed to have my head examined.
Is there a character from one of your books that you molded after yourself?
NW: No, I have never molded one of my characters after myself. However, there is a piece of me in each book. My deep faith in the good in mankind, my belief in lasting love, my love of large, loud families–all those are a huge part of who I am and I can’t help making them part of my stories.
I totally understand. Any advice to new authors?
NW: Write! Revise! Write again. If you are serious about becoming a published author, accept that it’s not going to be an easy road. Take your writing seriously and learn your craft. Keep an open mind and be willing to sometimes change the way you see your story. Find a writing group to be part of. If you don’t know where to begin, then begin with me. Go to my website and contact me. I will gladly tell you what I have learned. My most important piece of advice: You will never be published if your manuscript never leaves your laptop. You have to query it out all over the place. When you receive a rejection, read it, learn from it, store it away in its own file, and get back to writing.
What are your thoughts on publishing the traditional way versus e-publishing?
NW: I hope I understand this question. My first and only publishing contract is with Crimson Romance -A Division of F + W Media, Inc. Crimson Romance is an e-publisher who will release our books in paperback as a Print on Demand [POD]. My first contract was signed in mid February and my debut novel, In the Shadow of Greed was released two months later. That quick turn-around is unheard of in traditional publishing. I personally love the easy access to books e-publishing gives readers. One click and a new book is on your reader. With that said, I am really uneasy about the future of the printed book. I tear up when I drive by the Borders I wrote my first novel in and still can’t go into the store that replaced it.
Yes, you understood the question correctly as it stands, but I did mean self-pubbing. But you brought up a great comparison between traditional and e-pubbing, so it is good to know the difference anyway. Thank you, Nancy for taking time from your busy schedule to answer some questions. Hope to see you at a Lady Jane’s Salon Silver Spring, soon.
NW: Miguelina, I’m so thrilled to be here today. This was such a fun interview. Thank you for having me.
Nancy, you are always welcome. Keep me posted on any writing updates.
About Miguelina Perez
Ms. Miguelina Perez is a writer, and jewelry artist. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of the District of Columbia. As a jewelry artist one of her lariats was showcased in the San Antonio Express-News. She has won several awards including a critical Writing award for an essay on the gender roles of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
It was during her high school years at the school’s library that she first encountered her first romance mystery writer – Ms. Victoria Holt and then Ms. Phyllis J. Whitney. Her love of romance novels stems from those discoveries, especially the Romance mystery genre.
Several of her poems have been published in anthologies, and she was named “Poet of Year in 1995”. She finished her first book, The Vicar’s Deadly Sin – a Regency romance mystery, the first of a seven-part serial based on the Seven Deadly Sins.
Currently, she is editing the sequel to the Vicar’s Deadly Sin, “Angel’s Lust.” Her next project is a contemporary romance thriller called “A Hero of Her Own.”
You can read Miguelina’s column on the 3rd Saturday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.