How did you pick the genre you write in?
I’ve been writing for a number of years and have a variety of unpublished novels under my belt, including one that explores the relationship between a birth mother and the adoptive family. I took this manuscript to a workshop, where the leader and participants suggested I turn it into a mystery. At first, the suggestion seemed so ludicrous, I almost laughed out loud: how could I possibly piece together a mystery or thriller that made sense? But by the time I left the conference, I had a 200 word pitch for Due Date that I pretty much stuck to the whole time I was writing it.
Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I plot ahead of time, but veer off track as I write. Sometimes the plot takes a turn for the better; sometimes I end up with plots that dead-end in dark corners!What drew you to the subject of Due Date?
I’ve always been intrigued by open adoptions, where the birth mother and adoptive parents maintain a relationship after the birth. Surrogacy, where the birth mother is carrying a baby for someone else, is even more intriguing. What would a relationship between the surrogate mom and the intended parents be like? Would the relationship continue after the birth? In the second book in the Shelby McDougall series, Shelby will be doing a lot of reading about genetic engineering, which will have a sinister component to it.What’s your favorite quote?
A quote that often gives me inspiration is this one, by E.L. Doctorow, author of Ragtime: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
“Write what you know, but pick your subject carefully.” This was said by the leader of a publishing workshop I attended. He was saying that if you want to get published, you can always write what you know, but you need to wrap it a popular genre that people like to read and publishers will publish.What was the worst? Did you know it at the time?
I think the worst advice I got was the stand-alone “write what you know.” I did that and got nowhere in terms of publishing. (Although, in terms of writing; I did learn quite a bit.) It took me a long time to realize that this piece of advice wasn’t a good fit for me.Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?
When I was looking on Amazon, trying to decide what to do with Due Date, I spent a lot of time studying books published by small presses. I was drawn to Solstice Publishing because I liked the entire package. The publisher did a great job with book covers. The books seemed to be well-written and well-edited. The book delivery, focused on e-books, made sense to me. So I thought I’d give them a try. The submission process was much more accessible also: no agent; just send the manuscript right to the Editor-in-Chief, Nik Morton.If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?
After reading Due Date, did you think about surrogacy in ways that you hadn’t considered before?What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
I like to include setting in my writing. I am lucky to live in Santa Cruz, California, which I consider to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. The city is surrounded by green belts and the Monterey Bay. The landscape is amazing: coastal hills studded with live oaks and grasslands, redwood forests, the water. Sharing the local scenery with my readers via my books is one of my favorite things to do.What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?
My biggest weakness is that I overwrite: I’ll write and write and write. For example, I have 130,000 words for the draft of the next installment of Shelby’s story. That’s way too long. I have to spend a lot of time yanking out plot lines and scenes.
Nancy lives in Santa Cruz, California, with her family, where she’s been lucky enough to make writing her career. For many years she made her living as a technical writer, working in software documentation. About six years ago, she set up her own shop and is now a writing consultant and contractor, happy to spend every day grappling with words and sentences. Due Date is Nancy’s first published book and she’s now hard at work on the second book in the Shelby McDougall series.Book Blurb:
Surrogate mother Shelby McDougall just fell for the biggest con of all—a scam that risks her life and the lives of her unborn twins.
Twenty-three year-old Shelby is facing a mountain of student debt and a memory she’d just as soon forget. A Rolling Stone ad for a surrogate mother offers her a way to erase the loans and right her karmic place in the cosmos. Within a month, she's signed a contract, relocated to Santa Cruz, California, and started fertility treatments.
But intended parents Jackson and Diane Entwistle have their own agenda—one that has nothing to do with diapers and lullabies. With her due date looming Shelby must save herself and her twins. As she uses her wits to survive, Shelby learns the real meaning of the word “family.”Connect with Nancy here: