Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Nancy Badger!!!

Good morning bloggers! Yesterday, I featured a book by new author, Nancy Badger. You don't need to have out a bazillion books to be a wonder writer, and I'm sure, after you read the interview, you'll agree with me that Nancy certainly qualifies for this group of excellent writers. Without further ado...the interview:

Nancy, Author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.

I am fortunate to write full time. I retired from the state of New Hampshire 9-1-1 service when we sold our home and moved to North Carolina. We made one bedroom of our new home into an office, though you can sometimes find me with my laptop, papers, and research books spread out on the dining room table. Each morning, I send my hubby off to work and then go pick up my sister’s Golden Retriever. Hilary keeps my cat, Blaze, and I company. I check e-mails and Facebook, and then get to work.

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?

Not really, though I check e-mail and make sure any current commitments are handled, such as promotion requests and family inquiries. I am a member of several loops and peruse the subject lines so I don’t miss an important announcement or an opportunity to query an agent. Depending on what I am working on, I start a binder for each project plus I have a binder for each book’s release where I list promotional avenues. I have tried several methods for getting a story started. Lately I am using Alex Sokoloff’s idea of the three-act play. I have large poster boards on the wall, divided into blocks, and I fill the blocks with sticky notes; love scenes, action, fights, and other plot twists. I find it helps to see what flows and what areas are void of action. Once a manuscript is finished, then the work begins. I edit and edit and share chapters with critique partners. When I think I am finished, I print it out, find a quiet place, and read it aloud.

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?

I would call it slow and steady. Others think I write a lot. Again, I have time to write whereas many authors still keep their day jobs or have young families. My youngest is twenty-five. Married thirty-four years, I have a great husband supporting me.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting work in this industry?

The most important lesson learned thus far was that even though I had no idea what I was getting into, I kept at it until I got it right. I started out by reading a couple of books on formatting, a published guide to agents and editors, and a stack of printer paper. I had absolutely no concept of the difficulty of this business. And it is a business going through drastic changes. E-publishing has taken off and I am happy I approached a couple of e-publishers, and then sold three stories. I still want to see my name on a book in print, and I want an agent.

What are you working on now?

I will attend the Romance Writers of America conference later this month to take workshops and meet face to face with other authors. I am polishing a Scottish historical paranormal which I thought was finished a year ago. After several rejections, I submitted it to a few contests where I received awesome feedback. I have shared chapters with critique partners. It is close to perfect. I have completed about 1/3 of the second book in the series. I am also working on a present day paranormal romance set at a local art museum. I write on my blog and on Facebook as often as possible.

What’s your favorite genre to write?

That is a tough one. I am new to all this. I started out writing contemporary romance because that is what I grew up reading. I read Harlequin stories and grew fond of authors like Nora Roberts. I began writing paranormal historicals, with a Scottish flavor, because my husband and I volunteer each year at the New Hampshire Highland Games in Lincoln, NH: www.nhscots.org. Since I have sold in both genres, I’ll keep writing both.

I find a lot of authors like to read outside their chosen genre. What do you like to read?

I am a regency historical junky. Funny, I wasn’t one until I joined my local chapter of RWA. I am surrounded by wonderful, funny, intelligent women such as Claudia Dain, Liz Carlyle, Elizabeth Amber, and Sabrina Jeffries. They all write regencies and these women are inspiring. Someday I will find the confidence to write in their genre.

Do you have a favorite author or someone you look up to in the industry?

I have mentioned a few but I also enjoy Rachel Gibson, Stephanie Laurens, Hannah Howell, Janet Evanovich, Melissa Mayhew, Diana Gabaldon, and Janet Chapman to name a few. I am a voracious reader and try hard to limit my reading to later in the day. It’s part of my reward for work well done.

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? When were you first published? Etc.

I started writing toward publication in October 2006. Hubby and I drove from New Hampshire to Raleigh, NC to pick up our son, Eric, at the Raleigh-Durham airport. This was a mid-point for family since many wanted to welcome him back from Iraq. I remember the tears as I waved a tiny American flag and met him at the gate with my Dad. The whole fourteen hour drive home, I sat in the backseat and wrote. We also made a day-trip to visit Eric’s brother, Robert, in Burlington, Vermont, so I had another five or six hours to write. The story flowed out of me and I completed the entire manuscript in one month. I received rejection letter after rejection letter, but kept writing. I had completed my fifth manuscript when I received an e-mail from Red Rose Publishing in August 2009 that they decided to buy my contemporary romance, SECRET LOVE MATCH. While waiting to edit that book with their editor, I wrote my novella, DRAGON’S CURSE, submitted it to a couple of publishers last January and sold it in March. So, on June 25th of this year BOTH my first books were released!

How many books have you had published and for whom?

I have been writing toward publication for 3 ½ years. I have completed six manuscripts and sold three. Pretty good odds! My contemporary romance, SECRET LOVE MATCH, is with Red Rose Publishing, www.redrosepublishing.com and they recently purchased DESTINY’S MOUNTAIN. DRAGON’S CURSE is my first published book with Whispers Publishing, www.whispershome.com.

What’s your latest release? Can you tell us about the book and how you got the idea?

Since I have two out, let’s talk about DRAGON’S CURSE. I put a handful of characters on an uninhabited island off the western coast of Scotland. I researched some history books my husband has collected. He was a European history major and we have done extensive genealogy searches together. Once I picked a time frame and a piece of history I could use as my hero’s conflict, I started writing. I have never written anything with a paranormal flair, but the idea flew. It helps that I love dragons. My heroine needed something ‘special’ so I gave her the gift of premonitions, which she loathes. She is forced to use them for her guardian. She can only see the future when he asks...until she meets Draco and the visions pop up. This was my first foray into writing ‘short’. I weave lots of action, intrigue, romance, and disaster into the pages. And the book cover is hot! It actually shows the cliffs of the real Scottish island of Staffa, where I set my story.

What’s your writing space like?

I am embarrassed to call it a mess. First of all, I have a desk which I purposely faced toward the window so I could watch the birds at the feeders and see people walk by on our quiet street. The trouble is, my kitten grew into a cat and he wants to lay there. It was easier to give him the desk, and use my husband’s space. With the desktop computer, the printer, the phone, the back-up power source, the wireless router, and more, the space fills up. Add the papers, sticky notes, empty coffee mugs and you get the idea. I also shred paper as a stress-reliever, which creates a mess. My closet is organized. My darling husband added lots of shelves to the large closet and I have binders for every work in progress. I choose different colors. I have a degree in art education so color is important. I have a U. S. Army calendar and a calendar of Scottish islands on the wall. I recently printed eight by tens of my new book covers, matted them, and then framed them. I hope to add more to my walls.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I used to volunteer quite a bit when I lived in New Hampshire. I was an EMT and fire fighter in my community. I am still class agent for my graduating class at Plymouth State. I moved to North Carolina about two years ago and have volunteered in the bowels of the NC Museum of Science relabeling acid free boxes into which my two sisters and I transferred old bird bones. We finished that project so are awaiting another. I am vice president of my local writers group, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers www.heartofcarolina.org. My husband, sons, and I travel back to New Hampshire every September where we volunteer at the Highland games www.nhscot.org. We love to travel. We venture to North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains for the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games www.gmhg.org, and to the Outer Banks when we can swim. I also read, read, read!

I’m all about ‘giving people something to talk about’. We all experience crazy things from time to time. Can you tell us something unusual that you’ve done or had happen to you?

I think joining the Rumney FAST Squad was a turning point in my life. I joke and say having two accident-prone boys made me do it. My husband and I both joined the local fire department because we happened on accident scenes too often in and around our rural community and always felt helpless. I have saved homes from chimney fires, ridden a snowmobile to an accident scene, hiked halfway up a mountain trail to carry-out a cliff climber with a broken leg, called for life-flight for an injured child, and more. It is the reason I became a 9-1-1 emergency medical dispatcher. I retired when we sold our home and moved to Raleigh, NC to be near family, and have used my medical and fire fighting knowledge in some stories. DESTINY’S MOUNTAIN, a contemporary romance coming out later this year from Red Rose Publishing, has secondary characters that are paramedic-fire fighters.

Tell us… What’s your favorite movie and why?

I love the original PRIDE & PREDUDICE with Colin Firth. It is very long, yet I find myself smiling at many, many parts while I get into Elizabeth’s head. She was a simple young woman who survived the blush of new love, the pitfalls of family, and the strengths from standing up for herself.

Last questions… Coke or Pepsi? Diet coke. I am diabetic and control it with diet. I am slowly losing weight and feel so much better since I was diagnosed.

Summer or Winter? Summer, when I lived in New Hampshire. Too much snow. Now I like winter because summers are HOT here in North Carolina!

Cat person or Dog person? Cat. I have always owned a cat. Or should I say a cat has always owned me?

Bronte or Austen? Austen, by a mile.

Star Trek or Star Wars? Wow! Tough choice! Since I grew up watching the original Star Trek, I’ll go with that.

Team Edward or Team Jacob? I love Jacob, but I wish he hadn’t cut his hair.

McDonalds or Burger King? Burger King. Grilled burgers, with lettuce tomato, are heaven.

Author Bio and Contact Info:

Nancy Lee Badger writes full time and lives with her husband in Raleigh, NC. She loves everything Scottish. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Celtic Heart Romance Writers, and Sisters in Crime. She is celebrating the recent release of her Scottish historical DRAGON’S CURSE available from Whispers Publishing. Visit her website: www.nancyleebadger.com, and her blog www.RescuingRomance.nancyleebadger.com For excerpts and more information.

Nancy, thank you for being here today!

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