LKBR - Hi, Nancy. Thank you for being with us today!
NJC - Thanks for having me here!
LKBR: Please tell us about your newest book.
Star Tangled Murder
is #18 in the Bad Hair Day mystery series. These stories follow the adventures
of hairstylist and salon owner Marla Vail. She starts out as a divorced
businesswoman in book one and progresses to a married wife and mother in book
eighteen. You can read each book as a standalone, although you get a better
view of her character arc by reading the entire series. To date, the series has
18 full-length novels, a novella, a short story, and a cookbook. Some titles
are available in box sets or audiobooks.
In this latest story, Marla and her husband, Dalton,
visit a living history village where they attend a battle reenactment over
Fourth of July weekend. The smoky scene becomes real when the town marshal is
found dead with a tomahawk in his head. Since Dalton is due to retire soon from
his job as a homicide detective, Marla decides to help him investigate. She wants
him home safe to help care for their one-year-old son. All of the villagers are
suspects as it appears most of them had a grudge against the victim. Mixed into
the stew is a bit of Florida history, a ghost story, missing treasure and recipes!
LKBR - Readers always have a favorite character. Do
you have a favorite from this book/series?
NJC - NC Dalton, Marla’s husband, is a favorite character
of mine. Who wouldn’t want to have a steadfast, sexy man by her side? He cares
about Marla’s safety and urges her not to take risks, but he also respects her
skills in getting suspects to talk. He’d warned her off his cases in the past but
now he values her input as long as she doesn’t put herself in danger. She’s
become wiser, too. In Star Tangled Murder, she asks her friends Robyn
and Susan to accompany her to interview suspects. She’s learned to be cautious
and not to go alone, especially now that she has a young child at home.
LKBR - Once you’re finished writing a book, how long
is it before you start writing the next?
NJC - It used to be that I started the next one
right away. Now it takes me longer to do the research and plot another story. Several
months might go by before I begin writing again. It helps me to take time off in
between books to recharge the creative batteries. And I have household tasks to
catch up on once I finish a novel.
LKBR - What is your favorite part of writing? Your
least favorite part?
NJC - My least favorite part is the beginning of a
story. It takes me a while to get to know the characters. Usually, I have the
victim and the suspects’ motives in my head before I start writing. But each
character’s quirks only come to light when they’re on stage. My favorite part
is revising what’s already written. I also enjoy the research and learning new
things. But the best part of this career is hearing positive feedback from readers.
LKBR - Where do you do your best writing?
NJC - I have a dedicated home office where I’m
surrounded by books and reference texts and meaningful mementos of my career. I
use a desktop computer with an ergonomic keyboard. It’s a very comfortable
space. I’m happy using Word and not any fancy software programs for writing.
LKBR - What are the different ways you research for
NJC - Personal experience plays a large part in my
research. Star Tangled Murder was inspired by a visit to Yesteryear
Village in West Palm Beach. I loved the historic buildings and the glimpse into
a bygone era of Florida history. I based my fictional Pioneer Village on this
place. I’d taken photos that were helpful to me when creating my setting. Plus,
I watched videos online to help set each scene within the village. Some of
these included the one-room schoolhouse, the old jail, the general store, the
fishing shack, and a grand mansion around which I created a ghost story. I also
went to a doll store that inspired a scene in the story.
Online, I read news articles that inspired a
historic element in the tale, and I looked up Fourth of July festivities,
Native American corn rituals, tea production, the history of buttons, and other
topics that interested me. The danger of research is going down the rabbit hole
and then putting too much of what we learn into the book. I save some of this
info for blogs and guest posts so I can share it with readers that way.
LKBR - Have you ever started writing a story just to
find the idea simply isn’t working?
NJC - I’ve finished most of the books I’d started
writing. A good many of them are still sitting unsold in my drawers. I do have
a file filled with story ideas as well as book proposals that got rejected. It
can be disheartening to put so much time and effort into a work that never gets
anywhere, but it’s all part of the learning experience.
LKBR - Any new projects in the works?
NJC - I’m currently focused on releasing new paperback
editions of my revised earlier romances. Then I want to do a final box set for the
Bad Hair Day series. I am also revising a standalone mystery that could be the
springboard for a new series.
LKBR - What do you love to do in your free time? LOL
Do you get much free time?
NJC - I like to explore new places around where we
live and try new restaurants. At home, I read, watch TV movies, and take walks.
I enjoy cooking and experimenting with new recipes. I look for local festivals
and farmer’s markets. Those are always fun to attend. And we go to Disney World
now that we’ve moved to the Orlando area. Family events with our
grandson also occupy our time.
LKBR - Where
can readers go to read more about you?
LKBR - Thank you so much, Nancy, for letting us get
to know you better!
NJC - Thank YOU for hosting me