Nancy Holzner talks about Deadtown

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsToday we’d like to welcome Nancy Holzner author of the mystery novel Peace, Love, and Murder, and of the urban fantasy novel, Deadtownfantasy and science fiction book reviews which is on sale today at bookstores everywhere. Nancy will be hanging around after the interview — or at least checking in throughout the day to respond to your questions.  And we will be giving away a copy of Deadtown to not one but two lucky commenters. If you’re a fantasy fan, you don’t want to miss Deadtown; It’s a fun, fast read.

SB Frank: So, how does one go from being a medievalist with a Ph.D. in English to writing contemporary urban fantasy?

Nancy Holzner: A lot of medieval literature was the contemporary fantasy of its own day, with magic and monsters and dangerous quests where opponents don’t play fair. Even the saints’ lives I studied are full of conflict, danger, and magic (in the form of miracles). There’s nothing like a good virgin martyr legend for some slam-bang, larger-than-life conflict between good and evil.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsBut I didn’t go into academia thinking that I’d find good source material for my own fiction. I didn’t write fiction at the time, and I expected to become a career academic. (Now, I call myself a “recovering academic.”) But my early career choices were all about stories. Throughout college, grad school, and my teaching years, I always loved reading, thinking about, and discussing literature. It seemed like a natural progression to me to want to start telling stories and not just analyze them. First I tried writing something more literary, but it wasn’t fun. I was in an online writers’ group at the time, and we used to do short writing exercises in response to weekly writing prompts. Someone posted a prompt that gave me an idea for a mystery, and I ran with it. It sounds obvious now, but it was a big revelation to me that it could be fun to write the same kinds of books I read for fun. When I was working on the mystery, I read a lot of urban fantasy — couldn’t get enough of it. So after the mystery was finished, I jumped right into the project that became Deadtown.

Thus far you have two novels in two different genres, but both of these seem like they could turn into successful series. Do you see yourself settling into mystery and contemporary fantasy for a while, or are you more of a genre hopper?

From where I stand right now, I expect to focus on fantasy. Deadtown is the first book in a series. The sequel will be out in about a year, and I’m currently plotting out books three through five. It’s been a blast writing this series — the characters are great company and I enjoy their world — and I want to see where Vicky’s story goes.

I love the teenage zombie sidekick in Deadtown. Was she supposed to play a major role right from the start? And how did you first get the idea?

Tina actually showed up about halfway through the first draft of Deadtown. I was writing that draft knowing that my opening scene didn’t work and that I’d have to rewrite it drastically in revisions. When Tina blasted into the story, I knew right away that she’d be in Chapter 1, causing trouble for Vicky from the very first page. Later in my writing process, Vicky and Tina were having an argument, and Vicky complained about how Tina had messed up a job by following her into a client’s dream. As soon as Vicky said that, I thought, “Why are they talking about this? I need to show what happened!” — and I knew I had my opening scene.

As for where Tina came from, I taught high school for a few years. She’s not based on any particular student, but she could easily be friends with many of the students I’ve known. She combines the energy, interests, and strong emotions of a teenage girl with an outlook that’s all her own. It’s hard for me to say where I got the idea for a character, because it often feels like they’re already lurking somewhere in my psyche, waiting for me to notice them so they can step forward and jump into a story.

You mention on your blog that you have an idea for another fantasy series. Is there anything you can share with us about that?

It’s still percolating, so it’s too early to say much about it. I can say that it’s set in the Catskill Mountains — home of Rip Van Winkle and the Headless Horseman — and involves ghosts and strong magic.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsSounds like my type of novel. In your mystery novel, Peace, Love, & Murder, the protagonist, Bo (short for Rainbow) Forrester, returns home from serving in the military where his parents had lived in a commune. Are there any similarities between Rainbow’s parents and childhood and your own? What was home like for you growing up in Western Massachusetts?

I grew up in a very stable and loving home. My dad was a clinical chemist and my mom was a special needs teacher at an elementary school. I was in the middle of three sisters. When I was in junior high, two foster kids came to live with us — one older than me and one younger, so I was still stuck in the middle. I love the Berkshires, where I grew up. It’s a beautiful, hilly region and in the summer there are tons of festivals — classical music, dance, theater. When I was growing up in a small town of about 6,000 people, I couldn’t wait to leave and head for the big city (Boston was my first stop), but now my home town is one of my favorite places.

So my upbringing was very different from Bo’s. I did a lot of research into communes of the late ’60s and early-to-mid ’70s to get a feel for what his childhood would have been like. There were communes around Ithaca, NY, where I live now and those are the loose inspiration for Bo’s home town of Rhodes.

While we’re on the subject of your personal upbringing, in Deadtown, women shapeshifters must give up their powers when they have children. Have you felt personal tension between mothering and a career, or was this inspired by more general societal trends and pressures, or something else?

That’s an interesting question. I met my first husband while I was studying abroad in London, and he and I got married and had our daughter while we were both still in college. She was three when I started grad school. I’ve always assumed that I’d combine motherhood with a career, and I approached parenting and building a career from that perspective. It wasn’t easy, but it was a challenge I accepted right from the start and simply dealt with from one day to the next. (It wasn’t easy for my husband, either, who was an engaged father and worked to support the family while I was earning my Ph.D.)

The limitations on shapeshifting among the Cerddorion stem from the mythology that serves as background to my story. One of the legends of the medieval Welsh Mabinogi tells the story of Gwion Bach, a shepherd boy who gained shapeshifting ability after drinking a potion brewed by the witch/goddess Ceridwen. She chases him, both of them changing their shapes, until she finally catches and eats him. Later, she gives birth to him anew. And after that, there’s no more mention of shapeshifting. My interpretation of this legend led to the shapeshifting restrictions in Deadtown’s world: Among the Cerddorion, the descendants of Ceridwen, only females can shift (since Gwion stole his shapeshifting ability from Ceridwen’s potion), and that ability manifests at puberty and disappears at the birth of a child.

I guess that the limitations on shapeshifting do reflect the difficulty of simultaneously raising children and having a career, but this wasn’t something I set out to write about. In Deadtown, Vicky comes to understand her role as a demon slayer as less of a career choice and more of a calling, a duty, that’s central to who she is. She accepts the sacrifice that comes with that calling. The fact that she accepts it doesn’t mean she’s free of conflict, though. She adores her niece and nephews, and she knows that someday, due to werewolf culture, Kane will want children. But I see Vicky’s conflict as one that’s broader than the gender-specific one of career vs. motherhood. I hope it will resonate with anyone who’s had to make difficult choices.

From Kat: That cover art is AWESOME! Did you have any input into the design?

It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? Before the artist set to work, I had a couple of conversations with my editor how we pictured Vicky and scenes from the book that might inspire the cover. But that was it. When the cover was done, the editor sent me an email with the subject line, “Prepare to be WOWed!!!” and the cover art attached. “Wowed” doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction. I think I screamed; I know for sure that my husband (we both work at home) called out from his office to ask what was going on. I had to wait a few weeks until the cover was finalized before I could share it. That was hard! The cover artist, by the way, is the very talented Don Sipley.

From Lin George: I love the thought of old legends recreated for modern times. Was it difficult to work in the modern technology?

The medieval Welsh tales of the Mabinogi inspired the background mythology for Deadtown, but it’s very much a contemporary fantasy. The medieval background comes into play more directly in the sequel than it does in the first book.

From Tia: I always like to ask debuts authors about their publishing story. Did you have to go through the whole agent query thing or did you take a more unusual route to publishing, such as contest wins, or getting noticed in a workshop? Let us know and inspire us!

I became a nonfiction author — I write how-to and reference books — before I tried to publish a novel. I had an agent to represent my nonfiction, but she doesn’t handle fiction at all. So when I had a novel to sell (my mystery Peace, Love, and Murder) I had to start from square one and search for an agent who’d be interested in taking it on. That took several months, and when I found a fiction agent it took her about a year to sell the mystery to a small press. I still have two agents: one for nonfiction and one for fiction (and yes, they know about each other J).

The path I took to getting Deadtown published was a detour from the traditional route, though. I’d written the manuscript but hadn’t yet shown it to my agent. One day I was looking around the Ace/Roc website and saw that they accept direct submissions from authors. On a whim, I typed up a query and submitted it, along with the manuscript’s first ten pages, per the submission guidelines. I can’t tell you why I did this instead of going through my agent — I’m not usually impulsive like that. Maybe it was because I’d written this urban fantasy when I was “supposed to be” working on a sequel to the mystery. At any rate, when I received a two-book offer nearly six months later, my agent stepped in to help with negotiations. She’s a pro, and I do wish I’d involved her from the start. But at least I get to say that I made it through the slush pile. J

From Bill Capossere: Urban Fantasy is clearly such an omnipresent force now. How aware of what was already out there were you as you wrote Deadtown? Did it affect your writing at all, as in specific attempts to distinguish Deadtown from similar works or times where you thought what you had was edging too close to what had been done before? Similar, say, to epic fantasy writers who have all these stock tropes looking over their shoulders (the horse clan, the snarky thief, the gruff dwarf, the small band of thrown together questers, etc.). How do you keep things “fresh” and in marketing terms how do you convey that freshness to readers perhaps overwhelmed by the quantity of choices?

I started writing Deadtown a little over three years ago, so the urban fantasy landscape looked somewhat different at that time. It was growing, for sure, but hadn’t yet exploded into the ubiquity you note. Back when I was writing the story, I was trying to touch upon some of the conventions of urban fantasy and do my own thing at the same time. For example, in Vicky’s roommate Juliet I play with the “sexy vampire” convention—not satirizing it, exactly, but having some fun with that trope. And my zombies aren’t like the zombies you find in most urban fantasy or horror fiction. For my main character, I knew I wanted a character other than a vampire or a werewolf, and when I remembered the Mabinogi’s shapeshifting story, it clicked. As I wrote, I wasn’t concerned so much about positioning my story in relation to others already out there as I was with following the story that was unfolding.

From RK Charron: Did your work as an editor help when rewriting your writing before sending it out and in anticipating the editor’s editing requests? Also, what is your “The Call” story?

Working as an editor has definitely helped me to become more flexible about being edited. Sometimes. :-D So far, the editorial process for fiction has been a lot gentler than the edits I go through when I’m writing nonfiction. For a technical how-to book, for example, the author review stage means that I have to review and fix chapters that have been marked up by the developmental editor, the copyeditor, and up to three technical editors. All those people are trying to “catch” problems and potential issues, and while I understand the goal is to produce a better book, it can be tough to plow through all the queries, changes, and revision requests. In contrast, for the novels I’ve written so far, even a lengthy editorial letter feels so much more civilized. I feel like I should be sipping tea from a porcelain cup and nibbling cucumber sandwiches as I read it.

Here’s my story about “The Call”: As I said in my answer to Tia’s question above, I submitted Deadtown’s manuscript directly through the publisher’s website. Almost immediately after I did so, my life was taken over by a nonfiction project — it was a big book, and my coauthor suddenly dropped out but the schedule couldn’t change. So for a couple of months I did nothing but work on that nonfiction project and sleep. I had no time to obsess about the fate of the Deadtown manuscript, although of course I wondered from time to time.

I finished the big project, and I still hadn’t heard anything back from Ace/Roc. Around the five-month mark after I’d sent in the query, I figured they weren’t interested. I was trying to decide whether to ’fess up to my agent that I’d submitted a query myself or just focus on a new novel when I got an email from Ace/Roc asking for the next 50 pages. I sent those, and the same day they requested the rest of the manuscript.

The next two weeks were hard. On the one hand, I was checking my email a zillion times each day. On the other, I knew that silence might mean that the manuscript was making its way through the acquisition process. I tried to keep a “no news is good news” mindset — every day that went by without a rejection was a good day. When The Call came, my husband answered the phone, asked who was calling, and told me the caller’s name, which of course I recognized. I quickly learned how to carry on a rational conversation, jump up and down, keep my voice reasonably steady, and make frantic hand signals to my husband, all at the same time. I was thrilled that she wanted to make an offer, but when she said “two books,” I nearly keeled over. Champagne flowed that night.

Stefan Raets: Do you have any rituals or habits when you sit down to write? Anything you absolutely need, or absolutely can not tolerate?

No specific rituals. I prefer to be in quiet surroundings, although I can usually tolerate some noise if I have to. I like my writing atmosphere to be conducive to concentration — good lighting, quiet, and a comfortable chair are pretty much all I need. Because I write for my day job too, I’m usually pretty good at sitting down and getting started. As long as I don’t get sucked into Internet-based distractions. :-D

Stacey Stew: How long did it take you to write this book? Will it have a sequel? Do you like the Resident Evil movies?

It took about three months to write the first draft. I was fortunate because my schedule allowed me to write full-time during those months. The second draft took maybe twice that long — if I’d been working on it full-time, that is, but I was back to squeezing in writing time on evenings and weekends. And it took maybe two weeks’ worth of polishing the final draft before I felt it was ready to send out.

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve never seen any of the Resident Evil movies. Cool video games, though.

Justin: I’ve noticed that a lot authors put a little piece of themselves into their main character (especially new authors). Did you do this with Victory Vaughn? If so how much of yourself did you put into the character? If not then was there any real world inspiration when creating Vicky?

I think Vicky is very different from me. Some of her emotional reactions have their roots in my own experiences, but she’s the kind of person who charges in and acts, whereas I’m more likely to sit back and think things through (read: waffle :-D ). When I have a story idea that clicks, it feels like the characters step forward from wherever they’ve been lurking in the shadows of my subconscious, like they already exist and now it’s my job to get to know them. In other words, I don’t feel like I build my characters so much as I discover them.

Van Pham: How did you come up with the idea for this novel? Who inspired you to write?

The idea came from several different sources: medieval literature, a desire to use Boston as a setting, and a passing comment I came across on an agent’s blog about dislike for characters who “wrestle with their own personal demons” and wondering who besides you could (or would want to) wrestle with your personal demons. That made me go, “Hmmm . . .” :-D

Raspberry: Where are you at in that picture of you?

That photo was taken in a park on the shore of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region of central New York state. (And there’s a great waterfall just up the road from it, too.)

Abou Monkey: How would you categorize Deadtown?

I think Deadtown falls squarely into the urban fantasy category. It’s got a lot of action, some humor, and just a hint of romance. I worked pretty hard to build a credible and vivid alternative version of Boston.

John L.: Which authors would you say influenced you the most?

That’s one of the hardest questions for me to answer, because I spent many years studying literature. I believe that people who read a lot soak up a lot of influence through sheer osmosis. So there’s about a thousand years’ worth of literary influences floating around in my head. But that’s avoiding your question. :-D Mystery author Donald E. Westlake is an influence—I love his Dortmunder series. In urban fantasy, the authors who made me want write in the genre were Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, and Laurell K. Hamilton (some of her early books). Other urban fantasy writers I admire include Ilona Andrews, Devon Monk, and Faith Hunter (who writes a mean shapeshifter story).

Melissa My World: With growing up with books in hand, did you always want to be a writer of novels? Or did writing just start out as a fun pass time for you?

From the time I was young until maybe halfway through college, I wanted to write poetry. I loved reading poetry and enjoyed writing it. Then I decided to pursue an academic career, and I stopped writing creatively. I focused on analyzing literature, learning about literary history, and writing academic papers. That’s fun as far as it goes, but writing about other people’s stories doesn’t come anywhere near the satisfaction of creating your own.

Kelly: I always want to know…what was the last really great book you read?

In urban fantasy, I found On the Edge by Ilona Andrews both engaging and different. For quirky mainstream/literary, Nancy Mauro’s New World Monkeys is a lot of fun.

SB Frank: Thanks for visiting with us, Nancy! Readers, comment below for a chance to win a copy of Deadtown!

FanLit thanks Stephen B. Frank for conducting this interview for us! 

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STEPHEN (S.B.) FRANK, one of our guest contributors, earned a Ph.D. at Duke University and works in the field of education reform. When he needs a break from real life, he likes to indulge in urban fantasy. He has a particular love for humor, so some of his favorite authors are Dakota Cassidy, Mary Janice Davidson, Mark Henry, Julie Kenner, Katie MacAlister, Richelle Mead and Christopher Moore.

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  1. I don’t read much urban fantasy, but Ms. Holzner and Deadtown sound interesting. And I adore the cover art. I’m going to try this one on my new Kindle! :-))

  2. Thanks, Kat! How are you liking your Kindle? I’m one of those people who’s still on the fence about ebook readers.

  3. This is right up my alley. Not just the same ol’ vampires and werewolves, Finally! Looking forward to ripping it off the shelf and diving in. Thanks
    Super cover by the way!

  4. the city of the undead thing is really interesting, I love the cover too! hope to get a chance to read this soon!

  5. Nancy, I love the look and feel of the Kindle, but don’t have much time to read lately. I know I’ll enjoy it when I get some more time. I do listen to a lot of audiobooks while commuting, and it does those, too, so I’m happy about that!

  6. Excellent interview. I can only imagine how exciting it was to actually get that phone call from the publisher. I can also imagine the awkward, but exciting conversation with your agent shortly there after…lol. Congratulations on the release, I’m looking forward to reading it soon.

  7. The Interview Was Awesome. Deadtown Sounds Really Great. When I Get This Book It Is So going On The Very Top Of My To Read Pile…. :-)) Hey Nancy What Are One Or Two Things We Wouldn’t Normally Know About You? I Always Love Learning Things We Wouldn’t Normally Know About A Person…. :-)

  8. @T: Thanks! I did try to include some of the conventional elements of urban fantasy while making my protagonist different. And it was fun to create a couple of thousand zombies and see how they behaved. :)

    @ninefly: Seeing the cover was one of the BEST moments of the whole experience so far. I’m glad you like it.

    @Kat: Everyone I know who’s bought an ebook reader so far loves it. I’m a fan of physical books, but I can see the attraction.

    @Justin: Yes, that was quite a day. LOL. I’m always half-embarrassed to tell that story, because it’s not how I should’ve proceeded. My agent was pretty happy to have made a sale out of the blue like that, but the way I did things eliminated any chance at competing offers. Not my most brilliant move ever, but I’m happy with the result, so that’s OK.

    @Skyla11377: Thanks! I really hope you’ll enjoy Deadtown. Something people wouldn’t normally know about me. Well, I can’t talk about how I spend my nights fighting crime in super-hero guise, so how about this. I was born with red hair, which lightened to blonde when I was a toddler. As I grew into adulthood, it darkened. So I’ve been a redhead, a blonde, and a brunette–all naturally. Of course, nowadays who knows what color it really is (I’m afraid to find out!)

  9. Nice interview. The book sounds interesting and could be right up my alley. I’m not overly familiar with urban fantasy, but I’ve read a few over the past year to get a feel for what I like and don’t like in the sub-genre.

    My questions for Nancy is in regards to reading tastes: Do you have any preferred authors or genres? Was there a particular writer or novel that made you realize, “I can do this–I can write a novel”?

  10. Deadtown sounds great. I’m looking forward to reading a book with a twist on old character types, especially if they’re drawn from Welsh mythology, which is one of my interests.

  11. Great interview. I like the idea of female shapeshifters stopping to shift after they have a child. It’s a great conflict!

  12. Deadtown sounds great, and I’ve been looking forward to the release.

    You have such a busy life, but what do you do in your free time?

  13. @Rabid Fox: I read a lot of urban fantasy these days, but because of my academic background I can/do read just about anything. Besides urban fantasy, I love mystery, I love the classics, I love epic fantasy, I love quirky mainstream. Sometimes the mood strikes me to read a fast-paced thriller. I went through a phase a number of years back where I read one mystery after another at a rate of 3-5 books a week. That was when I started to think I could write a novel, myself. The writers who inspired me most back then were Lawrence Block and Donald E. Westlake. I didn’t think “I can do this myself,” though, so much as I thought, “I’d love to try to write something that’s this much fun.”

  14. @ Ina Box: That story of Ceridwen and Gwion Bach was the inspiration for the shapeshifting race of my novel. In the sequels, I’m bringing in more of the mythology. It’s such great stuff!

    @Spav: I agree it’s a conflict with a lot of potential. Vicky’s 28, which is an age when a lot of people think about starting a family. And she’s close to her sister’s family but also aware that she can never be a complete insider there. It’s a conflict that’s likely to intensify down the road.

    @heather: Free time is something I definitely could use more of! One of my new year’s goals (I hate the word “resolution” LOL) is to get more efficient in my work day to free up more time for fun, relaxation, all those things that we work for in the first place! I like to read, and I try to take a walk each day. I’m an opera fanatic and go to productions when I can. (I know that doesn’t sound like fun to a lot of people, but I love it!) I’ve always used my spare time to write fiction, and because it’s too soon for me to give up the day job, working on fiction is still how I spend the bulk of my spare time now.

  15. Deadtown does sound really interesting. I read a lot of UF, probably about 80 percent of my reads are in this genre, and I always look forward to new ideas!

  16. So, what’s the day of release like for you Nancy? Do you have any emerging traditions or things you do? Do you check amazon sales rankings (and, if so how frequently)? Do you crack a bottle of champagne? Just curious,

  17. Nancy, I love opera, too. I went to grad school at Indiana University, which has an excellent music school. I don’t miss the weather in Indiana, but I do miss the opera! (But I also love heavy metal and alt rock.)

  18. Nirvana AND opera? Kat – I don’t know whether to be horrified or impressed. Maybe a bit of both. :-))

    Actually, I confess that on occasion I’ve been known to listen to opera. But then we’ve already established that I have no musical taste to speak of.


  19. @Vicki J: I read mostly UF these days, too. If you pick up Deadtown, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

    @Stephen: Amazon sales ranks update at approximately 47 minutes past each hour, not that I check them obsessively or anything. ;) I’ve been trying to have a fairly normal day today–between the holidays and dong promo I’ve fallen behind at work. So I’ve been working on a nonfiction book in between answering questions here and doing … something … at approximately 47 minutes past each hour. I’m always up for popping open some champagne, so I have a feeling that might happen tonight.

    @Kat: Always great to meet another opera lover. I’m in central NY state, too far from Manhattan to be able to zip down there for a matinee, but my local cinema carries the HD simulcasts, which have been so much fun. Btw, I have a friend who used to wax eloquent on the connections between heavy metal and opera. I do listen to ’80s pop/rock when I’m in the right mood. :)

  20. @Stephen: That’s why I like the smileys on this site. With those horned helmets, I can pretend they’re singing Wagner. :shock:

  21. I remember seeing the bit about the zombie sidekick. One of these days I will have room on the stack for a new book. ;)

  22. Sounds interesting

  23. I’ve been hearing great things about Deadtown, and every time I do, I want to read it more. I enjoyed the interview, it was great learning more about the book and your writing.

  24. This one sounds fastactic! I’m going to put it on my to buy list! Maybe I’ll get lucky here.. Great interview

  25. I have to say this is a great interview! And not because my questions was used… ;) By the way, thank you for picking my question to be used.

    I have read where some authors get no say at all in their book covers. You really did get a great cover here. I am looking forward to adding it to my collection of books here.

    I saw you jumped from poetry to fantasy over a time period. Seems to be quite a jump. But, very glad you joined the dark side. lol.

    I can’t wait to get this book. Thank you both for the wonderful interview!

  26. Congrats on the release! Deadtown sounds like a great read.

  27. Went to do a little grocery shopping tonight and browsed through the book aisle and there was Deadtown and its awesome cover staring right at me. Say the least it went in the cart. I’ll be reading it next.

  28. I know Fantasy is the big thing at the moment but I wonder for how much longer that will last.

    Hope you keep an eye on your mystery writing as well just in case the fantasy genre takes a dip in popularity by the end of next year or so.

    All the best with your series.

  29. Sounds like a really interesting book,i’m looking forward to reading it.Love the cover too.

  30. @Zombie Joe: I know what you mean about an out-of-control TBR pile. If you win a copy of Deadtown here, I hope it doesn’t topple over your stack. :)

    @Mike: Thanks! It was a fun book to write.

    @Barbara E.: I hope you’ll enjoy Deadtown when you get a chance to read it!

    @Martha: Thanks so much. I really hope readers will enjoy the book.

    @Melissa: That was a great question! I always love hearing about when authors got the nudge to start writing. I think poetry is good practice for all kinds of writers, because of the way it condenses language–every word counts. It’s very disciplined writing; a novel feels so much “roomier,” which is fun. And I like creating a world and letting stories happen there.

    @Justin: In the grocery store? Cool! Now I’ll have to check out the book aisle in my local store when we go grocery shopping later today. :)

    @buddyt: You make a really good point about changing tastes. I’d love to write a sequel to my mystery (I loved those characters) or develop a new mystery series at some point. And I probably have literary pretensions lurking in my subconscious somewhere, too. It’s hard to practice agility in an industry that’s famously slow-moving, but I’ll pay attention and do my best. :)

  31. @Kat: Thanks for that link. My husband used to love hard SF, but he reads a lot less of it than he used to. I think he’d agree with Newton’s main points. Btw, my husband still can’t get over the fact that he’s married to an Ace author — he grew up on that publisher’s SF. :D

    @elaing8: Thanks! I really got lucky with the cover art. A lot of people have told me it’s what led them to pick up the book.

  32. Btw, my husband still can’t get over the fact that he’s married to an Ace author — he grew up on that publisher’s SF.

    That’s so cute! :awww:

  33. Wow, I’d already been planning to read Deadtown someday, but you’ve said the magic word: Mabinogion! :thumb:

  34. @Kat: :)

    @Kelly Lasiter: Great stuff in that collection, isn’t there? I work more of the mythology into my world as the series progresses. I also love Cad Goddeu, the battle of the trees, and am playing around with ways to work something like that into a subsequent book.

  35. I’ve been hearing alot about this one, sounds good!

  36. I really want to read this book! I absolutely love the cover

  37. Wonderful interview. Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to answer questions. Always great to get some incite on character and plot creations from the author. The cover art is awesome. I can understand why you would scream with excitement when first seeing it.

  38. Great interview! I saw something on this book a couple of weeks ago and had to immediately add it to my wish list. I looks awesome and I can’t wait to read it!

  39. @Nancy: To be specific it was Wal-mart that I spotted it at. Which is odd, because they almost never have books I’m looking for, and new releases are never shelved on time. When they do shelve new releases it’s almost always the newest Nora Roberts or some political wingnut’s biography. So when I seen Deadtown after just spending the day corresponding with you on this blog, I just had to buy it.

  40. @tetewa: I hope Deadtown lives up to the buzz. :)

    @Raelena: That cover art is really eye-catching, and I’ve been happy to hear reports that bookstores are displaying it face out so the cover might grab the attention of people who are browsing.

    @Daelith: LOL Yep, that’s just what happened. A highly undignified sound emerged from my office that day. :D

    @Justin: Thanks for the clarification. Another reader let me know they picked up Deadtown at Walmart, too. I’m thrilled to have the book in at least some of those stores. And thanks for buying a copy! :)

  41. Love the cover art and interview! The synopsis & cover caught my attention from the start. I’ll be buying it if I don’t win.


    I would love to win a copy of this one. Count me in on the giveaway. Great interview btw… I always love getting inside an authors head and learning about their process.

  43. I love fantasy with some Welsh legend mixed in. Count me in. Thanks


  44. This sounds so different than what I usually read so I am going to have to try it!! Thanks for the great interview. I love learning about authors!!

    jbbird [at] duo-county [dot] com

  45. @INCiDeNT: Thanks! When I first saw the cover I had to resist the urge to show it to strangers on the street. :D

    @justpeachy36: I’m glad you enjoyed the interview!

    @Esther: The old Welsh legends are great in their own right but they also make such rich source material.

    @Jamie: I hope you’ll enjoy Deadtown. :)

    Thanks to SB Frank for inviting me to Fantasy Literature. You guys rock!

  46. Nancy,

    I cannot wait to read this book! There have been so many amazing reviews for Deadtown…Must…have!


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