Welcome Nancy, Tell our readers a little about yourself.
To understand who I am, I must first explain about my grandmothers. My maternal grandmother was a business woman/story teller. My paternal grandmother was a lady of leisure with an eye for beauty. Somehow, I wound up with both of these positive traits and became a writer.
Born in Conway, Arkansas (but only living there 3 months), my family moved quite a bit. My father was in the Air Force, so I even lived in Casablanca for a few years. Moving around so much, having to make new friends, built my confidence that I think a writer really needs to be successful. However, I’m also a problem solver and driven.
But at the core of my being is my belief in Jesus Christ as my Savior. He’s the one who guides my life in everything I do. My faith often comes through in my books. I’m married to a saint who supports me wholeheartedly. We have four children and six wonderful grandchildren. I have a degree in music from UT Austin and play classical piano. I’m an artist, and love serving afternoon tea to my friends and family. I also am a member of The Leander Writers Guild.
Nancy every author’s journey is different, tell our readers about your journey to writing.
As a child, I had a wild imagination. When telling stories of adventure to the neighborhood kids, I actually led them in acting out the dramas. English was my strong subject in high school, but my father wanted me to get a degree in music. And so I did.
I would write pieces on occasion for my family, commemorations, and an obituary for my father. In 2001, right after 9-11 when the twin towers fell, I simply got bored with reading the same novels over and over. At that time there was no such thing as ebooks. Finally, I told myself that I could probably write a mystery myself. My husband and I were staying at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Half Moon Bay at the time, so I started taking notes on the property, the staff, the town, and created the character of Jillian Bradley, an amateur sleuth (patterned after myself) and her little Yorkie, Teddy (named for my husband, Ted).
What was your path towards publication like?
My young daughter needed attention and begged me to quit writing. I made a floppy disc of the twelve chapters and put it into a file. Eight years later, my son encouraged me to start a blog, so I used the chapters for my posts.
A newspaper in Half Moon Bay got hold of the link in October 2009 and asked me to do an interview. After that, I hurried to finish the story by checking out a book on writing in the library, since I had no real idea of how to write a novel. I finished Murder in Half Moon Bay before the interview was published in November 2009. I published the book on CreateSpace in June 2010.
A series sounded good, so I planned to write eight. I published The Ghost Orchid Murder, October 2010, From the Clutches of Evil, April 2011, The Mark of Eden, October 2011, and Pacific Beach in May 2012. Now I’m working on Waiting for Santa (fall of 2012).
How do you balance your life as an author with your duties as a business person, employee, parent and/or spouse?
I’m fortunate to be able to devote all my time to my writing career. During my breaks, I see to my husband and home. I travel on business trips with my husband and use the settings where we stay for my books.
What is your best advice for getting past writer's block?
Choose your priorities. As an indie author, we wear all the hats of a publisher. In order to write we must choose to set everything else aside for a window of time. When you write, let it flow. The edits and rewrites will come later.
What was the best writing-related advice you ever received?
Just write good books. Great advice, Nancy
Pacific Beach is based on my family reunion held at The Pacific Terrace Hotel. The characters are based on family members (with their permission). A young starlet and her mother are murdered in their hotel rooms and Jillian Bradley’s nephew is arrested. In order to prove his innocence, she must uncover the killer by delving into the victim’s past. Teddy sniffs out a clue of his own.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I wanted to preserve the memories of our reunion in Pacific Beach. A young starlet was doing a photo signing one year and that gave me the idea of having her as the victim.
What was the most difficult aspect of writing this book?
Truthfully? Creating characters resembling family members without being negative or unflattering.
Did you have to do any special research for your book?
Law enforcement in San Diego. The police procedures had to be authentic.
What’s ahead for your writing?
Three more books in The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series and then a fictitious memoir. The book will remain a secret until it’s ready for publication.
What opportunities have opened up because of your writing?
Making friends with authors such as you has been such a pleasure. Creating books for sale is such a wide-open opportunity, especially in ebooks.
How can people connect with you? List links
I write three blogs:
Cozy Mystery Author, Nancy Jill Thames
“Queen of Afternoon Tea”
Cozy Mystery Magazine