Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery, and earned third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. Her imaginative romances, including the Drift Lords series, have proven popular with fans as well. These books have won the HOLT Medallion and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, she enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.
What inspires you to write?
My readers inspire me to write. Satisfying fans and continuing series that they have come to love is what encourages me to keep writing. I like getting feedback and hearing from readers. Otherwise, I can’t NOT write. Storytelling is in my nature.
Tell us about your writing process.
When I start a book, I’ll fill out character development sheets and do my preliminary research. Once the characters and setting are in my head, I will write a complete synopsis. Then I’ll put myself on a writing schedule of 5 pages a day or 25 pages per week. When the first draft is finished, I will do several readings for line editing, repetitions, continuity, etc. I’ll use royalty-free image sites to pick out photos of people who look like my characters and use these in my trailer as well as my Pinterest boards. They can help me visualize the characters when I’m writing, too. In my earlier days, I’ve used a plotting board but don’t feel the need for it now. The synopsis acts as my writing guide.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I set the stage for my characters to appear in the story and then they seem to dictate where it goes from there. I will follow my synopsis but detours and new plot developments might come along. Then I’ll revise the synopsis accordingly. The characters talk in my head often before I write a scene.
What advice would you give other writers?
Follow the 3 P’s: Practice, Professionalism, and Persistence. You can talk about writing forever, but you won’t achieve anything until you sit down and write. You should make a reasonable schedule for yourself and follow it diligently. Self-discipline is crucial. So is networking with other writer, so join your professional writing organizations.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I went the traditional publishing route first with Kensington for my mysteries and Dorchester for my romances. Now I’m with small press, but I have some projects I’d like to publish on my own. For new authors, I’d advise you to hire an editor if you plan to self-publish. This step cannot be missed if you want to present a professional product. Who you target for your marketing efforts depends on your goals
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I don’t think print books will ever go away, but the proportion of people reading e-books will increase. My concern is with the younger generations who have short attention spans and might rather play games or text their friends instead of reading. Kids have to hooked get at a young age. Stories will always be available; it’s just the distribution and mediums that might change.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Mystery and Paranormal Romance with a SciFi/Fantasy Twist
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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