I’m delighted to welcome Nancy Wood to the blog for an author interview. Nancy is the author of Due Date, her debut novel, a mystery book which is published by Solstice Publishing. It was released on 28 may and is available NOW through Amazon US UK and Smashwords.
Since Due Date is your debut novel, and people may not be familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Santa Cruz, California, where Due Date is set. I’ve lived here for almost 25 years, am married, and have two children. My daughter just graduated from college and my son is in high school. I am a writer in my day job, doing business writing and editing for the high tech industry. I love to write, edit, and read.
I grew up on the east coast, mostly in Baltimore, Maryland, then attended college in Portland, Oregon. I held a variety of odd jobs before landing in my career as a writer, from camp counsellor to chemistry lab bottle-washer, including fast food fry cook, waitress, retail clerk, telephone survey taker, deli counter help, dolphin trainer, factory worker on a kibbutz, and computer technical support!
What inspired you to write Due Date? Where did the idea of a baby selling ring come from?
Before diving into the mystery genre, I had been working on a women’s novel that focused on an open adoption and the relationship between the birth mother and the adoptive mother. I finished the manuscript and was having an extremely difficult time finding an agent or publisher. Around that time, I attended a workshop specifically devoted to publishing, where we examined popular genres; with mystery/thriller/suspense, of course, being one of the most well-loved. Some of the other workshop participants suggested that I turn my women’s novel into a mystery and by the end of the week, I had a 200-word pitch for Due Date, with the names of the main characters and the premise of the baby selling ring. That was almost six years ago, and as I wrote the book, the character names and premise never changed.
The cover tagline alludes to a series of books with Shelby as the main character. Is that so and if so how many books do you have planned for Shelby?
Yes, this is a series! I have at least one more book planned for Shelby, possibly two. I’m working on the next book which picks up about a year after Due Date ends. Shelby will return to Santa Cruz where she gets back into the crime-solving business, following up where Due Date left off. No title yet!
You mention a fellow author, Sue Grafton, in Due Date. Was there a specific reason for this? Does she inspire you, do you read her books? A friend perhaps?
I love her books! I admire her ability to create a realistic place with wonderfully rich, complex, and believable characters, with the bonus of a sympathetic and funny heroine. I have never met Sue Grafton, but would love to someday!
Who are your favourite writers? Do you get a lot of time to read? What genre do you like to read?
My favourite authors create mysteries and thrillers with strong female protagonists: Laura Lippman, Cornelia Read, Sue Grafton, Nevada Barr, Sandi Ault. I have recently branched out into YA mysteries and thrillers. I read just about every night before I go to sleep and if I get caught up in a good story, sometimes I’ll just keep reading and forget about sleeping!
Did you like to read as a child?
I read constantly when I was growing up and would go to the library once a week.
Who were your favourite authors?
I have to say that my favorites by far were the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series. (I suppose I was a mystery fan from way back when!) But I also loved Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie series), Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland), Joy Adamson (Born Free), Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden), Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking series), Jack London, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Mary Norton (The Borrowers series), Thor Heyerdahl (Kon-Tiki), Helen Keller, Anne Frank, James Thurber, and J.R. Tolkein. I guess I read a lot!
We were fortunate to have old editions of Hans Christian Andersen and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The illustrations were very vivid and to this day, I can still remember two of them: the girl with the dancing red shoes and the girl who trod on a loaf and sunk down into the ground to the Marsh Woman. Those stories and images were very powerful!
What have you found to be the most difficult aspect of getting your work published?
The rejections. They sting.
What’s been the most enjoyable part of the journey to be a published author?
All the wonderful people I have met.
When you’re writing do you plan the book before writing or do you have a vague idea of what you want the story to be about and start from there?
I’m a planner. I plotted out Due Date ahead of time with a chapter diagram and have finished plotting out the second book as well. I like to have a loose idea of where the story is heading so I can think about character and container as I write, instead of worrying about plot.
Where do you do your writing and when? Is there a specific place and time that you’re most productive?
I have a home office where I write. I generally write in the morning for an hour or so before I have to get ready for work.
Now for a few fun questions!
Bernese mountain dog
Favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere my motorcycle takes me!
Favourite character from a book you’ve read?
Madeline Dare, from the series by Cornelia Read.
Favourite thing to do when you have time to spare?
Mountain biking or motorcycling with my husband, spending time with my family and extended family, reading.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to Nancy for taking the time to be interviewed for the blog and for allowing me the chance to read and review Due Date by kindly providing me with an ecopy. Now read on to find out more about Due Date and to read my review.
Surrogate mother Shelby McDougall just fell for the biggest con of all—a scam that risks her life and the lives of her unborn twins.
Recent college graduate, Shelby, is facing a mountain of student debt and carting a burden she’d like to exorcise. A Rolling Stone ad for a surrogate mother offers her a way to erase the loans and right her karmic place in the cosmos. Within a month, she’s signed a contract with intended parents Jackson and Diane Entwistle, relocated to Santa Cruz, California, and started fertility treatments.
But Jackson and Diane have their own secret agenda, one that has nothing to do with diapers and lullabies. With her due date looming and the clues piling up, Shelby must save herself and her twins, and outwit those who wish her ill… She learns the real meaning of the word “family.”
This book was action packed right from the start – the first page had a car crash which resulted in a forest fire and a hospital stay for Shelby! Upon leaving the hospital Shelby moves in to a cottage, on the large estate belonging to Jackson and Diane, to await the arrival of the babies that will be theirs when born. Once there Shelby quickly realises that things are not at all as they seem and she, as well as others, are in very real danger.
As Shelby begins to piece things together we come to find that she may be naive but she certainly has courage and quick thinking on her side when it matters. She also has the support of her brother Dexter who, although he doesn’t agree with her surrogacy, is there to help her solve the mystery of what’s happening right under her nose. As the story progresses we see Shelby mature and make decisions that are not just based on her best interests but the interests of others too.
Due Date is a fast paced, well thought out, and well written mystery. My heart was seriously beating fast at certain points and I had that strange taste of adrenaline in my mouth! That’s definitely the kind of reaction an author of a mystery wants from a reader!
Due Date also offered an intriguing look at the controversial and much debated subject of surrogacy and in some people’s opinions “selling a baby made to order”. I really enjoyed learning more about the subject and I think the idea to use it, along with the baby selling ring plotline, was genius!
I can’t wait to read more from Nancy Wood, hopefully soon.
*My ecopy of Due Date was provided free of charge by the author in exchange for a review. This has not influenced my review in any way.