Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An Interview With Author Nanci Joyce Oroz

Nanci Rathbun's sassy, spunky writing style is sure to tickle your funny-bone, pull you in and keep your attention until the mystery is solved. She knows what she wants to say and makes no bones about it. Now, lets celebrate Author Nanci Rathbun and her wonderful mystery, Truth Kills

Nanci, was there someone, something or an event in your life that set you on the road to being an author?

I’ve always been a voracious reader and was fascinated as a child with the Nancy Drew mysteries.  In my teens, I read Mary Stewart and other romantic suspense writers.  In adulthood, I moved into the mystery genre: Dorothy L. Sayers, Elizabeth Peters, Caleb Carr and Charlaine Harris are among my favorites.  As you can see, I’m an eclectic reader!  I’ve also read a lot of average and just plain bad fiction.  No need to mention those by name, but I always thought, when reading a clunker: This could be good if …  I always itched to try it myself.
But I was a single mom and full-time employee, falling asleep with a book on my chest at night.  There was no time or energy for writing.  After my kids were grown, with high anxiety but a real inner sense of determination, I registered for a writing class at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha.  It was led by a woman who later became my writing coach, mentor and friend – Kathie Giorgio.  Without Kathie and her studio, AllWriters’ Workplace and Workshop, I’d probably still be reading others’ work and thinking, I could do that!

What do you like about writing and what bugs you about it?

I love the way that a world comes alive in my imagination and moves onto a page where others can read it and share it.  But I have to be honest – it’s hard work!  There are days when the words flow and days when it takes me two hours to write ten sentences.  Sometimes the characters take on a life of their own and do things I didn’t imagine, and sometimes I sit and stare and think: what’s next?  what’s Angie gonna do now?  The process is a lot like pregnancy and birth: there’s pain and dedication needed to bring a manuscript to the point of delivery.  But when you hold it in your hands and send it out into the world, it’s just an amazing sense of accomplishment and joy.

I get frustrated with writers who don’t discipline themselves to learn the tools of their trade: grammar, punctuation, spelling, plot and character development – these are not optional!  Too many writers rush to self-publish without adequate editing.  It’s very hard for me to read a story – even a good story – when it’s riddled with mistakes. 

Please tell us how long have you been writing books and what other writing you do?

I took classes at AllWriters’ for almost a decade and started my recently published mystery novel, Truth Kills, about seven years ago.  (The date is a bit nebulous, because every time I get a new computer, it changes all the file dates.)  I had a very short one-page romance published in Woman’s World magazine some years ago.  While my novel has a romance undertone, straight romance is really not my genre.

Nanci, tell us about your protagonist. Is she a lot like you, other than your beautiful white hair? What are her assets and weaknesses?

Private investigator Angie Bonaparte (boe-nah-par-tay, please – she’s Sicilian-American and doesn’t appreciate the Napoleonic pronunciation) lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She’s a fifty-something woman, divorced, fit, stylish and a bit of a hottie – under her professional outfits, she’s wearing sexy lingerie.  Angie has a degree in library science and loves to dig for the facts.  She’s not very trusting, due to her philandering ex-husband’s betrayals.  Her son and daughter are grown, with kids of their own.  Almost every Sunday, the whole family gathers at Angie’s papa’s house for a meal.  Papa had Mafia connections, which makes Angie’s new relationship with an MPD homicide detective a bit problematic.  Angie is a bulldog when it comes to ferreting out the truth.

She and I do have things in common, but no one would ever accuse me of being a clotheshorse or stylish, nor am I as dedicated to fitness as Angie.  As for the underwear … no comment.  We both broke away from careers to follow another dream.  Angie went from librarian to private investigator.  I went from IT project manager to seminary and am an ordained minister who writes mysteries.  Angie is ambivalent about religion; I had that same experience as a young woman in my thirties.  There are moments in Truth Kills when Angie or others make spiritual observations, but the novel is not Christian fiction.  Friends who’ve read the novel tell me that my voice comes through in Angie.  I guess we’re both a bit sassy.  I like to think we’re both compassionate.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I moved from Wisconsin to Tennessee in January of 2013, to be closer to my granddaughters, Lydia and Lucy – oh, and my son Matt and his wife Sarah, too!  I love spending time with the girls, reading to Lydia, who is almost two, and cuddling Lucy who is almost five months.

I also love the interaction of working with other writers.  The Murfreesboro Writers Group is a source of good critical interchange, fun and laughter.  I’m not currently serving as a pastor in Tennessee, but I enjoy worship and engaging in church activities with others at Murfreesboro’s Central Christian Church (CCDC), which stretches my theological thinking as we grapple with current trends and writers together.  I sometimes go back to Wisconsin to visit family and friends, and there I have the joy of preaching at Fox River Congregational Church in Pewaukee.

Please tell us where we can find your books---and anything else you would like to say--such as a website or blog.

Truth Kills is currently available in both paperback and Kindle formats on Amazon.  It will be on Barnes and Noble starting in November, and other venues such as GoodReads as soon as I find the time to build my profile. 

The second Angie mystery, Cash Kills, will be out in 2014.  I’m nearly finished with the first draft and hope to finalize it by next April.

My website is  Readers can find the latest on my books and appearances there.  They can also send me email from the web site.  I’m on Facebook – look for “author nanci rathbun.”  I tweet very irregularly, but feel free to follow me at @nancirathbun.

Thank you, Nanci for letting us share your busy world of writing, preaching and family. We love our CCP writers!

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