Today, I’m thrilled to introduce one of my critique partners, Nancy LaPonzina, and her debut novel, Nardi Point. (Don’t you just love the cover???) Let’s start off by asking Nancy a little bit about herself.
Nancy: Keeping journals, notebooks, collecting writing materials, and taking the time to be thoughtful about how everyday things come to be, led me joyfully into the writing life. And of course, books were early shapers: Nancy Drew—loved those stories then Nurse Nancy, complete with a page of actual Band-Aids, spots and patches. I tried my hand early on with second grade mysteries such as “The Case of the Missing Desk,” or :The Forgotten Tunnel,” and from there to poetry and short stories in High School. Nurse Nancy led me on to the clinical world around which I continued to write. When we visited Lewis Bay near Dennisport on Cape Cod, my husband followed me along the shoreline jokingly taking back cover, author photos for my book … that was over thirty years ago!
Now, in Youngsville, North Carolina and with the gift of more time, while I still write occasional web content, I’m thrilled to have completed and to share with readers, my debut novel, Nardi Point, available from Rebel Ink Press; Amazon.com; Barnes&Noble; iBookstore.com; and BookStrand.com.
Callie: Hmm. The Case of the Missing Desk sounds intriguing, kinda Sherlock Holmes. You may want to publish it one day. Tell us what your writing schedule is like.
Nancy: I love writing first thing in the morning as the sun is readying to meet the day. My studio welcomes me at about seven o’clock when I log in to my laptop and check email then pull up my WriteWay Pro authoring program. Sometimes email from my critique partners can pull me from my current project, but when I see the potential for it carrying on all morning, I close email and start to work. Generally I’ll review the scenes before the one I’m working on and get down to business. My goal is a minimum of on thousand words a day. Before I know it, it’s noon and I have to stand up and stretch. Good writing habits generally include setting a timer of sorts for every hour and stretching at those mandated breaks. I have to do that some day!
After a quick lunch, I check my words and see how they work against my outline. When I started Nardi Point I was a pantser. The action comes quickly when you first start a new project. But at about Chapter ten, I find an outline very helpful when I braid storylines and work the plot to a satisfying conclusion. If I’ve met my goal, I feel really happy and satisfied at the progress. If not, I’ll continue on until I do.
Callie: You have a great routine for your writing. Where do you get the ideas for your books?
Nancy: I have over 136 books on writing! Most say to write about those things that truly interest you in order to sustain the story to completion. I have found this to be great advice. I’ve brought into my women’s fiction: archaeology, holistic/alternative healing modalities, astrology, intuitive knowing, indigenous folk ways, and the clinical. Another helpful exercise is to make a list of issues to explore. For Nardi Point I wanted to examine: the dynamics of beauty in a relationship; the effects of coincidence in pairing; the toxic workplace; preserving meaningful life moments against capitalism and greed; and questioning the effects of destruction on plant life. Of course these stories require research. Thankfully I love that part of it, too!
Callie: Wow, 136 books on writing! Sound serious. So what do you think makes a good story?
Nancy: For me, plot trumps characters. I feel the most engaging characters without a great plot, limp and fail to make a satisfying story. I also enjoy learning through the story. Maybe all about the location and setting of the story. I Google any clues I find in a story and try to pinpoint place. Or perhaps story introduces a new healthcare therapy, craft, or travel destination. Adding fashion, cooking and interior decorating also fleshes out a good read.
Callie: I agree, plot is important. Tell us what you are working on now.
Nancy: So many readers have asked about Leyla Jo Piper. They are interested in her and want to know more. I grew to like and know her very much, so when she whispered her wish into my ear, the story immediately started unfolding. Her wish takes her to Rome, Italy and interesting work with herbal flower essence therapy. A Path through the Garden explores natural botanical solutions for infertility, and a threat to the archaeological exhibit she curates with Hal. The path Leyla Jo travels leads to a conflicted crossroad … where she must choose a husband’s health over their desire for a child.
Callie: Sounds like a great story. Best of luck with it, Nancy.
I’m so happy Nancy stopped by to visit today. To show her appreciation for those who stop by and comment, Nancy will offer a Nardi Point mug to one lucky winner!
Nancy hangs out here: http://nancylaponzina.wordpress.com/