Wednesday’s Guest – Author Nancy Cohen

Please help me welcome Nancy Cohen to It’s Not All Gravy. Nancy is the author of Shear Murder and is here talking about her book and what keeps her motivated to write.
Question #1: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, ever since I can remember I’ve been writing. At first, it was poems and short stories and a Shakespearean type play which I forced my summer camp mates to act out. I began the submission process quite young, but it wasn’t until grad school that I decided to write a novel. One of the most important things I did to boost my career was to join Romance Writers of America and attend conferences and monthly chapter meetings.
Question #2: Tell us a little bit about your latest book. 
Shear Murder is the tenth book in my Bad Hair Day mystery series. It’s the culmination of a personal journey for my hairstylist sleuth, Marla Shore. It’s about weddings and new beginnings. Just when Marla is planning her own nuptials, she gets caught up in another murder investigation. Marla is a bridesmaid at her friend Jill’s wedding when she discovers the matron of honor—the bride’s sister— dead under the cake table. She has a lot going on in her life, but when Jill pleads for her help in solving the case, Marla can’t refuse. It’s a fast-paced tale with humor, romance, and suspense as Marla races to find the killer before her wedding day arrives.
Question #3:  I noticed on your Website that you write books that mix genres a lot. Why do you think those types of books are so popular with readers?  
Mixed genre stories stretch the boundaries. You’re not limited by conventions of a particular type. You can blend these expectations, add unexpected elements, and surprise the reader. I really like combining sci-fi and fantasy with romance. Those stories of mine are romantic adventure tales set in another universe. Paranormal mysteries are another type of mash-up, popular with mystery lovers who like an otherworldly touch in their stories. It’s like adding spice to a recipe. My mysteries, however, are straight whodunits with a touch of humor.
Question #4: Have you always been a lover of books and stories? What did you read as a child?
I was a devoted fan of Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, and Judy Bolton. I couldn’t wait for the next Nancy Drew book to come out. That was my favorite, but Cherry Ames stories inspired me to become a nurse. And Judy Bolton influenced my writing in that she grew and changed as a character. She got married, whereas Nancy Drew has changed very little over time. It’s much more interesting when you follow a character’s growth. Horatio Hornblower is another example of how a fictional character evolves over the course of a series. Thus my heroine sleuth, Marla Shore, matures during the stories to a woman who embraces her new family.
Question #5: Tell us a little about your family.  Has your family been supportive of your writing? 
My husband is retired and we’re empty nesters with two grown children. He knows to leave me alone when I’m writing, which is early in the morning. They’re all proud of my work.
Question #6: Most writers put a bit of themselves in their characters. Is there one in particular that you think has some of your characteristics? 
Marla Shore and I share similar backgrounds, traditions, and values. In some ways, she is me, but in other ways, she’s a lot braver! I wish I had her skills as a hairstylist, and I admire her talents. We also share the nurturing nature from my nursing career. Marla likes making people look good because then they feel better about themselves. It boosts their self-esteem.
Question #7: Many writers have pets. Do you? Do you include any in your stories?
Marla has a poodle named Spooks who takes after our late dog, who died at the ripe old age of nearly 17. Most of Spooks’ antics happened to our dear pet.
Question #8: What do your think your best friend from high school would say about you now? 
She admires my accomplishments. Seriously. We connected on Facebook.
Question #9: What is it that keeps you writing – money, success, readers or simply satisfying the creative urge?
Readers are the number one reason why I keep writing. So please continue your fan mail and positive reviews! Pleas for more Marla stories are what inspired me to finish Shear Murder after my previous publisher cancelled the series. If not for reader demand, I would not have completed this book. Also, being a writer is not a switch I can turn off. I love telling stories and sharing my imaginary worlds with booklovers. If I did it for money or success, I’d have quit a long time ago!
Question #10: What would you like to say to the people who read your books? 
Thank you so very much for being devoted readers, for following my work, and for your supportive comments. I have saved every letter or email written to me, that’s how much it means. You’re my inspiration. Keep reading!
Nancy J. Cohen is an award-winning author who writes romance and mysteries. Her popular Bad Hair Day series features hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, while Nancy’s imaginative sci-fi romances have garnered rave reviews. Her latest book, and tenth in her mystery series, is Shear Murder from Five Star Cengage/Gale. Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets.
Shear Murder
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44 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Guest – Author Nancy Cohen”

  1. What a wonderful interview! I so glad you decided to continue with Marla with a 10th book and I hope there will be more. You’re so right about watching a character evolve over time-it’s fun and makes that character seem like an old friend. By the way, your trailer is adorable!

  2. Lovely interview! Nancy, when I was growing up we had a cat named Spooky. I find myself wondering if you are still nursing and would you ever write a series about a nurse who solves mysteries? I do hope that you continue to write stories about Marla Shore!

  3. Thanks for stopping by the blog on your tour, Nancy. Like so many others, I really like the concept of your series. Cozy mysteries are so popular and it’s because of characters like Marla.

  4. I enjoyed your interview very much, Nancy. A lot of what you said rang true with me, especially that our characters are braver, bolder versions of our fantasy selves. I also admire your writing blended genre stories. I’m a blender myself (grin).

    Wishing you all the best with Shear Murder!

    Maggie Toussaint
    Death, Island Style coming in March

  5. Hi, Nancy and Maryann,

    A very interesting interview! I think mixing genres makes for more interesting reading. One of the things I do like about writing novels for Five Star/Gale is that writers do get to experiment and write out of the box. I’m not a fan of strict formula fiction. Here’s hoping for your continued success!

  6. Thanks so much, Jacqueline. Yes, that’s the advantage of smaller presses and epubs. You can stretch the boundaries. Morgan, Julie, and LD, I appreciate your comments. In terms of mixed genres, I do like a romantic subplot in the mysteries I read. My paranormal romances are really where I blend the genres when I’m writing, though.

  7. I must be the only purist who really doesn’t like mixing a lot of genres. I know so many of my writer friends really enjoy writing outside the norm for a genre, and lots of readers love stories like that. I’m just a simple meat and potatoes girl. I like a mystery. Sometimes I like paranormal. But I don’t want them touching. LOL

  8. Maryann, I’ve read some paranormal mysteries that I enjoy. Defending Angels by Mary Stanton is a recent title that was fun. And I like some historical mysteries, too. So every now and then, it’s nice to try something new within a subgenre. Usually, I like a straight whodunit with a romantic subplot and a touch of humor.

  9. Thanks, Marybell, for dropping by. Glad you could join us!

    Since I am an early to bed type, I’m going to sign off for now, but I will check again in early morning and respond to new comments then.

    Maryann, thanks again for hosting me on your site!

  10. I love your bad hair day mysteries. I’m sad to hear that the original publisher cancelled it. I’ve loved following the adventures of Marla and am glad that you have the chance to finish it.

  11. What an interesting story, Nancy. I’ve always enjoyed reading your books, and now I know more about your creation of them. I look forward to reading number 10.

  12. Thank you for writing for us, the readers! Thank you for giving us a chance to in a copy of your book. I think it always shows when an author connects with their audience. I really liked getting to read your responses here and learning more about you.

  13. Boy, I was a fan of Nancy Drew books,too. At our Junior High School the Nancy Drew books never went back to the library shelf before we found out who had a copy checked out and went to check it out when they returned it.

  14. June, I hope you like number 10!Maureen, thanks for stopping by.
    Gladys, didn’t you wish the writers of Nancy Drew would have put out books more frequently? I couldn’t wait to get the next one. Cyn, I hope you’ll check out my series. Marla is a fun character to spend time with.

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