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Friday, August 08, 2014

Interview and Giveaway with Nancy Cohen

Do you have a specific writing style?

I like to write fast-paced page turners that will keep readers awake at night. My stories are easy-to-read, include a touch of humor, and always have a happy ending. I would rather make you laugh and close the book with a smile than shed a tear, not that my books lack poignancy. But if you want to be sad or horrified, watch the news on TV. My books are aimed to give you a pleasant escape from reality.

Do you write in different genres?

Yes, I write mysteries and romance. My humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series features hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes in sultry South Florida. My paranormal Drift Lords series also takes place in modern times but with elements of scifi and fantasy based on Norse mythology.

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

I like them both. I enjoy plotting mysteries, and I bring this sense of logic to my romances as well. But the paranormal stories can have much more passion and adventure than the mysteries that must remain grounded in reality. In the Drift Lords series, my imagination can run wild. I can bring in fantasy creatures or put my characters into perilous situations that wouldn’t happen in a traditional mystery. I like to think of them as “quest” stories. 

Think Indiana Jones meets Lord of the Rings. For my mysteries, it’s more like Murder, She Wrote in a beauty salon. I have fun writing these stories, too, and following Marla’s life throughout twelve books so far. Switching between genres refreshes my creativity.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

I set a title up front. Warrior Lord is the third title in my Drift Lords series that begins with Warrior Prince and Warrior Rogue.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Warrior Lord deals with injustice in that Lord Magnor has been accused of a crime on his home world that he didn’t commit. Having been betrayed by someone close to him, he’s become a loner and has to learn how to be a team player when he joins the Drift Lords. A more important lesson is that honor and respect are self-driven and cannot be determined by others. He thinks he’s lost his honor, but he doesn’t truly retain it until he realizes he is the one who cast it aside.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

My real life experiences make their way into my Bad Hair Day mystery series. As for Warrior Lord, I have been to most of the locations in this story.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

I started reading romance with Barbara Cartland novels. From Regencies, I got into historical romance in general. I still consider this my favorite genre to read. Author Marilyn Campbell introduced me to futuristic romance. The first book I wrote in that genre is the one I sold. It was my seventh title. I started to follow some fantasy and scifi authors, and their storytelling abilities also influenced me. So did series like Horatio Hornblower, where I learned it’s the main character’s personal life that draws readers back to a series more so than the adventures or mysteries involved. These protagonists need to grow and change as a series progresses, and I follow this principle not only in individual titles but also in my ongoing series. Jill Churchill’s books introduced me to humorous cozies and that’s my other writing field. Now I enjoy reading historical mysteries and even some YA, but I wouldn’t want to write in either one of those genres.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I would consider everyone in my critique group to be my mentor. There are six of us, all published authors, who meet on a bi-weekly basis. Plus, I’ve learned a lot from workshops I have attended and from my networking efforts in professional writing organizations.

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

Peril by Ponytail, book #12 in the Bad Hair Day mysteries, will be my next release. 

Meanwhile, I’m working on an indie project to publish my father’s true life travel adventure of his hitchhiking journey across the U.S. in 1929. Then I intend to tackle the audio editions of my backlist mystery titles. After these are done, I’ll write the next series book.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Beginnings are always difficult for me. Once I get all the characters on stage for the first time and see how they react, things roll more smoothly. But getting started is hard. I love writing the second half of a book when I’m in the zone and the story flows from my mind to paper.

Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?

I did an intensive research trip to Arizona that will figure into both of my series. I do like to visit the locales, especially for the sensory details that you can’t get from reference books. For Warrior Lord, I have actually been to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Florida and Arizona. The volcanic island in the climactic scene is based on places I’ve been like Hawaii.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Learn your craft along with the business aspects of writing. Attend workshops and conferences, enter contests with feedback, join professional writing organizations, get into a critique group, and never give up. Keep writing one book after another, seeking to improve your skills and learn marketing techniques. Treat your writing career as a small business and not as an artsy endeavor. Always be courteous and polite, helpful to other authors and grateful to readers.

Warrior Lord
The Drift Lords Series
Book 3
Nancy J. Cohen

Genre: Paranormal SciFi/Fantasy Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication: August 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62830-446-6
ISBN: 978-1-62830-445-9

Number of pages:  422
Word Count: 102,340

Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Book Description:

A fantasy wedding in Las Vegas turns into a nightmare when contest winner Erika Sherwood realizes she’s married an alien.

Pottery sculptor Erika Sherwood has no idea her televised wedding in Las Vegas is for real until an official confirms she and the stranger she’s just met are legitimately wed.

A Drift Lord and warrior of the Tsuran, Magnor tricks the redhead into marriage because she’s one of six women prophesied to save Earth. But as he’s forced into her company in their race against the apocalypse, he wonders if he risks his heart more than his life.   

Can a free-spirited ceramic artist and a fierce swordsman trust each other enough to prevent disaster?

Available at Wild Rose Publishing and Amazon


Where else but Las Vegas could a bearded man wearing a cape and sword swagger inside a casino without drawing attention?
Erika Sherwood stared at the man who peered around, a bewildered look on his face until his gaze slammed into hers.
Her heart slowed, as though the world had frozen in that moment. Despite the bells ringing and people chattering and roulette wheels spinning, her awareness narrowed. She couldn’t drag her eyes away from his searing glance.
Her pulse jumped when the man strode purposefully in her direction, his cape flapping behind him. With his powerful physique and resolute jawline, he looked like a superhero come to life. She supposed he’d bought that fabulous costume at a store along the Strip.
He claimed the empty seat beside her, exchanged a few words with the blackjack dealer, and set out a pile of chips. Tension charged the air around him. Her sideways glance absorbed his longish black hair and trim beard and the wide breadth of his shoulders. She pulled her skirt down, aware it had hiked up indecently, but his gaze didn’t go there. Instead, his dark eyes fixated on her wristwatch.
“Miss?” The dealer’s questioning glance fell on her.
“Oh. Hit me, please.” She grimaced at the eight of spades she’d drawn. Drat, now she was over the limit.
“Not having any luck?” The newcomer nodded at her diminishing pile of chips. “Maybe this isn’t your game.”
“Excuse me, mister…?”
“My name is Magnor.” He quirked an eyebrow when the waitress came by with another round of free drinks.
Erika lifted her third Viking Volcano from the tray. Who could resist? The fruity drinks were on the house, a popular ploy to keep gamblers in their casino.
She raised her glass in a friendly gesture before taking a sip. “Is Magnor your first name or your last name?”
“It’s my only name.” His mouth curved as he watched her reaction.
“O-kay.” She wasn’t in the mood to challenge him. Those drinks had already gone to her head, making her happy to accept his remark along with his blatant stare. Probably half the people in Vegas used false names anyway.
“Do you work here?” she asked, realizing his outfit matched the resort’s Nordic theme.
He stiffened. “I should say not. I am a guest, like you.”
“Sorry to have asked, but you fit the part.”
“It is my customary attire as a warrior of the Tsuran.”
“I see,” she said in a noncommittal tone. Maybe he was an actor deep into his role. He could be taking a break from a movie set. Were they filming a sequel to Thor in the area?
“Nice timepiece you’re wearing.” He nodded at the object of his scrutiny.
Erika slid her hand under the table. “It was a gift.”
Her parents had given her the watch for her sixteenth birthday with the caveat that she ask no questions about its unusual properties. It ran with no visible mechanism and no battery and had a peculiar symbol engraved on its face.
Her forehead wrinkled. Why had Magnor chosen to comment on her watch when most men would offer a line about her flaming red hair or her flashy clothes?
Come on, Erika, why do you care what he thinks? You came here for the art show, remember, and not to meet men?
It must be the alcohol causing that low buzzing sound in her ears and not his imposing presence.
“This announcement is for all of our engaged couples out there,” blared a loudspeaker voice. “It’s the last call if you want to enter our exciting contest. The lucky winners will be married on live television, after which they’ll receive a complimentary stay in our honeymoon suite, fifty thousand dollars, and a new car. Entries are being accepted in the Green Room all day Friday until four o’clock.”
“Fifty thousand dollars,” Erika muttered. “Man, could I use that money!”
Magnor nudged her, a grin on his face. “Why don’t we enter the contest together?”
The smile transformed his features, making her want to study the craggy lines and furrows that made his visage so interesting.
“What?” she said when his words finally registered.
“I need a room, and the hotel is full. If we win, that will solve my problem. You can keep the car and the cash.”
“B-But the winners have to get married. On live television.”
He waved a hand. “Oh, that. Las Vegas is all about fantasy, is it not?”
Her eyes widened. “You mean, the wedding will be filmed like a reality show, but it isn’t real?”
He winked at her. “All of the contestants get bonus credits on their club cards. What have we got to lose?”
Erika stared at her diminished pile of chips. She’d lost two hundred dollars in less than an hour. She scooped the remaining credits into her purse while considering the man’s outrageous suggestion.
In her earlier days, she’d have accepted his proposal without a second thought. Back then nothing had mattered except her plants, her pottery, and her own pleasure.
Eventually, she’d erected an armor of self-discipline around herself so she could accomplish her goals. However, this resolve had evaporated under the influence of the drinks and the man’s piercing gaze. Who wouldn’t want a hunk like him as her fake fiancĂ©?
Ignoring the warning bells in her mind, she scraped back her chair.
“I accept your offer,” she told him with bravado. “If we lose, at least we’ll be ahead by several credits. And it might be fun.”
“We should seal the deal if we are to play an engaged couple,” Magnor said, closing the distance between them.
His head descended before she could protest, and his lips met hers.

About the Author:

Nancy J. Cohen writes the humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series featuring hairdresser Marla Shore. Several of these titles have made the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association bestseller list. Nancy is also the author of Writing the Cozy Mystery, a valuable instructional guide for writers on how to write a winning whodunit. Her imaginative romances have proven popular with fans as well. Her titles in this genre have won the HOLT Medallion and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews. A featured speaker at conferences, libraries, and community events, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who's Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets.

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Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thank you for hosting me here!