My name is Nancy Nation and I pen under A. Nation. I started writing in 2011 when I was 64, so I have a lot to catch up on. I grew up in Idaho, married in Idaho, and now live part-time in Idaho and in Arizona, I joined a writing club and from there I began to write the stories in my head. I’ve always been accused of having a vivid imagination, but that advantage helped me in the past when I studied and obtained a 4-year degree in Computer Information Systems and later as a screen printer. Since I’m retired from those vocations, I have lots of time to write. I have always thought about writing but I didn’t know where to start. I did write for an Audubon Newsletter several years ago. From that experience, my writing club prompts and tips, and my beta readers who help me edit, I have enjoyed the writing process. You won’t be disappointed.
When did you write your first book and how did it come about?
When I joined Write On the Edge writing club in Yuma, Arizona, I decided to choose literary science fiction mystery as my genre. Why? Because non-fiction would definitely get me into trouble with the guilty. I loved the stories by Asimov and Agatha Christie. When I chose my genre, I combined the two story types together.
After I joined the writing club, it took me two years to write Similar But Not the Same two years because (1) I was unfamiliar with the self-publishing formats, and (2) I could attend the club classes only during the winter months. I had my first story going on in my head for some time and this club helped me give it a home.
Do you always write in the same genre or do you mix it up?
I was staying with the same genre until 2015 when my club members convinced me to write for Nanowrimo in November. I wanted something different so I chose the genre Urban Fantasy that would take place in present time. As before, I had the story pretty much wrote in my head a month before the event and when November 1st began, I wrote 50,000 words in eleven days (Where Did They Go?). In 2016, I continued that story and wrote the second book in 16 days (The Pottery Sale). Of course it took another month for me and my beta readers to edit and expand on the stories.
When you write, do you start with an idea and sit down and let it evolve, or do you make notes and collect ideas on paper beforehand?
Before I go to sleep I think about it and let it evolve before I fall asleep. I keep doing that for the next several nights before I start writing anything down and eventually typing it into the computer. Since I now have seven sci-fi adventures written, I pick an unanswered occurrence from one of the last books I wrote and expand upon it, developing the characters more. I like to focus on a theme, whether it is prejudice, greed, or obsession. My Nanowrimo for this fall is ready with some notes I made last winter based on one of my recent travel experiences.
Would you like to give us a short excerpt from one of your books?
Sure, this is from the first chapter of Desert Shock, a futuristic murder mystery:
“High above in the overcast sky of the warm desert flew a small black bird. Fluttering from branch to branch of an old half live ironwood tree, the Phainopepla jerked upwards in fright. Without warning the dark clouds in the sky were illuminated by a bright flash.
A tremendous crack sounded across the Tucson autumn sky causing many people to look up in fear at mankind’s greatest threat–Nature. The dark grey clouds began gathering together as they elicit their conflicting energy across the desert.
Below, on the sandy floor, one pair of open eyes could not see the brilliant streak of light. Her eyes shed no tears. Her ears could not hear the low rumbling in the mountains nor the mournful cry of the black Phainopepla.
As the woman’s face directed toward the overcast upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere, a few drops began sprinkling on her unfeeling skin. The tepid sandy soil caressed and swirled in front of her blind eyes. Somewhere in the city, someone will find the rest of her body.” ©A.Nation2016.
Who is your favourite character and why?
I have created quite a few, I enjoyed the strong women characters I created in Similar and in Deflection who appear independent from time to time because when nobody seems to know what to do next. That’s when these women take charge. In my detective outtakes of the series, I enjoy writing in the mind of a Navajo detective as he chases his suspect to Mars. In my urban fantasy, my female MC seems weak at first but her strength grows when placed in death defying scenes. The villain in Found and Return was fun to write about, but the irritating cousin of my MC in Crossroads and Fatal Error became an interesting composite of several people I have met in my past.
Which of your books gave you the most pleasure to write?
Each one, as I did them, was pleasurable. The most interesting one would be Deflection and The Pottery Sale. The MC in Deflection had a humorous encounter with an alien child, but in The Pottery Sale, I began experimenting with local myths near the town I live in. The making of pottery thanks to my pottery expert and sister who helped me with the details, was fun and informative. In Return, I showed how evil a person can become and how others reacted to his actions. The Alice and Jan characters from the sci-fi stories, and the Susan from Where Did They Go? all have a little piece of me in them.
What is the best marketing tip you have received?
I use Facebook and promote my webpage. Although, I haven’t received much from Facebook. I prefer to say, from my former business experiences on the web, use links as much as you can to your webpage and to where your books are sold.
How would you describe yourself?
Vertically challenged but innovative. Maybe that’s has helped my positive outlook on life. If I have a problem, I will access resources from my experience, from my husband, or the web to figure it out, whether it is from fixing something around the house or in the story of my book.
What do you do when you are not writing or reading?
Traveling, my husband and I love to go camping although we do it in an RV. We also travel back and forth from Idaho to Arizona and stop at museums or visit relatives along the way. Sometimes a slice of a story from these adventures will slip into my books. I used several museum pics meshed together to create the Crossroads book cover. I created my own covers just because Createspace doesn’t offer what I am looking for.
If you could holiday anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
Arizona, it’s always warm, except when we went on an Alaskan trip during the heat of the summer and it was great. Fresh air and wonderful landscapes.
If you have owned pets, do you have a funny story you would like to share with us?
I had owned a poodle. They are the clowns of the dog species. This one would throw her ball down the stairs and run after it. She would do this several times by herself.
What is the biggest factor for you when selecting a book to read?
Like most, I look at the cover and read the back blurb. Since I use my kindle completely, I read the blurb that was entered for the book. For my interests, the story has to have plot depth and a moral resolve toward the end. I’m not a fan of starting off the story with blasting action scenes without an explanation of why it’s happening.
Do you have your own website?
Are you working on a new book at the moment?
Yes, it will be the eighth in the sci-fi series that leans more to young adult with some of the previous characters. I may or may not get it done by Oct.30th as I will be traveling and Nanowrimo starts November 1st. For fun, I decided to create a prequel to my first book about the cat character in the story and all his adventures on Mars.
Do you have any events or book promotions coming up that you would like to tell us about?
Not at this time. In November, there is a craft show I will be attending in Yuma, Arizona in the civic center. I don’t know the date yet.
Here’s where you can also find me and my books:
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/A-Nation/e/B00SUHXM6E
Facebook: A. Nation Books: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorANation/
A. Nation Author: https://www.facebook.com/AnationWriter/
Blog: http://bloggingwrites.weebly.com/ - thoughts
And : https://anationbooks.wordpress.com/ updates/events