Name Nancy Roe
Age 53 (Even though in my mind I’m still 21. It’s my aches and pains that agree with my age.)
Where are you from
I live in Memphis, Tennessee, but Manchester, Iowa will always be home.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Most people don’t know I have a degree in computer programming from Kirkwood Community College. I’ve been married to my husband, Jeff, for 25 years. Two step-children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. I also have a four-legged child, Shadow.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m currently working on my fourth book, a second mystery novel, due to be released in July. The only commonality with my first mystery, Secrets Can Be Deadly, is that they both take place in Iowa.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In my sixth-grade autobiography I wrote that in twenty years I wanted to be an author. (Yes, I still have the tattered and yellowed manuscript held together by two pieces of black yarn and three brass fasteners.) Life went along, with “writing a book” as the response to the question “what’s your dream job?” With the support of my loving husband, I was able to follow my dreams four years ago.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I self-published my first book and held it in my hands. It was a long, hard journey, but I’m glad I did it. My husband always says if writing a book was easy, everyone would do it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I always wanted to write a mystery, but when I started researching what it took to become an author, I decided non-fiction would be a good first fit. I remember reading “write what you know.” Since my husband claims I was “born organized,” Organize The Nancy Way…the low-cost, fun, creative way to get your life in shape was born. I have to say I get a rush out of cleaning a messy cabinet, drawer, or stack of papers. My spices are arranged alphabetically, and I can tell you everything I’ve received for a birthday or Christmas present since I was ten (I have a list).
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to be unique, so it’s “The Nancy Way” style.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
When I was an administrative assistant, I had certain ways I typed a document or managed a project and others in the office would say “I want to make sure it’s done ‘the Nancy way’.” That’s what made me start my website, http://www.TheNancyWay.com. I incorporated my website name in the title Organize The Nancy Way.
I originally wanted to title my second book, Deadly Secrets, but there was already a book by that name, so it ended up being Secrets Can Be Deadly. There are secrets and people die in the book.
My third book, Shadow 365, is a book I really made for myself. It’s all about pictures of my dog, and the captions are from his point of view. You have to have some humor in your life, and my dog is really a funny guy!
My upcoming book is Hidden in Shadow Pines. The name has a couple meanings. Isabella, the main character, is taken from her home to a secluded (hidden) town. Isabella soon learns that her father’s true childhood was hidden from her, and that she has ties to this strange town.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A weak person can become a strong person given the right circumstances.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Iowa is a real state and some of the characters are based on people I’ve met, but otherwise it all comes from my imagination.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, although from what I watch on television, the events could happen.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Growing up I loved Nancy Drew. I love any mystery novel.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I joined a book club a couple years ago which has definitely broaden my scope of reading. I just started reading Robin Sloan’s, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (loving it so far!).
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’ve downloaded several books on my Kindle from new authors, but haven’t had a chance to read them yet.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
First, finishing my book Hidden in Shadow Pines. I have a folder full of ideas for three or four more books. I’m always writing ideas, phrases, and character names on pieces of paper and stuffing the folder. Call me old school, but that’s how I roll.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My editor, Bradley Harris. I never would have finished my first book if it wasn’t for his encouragement.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do. Just not a high-paying career. Luckily I have a wonderful husband that supports my writing career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
If I thought that way, I’d never finish a book. There comes a point in the editing process where you have to let it go and move on to the next project.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Probably grade school writing contests. I don’t recall ever winning one, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write a book.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure. This is the start of my upcoming book, Hidden in Shadow Pines.
My name is Isabella Retsul. I live in Darden, Iowa, making a living as a writer. Darden is a small town, roughly five-thousand residents, in southern Iowa. I’m ambitious, confident, and optimistic. Three traits I never thought I’d again say described me. For sixteen years I dealt with low self-esteem and bouts of depression. That is, until nineteen months ago.
Most people would consider me, at thirty-six, underweight. At five foot seven, I weigh one-hundred-twenty-five pounds, ten pounds more than my high school weight. Since 1997, my hairstyle has remained the same—shoulder length, straight, dark brown—even though I recently noticed a few strands of gray at my temples. Yesterday in front of the mirror, I detected a few more wrinkles around my eyes.
Two items always in my navy Michael Kors large tote (a gift to myself in celebration of my lucrative book deal) are a Glock 19 and foam pepper spray.
I developed amaxophobia—the fear of being in or riding in a vehicle—after my parents died on my eighteenth birthday. The day I killed them. Not on purpose, mind you. It was an accident, but amaxophobia haunted me for sixteen years. Nineteen months ago, I overcame my fear.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I wish I had paid more attention in English class and had taken creative writing classes.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I enjoy Lillian Jackson Braun. I love her character James Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum. I also like Patricia Cornwell.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I do most of my marketing from my computer chair. I have had a few book signings at libraries.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
99designs designed two of my covers, and I’ll use them again for my upcoming book. I’m always amazed how many different cover concepts can be created from a brief description.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing was the easy part. I just let my ideas flow. Going back and editing is the hardest part.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Let someone who will give you critical feedback read the first draft. Not a friend or family member—they don’t want to hurt your feelings. I had a fellow book club member read my first draft and she gave me the ultimate critique, asking me why a character would do that, and what she didn’t understand. I can’t thank her enough for her comments.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just do it! Make a goal for yourself, write it down and put it on your calendar. Whether it is writing an article for a magazine, writing a chapter, or finishing your book. If you don’t devote time to your writing, you’ll never achieve your goal.
Make friends with an author or editor. They can guide you on achieving your goal. Also, there will be difficult decisions to be made, you’ll get frustrated, and even threaten to quit writing forever. Been there, done that. But persevere!
Oh yeah, invest in a good dictionary, thesaurus, and grammar guide.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for all your support!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I have no idea. I didn’t write that down. What was I thinking?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I can cry watching a commercial. My husband doesn’t think I have a funny bone – I’m way too serious. (My husband is nodding his head right now.) However, when having a picture taken of me, I’d rather have a silly photo than a posed shot. I like to be complicated that way. (My husband is nodding again.)
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I’d like to hang out with my dad for day. In 1999 I was living in New Jersey. At that time I didn’t get to travel home much, but I planned to visit Iowa for my niece’s wedding. He passed away a week before my visit.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Yes, she really was that organized! It would really make people think what kind of person I was.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Scrapbooking (my life is documented since second grade), gardening, and collecting recipes.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Castle, Elementary, Rizzoli & Isles, Perception, Forever, NCIS, How to Get Away With Murder, Major Crimes, The Blacklist, Criminal Minds, The Mysteries of Laura, Mentalist, Bones, The Big Bang Theory, Face Off, Cutthroat Kitchen, Shark Tank, Chopped, Property Brothers
I’d love to be on the Amazing Race, but my husband and I would kill each other before the first leg was finished.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favorite foods are sushi, pizza, and pasta. Favorite colors are red, pink, and turquoise. Favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz. Favorite music is Top 40. I love to play Scrabble and my newest passion is bridge.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fashion designer. That way I could always have new clothes. And new shoes!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
The Nancy Way®. You’ll find articles on organizing tips, recipes, craft ideas, computer tips, grammar tips, and unusual holidays. Even my dog, Shadow, writes an article.