MEET NANCY WOOD
Nancy grew up in various locations on the east coast and now calls central California home. She recently retired, having spent 35 years as a technical writer, translating engineer-speak into words and sentences. Nancy describes that as like translating ancient Greek, when you’re not familiar with the Greek part!
From September, 2016 to August, 2017, Nancy and her husband visited France, Spain, England, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand, and ended up in the delightful city of Ghent, Belgium for three months. And they're still on the move! This summer they went to Amsterdam, and are heading to India for December and January. You can check out the Woods' travel blog at: hansandnancy.wordpress.com
In addition to travelling and writing, Nancy also loves macro photography! You can check out her photography blog at: nancywoodphotos.wordpress.com.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW BOOK.
My latest book was released by Solstice Publishing in February 2018 and it's called The Stork. It's the second book in the Shelby McDougall thriller series. This book picks up Shelby's life five and one-half years after the events in Book 1, Due Date. The Stork can be read after Due Date or as a standalone. I included plenty of backstory for a couple of reasons: I didn't want to require that readers read Due Date before reading The Stork. And, because of the gap between the two books (six years), I knew that no one would remember any of the characters or the story line!
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR THIS BOOK?
My original working title was Stalking the Stork. Then, I considered NightLights, but that title was more focused on the twins that Shelby gave up for adoption. I wanted the title to focus on her and her quest, so I switched back to Stalking the Stork, and then shortened it to The Stork.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK? IS IT PART OF A SERIES?
Yes, as mentioned above, it is the second book in a series featuring Shelby McDougall. It was a fun process to 'age' my characters and figure out what they would be doing five and one-half years on.
HOW MUCH OF YOUR BOOK IS BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES OR THOSE OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW?
Due Date, the first book in this series, was inspired by the idea of open adoptions, where the birth parents welcome the biological or surrogate mother into their family. I didn't have any personal experience with this, though I had a few friends who adopted their children through an open adoption. The Stork is purely fiction.
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH WENT INTO WRITING YOUR BOOK?
I needed to learn about IVF technology, genetics, IQs, and guns. I also did a lot of driving around Santa Cruz County, where my books are set, to scout out locations.
WHAT CRITERIA DID YOU USE WHEN SELECTING THE COVER FOR YOUR BOOK?
I wanted the cover to be dark, as the book is very dark.
WAS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR BOOK THAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CONVEY?
In the efforts of not giving too much away about the plot, I'll just say that I wanted to highlight some of the many issues around technology and the future of humanity.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR BOOK?
I'm really pleased with it. I loved my editor, she pointed out some plot inconsistencies and ways to make the characters and scenes fit together, which in turn, made the book a lot stronger.
IF YOUR BOOK WOULD BE MADE INTO A FILM, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY THE LEADS?
I think Karen Gillian, who played Amy Pond, companion to the 11th Dr. Who, would be great! I like her energy and can imagine her as a perfect Shelby McDougall.
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU BEGIN WRITING?
I am retired now, but was a technical writer, writing software documentation for my 35 year career. I started writing fiction as an antidote to help bubbles and manuals for software engineers!
WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER?
I've always been a journal keeper and a scribbler of notes and thoughts. I think I became a 'writer' when I decided to try creative writing classes and develop a story. The moment hit home when I had a story called 'Memory Box' published in Long Story Short in 2007. In 2009, I had a story called 'Pay Attention' published in a spiritual anthology. When the first story was published, I considered myself a hopeful writer. When the second story was published, I felt a bit more secure in calling myself a writer. When Due Date was accepted for publication, I felt like I had finally earned the title! It was so thrilling to see that book on Amazon and in my local bookstore.
DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE.
I'm pretty methodical. I don't start until I have a beginning and an end to the story or book. For a book, I outline down to the chapter level. I complete backstories on all the characters. Once I get going, I try to stop a writing session in the middle of a scene or a chapter, so I'll have energy going for the next session.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST LESSON YOU HAD TO LEARN AS A WRITER?
Rejection, rejection, rejection. Now that I'm published, the hard truth of realizing that not everyone who reads my books will like them!
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A WRITER?
The discipline it takes to write every day and show up to the blank page.
NOT INCLUDING FAMILY, WHO SUPPORTED YOUR EFFORTS TO BECOME A PUBLISHED AUTHOR?
Way back in the day, 15-20 years ago, I had a great boss who always supported my work and urged me to 'do something with it.
WHO WAS YOUR FIRST PUBLISHER AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?
My publisher for both my books is Solstice Publishing. From the wonderful folks at Solstice, I learned how important it is to collaborate with other authors. When Solstice accepted the manuscript for Due Date, I was immediately welcomed into a community of authors who were happy to share advice and support a new author. It was fantastic.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW WRITERS?
Keep plugging away and write every day. The ability to show up every day and write something, 250 words, 500 words, is powerful. It soon becomes a habit you don't want to give up.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS?
Nevada Barr and C.J. Box for amazing locations; well-crafted, robust characters; and riveting plots. Sue Grafton for readability of her series. I always wondered how she developed plot after plot. They were all so different and so captivating. And how could you not love Kinsey?! I was so sad when Ms. Grafton passed away. Not only would we never have a final book in the series, but we lost an amazingly gifted visionary writer. I remember picking up A is for Alibi and not being able to put it down.
WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?
The Red Sparrow trilogy by Jason Matthews and Annals of the Former World by John McPhee. The Red Sparrow trilogy is an espionage series that is superbly crafted. It's written by a retired CIA officer, and is riveting: spies and double spies, international locations, Russian strongmen, cliffhanger chase scenes, treachery, betrayals! Annals of the Former World is a geological history of North America, and won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1999. I'm also reading Planes, Trains, and Auto-Rickshaws by Laura Pedersen. It's about India--my husband and I are going there in December and January.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
Sad endings, cute puppies, watching home movies of my kids when they were little (makes me laugh and cry!).
IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE WHO EVER LIVED, PAST OR PRESENT, WHO WOULD THAT BE?
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS AND MOVIES?
TV shows: Stranger Things, Lost in Space, Breaking Bad, Sopranos, Downton Abbey.
Movies: RV and Laagan. In the recent category, I saw Hearts Beat Loud this summer with Kiersey Clemons and Nick Offerman. Great movie!
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC TOUCHES YOUR SOUL?
WHAT DO YOU WANT WRITTEN ON YOUR HEADSTONE?
'Give yourself to love'
DO YOU HAVE A BLOG OR WEBSITE READERS CAN VISIT FOR UPDATES, EVENTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS?
My website is called Nancy Wood Books, and you can find it here: https://nancywoodbooks.wordpress.com.
My blog is on the website at: https://nancywoodbooks.wordpress.com/blog.
Twenty-three year-old Shelby McDougall is facing a mountain of student debt and a memory she’d just as soon forget. A Rolling Stone ad for a surrogate mother offers her a way to erase the loans and right her karmic place in the cosmos. Within a month, she’s signed a contract, relocated to Santa Cruz, California, and started fertility treatments.
But intended parents Jackson and Diane Entwistle have their own agenda—one that has nothing to do with diapers and lullabies. With her due date looming, and the clues piling up, Shelby must save herself and her twins. As she uses her wits to survive, Shelby learns the real meaning of the word “family.”
GET IT ON
GET IT ON
It’s been over five years, and Shelby McDougall is finally on track. Back in Santa Cruz, California, she’s sharing an apartment with her brother, and is in her second year of criminal justice studies. She’s landed her dream job as intern to hot-shot local PI Kathleen Bennett. And her stone-cold love life is heating up.
A late-night phone call puts Shelby’s perfectly ordered life into a tailspin. One of the now five year-old twins she put up for adoption has been kidnapped, snatched from his home in the middle of the night. There are no witnesses. Even his twin sister, who slept in the same room, claims she didn’t see anything.
After meeting the family, Shelby knows something is off. The adoptive parents tell her the children don’t sleep. They eat constantly, and their IQs are off the charts, qualifying them for either Ripley’s Believe It or Not or a sideshow act in the circus.
Against her better judgment, knowing that every cop in the state of California is doing their best to find this kid, Shelby agrees to help. By the time she realizes she’s up against something powerful, something evil, it’s almost too late.
As Shelby fights for her life, she learns the shocking truth about her babies. She’s also forced to confront her own history, making a discovery that will change her life forever.