Interview with Nancy Mehl
Firstly thanks for agreeing to this interview
Thank you for asking me!
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Wichita, Kansas. I’ve been married for 35 years and have one son. Besides writing, I also work in social services. I’ve been writing seriously since 1995, but this is my first foray into cozy mystery.
2. How did you know you wanted to be a writer, have you always had the desire or did it come later?
I always enjoyed writing, and the idea had crossed my mind to become a novelist – but the actual decision to give it a try came when I was 45. Two things combined to push me forward. One was a comment someone made about how to find the thing God has called you to do. The idea was to go back to your childhood and remember what things you did naturally. When I did that, I realized that reading and writing were my natural passions. Then, believe it or not, it was watching “Murder She Wrote” that made me think…”Hey, maybe I could do that!” Jessica Fletcher kind of put meat on the bones of my desire. (Jenny here I loved Murder she Wrote)
3. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
I would probably work in social services like I do now. Or work with young people. Or be a veterinarian. Or own a horse ranch. Or… Okay. I don’t really know. LOL!
4. What was you motivation for writing cozy Mysteries?
Good question. I had no motivation to write cozy mysteries until my agent told me that Barbour was beginning a new mystery line. She asked me if I wanted to write a proposal. I said yes, although I had to read through the guidelines for cozy mysteries since I wasn’t certain exactly what defined a cozy! That certainly didn’t doesn’t sound like a great beginning, but I wrote the proposal anyway. The editor liked it, and here we are! The funny thing about it is that I am a real Agatha Christie fan. I also adore the Father Brown series by G.K. Chesterton. In fact, my bookshelves are full of cozies. I guess I had the “cozy gene” all along, but I just didn’t know it.
5. How do you come up with the characters for your books and are they modeled on people you know (I Just love Aunt Bitty even if she was dead from the start of the book)?
I appreciate that! It’s not easy to make people love a character they will never meet. As far as how I come up with characters; it’s never been hard for me to create people. I usually start with a general idea of the character, and then I add layers to make them interesting. Many of them are inspired by a real person. Some are just from my imagination – or someone I’ve seen in a movie, on TV, or in the newspaper. This is usually just a seed, but as you get into your story, they begin to come alive. I’ve had more than one character go a direction I hadn’t intended for them because they simply took over. I am beginning to map out a new series and my protagonist has already changed since my first concept. By the time I start the first chapter, she will have changed some more. I think it’s important for writers to let the characters have some say in their own development.
6. I really Love Ivy in The Dead of Winter. I hear this is the first of a series of Ivy Towers Mysteries. How many books do you hope to have in the series and will we see the town’s people back?
Except for the ones I knock off. (Just kidding!)
There will be four Ivy Towers Mysteries. The next book after “In the Dead of Winter” will be “Bye, Bye Bertie” (which focuses on Ruby Bird’s missing son, Bert.) I believe it releases in the third cycle into the Heartsong Mysteries book club. That is followed by “For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls,” and in November, “There Goes Santa Claus” comes out. (All of these books will release to bookstores and online six months after they go through the book club.) Also, something I’m very excited about - an omnibus edition that will go directly to bookstores in December. It is titled “Cozy in Kansas” and will contain the first three books.
7. What was your favorite part of writing these books?
Finishing them. (Grin) Okay, seriously – I guess my favorite part happens when I get a really good idea that works. There’s nothing better than having a concept pop into your head that will tie up loose ends and advance the story. The worst part is realizing your idea won’t work. Then it’s back to the drawing board.
8. Can you tell us about any upcoming projects (I know you have
Bye Bye Bertie coming out soon and you know how I love this title)?
(Thank you.) See my previous answer for new Ivy Towers’s books. Next year, my new series begins. I will begin writing it soon. The “Curl Up and Dye” mysteries will revolve around a young woman who is a hairdresser – to the dearly departed! I’m looking forward to this one. Not sure about the research, though. Maybe I should have thought of that first???
9. How can readers find you on the web?
My Web site is www.nancymehl.com. I have a blog at www.nancymehl.blogspot.com (although I desperately need to update it!), and I’ve begun a mystery review site at www.mainlymystery.blogspot.com. I spent many years as a book reviewer and decided I might as well start my own site. I intend to use it to primarily highlight Heartsong mystery authors. And of course, I always love to hear from readers. They can reach me at email@example.com.
10. Do you have any final thoughts for us?
I would encourage people to check out Heartsong Presents: Mysteries!
They can find information at www.heartsongmysteries.com. I’ve begun reading some of the books, and I am so impressed with our authors. They’ve written superb mysteries, yet these stories are also full of inspiration and fun. I hope readers will check us out.
Finally thank you so much for agreeing to this interview and sharing your time with us. I am really glad I signed up for the Cozy Mysteries and have been enjoying the books. I really loved reading In the Dead of Winter and can’t wait for "Bye Bye Bertie" it will be interesting reading it after reading a book by this name last year which also was a mystery.
You’re very sweet. Thank you so much for asking me to do this interview. It’s been fun! And I know about the other “Bye, Bye Bertie.” I absolutely loved that book! When my publisher came up with the name for my book, it took me awhile before I remembered Rick Dewhurst’s novel. I asked him how he felt about using the title, and he very graciously told me to go ahead. He’s a great writer and a wonderful person! (I recommend his book, btw!)
Nancy has graciously offered a copy of In the Dead of Winter to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment with a way for me to contact you (if you leave your email put it as email (at) mymail dot com or a way to protect it from trollers reading it. Giveaway open till Monday midnight Aussie time.
For my review click here