20 August 2009

Getting to Know you Thursday's with Nancy Mehl

Welcome Nancy Mehl to Getting to know you Thursdays. Thanks for taking the time to be on my blog Nancy. It is so good to get to know different authors and I hope you are also enjoying getting to know them as well.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m fifty-six years old and live in Wichita, Kansas. In November I’ll celebrate my 37th wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband, Norman. I have the most incredible son, Danny. He’s thirty and works as an art director for one of the most successful advertising firms in the country. Besides writing, I coordinate a HUD program for the city of Wichita. I started writing when I forty-five and have six books currently available. I’ve had eight published.

2. When you were a child did you have a favorite book or books?

Hate to give the old standard answer, but I read all the Nancy Drew books. Loved them. Also, anything about horses. I loved Black Beauty. There was one particular book I adored when I was very young, Miss Jellytot’s Visit. I managed to include it in book four of my Ivy Towers series, There Goes Santa Claus. When I was a little older, I read every book written by Charles Dickens. I think he was one of the most wonderful writers who ever lived.

3. Do you have a favorite genre to both read and write?
Mystery, hands down.

4. Did you have favorite authors growing up who have influenced you?
Yes, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ellery Queen, Rex Stout, and Harry Kemelman. I also enjoyed G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown.

5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I was forty-five and had been watching Murder, She Wrote. One day I thought, hey, that’s what I want to do! Combine that with a Bible teacher who said something that changed my life. She said, “Go back to what you did naturally as a child and you’ll discover the gift(s) God gave you.” Well, I read books voraciously – and I wrote. I wrote my first book when I was six or seven. Once I saw that pattern, I decided to give it a try.

6. How did you go about becoming an author?
Well, I wrote a book. And boy, was it awful! LOL! The best thing I did was gather together several other wannabe authors and set up a private Internet forum where we worked together so we could learn about writing. Little by little, I began to learn the craft. Also, I became a book reviewer. This really helped me to find out what to do and what not to do. Critiquing others will really help you to see your own writing more clearly.

7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
Wow, what a question. Maybe a teacher? I love young people. I hope someday I’ll get the chance to write books that teenagers will read. There are so many horrible influences out there. I’d love to give them something positive that will help them to stay safe and discover their identity in God. Many have no idea that He has a perfect plan for their lives.

8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?
I probably watch a little too much TV, but I have a few favorite shows. My most important activity is my volunteer group, Wichita Homebound Outreach. We put on monthly events for various low-income facilities for the elderly and disabled. We have a great time!

9. Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?
There is one major desire I have as far as traveling. I want to take an Alaskan cruise. I want to see whales, lots of snow and the Northern Lights. And I’d love to see Israel. Scotland, Ireland, and England are also on my list. As far as a place I’ve already visited? Well, as corny as it sounds, I really like Branson, Missouri. I also enjoy Eureka Springs, Arkansas. (Jenny here I want to go to Alaska too to see the Northern Lights)

10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?
Man, you can really come up with good questions. Three living people? I won’t say Jesus even though He is living and would be my first choice. I think you mean people actually walking around on earth. Actually, there are a couple of ministers who would be first on my list, but I won’t go that direction because I assume you’re relating this question to writing. So…I’m going to go with Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, and James Scott Bell. I would love to pick their brains. I have tremendous respect for them. But I have to add that I would love to get the chance to tell Angela Lansbury how much Murder, She Wrote meant to me. (Jenny again, I guess I should have said any living person. It would be great to meet Angela Lansbury. I loved murder she wrote and recently saw reruns and its still good)

11. Finally, can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will be coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web.

My newest series will debut in June of 2010. It’s called the Harmony series because it takes place in Harmony, Kansas, a small Mennonite community. The first novel is titled Simple Secrets. It will followed by at least two more books. I also have a cozy mystery series that was put on hold because my publisher wanted the Harmony series to release first. So, a three-in-one book containing my Curl Up and Dye mysteries will be published sometime in 2011.

My Web site is: www.nancymehl.com. Unfortunately, it’s a little out of date. It should be updated soon. My blog is http://www.nancymehl.blogspot.com/.

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