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Facials Can Be Fatal
by Nancy J. Cohen
During the frenzy of the December holidays, the last thing salon owner Marla Vail needs is a dead body slathered in a green facial mask at her new day spa. The victim, Valerie Weston, was a major donor for Friends of Old Florida, a historic building preservation society. Marla’s stylists are scheduled to work backstage at their upcoming gala fashion show, but Val’s demise might put a crimp in their plans. Hoping to salvage her reputation, Marla determines to track down the suspects. As she learns more about Val, she realizes the benefactress might have stumbled onto secrets others would kill to keep. She’d better prepare for a body count that has nothing to do with hot stone massages and everything to do with murder.
Interview with the Author
What initially got you interested in writing?
I’d always been interesting in writing, starting out with poems and short stories and travel journals. Then I decided to write a full-length novel. I bought a book called “Structuring Your Novel” that took me step-by-step through the process. I also read Writer’s Digest magazine for many years. Seven books later, I finally sold my first manuscript. That one was Circle of Light, and it won the HOLT Medallion Award.
What genres do you write in?
I started out writing science fiction romance and then switched to cozy mysteries.
I’ve published eight romances and thirteen mysteries to date, two novellas, and one non-fiction instructional guide titled Writing the Cozy Mystery.
What drew you to writing these specific genres?
As a romance reader and Star Trek fan, I combined the two genres and wrote science fiction romance. Later, I based these stories on Earth in modern times to write the Drift Lords series and added mythical elements. But I was also a Nancy Drew fan and loved lighthearted mysteries. I ended up putting mysteries into my romances, so it was a natural progression to try a straight mystery at some point.
How did you break into the field?
I joined Romance Writers of America and attended local chapter meetings. Here I entered a critique group that vastly improved my writing. I met my first agent at a Florida Romance Writers conference. This agent marketed books four through six, but it was book seven that sold. I wrote four futuristic romances for Dorchester before switching to mysteries and landing a contract with Kensington. Thus began my Bad Hair Day series featuring salon owner and hairstylist Marla Shore. I still belong to a critique group with FRW members today.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
Entertainment, escape, a sense of humor, a touch of romance, and an urge to get the sequel! I want them to love Marla, my hairdresser sleuth, and to consider the continuing characters as their friends. I want them to close each book with a smile on their faces. Coming from the romance genre initially, I believe in HEAs (Happy Ever After endings) even for my mysteries.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Fan response is by far the most rewarding aspect of writing for me. I write for my readers. As long as they want more Marla books, I’ll be encouraged to write them. I like to think I’m giving people a few hours of pleasant escape from their problems. I want to give them the same experience I seek as a reader. Hearing back from fans that they love my books and can’t wait for the next one is highly gratifying. I am humbled and honored by their support.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
It’s very hard to concentrate lately with so many distractions. I’m tempted to glance at email or check in at Facebook when these can be time sinks. Finding quiet time to write seems harder than ever before. The pressure to produce more and faster and to spend hours marketing your work seems much greater. Authors can lose focus and forget why we started this career. We love storytelling, and that has to remain our priority, but it’s not easy with social media merely a click away. I spend more time on marketing than on writing, and that can be frustrating.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
Follow the 3 P’s: Persistence, Professionalism, and Practice. Keep perfecting your craft and make sure your presentation is as professional as possible. Join local writing organizations and attend conferences and workshops. Learn from other authors by getting hooked into the writing community. Have a presence online and start building your platform. Get acquainted with social media sites and be prepared to market your work. Set daily and weekly writing goals and stick to them. It’s the only way you’ll finish a book. Don’t worry about edits until you are done.
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I love genre fiction. My favorites are historical romance and historical mysteries, science fiction/fantasy, and cozy mysteries. I look for humor, romance, and an escape to another world in the fiction I read.
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
I have a Master’s Degree in Nursing and worked as a registered nurse for ten years. Considering possible career paths, I almost auditioned for a professional ballet company. But I’d always loved writing. Barbara Cartland is who got me started reading romance, and Jill Churchill attracted me to cozy mysteries. I’m also a foodie who enjoys cooking classes and dining on Caribbean cruises.
About The Author
Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list and been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. Her imaginative romances, including the Drift Lords series, have proven popular with fans as well. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, she enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nancyjcohen
Booklover’s Bench: http://bookloversbench.com
Newsletter Sign-Up: http://nancyjcohen.com/newsletter/
March 1 – Laura’s interests – REVIEW, EXCERPT
March 1 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
March 2 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
March 2 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 3 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST, EXCERPT
March 3 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
March 4 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
March 4 – Readeropolis – REVIEW
March 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
March 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
March 7 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 8 – The Mysterious Ink Spot – GUEST POST
March 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
March 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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