Nancy J. Cohen interview
A little introduction:
I’m Nancy J. Cohen, and I worked as a registered nurse for ten years before I quit to write full time. I got my start writing futuristic romance novels and went on to publish cozy mysteries, including a detailed how-to book titled WRITING THE COZY MYSTERY. I’ve been published traditionally with Dorchester, Kensington, Five Star, and Wild Rose Press before going indie.
When did your love of books begin?
I loved to read as early as I can remember. My attraction to mysteries began with Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton and Cherry Ames. Then I went on to romantic suspense with Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, and Victoria Holt. Jill Churchill’s punny titles caught my interest, and that led me to the cozy mystery subgenre. Cozies are stories involving an amateur sleuth, a limited number of suspects most of whom know each other and have a motive for murder, and no graphic sex or violence. They’re relatively “clean” stories without any bad language. And there’s always a fair-play puzzle for readers to solve along with the sleuth.
When did you start to have the wish to become an author?
I’d spent time writing stories and developing characters in my younger days. I didn’t get serious about writing a novel until I was in grad school in 1975. I bought a book called “Structuring Your Novel” and that taught me the basic process. It was a learning curve after that with several practice novels. My seventh book is the one that sold. CIRCLE OF LIGHT went on to win the HOLT Medallion in the paranormal romance category.
How have you found the process for becoming an author?
When I was floundering in the early stages, the one thing that helped me the most was joining a professional writing organization. This let to my first writers conference where I got an agent and to my first critique group that boosted my career forward. I wish I’d gotten networked in sooner. It never gets any easier as you progress up the career ladder. Just because you’ve sold a book or two doesn’t mean the rest will find a home. It’s a constant effort, with marketing taking up more time than writing.
What would you say to those wanting to become an author?
Join a professional writing organization even if you don’t write in that genre. You’ll learn from other published members about the business aspects of this career. Attend workshops, go to meetings, engage in social media, begin building an online presence. Support other authors and learn from them. Be professional and persistent and never give up.
Tell us about your book/books:
Currently, I write the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring hairstylist and Southern sleuth Marla Vail. These are humorous, cozy mysteries. This award-winning series has 17 titles with #18 in process, plus a novella, cookbook, and short story. The first title is PERMED TO DEATH and the latest title is STYLED FOR MURDER. These books also make great holiday gifts for your hairdresser! You can start anywhere in the series but it’s more enjoyable to start with book one.
What do you love about the writing/reading community?
I appreciate the support we give each other and the exchange of information. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my critique partners and other published authors who share their advice. As for readers, they’re the reason I keep writing. I love hearing from readers and value their feedback.
If you could say anything to your readers what would it be?
Thank you for following me and reading my books. Your comments encourage me to keep writing. My goal is to entertain and provide an escape from reality if only for a few hours. And please remember that reviews are an author’s lifeblood. All you need to do is write a few lines about why you liked a story and post it on your favorite online sites. It means a great deal and helps us acquire new readers.
Where can people connect with you?