Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Novel Lady Interviews Author Nancy Northcott

Okay, this is it!  Next month, at Coastal Magic in glorious Daytona Beach, we get to meet these fantastic authors I’ve been interviewing!  In person!!  I’m so excited!  And to top things off, I have none other than the highly talented author, Nancy Northcott, here to talk to us today!

Nancy is the award-winning author of The Deathbrew Affair, and numerous other paranormal, romance, sci-fi and fantasy novels, including The Boar King’s Honor trilogy, The Light Mages series (pausing briefly to catch my breath and check my heart beat, trying to take my eyes off these book covers), Outcast Station, Capital Danger, The Lethal Webs series, and so much more! And I understand she has some new releases coming out soon!

So…. without further ado, let's get to it…

Scherry:  Hi Everyone!  I’m here with one of our favorite authors, Nancy Northcott.  Nancy, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed on The Novel Lady. We're thrilled you're here to talk to us.

Nancy:  Thanks, Scherry!  I’m delighted to be here.

Scherry:  One of the things I hear over and over again is that you are right on with historical accuracy in your books. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what drove you to study history and travel so much to Britain?

Nancy:  I’m really glad to know people are saying that.  I try very hard to get everything right.  I think a writer who depicts a particular historical era is obligated to present it as accurately as possible.

I’ve always enjoyed history and historical fiction.  When I was in second grade, I saw the (highly fictionalized, though I didn’t realize it at the time) story of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon, When Knighthood Was in Flower, on The Wonderful World of Disney.  About that time, I also discovered the Arthurian legends.  I was completely hooked.

I majored in history in college, with British History as one of my three required sequences.  Although my parents were by no means wealthy, they gave me a summer studying at the University of Oxford in a program my college offered.  I know they scrimped to do it, and I’ve always been grateful. We studied the history and literature of Tudor and Stuart England that summer, with lectures from Oxford dons (professors) during the week and weekends free for travel.

It was a very special summer for me. My memories of hanging out in Oxford with my friends and of traveling around the country in groups are like a tapestry embroidered in green and gold. It was everything I’d hoped for, and it pretty much sealed my fate with regard to being an Anglophile. 

The photo was taken a couple of years ago, when my husband participated in a conference at Oxford and I revisited old haunts.  Behind me is the Radcliffe Camera, part of the Bodleian Library.  My friends and I spent a lot of time studying in that building.

When I was in grad school, a friend gave me Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time, which focuses on the controversy surrounding Richard III.  I love a good mystery, and the question of his character snared me immediately. I come down on the side of those who feel he got a raw deal in history, primarily because of Shakespeare—who was a dramatist, not a historian.  I read a lot, mostly on the pro-Richard side since the anti-Ricardians have dominated the scene for 500 years, which leads me to feel they don’t need my money.  Anyway, my husband calls that interest an obsession, and he has a point. 

My interest in Richard III directly inspired The Herald of Day and its siblings in the Boar King’s Honor Trilogy (so named because Richard III used a white boar as his emblem). I was fortunate to visit Middleham Castle, which was his home for about a decade while he administered the north of England for his brother Edward IV. Here’s a photo of the castle.

ScherryTell us a little more about your home life.  I understand that you currently live in North Carolina.  Is that correct?

Nancy:  Yes. I’m a Tar Heel born and bred. I’m married with one grown son and a bossy dog.  Bossy dogs have been a constant in our married life.  We tend to adopt older dogs, usually from rescue groups or shelters, and it doesn’t take them long to realize we can be manipulated.  Needless to say, they’re quick to take advantage.

My husband and I are both readers, so a highlight of any trip for us is discovering a bookstore.  Especially if it has old, out-of-print children’s books or nonfiction. Now that our son is grown, we like to travel when we can and the budget permits, though I have more time for it than he does.  We also like to go to movies.  When I’m not writing, I read.  He likes to putter in the yard.

Our son lives not too far from us. He comes over to be fed—and to allow the dog to boss him—from time to time.  We always enjoy having him turn up.

Scherry:  Some authors have favorite characters from their books, or characters they love to hate. Do you have any favorites or not so favorites? Which of your characters would you like to hang out with?

Nancy:  All my villains would be not-favorites. I don’t really have any favorites among the good guy squad. The character who’s closest to me is probably Will Davis, a recurring character in the Light Mage Wars series and the hero of Warrior. I gave Will a lot of my geeky interests. 

As for hanging out with any of them, I don’t think I would. They’re always running into potentially deadly trouble!

ScherryI understand that you may have a new release coming out soon.  Care to share some info about that with us?  Perhaps a sneak peak, hint or teaser of what’s to come?

Nancy: I’m hoping to have the next Light Mage Wars book, Nemesis (Tasha and Carter’s story) out by Coastal Magic, though that’s going to be cutting it close.  It may be early March instead.

Tasha and Carter served in the US Navy Seabees, the navy’s engineering arm, together.  An instant, mutual attraction flared between them, but Carter was her CO. Fraternization regs kept them apart.

The Seabees are often deployed for disaster relief in other countries.  During one such deployment, Tasha did something she shouldn’t have, and it caused serious problems with the local political bosses.  Her motives were good, but she hadn’t thought the ramifications through.  Carter, as her CO, discovered what she’d done and was duty-bound to bust her.  Obviously, they didn’t part on good terms.

Years later, Carter took a job as a deputy shire reeve (mage law enforcement officer) in south Georgia.  He had no idea Tasha lived in the area, nor did she know he’d moved there.  They met again when Tasha’s friend Will was on an archaeological excavation that was threatened by the mages’ deadly enemies, the ghouls, and Carter was assigned as protection.  He walked into Will’s HQ, and this happened:

Heading to the door, Will told Griff, “Carter has news.”

Will opened the door, and the tall deputy reeve stepped in. Although raindrops glistened on his combat boots, his close-cut, chestnut hair was dry. He must’ve magically shielded himself from the rain.

“Days like this,” Carter said, his gray eyes gleaming with humor, “I wish I were a weather mage.”

“I wish you were, too,” Will replied as Carter and Griff exchanged handshakes and heys by way of greeting each other. “You want a cup of coffee before you tell us the news?”

“Coffee’d be great.”

They all started for the kitchen as Val, Tasha, and Audra emerged, Val carrying a plate stacked with brownies.

About to ask Carter a question, Will happened to be looking at him. The expression on the deputy’s face went from shocked to delighted to wary to bland in a heartbeat.

What the—? Tracking Carter’s gaze, Will found it locked on Tasha, who’d gone pale and wide-eyed. Bright spots of red suddenly bloomed on her cheekbones.

Carter set his hands on his hips. “Hey, Red.” His easy tone belied the intent look in his eyes. “Good to see you again.”

“That’s Murdock to you, mister.” Despite the whipcrack in Tasha’s voice, it was higher than normal, and she was minutely trembling.

Will had never seen Tasha rattled, and he would bet Griff and Val hadn’t either. Val moved a half-step closer to Tasha, into her space. A clear move of support.

“What are you doing here?” Tasha demanded, glaring at Carter.

His expression hardened. “My job.”

The answer made her eyes flash, as though the words had some significance. Will eased between them on
Carter’s left at the same time Griff was stepping forward on the right.

“Do we have a problem?” Will asked, glancing from Carter to Tasha.

“I don’t,” she snapped.

Carter shrugged. “No problem here.”

Yeah. And the Easter Bunny ate steak for breakfast.

So that’s their reunion. The first chapter of Nemesis is on my website.

Scherry:  Wow!  I can’t wait to read it!  Do you have any plans yet for any other future works? If so, can you share any information?

Nancy:  Thanks!  I do have plans for other books this year.  The challenge in writing multiple series is keeping them going, so my goal for this year is to feed each series.
Nemesis is the only Light Mages novel slated for this year, but I’ll have a Christmas short story  in that series.

The Boar King’s Honor books are a trilogy.  I’d like to wrap that up so I can focus on other things next year. I’m reading about Regency England and Waterloo as background for Book 2, The Steel Rose.  Then I’ll be looking at England during the summer of 1940, just after Dunkirk, for the final book, The King’s Champion.

I launched my Lethal Webs romantic spy adventure series this past September with The Deathbrew Affair. The second book in the series, The Runway Murder Affair, is slated for release in late April, and I’ll write the novel after it, The Deadly Cargo Affair, for the fall. Those are set in roughly present-day London and Yorkshire.

Jeanne Adams and I will follow up our Welcome to Outcast Station space opera anthology with Christmas on Outcast Station, again including a novella from each of us.  If I can, I’ll also have a couple of other Christmas novellas. 

I say if because this schedule is very ambitious for me and meeting it pretty much depends on life being normal all year.  As we all know, that has a way of not happening.

Scherry:  Looks like we have a lot to look forward to! Nancy, everyone seems to have a publishing story. Would you be willing to share yours? What made you decide to take the leap?

Nancy:  I’ve read superhero comic books since grade school. I particularly loved the Legion of Superheroes, a group of teenagers fighting interplanetary crime in the 30th (now 31st) century.  A friend introduced me to Legion fandom. People were writing fan fiction, so I tried my hand at it.  I didn’t put it on any public forum, but I showed it to a few people. They seemed to like what I’d done and encouraged me to write something original.

I also love fairy tales and, as noted, Arthurian legends, so it was no surprise that my first two manuscripts were fantasy. They’re tucked under the bed, and they’re going to stay there.  I still love the stories, but the execution was definitely at a beginner’s level. If I ever revisit those books, I’ll open a clean file and start over.
The Light Mages are my version of superheroes. 

Scherry:  Most writers have some unusual quirks. What's yours?

Nancy: I’m prone to what my husband calls serial obsessions.  I get interested in something, and then I read everything I can find about it, including whatever websites Google turns up, until my curiosity is satisfied.  Then I find something else that captures my interest, and we repeat the cycle.

And of course there are some people who would say a grown woman who reads comic books is quirky.  To me, though, with friends active in fandom, that’s just normal.

Scherry:  What's the strangest thing you've ever researched for one of your books?

Nancy:  Probably the oddest thing was for The Herald of Day. The story is set in London in 1676.  Near the end of it, the heroes are in a running, magical battle from Whitehall Palace down to Westminster Abbey. They take sanctuary in the Abbey.  The problem I ran into was that I knew there’d been a wall encompassing both the Palace of Westminster and the Abbey as late as the Tudor era.  It was on maps from that period, but not ones from the later 17th century. So when did it come down? Were the characters going to have to blast through that wall magically?
I tried for a couple of months, even consulting a medievalist, to find out when that wall came down.  I had no luck. Finally, I took my best guess and didn’t put it there.

Scherry:  Nancy, do you have any advice for new writers?

Nancy: Persevere.  The odds are never stacked in an author’s favor.  Perseverance in putting words on the page, in learning the craft, and in learning the market are essential.

Scherry:  Can you tell us some of your favorite books or authors who inspired you?

NancyAs I said above, superhero comics spurred my imagination, so I’d pick Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. They created Superman, from whom all other superheroes sprang.  The Legion’s adventures drew me into science fiction.

I was a huge Nancy Drew fan, but the author listed on her books, Carolyn Keene, didn’t really exist.  That’s a house name. Most of her adventures were written by Margaret Wirt Benson or Harriet Stratemeyer Adams.  For shorthand purposes, let’s just say Carolyn Keene. (Melanie Rehak’s Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her is a great look at the subject).

When I was growing up, we had historical romances that belonged to my grandother. They’re tame by today’s standards, but I loved those of Inglis Fletcher, which are set in North Carolina and span the state’s history from the Lost Colony to the adoption of the US Constitution. In high school, I discovered Georgette Heyer and Regency England and fell in love again.

I have eclectic interests, so I guess it makes sense that I became an eclectic writer.

Scherry:  Nancy, thank you so much for chatting with us.  I’m looking forward to reading more of your books… AND I’m looking forward to seeing you in Daytona Beach in February 2018 for the Coastal Magic Convention.

Nancy: I’m looking forward to that, too, Scherry.  Thanks for having me!

If you would like to meet Nancy Northcott in person, stop by the Coastal Magic Convention in Daytona Beach in February 2018.  Nancy is one of our favorite Featured Authors.  For more information about #CMCon2018, check out the web site at

Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman.  Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy and YA romance.  A sucker for fast action and wrenching emotion, Nancy combines the action and high stakes (and sometimes the magic and romance) she loves in the books she writes.

Reviewers have described her books as melding fantasy, romance, and suspense. Library Journal gave her debut novel, Renegade, a starred review, calling it “genre fiction at its best.”


Here are some of Nancy's recent releases.  Check out her website for more.


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