Featured Interview With Nancy O’Neill
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I’m a Midwest girl, born and raised on a farm in the middle of North Dakota. I remember times when I wished we lived in town so I could ride my bike on pavement instead of gravel roads. I’m sure there were a few other reasons I didn’t like the farm while growing up but now I’m so glad that was my upbringing because it gave me solid values, good work ethics, and a lot of real life experiences. In fact, my first children’s book was “Guess What is on Grandpa’s Farm?” which was inspired by my childhood.
One of the things I didn’t like about North Dakota were the harsh winters so I was very glad when I had the opportunity to move to Southern California. I function so much better in warm weather.
My favorite place to write is outside in the sun and the hotter the better. The only thing that doesn’t work well is trying to use a laptop in the sun but I prefer to write all of my first drafts in a spiral notebook with a Uniball pen, which I buy in bulk from Costco. Now if I could just figure out how to keep the paper dry so I could write while lounging on the pool float. That would be the perfect setup!
Even though we have hot, dry summers and for the most part, fairly mild winters, I still enjoy traveling with my family to tropical vacation spots, especially the Caribbean.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
When I was in middle school (and we’re not saying how long ago that was), I really loved Nancy Drew books. Jump ahead to college when I was getting my paralegal degree and I liked reading John Grisham books, especially “The Firm.”
Growing up, I wasn’t that interested in writing nor did I ever have any plans to become an author but one of my philosophies in life is to keep your eyes open because you never know when opportunities may be right in front of you. That’s exactly what happened.
I actually started in publishing as an editor for TV Guide (eons ago) when they still had the mini weekly magazine. That was a job I basically talked myself into without any experience. From there, I started writing poetry, newsletter articles, website and marketing copy, and then after the birth of our son decades later, I started writing children’s stories.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Other than John Grisham, I’m open to lots of authors and different genres, although I prefer not to read books with violence, abuse, drugs, or swear words. I think you can have a good story without all of that.
When it comes to inspiration, our son is definitely the person who inspires me the most. From starting my Guess What children’s series to helping me with technical details on my first adult fiction, he is a big supporter and has given me lots of ideas and inspiration.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
After publishing five picture books and one coloring book in my Guess What series, I took a giant leap and decided to write my first adult story. “Her Way Out” is a novella and it took me a little over a year to complete it, which included the beta readers and editor phases.
I actually came up with the title first and then decided what story I wanted to tell. I would describe it as a soft suspense with a bit of technology woven in. There is no violence, drugs, physical abuse and only a couple of instances where the words “hell” and “damn” are used.
The main character, Beth Bradnowski, thinks she has found the man of her dreams. Jackson Cooper is charming, handsome, and could have any girl he wanted yet he chose Beth. She loved his take-charge personality but when he becomes controlling and jealous, she questions whether she really knows him. After six years of marriage, she’s had enough but she knows that he’ll never agree to a divorce and if she just walks away, he’ll do whatever it takes to track her down. Beth finally devises the perfect plan to find “Her Way Out.” However, people and situations aren’t always what they appear to be so get ready for the twist.
“Her Way Out” will be available on Kindle for FREE on December 2-3, 2016 along with two of my children’s Guess What books, “Guess What is at the North Pole?” just in time for a great Christmas gift and “Guess What is in the Ocean?” in case you’re tired of winter and want to escape to the beach.
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