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Stories have arcs. Characters have arcs. Writers have arcs. We write, we get better at our craft. We read, we get better at our craft. We interact with other writers and our readers, we get better at our craft. Whether you are a professional writer or just starting out. Hobby or career. We are all in this together. Welcome.

Contact: Elena Hartwell - elenahartwell@gmail.com and visit me on the web at www.elenahartwell.com

Historical Fiction Author Nancy Herriman - Part III

Summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. La NiƱa has heated up the rest of the country, but it's been relatively mild out here. After trips to New York City and Las Vegas, home for a few weeks of 75-80 degree weather feels great. So much to catch up on! Getting back to the gym, finishing book two of the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series, and my blog. So on that note, here's part III of my interview with author Nancy Herriman. 

Scroll down for parts I and II.

What do you love about singing with choral groups?
There is an inexplicable joy in group performance done well. Making music recharges me and provides the ultimate escape. I dont think of much else while Im singing.

What are you working on now?
Im working on a short story featuring the nurse sleuth from my mystery series, Celia Davies. Once I complete and polish that, its back to work on Book 3.

Final Words of Wisdom

To folks whod like to writePersevere. Ive faced lots of obstacles in my writers journey, but the only way Ive been able to reach any of my goals is to keep jumping over those hurdles.

Nancy Herriman abandoned a career in Engineering to chase around two small children and take up the pen. She hasn't looked back. A multi-published author, she is also a former winner of the Romance Writers of America's Daphne du Maurier award for Best Unpublished Mystery/ Romantic Suspense. 


When not writing, she enjoys singing with various choral groups, gabbing about writing with friends, and eating dark chocolate. After two decades in Arizona, she now lives in her home state of Ohio with her family.

Historical Fiction Author Nancy Herriman - Part II of the interview!

So nice to be back home after two weeks on the road. I enjoyed staying at The Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where the air-conditioning was as perfect as the hair on a werewolf drinkin' a pina colada at Trader Vic's.

The Public Safety Writers Association conference was terrific. So many experts in the room! I got to hang out with FBI Agents, Homicide Detectives, and other first responders. Lots of brains to pick for future books in the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series.  


First order of business was to clean my desk.

Yes... it really does get this bad....

But now it looks like this!










Next order of business was to get the next set of interview questions with author Nancy Herriman up on my blog! Take it away Nancy.... (Scroll down for part I)

What is your research process?
I start with upfront research as pertains to the fundamentals of the storysetting descriptions, background information on characters occupations, relevant historical events, things like that. A lot of my research occurs while Im writing, though, when I have to look up specifics or want to add details. I can waste hours searching the internet for the brand name of an item one of my characters might use!

Your first career was as an Engineer, how did that training impact your writer's life?

When I first started, I imagined that I could attack writing in the same manner Id solved problems at workwith a checklist and a set of formulas. It took me a while to learn that writing a novel is not quite so straightforward, and that there is no single magic recipe or set of rules. Although I do still like to use spreadsheets to help plot out my books. Once an engineer, always an engineer.

Excerpt from No Comfort for the Lost... Click on this link or the book cover to read further...

San Francisco, March  1867

        The Chinese believed that some days were inauspicious, the ill tidings written in the passage of the heavenly bodies. Celia Davies gazed down at her patient, a delicate Chinese girl whose skin sported more bruises than unblemished flesh, and wondered if today would prove to be one of those days.


Check back soon for the end of the interview!

Nancy Herriman abandoned a career in Engineering to chase around two small children and take up the pen. She hasn't looked back. A multi-published author, she is also a former winner of the Romance Writers of America's Daphne du Maurier award for Best Unpublished Mystery/ Romantic Suspense. 


When not writing, she enjoys singing with various choral groups, gabbing about writing with friends, and eating dark chocolate. After two decades in Arizona, she now lives in her home state of Ohio with her family.


Thrillerfest Coverage Will Return Soon - But First, an Interview with Author Nancy Herriman


It's a very busy time here at arcofawriter.com. Last week was Thrillerfest - a weekend so chock full of literary excellence I'm not yet finished with my coverage. This weekend I'm in Las Vegas for the Public Safety Writers Association Conference. Updates about that experience to come as well. But first, I want to turn the blog over to my regularly scheduled guest, author Nancy Herriman. 

Nancy Herriman abandoned a career in Engineering to chase around two small children and take up the pen. She hasn't looked back. A multi-published author, she is also a former winner of the Romance Writers of America's Daphne du Maurier award for Best Unpublished Mystery/ Romantic Suspense. 



When not writing, she enjoys singing with various choral groups, gabbing about writing with friends, and eating dark chocolate. After two decades in Arizona, she now lives in her home state of Ohio with her family.







You write historical fiction, what draws you to that genre?

Ive always been fascinated by history. Most specifically, social history, which studies the experiences of everyday folks in the past. Since I was young Ive tried to imagine what it was like to live in a small village in medieval England or to walk the streets of ancient Rome or a nineteenth-century American city. I also truly believe that studying the past can teach you a great deal about life today. So, when I began to write, it only seemed natural to set my books in the places and times that have intrigued me for so long.




What made you decide to set your series in San Francisco?
I love the city, and I wanted to take advantage of its rich lore. What an interesting town full of even more interesting and colorful characters! It’s no surprise, I think, that Mark Twain made his mark there. Plus, the mixture of people who’ve called the city home from its founding—Italians, Irish, Mexican, English, Chinese, Germans, etc, etc—makes for a fabulous blend as well as provides opportunities for strife, which is useful when you’re writing a mystery series. Furthermore, it doesn’t hurt that San Franciscans are passionate about their city’s history, and there are many, many resources available on the web, things like maps and newspapers and photos. Makes doing research so much simpler.

Check back for the rest of the interview.

Lee Child, CJ Box, and Reavis Wortham walk into Thrillerfest: Day 2

Day two at Thrillerfest 2016 starts off on a high note. I'd volunteered to work the registration desk for a few hours in the morning. My fellow volunteers are friendly and welcoming. It's fun to meet the other writers, including some of my fellow Debut Authors and bloggers I've been communicating with via emails and social media.








Next thing I know, I'm talking to CJ Box, winner of - among others - an Edgar, an Anthony, a Macavity, and a Barry award.

CJ Box is the author of the Joe Pickett series - starting with Open Season - along with several stand alone novels. He has written twenty-one books, has been translated into almost thirty languages, and has sold more than ten million copies worldwide.

And I'm standing there wishing him a good time at the conference! Kind of a great way to start the day.

I attended CJ's Spotlight Guest interview after I finish up my volunteer time. He's a fabulous speaker. A native of Wyoming, he still lives in the sparsely populated state and sets many of his books there. Joe Pickett is a game warden in Twelve Sleep, WY, and CJ brings that vast, open, western state to life with his brisk dialogue and descriptive prose.

When three o'clock rolls around, I get to hang out with Steve Berry. Steve's books have been translated and sold in over fifty countries. He has sold so many copies of his books, I had to count the zeros twice... 20,000,000. Steve is also one of the founders for The International Thriller Writers, and he's giving back to his community by spending two hours with the 2016 Debut class to talk to us about the craft, the business, and the life of being a writer.

I walk away better prepared, more confident, and very, very grateful.




Then, because you just never know who might be wandering the halls, I run into Walter Mosley. Walter is the author of more than fifty novels, including the Easy Rawlins series, which burst on the literary scene in 1990 with Devil in a Blue Dress.


But the thrills don't stop there. Waiting in the lobby before the Friday night cocktail party, hosted by Random house, I run into Reavis Wortham. I had the pleasure of being on a panel at Bouchercon last year with Reavis, and have been quietly cyberstalking him ever since. Okay, so not stalking exactly, but I do enjoy following him on social media. He's a terrific role model for a new author. He writes the Red River Mystery series, the first of which, Rock Hole, came out in 2011. He has since written five other novels and just moved over to Kensington Books. I look at him as a writer far enough ahead of me to be inspiring, but not so far ahead I can't follow his tracks on that red dirt road of this writing journey.

As we're chatting - me and Reavis and his lovely bride - another writer walks up to say hello. And I'm standing with Reavis and Lee Child.


Yes, that Lee Child. Author of the Jack Reacher Series. Author of fifteen novels, which have sold more than 40 million copies in 75 countries around the world.

After I get my hands to stop shaking and my voice to drop back down an octave, I get up the nerve to ask a question.

Check back for my next post to get Lee Child's words of wisdom.

Thrillerfest... TO BE CONTINUED.....







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THRILLERFEST XI: Day One

An interesting first day in New York for ThrillerFest 2016. Landed at Newark just before 8am, only to find a rather interesting scene. I'm still wondering what was going on with this plane...





The Jane Hotel - my home away from home for the next couple of days - reminds me of being on a train  in Europe ... narrow hallways and tiny cubicles, but the building doesn't clickity clack and I anticipate waking up in the same country I go to sleep in. 





After settling in, visiting with a friend, having a nap (I can't do the red eye flights like I used to), I head out for the Grand Hyatt.
It's  easy to know when I'm in the right place.

Hanging out with writers is always entertaining.

Especially a whole room of them.    
After a glass of wine and some good conversation, I head back out onto the streets.                                     

Only to find 42nd blocked off ... and 41st ... and... Protests over the recent police shootings are taking place near Times Square.  People and police cars block the streets. The air flashes red from emergency vehicles and a helicopter circles overhead. 


My day has been bookended by hints of violence. The potential for something to explode. I'm not afraid, neither event made me fear for my own safety, but I'm fully conscious of a precariousness to  calm. The air crackles with the possibility of something spilling over and spilling out. 

Mystery and thriller writers weave fictional stories around acts of violence. Though my novel is lighter than most - with humor and character relationships at the heart of things - I've had reminders lately of how fast things can become dangerous in the real world. 
I wonder what tomorrow will bring - I'm hoping it starts with a bagel ... and calm.
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Contest Winner - TWO DEAD ARE BETTER THAN ONE has a new character name!

I'm very pleased to announce the contest winner for my Name-the-character contest. Not only am I thrilled about the name - but I get to keep it in the family as winner Shelley Ferguson happens to be my beautiful niece. Shelley came up with a brilliant concept, which fits both the characters and the unfolding story of Eddie Shoes, thank you Shelley!


You'll have to wait for Two Dead Are Better Than One, launching April 15, 2017 to discover her winning entry. Meanwhile, don't miss One Dead, Two to Go available now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, KOBO, Ibooks, and fine bookstores near you.

Thanks to all who participated
Such wonderful, creative names!!