In The Shadow of Evil.
Nancy: My newest release is called In the Shadow of Evil, the second book in my Shadow series. I’m so excited about this story, I can’t sit still. This is the story that has lived in my head long before I realized I was a writer.
The soul of In the Shadow of Evil exemplifies how love can overshadow even the darkest obsession, the darkest evil. I created a real nasty villain for my hero, Jared McNeil and heroine, Jennie McKenzie to defeat. But the catch is that they can’t destroy him by sacrificing themselves for each other. The only way Elías Mendoza will be stopped is if Jared and Jennie begin to work together. I threw in a very interesting supernatural element that makes Jared and Jennie’s life just a little more complicated. But rest assured. This story has a wonderful happy-ever-after and I’m seriously in love with Jennie and Jared. I just can’t wait for everyone to meet this incredible couple.
Galen: What was the inspiration for In the Shadow of Evil?
Nancy: I can’t remember what set off the story. Once I had the premise in my head, I really enjoyed placing my heroine, Jennie, Jared, and Mendoza in a love/obsession triangle, spinning it, and seeing what would come out at the end.
I do remember how I came up with the setting of the story. Most of In the Shadow of Evil takes place in the well known historic section of Baltimore called Fells Point. Living in Maryland, I have driven into Baltimore many times, but I always get lost. After dropping my daughter off at an event in downtown Baltimore, I made a wrong turn and ended up in Fells Point. As I was driving around the side streets, I stumbled on what just had to be Louise Cunningham’s brownstone. A couple blocks down the street was a beautiful old church that I turned into St. Luke’s. From that day on, Fells Point became my imaginary stomping grounds.
Galen: What’s your favorite line from one of your books?
Nancy: Oh… this is hard. Here is my best shot without giving too much away.
In the Shadow of Evil:
Jared to Jennie: “You better be ready for me in your life, Jennie Nash McKenzie because I’m not leaving you alone until this nightmare is over―maybe never again.”
The corners of her mouth curled up in a smile as she traced her finger along his hairline. “Now why doesn’t that sound like a threat?”
“I’m serious, Jennie.”
Her eyes bore into him. “Bring it, big guy. I’m damn tired of being alone.”
Galen: What started you on the road to writing romance?
Nancy: If it wasn’t for my sister, Mary, I don’t think I would have ever started down this road. About four years ago, Mary decided to stop smoking ― cold turkey ― no gums, no pills ― just her strong will and determination. We lost our mother to lung disease caused by years of smoking. To say that I was proud of Mary was an understatement. I had to do something to honor her and asked her to name something I could do that would keep her on track.
Being part of a large family where we constantly challenged each other to be the best person we can be, she asked me to start writing that book I always talked about, and demanded the first ten pages by the end of the day. So began In the Shadow of Evil.
For months, I told no one about my writing. Every few days, she would report to me how many hours she had gone without a cigarette and I would send her my horrid next chapter. I had no idea what I was doing, and my respect for writers grew tenfold. But Mary seemed genuinely intrigued and kept encouraging me to send more pages. At the one year anniversary mark, we celebrated a smoke-free year and a completed first draft of In the Shadow of Evil.
Galen: Do you remember the first romance book you read? If so, who was the author?
Nancy: Oh, flashback time. I love it. My first romance author I ever read was Victoria Holt. I don’t remember if the first was The Shadow of Lynx or The House of a Thousand Lanterns. After making my way through all of Victoria’s books available in my local library, I discovered Daniel Steel. After her, I think Nora Roberts came into my life. From there on, there have been so many wonderful authors. Hummmm… I have to wonder if my book titles came from a long buried Victoria Holt romance story.
Galen: What made it stick with you?
Nancy: I loved the strange new places the books brought me to, the intrigue―mystery, and of course the romance between the hero and heroine.
Galen: Are you a pantzer or a plotter?
Nancy: Oh, I’m a pantser and proud of it. In each story I have written, I have had a general premise, an outline of how I wanted to story to go. But somewhere along the way, something magical happens that is really hard to explain. The story takes on a life of its own. It’s like a scene from a movie in my head. At some point, something happens totally unexpected. It doesn’t necessarily change the direction of the story, but I can’t help sitting back and enjoying the WOW moment―where in the heck did that come from? The story always ends the way I plan, but the way I arrive at the end is a real mystery. The wow moments in writing are just magic.
Galen: Name two blogs you read everyday.
Nancy: Even though I follow several blogs, I don’t read any blogs every day. I know there are amazing post that I’m missing, but there are just so many hours in the day. I’m not a fast writer. I send a lot time struggling to get a scene just right. In order to find time to write and take care all my other responsibilities, I have decided to do just a quick glance on Facebook over my morning coffee then shut everything off.
Galen: Describe your workspace.
Nancy: I’m a semi-early riser. If the weather is nice, I take my laptop and coffee out on either the deck or the front porch. I call this my ‘airing out my brain’ time. During the winter months, I write at the kitchen table next to a large bay window. There are other places in my home that are quieter, but writing can be such a solitary venture that I feel the need to be around my family. If everyone is watching television, [sports, sports, and more sports] I just place my earphones on and turn up my favorite tunes. I like to be part of whatever is going on, but I much rather write when my family is glued to the next big sporting event.
Galen: Where would you like to travel to if you had to research an area?
Nancy: OH, I would love to go back to Germany, especially Bavaria. My husband and I lived south of Munich for almost five years right after we were married. We spent our weekdays working like crazy, but on weekends, we traveled all over Europe. I would just love to take my son and daughter and introduce them to some of my favorite places.
Galen: If you could have any other job, (not your current writing or day job) what would it be?
Nancy: I was asked this question last week. I’m going to go with the same answer. I wouldn’t mind a bit being a billionaire heiress.
Galen: What do you do when you are not writing?
Nancy: My husband and I love long car trips. This summer, we had a wild and crazy zig-zag tour across the country. I think the last count was eighteen states and almost 6000 miles.
Galen: Best and worst part of being a writer.
Nancy: What I like best about being a writer is allowing myself to get lost in my character’s head, to really feel what they are feeling. I can’t explain what happens, but when I connect with my character, the story writes itself.
What I like least about being a writer is promotion. The process of getting a book in front of an editor/agent’s eyes is just plain hard work. Once the book is published, the promotion an author has to go through to get their book in front of the reader is also very hard. I’m not very good at it and it tosses me way out of my comfort zone…but I’m learning.
Galen: What was the best piece of advice given to you?
Nancy: Write! Revise! Write again. If you are serious about becoming a published author, accept that it’s not going to be an easy road. One of my good author friends, Sharon Buchbinder gave me some great advice: Rejection is an opportunity to learn. It means I missed the mark, not that I failed.
You need to take your writing seriously, learn your craft, and be willing to sometimes change the way you see your story. My one piece of advice: You will never be published if your manuscript never leaves your lap top. You have to query it out all over the place. When you receive a rejection, read it, learn from it, store it away in it’s own file, and get back to writing.
Where you can fine Nancy’s books:
Blurb for In the Shadow of Evil:
Elías Mendoza’s personal vendetta against the McKenzie family rests on Jennie’s shoulders. As she cradles the bullet ridden body of her ten-year old student, she knows Mendoza is responsible. Quinton’s death is a message. Jennie’s life belongs to only Mendoza. But she has her own message. No one else dies. Her life means nothing as long as Mendoza is free.
Jared McNeil has spent ten years with Maryland’s Special Crime Unit and very little rattles him. When the haunted teenager he once tried to protect walks into his precinct now a beautiful woman, he wants nothing more than to wrap her in his arms and never let her go. But he soon realizes she is there only to settle her debts before she goes after his nemesis, Mendoza. Jared’s vow to stay away from Jennie until the task force destroys Mendoza now means nothing.
What Jared and Jennie don't understand is there are forces at play greater than the evil shadowing them, but time is running out. United, they can do anything. Alone, they will fail.
Nancy C. Weeks has loved happy-ever-after romances since she was in her early teens. While still in college, she met and married her hero and spent the next several years honeymooning and working overseas. Today, she lives in suburban Maryland with her husband of more than thirty years. Her two children are in college and she spends her days out on her deck writing as the local bird population keeps her company. She loves to hear from her readers.