I’m pleased to welcome multi-published author Nicola Furlong to the Mine today! Read on for her interview, and make sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into writing.
I was off the first tee, as you might say, and running. Although I had plans for a Riley Quinn series, another idea soon struck home and I delved into darker thriller material for my second novel, A HEMORRHAGING OF SOULS. Once again, my writing plans changed. Though I had this new second series in mind, I lucked into a divine gig and eventually wrote six light-hearted inspirational tales for the CHURCH CHOIR MYSTERIES series from Guideposts.
Definitely diverse! So what’s a day in your life like?
I’m very fortunate. I am semi-retired and live in a small seaside town on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The creative side to my day varies, depending on whether I’m writing, researching, marketing or pondering something new. There are, however, four daily constants in my life: Walking dogs (a giant Yorkie & a spud-coloured Maltese mix; Gardening (crazy about poppies, bamboo & succulents): Exercising (playing hockey with a bunch of old dudes, biking our rural roads or Nordic walking along the seaside), and Eating chocolate fudge (homemade & always available).
My latest novel is a departure from the mystery scene. When I was chewing over a new series (by now you’ll know I’m gun-shy of that term), I decided there was enough misogyny and violence out there. I no longer wanted to create stories about heartache; rather I hoped to pen something heart-warming. For the first time, I chose the familiar subject matter of family and gardening, and then planted a question that haunts me: is this all there is to life? Thus in my new inspirational novel HEARTSONG, the Shepherd family and their plant nursery business blossoms, and my main characters discover a calling to help others seek redemption for past wrongs. I think we all have regrets, and it’s these cold cases of the heart that Faith, Hope and Charly Shepherd tackle in the Sisterhood of Shepherds series. And yes, it will be a series as I’m nearly finished Book 2, HOMEFIRES.
That sounds very uplifting. 🙂 You’ve written a bit of both non-fiction and fiction. What were the challenges with each one?
Non-fiction is more about being recognized as a professional and less about crafting sentences. Once you have the expertise, however, then you need to share it in manner that befits your target audience. For example, the writing style, chapter design and book length will differ greatly between writing about growing blue poppies and playing ice hockey. I have to admit bending some of these rules, though, when I self-published my primers on electronic publishing, mystery writing and gardening. I seized upon the immediacy and popularity of ebooks and traded on my expertise and breezy writing manner to deliver succinct and inexpensive how-to ebooklets.
I noticed on your website that you’ve also done podcasts about the writing process. What’s that process like and what made you want to start the podcasts?
As a writer, I’m always hunting for suggestions from experts to improve my work and figured other authors would be, too. Most of the writing world infotainment is fan-oriented, not technique driven. I decided to host my own audio interviews with fellow book professionals (so far, several authors, a screenwriter and an editor) and to post them online as The Novel Experience Podcast. It’s been a lot of fun sharing ideas and learning new writing skills. Listeners can find listening links below.
What’s your favorite book you’ve read?
My all-time favourite is a classic: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, Harper Lee’s compelling story of family, racism and redemption. It showed me how a single isolated incident in a small town could be a powerful universal theme. Another inspiration is THE RED FOX by Anthony Hyde. This exciting best-selling thriller proved to me that Canadian genre authors could hit the big time. Well, at least some of them can!
What do you hope readers take away from your writing?