Friday, November 23, 2012

Interview with Nancy Northcott, author of Renegade - November 23, 2012

Please welcome Nancy Northcott to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Renegade (The Protectors 1) was published on November 6th (eBook) and will be published on December 18th in Trade Paperback.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

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

TQ:  Writing quirks! What are some of yours?

Nancy:  I write in spurts. I do a lot of planning in my head and then can usually turn out a fair number of pages at a sitting. Then I plan some more, then write some more, and so on.

I’m a night owl. I like to write late at night when the house is quiet.

When I get stuck on a plot point, I sometimes play Tetris on our old Nintendo 64 console while my subconscious works out the problem.

TQ:   Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Nancy:  There are so many authors on my keeper shelves that it’s tough to single out just a few.

Georgette Heyer made Regency England come alive for me. Even though her books would be G-rated, the people and their conflicts are clearly depicted. Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Shanna showed me hotter side to the genre and remains one of my favorite books. Ruark and Shanna ride an emotional roller coaster through the story.

J.R.R. Tolkien set the standard for sweeping plots, big stakes, and fantasy worldbuilding. So does Lois McMaster Bujold, whose Vorkosigan series takes up a lot of my shelf space. Bujold doesn’t incorporate a lot of romance, but the relationships she does build are wonderful.

I hope I’ve learned something from each of these authors.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Nancy:  I’m a plotter with a heavy dose of pantser improvisation. I like to have a road map, but I’m open to appealing detours.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Staying within the confines of a particular genre or subgenre has always been difficult for me, so I’m glad to see genre lines starting to blur a bit. Renegade is a primarily a romance, but it has a lot of action and detailed fantasy worldbuilding.

TQ:  Describe Renegade (The Protectors 1) in 140 characters or less.

Nancy:  Contemporary paranormal romantic suspense with a lot of action and wrenching emotion.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Renegade?

Nancy:  The idea probably came from a lot of different places. I’ve loved comic books and superheroes since grade school, and mages are much like superheroes. I’ve always enjoyed action and adventure, which drew me to epic fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, and thrillers. The loner hero battling to see justice done has always held a lot of appeal for me, and the hero of Renegade, Griffin Dare is in that tradition.

Such heroes need allies, so I gave him some in the best fantasy and comic book tradition. The secrecy of the mages was also inspired by comic book super-heroes and their secret identities.

A romance hero, of course, needs a heroine, but I like stories that put the hero and heroine at odds. I didn’t want them to be immediate, natural allies, so he’s a fugitive and she is the sheriff of the southeastern mages.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Renegade?

Nancy:  To build the world, I read Wicca, folklore, and New Age materials and talked to people who’re interested in those fields. I talked to artists about Griff’s painting skills and to a Latin professor about the mages’ use of Latin imperatives. I also had help with arming and transporting the mages. For medical questions, I turned to some friends who are doctors and to the two nurses who blog with me.

To find out about southern Georgia and the Okefenokee Swamp, I used the internet, which meant making some things vague. I’m willing to trust long-distance research only so much. When I finally saw the swamp, in May, I fell in love with the beauty of it. I brought a lot of ideas back with me.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Nancy:  The easiest character was Val. Because she’s the shire reeve, the mage equivalent of a sheriff, she’s initially very rule-oriented, and I tend to be that way, too. The opening scene in the book, which is hers, is the first one that appeared in my head.

The hardest character was the villain. I won’t use the name because I don’t want to spoil the plot. It’s difficult for me to create a character who’s doing something I see as so very wrong and yet find a way for the character to consider it a good thing. I think it’s important that every character consider his or her actions not only justifiable but necessary.

TQ:   Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Renegade?

Nancy:  Hmm. I have several favorites. One of them is the last scene in Chapter 3. It’s a fight scene, which is always a fun thing to write, with an important aftermath.

I like the character introductions in Chapter 4. That’s also our first look at the town of Wayfarer, and I enjoyed creating that community.

TQ:  What's next?

Nancy:  I’m doing revisions on Protector, a novella scheduled for March 2013. Its title plays off the series title, The Protectors, and I think of it as Protectors 1.5. It’s about a wildland firefighter and a helicopter pilot, both mages, who almost got together three years ago but think it’s maybe for the best they didn’t. They believe they’ve put their attraction behind them until they meet again while fighting a wildfire.

The second book in the series, Guardian, is scheduled for May 2013. I’m finishing those revisions now. It features Stefan Harper from Renegade and the FBI agent he once hoped to marry. They meet again when he’s called in to consult on a murder case she’s working. The attraction between them has persisted, to their mutual dismay, but the secrets and fears that drove them apart before still stand in their way.

I just returned from a research trip to the Okefenokee Swamp and am looking at ways to build the series from here. I have six, maybe seven, books planned, but there’s always the chance there will be more.

Thank you for having me as a guest at the Qwillery!

TQ:  My pleasure!

About Renegade

The Protectors 1
Grand Central Publishing , November 6, 2012 (eBook)
December 18, 2012 (Trade Paperback)
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages


As the Collegium council's top sheriff of the southeastern United States, Valeria Banning doesn't just take her job seriously, she takes it personally. So when a notorious traitor wanted by the authorities suddenly risks his life to save hers, she has to wonder why.


As a mage, Griffin is sworn to protect innocents from dark magic, which is how he finds himself fighting side by side with the beautiful Valeria Banning. But when the council finds out the two have been working together, they're both left running for their lives-from the law, the threat of a ghoul takeover, and a possible Collegium mole.

About Nancy

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 romance and high stakes she loves in her new contemporary mage series.

Married since 1987, she considers herself lucky to have found a man doesn’t mind carrying home a suitcase full of research books. Nancy and her husband have one son, a bossy dog, and a house full of books.

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