Nancy Herriman retired from a career as an engineer to chase around two small children and take up the pen. She hasn’t looked back. When she is not writing, or gabbing over lattes about writing, she is either watching history shows on TV or performing with various choral groups. She lives in Ohio with her husband and sons, and wishes there were more hours in the day. Learn more online at www.nancyherriman.com.
What inspires you to write?
I presume you’re asking what inspires my ideas (because what inspires me to write in general is simple–I’d go nuts if I didn’t!). My ideas, however, can come from nearly anywhere–a story I read in the newspaper, a conversation I overhear, information I discover while doing research (which is what inspired the story for my heroine in my first book, The Irish Healer – the story of a woman falsely accused of killing a child in the 1800s). Before I know it, the bits I glean turn into a question or a concept and then a story is born. However, just because a story is born doesn’t mean it comes to fruition.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am an outliner, but I don’t use anything more sophisticated than a blank piece of paper. The process is iterative, however, and I have learned over the years that my original outline never reflects the final story. The characters have a way of inserting themselves upon my ideas, and the story changes and changes and changes again as I write. I spend FAR more time editing than I do writing the first draft. As far as character development is concerned, I don’t often do a full-blown character sketch but always write out Goals/Motivation/Conflict charts for each major character. A writer must be clear on what is driving the characters forward…and what is holding them back.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I really don’t have conversations with my characters, and it is a frustration to me when I realize I’m doing something wrong with them (which usually manifests itself as writer’s block) but I can’t figure out what! That’s part of the rewriting process. Eventually I sort out what they’re supposed to be doing and saying and feeling.
What advice would you give other writers?
Never give up! If you love to write, pursue it, but don’t expect that the path will be smooth or success guaranteed. It took me 10 years to get a book published, and that was my fourth completed manuscript. Lots of writing collecting virtual dust in virtual boxes.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I have always been driven to pursue an established publishing house, and am fortunate to have an agent who has made that happen. But the publishing world is changing rapidly, and what was once not feasible is now absolutely viable. I would not rule out self-publishing in future, but I would advise anyone thinking this is the only route to go, or the only route to financial success, to study the market carefully and be realistic about what to expect. Some books sell far better than others in the self-pub realm, and if you don’t have a preexisting platform (such as an established name as an author or being an expert on some topic), it can be that much harder.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it will be several years before everything shakes out. I am saddened, however, by the decline in the number of brick-and-mortar stores. So very many authors have been discovered in the casual stroll through the aisles of a bookstore, whereas searching through the hundreds of thousands (actually, millions) of titles on Amazon is so much more daunting. At least, it is to me
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Fiction, Historical-Fiction, Christian
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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