|Busy author Nancy A. Hansen|
Although it has been quite a while since she last graced this E-zine with another poem, author Nancy A. Hansen has been quite busy between her own writing and the blog IN MY "SPARE" TIME, so we are quite fortunate that she was recently able to answer our questions for an interview.
THE FREE CHOICE E-ZINE:
Welcome Nancy. Please tell us about yourself and your latest work.
NANCY A. HANSEN:
It will take a couple of paragraphs to do so, but here goes.
I am primarily a fantasy
writer with a New Pulp twist, but have dabbled in other genres. I prefer the pulp-style writing now because of the pacing of the stories. Pulp makes for
good page turners, and the books tend to be shorter, which means I can get more
things out in print each year.
The last couple of things of
mine published were my latest novel release for Pro Se Press (http://www.prosepulp.com/
which is titled PROPHECY’S GAMBIT, and a short story in the anthology MONSTER
EARTH for Mechanoid Press (http://www.mechanoidpress.com).
|From Pro Se Press|
|From Mechanoid Press|
PROPHECY’S GAMBIT is a
continuation of the story arc I began in FORTUNE’S PAWN and takes place
directly after the events in that story. That was published back in early
January within my imprint Hansen’s Way, although neither book ends with those dreaded words "To be continued".
The MONSTER EARTH anthology
features the work of seven different writers working on tales set in an
alternative earth where giant Kaiju-style creatures have replaced nuclear
weapons from just before World War 2 onward. I was honored to be tapped for this very fun book,
which is also Mechanoid Press’ first release.
|Issue 16, from Pro Se Press|
|From Airship 27|
I’d also like to mention SINBAD—THE NEW VOYAGES
which is an anthology published by Airship 27 (http://www.airship27.com/). This is a
retelling of the Sinbad the Sailor mythos with an updated cast and crew, and a
definite Ray Harryhausen FX movie feeling to it. A lot of fun to write, I was
thrilled to join I. A. Watson and Derrick Ferguson in this inaugural issue.
I should also mention that
I was privileged to be spotlighted in issue 16 of Pro Se Presents
, the company’s
monthly digest. That one featured two of my ongoing short
stories series. THE KEENER EYE is a modern day detective yarn set here
in my home state of Connecticut
. THE SONG OF HEROES is a diverse
group of mythological people with violent pasts, condemned to immortality
fighting and eliminating the scumbags of modern society. The main character is
Lorelei the Siren. The initial SONG OF HEROES story, "Lori’s Lament", was one of
my first published pulp pieces.
TFCE: Sounds like you've been quite busy. Now is all this work stand alone stories or...?
NANCY: All of my Terran World
stories, FORTUNE’S PAWN and PROPHECY’S
GAMBIT, along with the anthologies TALES OF THE VAGABOND BARDS, and THE
HUNTRESS OF GREENWOOD are part of my Hansen’s Way imprint for Pro Se Press. I
will have a couple more Hansen’s Way novels/anthologies debuting this year. All
of these stories are set in the same big backdrop sword & sorcery fantasy
world, something I've been working within for a long time. FORTUNE’S PAWN and
PROPHECY’S GAMBIT were cut from a very large mainstream fantasy novel I’d been shopping
around for a while. I divided it into rough thirds (yes, there will be a sequel
to PROPHECY’S GAMBIT) and then reworked and wrote new scenes for each separate
|The First Novel|
As mentioned, THE KEENER
EYE and THE SONG OF HEROES, as well as my post-apocalyptic fantasy series THE
SILVER PENTACLE are recurring short stories series in Pro Se Presents. I do the
occasional standalone piece too.
TFCE: So, what exactly is New Pulp?
NANCY: New Pulp stories are fast
paced, heroic, action adventure yarns like their classic pulp predecessors, but
told with the demographics of today’s more diverse and quite likely higher
educated audience firmly in mind. We've taken the best of the past and blended
it with what people like to read now. It’s also very much an indie movement
rather than an offshoot of mainstream publishing. I think most of us are
involved in New Pulp for the love of that style of storytelling. We refuse to
let it die.
TFCE: Why do you write what you do?
NANCY: Because I love it so much. I absolutely,
positively enjoy writing in the pulp style, and it gives me the opportunity to
turn put out several novel length projects a year along with my other writing.
It’s also a ripe field for crossover work, which is a lot of fun. While I have
dabbled and will continue to experiment in other genres—from Private Eye to
Westerns, Pirate yarns to Romance, Fantasy is always going to be my mainstay
and my favorite playground.
TFCE: As we've learned from interviews with past authors, everyone's writing style is different. How do you go about creating your work?
|From Pro Se Press|
NANCY: Some, like the story "Lori's Lament", comes from dreams. The opening story in TALES OF THE VAGABOND
BARDS, titled "The Arcane Codex", also came from a vivid dream. I wrote what you see in the opening scene, and set it in my Terran World story arc,
and then built the entire series around it. The cover art of the anthology is
based on that tale. But as a stay at home mom raising two sons, I needed to do something with my "spare" time, and turned to writing. Roshanna from THE HUNTRESS OF GREENWOOD was born in my bed
on a snowy January morning back in 2000 via an old laptop. At the time I had no
idea how important she was going to be to me, but I saw the scene in my mind’s
eye and and the name just popped into my head. That seminal scene featuring her
waking up on a snowy morning and wandering down toward a creek got worked into "Winter Of The White Beasts", which was the story chosen for the cover art of the
TFCE: What actually inspires you to write?
NANCY: Getting published, maybe
even getting paid to write at some point, which is a lot more fun that running
a cash register, punching a time clock, and especially cleaning my messy,
Seriously; I love being
creative, and wanted to find some way to do that while building a
late-life career that allowed me to do more of what I enjoy instead of only
what someone else expects from me. I’m an avid reader, but as far as I know,
nobody pays you to sit around reading books. So after dabbling in art, music,
and crafts which definitely require you be out on the road on a regular basis, writing
became the one thing I could easily fit into my laid back family lifestyle and
still be home most of the time. It worked best for me at a time when there wasn't a lot of opportunities out there for a middle aged homemaker and
stay-at-home mom to reinvent herself. It gives me a lot to tale about!
Like other creative people, I suppose I have something
of myself I need to express and put out there; some sort of legacy to leave
behind. Having authored books and stories that I hope will live on long after I've left this mortal existence, I’m bequeathing parts of myself to others who
come later, hoping they will enjoy getting to know me along with all the
characters and worlds I could dream up.
|Also From Pro Se Press|
TFCE: What, if anything, has influenced your writing style and technique?
NANCY: A lot of the things I have
read over the years. Favorite writers such as J. R. R. Tolkien, William
Shakespeare, Jack London, Robert Frost, John Steinbeck, David Eddings, Emily
Dickenson, Anne McCaffrey, Robert E. Howard, Erma Bombeck—even the bits of wit
and satire that wind up in the Sunday funnies—all of those get drawn upon when
I sit down and write. I think all authors should be well read, not so much in
the bluestocking sense of what is appropriate to read as in having a diverse
backdrop of story telling styles to pull ideas from. You get stale if you only
read or write the same old thing the same old way.
Another thing that is a
HUGE help is being friended with lots of other writers all over the spectrum in
terms of ability and publishing credits. We live in an amazing age, where it is
possible to sit at a home terminal of some sort and communicate with the world
at large. I started online with bulletin boards and chat rooms and now am
firmly entrenched in the social networking sites. They can be a huge time
waster if you’re not very disciplined, but I revel in the chance to remain in
touch with family, friends, fans, and peers. Many indie publishing companies do
all their business online, and there are scores of writers groups, as well as
websites and blogs where you can learn a ton of interesting facts and tips. The
trick is to be choosy about what you get involved in and not let it take over
time better spent writing. There is no finer teacher than experience, and to
get that, you have to write and submit.
Don’t overlook media or
visual influences outside of writing either. For me certain music, movies, video
games (my boys are gamers—I have no time), television programs, a museum trip,
newspaper/magazine articles, even an Society for Creative Anarchism event or a renaissance faire; all can
be a huge jumping off point for new stories. Just browsing pictures online
sometimes sparks an idea. I keep files of stuff like that for the days when the
muse seems to have gotten out of bed late and called in sick.
Certainly, being able to
get published as a New Pulp writer has had a huge influence on how I write. But
I now look back at my previous work with a jaundiced eye, ruthlessly cutting
out what doesn’t work for pulp and adding or at least rewriting new material
that will. I find I prefer writing ‘pulpy’ as it’s far more fun for me and for
the reader too. No more ponderous tomes filled with esoteric and lofty ideas
that take entire chapters to lay out. If you‘re going to need to get those
points across, do it quickly while the swords are swinging, the bullets are
flying, and before the enemy alien monster makes a snack out of your second in
TFCE: What would be your dream project?
NANCY: How big do you want me to
dream? At the loftiest end is a book on the New York Times best seller list, and Peter Jackson working with me to turn it into a movie
trilogy. Oh yeah… I could get into that! But heck, I’d settle for some loyal
fans and the respect of my peers, as well as the ability to support myself at
writing. Maybe do a little traveling too, go to more conventions than I can afford
to attend now, and visit overseas to stand in castles and dream of the days when they
were active and inhabited as fortresses against the bitter enemies of the
TFCE: Where do you foresee yourself within the next few years?
|The author, wearing a crochet project|
Right where I am now, which
is writing—hopefully with continued and growing success. Maybe editing an
anthology or publishing some selected work of my own or others, you never know…
Regardless of what happens, I’ll be sitting here at the keyboard, doing what I
TFCE: Within all the interviews and public appearances you've done so far, has there ever been a question that you have not been asked, but would love to answer?
NANCY: I also love to talk about
what I do besides writing. Most of us
author types are far from one-dimensional beings, though I freely admit writing
(and editing—I am Assistant Editor for Pro Se Press) tends to take over your
life. So I’m glad you asked!
I’m pretty much an empty
nester now, so I have a little more time on my hands in an all-adult household. We've just moved to an old farm over the last couple of years so I have more
time and space to pursue some of my passions. Besides writing, I am an avid
gardener. I love crafts, and have dabbled in
art. I crochet, want to learn to knit, and will fiddle with a lot of other needle crafts I've been known to haunt flea markets, thrift shops, and yard
sales looking for bargain items to repurpose, and I’m not above playing Urban Fairy
or going dump exploring. I could get into antiques if I could afford them; this
old farmhouse was built in 1770(!), though much of it is being updated. And yeah, I
love to read when time allows, and I have plenty of books waiting
for me along with a well-loaded Kindle. I have a small companion dog right now
(a rescue) but would love to have cats, birds, and fish again. I love music and
sing, and own several guitars (3 twelve strings and a 6 string) as well as a
beat-up 5 string banjo I have yet to learn to play. Now if I just had more time!
I do cook and bake, and so
most of the family get-togethers that involve meals (are there any other
kinds?) wind up here at the farm. Although overgrown and neglected for decades,
this place is lovely, with open fields, a big garden, several outbuildings, and
a 4 acre pond that is half marsh. We see a lot of wildlife year round, which is
great for me because I am a bit of an amateur naturalist too. I feed the birds
and get outdoors as much as these creaky bones allow. We have small gravel pit
where my kids come to practice shooting and they fish in the pond (Yes I can do
both, in fact I tied trout flies for cash way back when). It’s a beautiful area
in a rural part of the state, and a lot of inspiration for my writing, plus I
am not more than 13 miles from the rest of my family. That’s why I love it
A lot of my other
activities as well as those of my two bestest friends, wind up on our humble
little craft and hobby blog, IN MY "SPARE" TIME. (http://3creativepeople.blogspot.com
I have a nice digital camera the family got me, and I love to take pictures and
TFCE: Any other projects you would like to promote?
One thing that I am very
proud of, and you will see a link to it on the blog, was to have a very gritty
flash fiction piece chosen as one of thirty to be included in a fund raising
book for charities that support exploited and abused children. THE LOST
CHILDREN ANTHOLOGY (http://the-lost-children.blogspot.com/p/the-lost-children-charity-anthology.html
has done so well in raising funds as well as awareness for the organizations it
supports—so well that the people who put it together came up with an additional
book. This is a really great cause and a chance for a writer like me to do what
she does best while benefitting others less fortunate in the process. I
encourage everyone to check out these books because there has never been
greater need, and you will be getting some good reading as well as helping
others in the process.
I definitely would love to
participate in future SINBAD and MONSTER EARTH anthologies—writing for both was loads of fun!
I also do a bi-weekly column called "So... Why Pulp?" that can be found on the New Pulp website at: http://www.newpulpfiction.com
I have a lot of projects in
the wings that I just can’t talk about yet. But many, if not all of these
books are available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle too. All the Pro Se
books are on Smashwords and Barnes & Noble, as is the Nook version of
MONSTER EARTH. Some are just now appearing on Kobo.
TFCE: Wow! Sounds like we better let you get back to work. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us.
NANCY: Thanks for having me.