|Busy author Nancy A. Hansen|
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/ OR http://www.pulpmachine.blogspot.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|
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 ofI’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.
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 story.
|The First Novel|
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 book.
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, cluttered house…
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.
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 command.
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 realm.
TFCE: Where do you foresee yourself within the next few years?
|The author, wearing a crochet project|
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 here!
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 post them.
TFCE: Any other projects you would like to promote?
NANCY: 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.