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Nancy, tell us about your journey to publication.
It’s been long. I began writing back in the early 1990s … yes, I’m that old. I was first published in 1996 with the ill-fated Precious Gems line (a collaboration between Kensington Publishing and Walmart).
After an amicable divorce, I had to give up writing for a while to support myself and share the cost of putting our son through college.
I sold my second book in 2007 and have been writing/selling ever since. The Muse is my 16th book. Book 17, Home is Where the Hunk is (a secret baby book with a twist) came out on the 22nd, and Dream Lover, the fifth novella in my Golden Decade of Rock and Roll series, will be out December 17th. I have four more releases scheduled for early next year.
I actively write for 4 publishers (a different genre with each) and love being able to switch from one type of book to another whenever the mood (or the contract) moves me.
What is your favorite indulgence (food, spa treatment, etc.)?
Sleep, time with my grandchildren, and more sleep. Oh, and the occasional massage.
What inspired you to write The Muse?
The story actually began as part of a submission call from one of my publishers. They wanted something over the top and different from the other historical romances that they publish. I was about three or four chapters into the book when they changed their minds and cancelled the call. However, the characters wouldn’t let me put them on a cyber-shelf and kept insisting I finish what I started. I could almost hear my heroine screaming at me in frustration … as if I were stopping her short of orgasm.
What do you like most about Susan Leland from The Muse?
Her feistiness. She could sit back and do very little, marry a rich lawyer or doctor, and settle in for a life to which she was born. Yet, she’s not content with the easy way of doing things. She craves excitement. Yet, despite her rebellious nature, at heart, she’s a caring individual who volunteers at the seniors home and worries about upsetting her parents. And, when the hero gives her grief, she gives it right back!
What's next for you?
The Muse is my first erotic romance but it definitely won’t be my last! I’ve found a home for my work with Decadent Publishing and couldn’t be happier. I just signed a second contract with them for another 1920’s novella. The Mysterious Mrs. Pennybaker is the story of a World War I “hello girl” who also moonlighted as a femme fatale spy for the US government. I’m also working on a romantic retelling of a Grimm fairytale for their Beyond Fairytales line.
And, in the spirit of juggling, I’m also working on the next Rock and Roll novella and finishing the third book in a post-Civil War family saga series.
I get tired just thinking about it.
Enjoy an excerpt:
Susan tapped lightly on the solid oak door leading to Evan Forrester’s downtown loft. The building was old, in parts dilapidated and smelling of mold. The three-story climb to his studio had been precarious, with more broken stairs than good ones. The urge to turn and flee ran rampant through her thoughts. She still couldn’t believe she was actually taking him up on his suggestion.
She hesitated. She hadn’t pictured him being destitute, a starving artist unable to afford something better than this run-down building. As hard as she tried to ignore her inner voice, she couldn’t hide her concern for the safety of her situation. Eager to be out of the dark, damp hallway, she knuckled the door a bit harder, stopping just short of actually using her balled-up fist to pound the old wood.
From behind the barrier, she could hear the shuffle of footsteps, and held her breath in anticipation. When the door opened, she let her breath out on a sigh of relief.
“You’re here,” Evan said, his gaze flaring as if she’d caught him by surprise.
“You said one o’clock,” Susan reminded him. She made a rather deliberate show of staring at her bare wrist. “It’s five minutes of, according to my watch.”
He stepped back and allowed her inside. Unlike the dark entryway and corridors leading to the third floor, his loft was filled with color, vivid splashes of paint adorning walls full of original artwork. Windows rose from floor to ceiling, allowing the early afternoon sun to shine through, unimpeded by draperies of any kind. Sparsely furnished with nothing more than a few chairs and a small kitchen table. Susan wondered what lay behind each of the three doors along the back wall.
“Truthfully, I didn’t think you’d show.” He waved his hand in a circle, the arc encompassing the entire open living area. “I don’t get many Hyde Park society girls in my studio.”
She raised her chin a notch. “Whether you realize it or not, I’m not like most Hyde Park girls.” When he didn’t comment, she reminded him, “You said I could make up for the accident by posing for you. I’m here to make amends for—as you put it—the pain and suffering my recklessness caused.”
He chuckled, the teasing lilt of his voice drawing her attention to where he stood. It was then she realized he was dressed in little more than a pair of tight- fitting denim rousers and an unbuttoned shirt. A sparse patch of short curls adorned his well-muscled chest, trailing downward to disappear inside the waistband of his pants. His feet were bare and his dark hair tousled, as if she’d awoken him from a sound sleep. His second laugh, this one much heartier than the first, told her she’d been caught staring. A sudden wave of heat rushed her cheeks. Her pulse raced.
“As I said last night, I don’t do formal portraits.”
His words drew her gaze back to his face, his mouth, the fullness of his lips. She raised her head and nodded. “Let’s just get this over with, please.”
He crooked his finger and motioned for her to follow. “Bathroom’s through there, if you need the facilities.” He opened the door to the middle room. “This is my bedroom. You can change in here, if you’d like. There’s a dressing gown hanging on the back of the door.”
“Change into what?” she asked. Her throat suddenly as dry as a pile of cotton batting, she slipped out of her lightweight coat and cloche and laid them at the foot of the bed.
Evan shook his head; his eyebrows arched and wagged teasingly. “Into as very little as you’re comfortable with, Miss Leland. I prefer totally nude, but if you’d like to leave your fancy drawers on, I can use my imagination.” He motioned toward the wooden table in the corner of the room. “There are some props, jewelry and the sort, over there, if you’d like to doll yourself up.”
“Anything else?” She did her best to put a sarcastic bent to her question yet feared her voice trembled too much to make the right impression.
He lowered his gaze from her face, across her body, down her legs, settling at last on her ankles. The intensity of his perusal made her toes curl.
“Take off those shoes and put on a pair with ankle straps. Preferably black. There should be a pair in the closet that will fit you.” He turned toward the door, stopping to add, “My studio is in the next room over. I’ll prepare a fresh canvas. Don’t take forever. I have someone coming at three.”
When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nfraserauthor @nfraserauthor
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