Monday, May 13, 2013

Interview and Giveaway with Nancy Cohen

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to write in this particular genre?

I write romance and mysteries and have 18 published works in my repertoire. My humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series features hairstylist Marla Shore, who operates a salon in sunny South Florida. When not cutting and coloring people’s hair, she solves crimes along with hunky Detective Dalton Vail. Shear Murder is the tenth and latest title in this series.

I like the challenge of plotting a whodunit. These stories don’t focus on forensics or crime scene details. Once I have my victim, I determine who might have had reason to kill the person and why. Figuring out how the suspects are linked together is what draws me to write mysteries. It’s all about their relationships. Then there is the continuing cast. Marla and company, after ten books, have become my friends.

On the other hand, my wild side urges me to write romantic adventure. I started out writing sci-fi romance.
My books in this genre have won the HOLT Medallion Award and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews.

Then I decided to try something different, so I set my new paranormal series in contemporary times. The Drift Lords Series takes place in a modern setting and involves Norse mythology. Think Thor meets Lord of the Rings.

When I write paranormal romance, logic still prevails like in a mystery, but myth and magic enter the equation. Anything can happen to my main characters. They can go on a quest, get captured by the enemy, brave volcanic vapors and demons. They can have adventures that I can’t do in a reality-based modern mystery. Even though my Drift Lords series takes place in a contemporary setting, these paranormal elements enliven the tales and expand the possibilities for my stories.

What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?

I am not a fan of vampires or werewolves. Myth and magic appeal to me because they bring added depth to a story. For example, in the Drift Lords series, evil trolls are the villains, although I call them Trolleks. One of them could be the woman walking down the street. But watch out if she touches you. The Trollek touch conveys a chemical that turns humans into mind slaves. Shifters, elves, dwarfs, descendants of the Norse gods, dragons, and more inhabit this world, mixed in with every day humans like you and me. People don’t know these creatures exist. Having paranormal elements in a story gives it a twist that can be refreshingly different. That unseen world lends thrills and chills to what may seem like an ordinary setting but is far from it.
What inspired you to write this book?

Warrior Rogue is a direct sequel to Warrior Prince. It’s a continuation of what happens to one of the characters at the end of the first story, but it is not necessary to read them in order.  Each book in the series features a different hero and heroine with their own set of problems, even though overall the Drift Lords may be working toward a common goal.

The idea for the series came from a ride at Disney’s Epcot theme park. In the Norway pavilion is a ride called Maelstrom. You board a boat that glides into a dark tunnel and rises up a steep incline. At the top are three trolls who cast a spell on you to disappear. Suddenly, your boat is whisked backward through time into Norwegian history. I loved the idea of evil trolls, magic, and Norse mythology.

Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?

Just as the Earth has tectonic plates, dimensional plates exist on a cosmic energy level. These fuel an electromagnetic grid that intersects at twelve distinct geographic areas. These points, known as Vile Vortices, are sites of anomalous activity. Twelve such locations exist around the world. The Bermuda Triangle is one of them.

When the dimensional plates grind against each other, the resultant pressure forces open a door between dimensions. Normally, the event horizon at this natural rift produces a substance called cors particles. When their mass reaches a critical level, the resultant pressure forces the rifts to close.

The Trolleks have devised a means to force open the rifts and keep them from shutting down. With the portals remaining open, the accumulation of cors particles will breach the point of no return. The dimensional drift will widen, causing a massive shock wave that will destroy everything in existence. In the meantime, the Trolleks have invaded Earth with the goal of enslaving mankind.

The Drift Lords are born with a special trait that becomes evident at puberty. They are able to smell cors particles, meaning they can tell when a portal is open. Their job is to repel the Trollek incursion and seal the rifts.  However, it’s not so simple this time. They need the help of a special group of Earth women with special powers to deal with the mythological element and to fulfill an ancient prophecy.

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

In each book, the team has a specific task to complete toward their goal of eliminating the Trollek threat, but you can jump into the series at any time. Each book features a different hero and heroine with their own set of problems to overcome. With my mystery series, too, you can enter any time as each story stands alone.

Please tell us about your latest release.

The action in Warrior Rogue starts off in Tokyo where our hero—Paz Hadar—is stranded. He is unable to contact his team and lacks his equipment and weapons. Jennifer Dyhr, an American woman he meets there, offers him a ride to the States in her business jet, but along the way they are assaulted mid-air. Jen and Paz get into one scrape after another, all the while trying desperately to get home.

Jen doesn’t believe Paz when he tells her she’s his destined mate and her powers are needed for his mission to succeed. But when she becomes a target to the enemy because of her heritage, she must rely on the devilishly handsome warrior to keep her safe.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
I use Norwegian names whenever possible, since my series is based on Norse mythology. But it isn’t essential. Sometimes I’ll just use names that appeal to me.
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

I have devised a character development sheet that I use in the beginning. I’ll want to know my person’s short and long term goals, what’s inhibiting him from reaching them, and why these are important. I’ll also want to know how the love interest will help complete him and how his character is going to grow or change by the end of the book.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

Paz and Jen are on their way home on her business jet when they are attacked mid-air by Trolleks, who materialize inside the cabin. Paz has to make an emergency landing after an electromagnetic grenade disables the plane’s electrical systems. I consulted a commercial airline pilot to get the details correct. It’s such an exciting scene. This is the first time Jen meets a Trollek, and it is a memorable encounter. She’s astounded by Paz’s skills when he fights the beasts and lands the plane. Up until that point, she had believed him to be an ordinary citizen albeit a hunky guy.
Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

My research involved such topics as Chinese junks, sea serpents, dragons, theme parks, alchemy, electromagnetic weapons, and more. I looked into the energy properties of diamonds. Mythology plays a large part in Warrior Rogue, of course. It was all interesting. I’d like to visit Himeji Castle in Japan, which became the model for my enemy fortress. This site had an online video that was immensely helpful to me in setting the scene.
What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?

I went to a Russian shvitz at a Miami Beach hotel, got into a swimsuit, and snooped around the spa with a notebook and camera hidden under my towel. Those scenes are in Perish by Pedicure, Bad Hair Day Mystery #8. I’ve also toured a biohazardous waste material treatment plant, an aquaculture research center, and stayed overnight at a haunted hotel. These experiences have enhanced my mystery series.

Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?

My sleuth, Marla Shore, is like me in many ways. We both share the same heritage and type of upbringing. She has hairdressing skills that I lack, though, plus she’s younger and more outgoing. She’s a lot braver, too. I wouldn’t dare venture to some of the places she’s gone in the Bad Hair Day series. But we share a nurturing instinct. She cares about her customers and wants to raise their self-confidence by making them look good.  I went into nursing to take care of people. So we have that trait in common.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

I don’t believe in Writer’s Block. If I can’t write, it is because I’m too distracted by promotion or outside influences, or I’ve been disheartened by a bad review. I’m never at a loss for what to write because I plan it all out beforehand. I write a complete synopsis before I start Chapter One. This acts as my guideline and gives me direction, although the story may change once the characters take over. The constant marketing may get me down, in which case a weekend break may be in order. Or sometimes world news proves a distraction, and the work loses meaning until I remember how my stories provide escape for readers from their daily toil. That’s my goal, to make you forget outside strife and become immersed in my world.

When did you consider yourself a writer?

My first published book, Circle of Light, came out in 1994. That’s when my dream came true to be a published author. I was a writer before that, making time to write through a full-time job and raising children. But there’s nothing like holding a physical book in your hands and seeing it on the bookstore shelf. Now it’s different with the advent of digital technology, but a new release still provides a thrill.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

Reading, fine dining, cruising, lunch with friends, movies, outlet shopping.

Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?

I have a “reading couch” that is way past its prime, but I’m so comfortable on there that I hate to change it. It’s in our den next to a front window.

What can readers expect next from you?

Coming next is another Bad Hair Day mystery, Hanging By A Hair. And then I expect my 20th book to be Warrior Lord, #3 in the Drift Lords Series. I still have a final round of proof-reading to do on that story.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

Sure, this scene is from Warrior Rogue, #2 in the Drift Lords Series.
Paz killed the power just before touchdown. Jen’s teeth clattered together as they bumped the beach, bounced into the air, and bumped again. Sand spewed in all directions. Then the jet skidded along the narrow strip toward a tangle of trees ahead.
“We’re not stopping.” She stared forward with horrified fascination, her heart threatening to jump out of her chest.
“Hold on.” Paz pressed on the brake pedals. His hands gripped the wheel, arm muscles bulging with strain.
They tipped sideways, and a terrible rending noise tore the air. Jen’s blood froze solid as part of the wing ripped off with a horrendous scraping sound. The deck tilted, and then suddenly, they stopped. Her side of the jet dipped toward the sand.
She breathed in a couple of rapid, shallow breaths—stunned they were still intact. A grove of bamboo stood dead ahead. If they had not stopped, they would have been skewered.
Dear God, we made it.
She sat motionless, unable to budge, her body trembling.
“Get out.” Paz jabbed his thumb toward the exit. “Fire is a risk since we weren’t able to dump the fuel. Plus we need to vacate this site.”
His grim face told her there might be other reasons for haste. What if the natives were hostile?
One thing at a time, Jen. Get your ass out of here.
Paz collected the parts from his wrist device, unsnapped his harness, and rose. Jen followed suit, but she gathered her wits enough to grab her purse while he popped the escape hatch. Her cell phone was inside. Maybe, by some miracle, it would work in this remote location.
“Come on, we can’t waste time.” Paz signaled to her from the open hatchway.
She staggered toward him. Peering outside, she was glad to note they didn’t need the emergency chute. They could easily jump the short distance to the ground. Holding her long skirt, she leaped after Paz onto the beach.
He caught her in his muscular arms and gently eased her down. His tousled hair, determined jaw, and ocean blue eyes had never looked better.
“Thank you. You saved our lives.” On impulse, Jen rose on her tiptoes and kissed him.
She’d only meant it to be a brief expression of gratitude, but Paz’s gaze intensified. He swept her into his arms and gave her a passionate kiss that left her breathless.

BUY Warrior Rogue at The Wild Rose Press

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Warrior Rogue
The Drift Lords Series Book Two
Nancy J. Cohen

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: April 26, 2013

Trade: 978-1-61217-739-7
Digital: 978-1-61217-740-3

Number of pages: 410
Word Count: 100,688

Cover Artist: Tamra Westberry


When fashion designer Jennifer Dyhr loses her lead actor for a video-game commercial, a replacement literally drops from the sky. Reluctant to let him leave, she hires him as a model for her studio. But when terrorists attack their flight home, Jen must awaken powers she didn’t know she had to protect them both. Will she be able to keep her heart safe from the sensual man beside her?

When space ops warrior Paz Hadar falls through a spatial rift onto Jen’s set, he soon realizes she is essential to his mission. Not only must he protect her, his success depends upon her special powers. But as they struggle to stay one step ahead of the enemy, he discovers that fighting his attraction to the lovely Jen is as much a challenge as keeping them both alive.


When fashion designer Jennifer Dyhr loses her lead actor for a video-game commercial, a replacement literally drops from the sky. Reluctant to let him leave, she hires him as a model for her studio. But when terrorists attack their flight home, Jen must awaken powers she didn’t know she had to protect them both.

About the Author:

Nancy J. Cohen is an award-winning author of eighteen romance and mystery novels. Her humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series features hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several of these titles have made the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association bestseller list.

Shear Murder is the tenth and latest title in this series. Nancy's imaginative romances have also proven popular with fans. Her paranormal romance titles have won the HOLT Medallion Award and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews.

Warrior Rogue, #2 in the Drift Lords Series, is her latest title from The Wild Rose Press.

Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who's Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets.

One lucky commenter on this blog will win an ebook copy of 
Keeper of the Rings. 

Enter via Rafflecopter

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Nancy is running a Rafflecopter contest on her sites April 26- May 19. Grand Prize is a hand-made troll from Trolls of Norway. 
Two runners-up will each receive a signed print copy of Wicked Women Whodunit. 


Alyssa Maxwell said...

Exciting excerpt! I find it amazing how you can switch gears so successfully to write both mystery and fantasy romance. That takes a lot of discipline and determination!

Alyssa Maxwell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GG said...

I am a huge fan. Your ability to write in different genres and be so prolific is amazing. I'm sure this new series will be successful!

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thank you, Allison and Sandra. It's refreshing to write in two different genres. I can't get tired of one that way. Mysteries require a focused, grounded, and logical approach while my otherworldly romances are more adventurous.

MCantu1019 said...

I would like the guy on the cover.
MCantu1019 at aol dot com

Nancy J. Cohen said...

I like the guy on the cover, too!

Mary Ricksen said...

Nancy you're amazing. I love your work!!!

Anonymous said...

I have been one of your mystery fans since day 1 and just getting into your other genre, very slowly, I might add, but still more into the cozies, etc. All of your books that I have read are sooooo good, Nancy. Keep up the great work.

Cynthia in MA

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thanks so much, Cynthia. I know sometimes it's hard to jump genres when you're used to reading one thing, but I really appreciate that you are trying to follow all of my books. I am grateful for the feedback, too.

bn100 said...

Nice scene

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Mary, thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words.

Barbara E. said...

I enjoyed the interview and the chance to learn more about your work Nancy. I'm especially interested in Science Fiction Romance, so I'm looking forward to checkout out your books.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Barbara, I started out in this career writing SciFi romance so I hope you'll take a look at my earlier books, too, beginning with Circle of Light. There's a complete listing of titles on my website.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thank you so much for having me on your site. I appreciate the opportunity to meet your readers.