Nancy J. Cohen

Posted: June 27, 2007 in Mystery, Veronika Asks Interviews
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Nancy J. CohenBeauty and mysteries with author Nancy J. Cohen and her Bad Hair Day Mysteries series!

Hi Nancy, I’m glad to welcome you to the new Veronika Asks blog for the “Mysterious July”! Please describe yourself with three words…
Dedicated, loyal, friendly.

Tell us about your Bad Hair Day Mystery series…
Hairdresser Marla Shore solves crimes with humor and style under the sultry Florida sun. She owns and operates the Cut ‘N Dye salon, which is the backdrop for the series. I like to include issues of importance to Floridians in my stories, as well as topics that interest me so the reader and I both learn something new. Marla chases after suspects at my favorite weekend getaways, so you get a taste for different parts of Florida. Humor is important to the story, as wellas Marla’s romance with Detective Dalton Vail, and her relationships with other friends and family.

Your latest release is Perish by Pedicure. What happens to Marla in this episode?
When Marla takes a job as assistant hairstylist to a platform artist at a beauty show, she doesn’tcount on murder being part of the program. She’s excited to work for Luxor Products, hoping the connection can advance her career. That is, until company director Christine Parks is found dead in her hotel room, face down in a foot bath. Suspect number one is Marla’s college roommate, Georgia Rogers. Since Georgia recommended Marla for the glamorous job, the least Marla can do for her in return is to clear her name. To complicate matters, her fiancé’s former in-laws have come for a visit, putting Marla’s temper on a short fuse just when she needs her wits to solve the crime.

Killer Knots will be out in December 2007. Tell us more about it!
Florida hairstylist Marla Shore hopes for a romantic interlude with her fiancé on their first Caribbean cruise, but a storm brews on the horizon. Troubled waters lie dead ahead when her dinner companions start disappearing one-by-one. Then Marla learns a killer may be along for the ride. On board art auctions, ports of call, and sumptuous buffets beckon, but she ignores temptation and musters her snooping skills to expose the culprit. She’d better find him fast, before her next shore excursion turns into a trip to Davy Jones’s locker.

Will there be another Marla Shore book?
Maybe. I’m working on other projects right now. Doing too much of the same thing constricts the creative muscles, and every now and then it’s good to stretch them.

Who were you before starting to write? How did you start writing?
I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. When I was younger, I did poems, short stories, and a Shakespearean-type play. In 1975, I decided to write a novel and bought a how-to book to help me learn the structure. Even though I’ve tried to stop being a writer, I am unable to quit writing stories. I take notes wherever I go, and characters keep talking in my head. It’s an addiction. As for my other career, I have a master’s degree in nursing and worked in that field for ten years before retiring to write full time. I still maintain my R.N. license.

Why do you set your mysteries in the beauty world? What gave you this idea?
I was in the hair salon getting a perm, waiting for my timer to go off, and I had nothing good toread. I glanced at the other customers who were staring into space waiting for their timers to gooff. I thought, we need something gripping to read to kill time. Let’s kill off one of these ladies! Thus PERMED TO DEATH was born. In that story, hairstylist and salon owner Marla Shore isgiving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when the old lady croaks in the shampoo chair. Marla has to prove her innocence to handsome Detective Dalton Vail.
Marla is a businesswoman as well as a talented professional who cares about her customers. A stylist has to be a good listener, so she’s a natural for a sleuth. She knows many people around town, and clients confide in her. The beauty parlor is a great background setting for a mystery series. People are constantly walking in, gossiping, and exchanging information. Plus, it’s fun to research, and I can write off my hair appointments on my taxes.🙂

How do you write (where, when, how)?
I write in the morning after walking my dog. My quota is five pages a day or a chapter a week. This takes place in my home office. I use Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred voice recognition program to save my fingers from so much typing.

How do you react to the writer’s block?
Depends on what’s causing it. If it’s a problem with the story I’m writing, I’ll take time out to determine the purpose of the next scene. Usually I write a synopsis first so I know where the story is going. But other things can cause writer’s block: outside distractions, loss of confidence, rejections, changes to editors, publishing imprints, etc. This stuff is harder to overcome. Sometimes you just need to take time off.

Do you have some advice for aspiring authors?
Study the craft. Attend workshops. Join professional organizations. Go to conferences. Keep writing. Develop a thick skin. Never give up and never surrender.

What do you think about eBooks?
I believe eBooks have a future ahead, especially when eBook readers become standardized. Kids today download everything on their iPods and such; why not books? But folks like me still like to hold a book in hand. I look at a computer all day; I don’t want to read books on them. However, I’d be happy to gain new readers by having my books in that format. Unfortunately, authors aren’t earning much in the way of income from this source yet, and we do want to make a living at this career.

And now the famous Nothing-To-Do-With-Books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Spend it on groceries. It costs so much when you go to the store to stock your food shelves these days.

Which books would you advise for a perfect beach read? Have some favourite authors to feature?
Harry Potter. I’m a fan like everyone else. If you want my personal list of favorite authors, please email me at nancy.j.cohen@comcast.net

Would you like to add something, Nancy?
Yes, thank you very much for your interest in my work.
Please visit my sites http://www.nancyjcohen.com, http://mysterygal.bravejournal.com

“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening: Read a book
Holidays: Beach on a tropical island
Country or City ? Suburbs.
Watching a movie: Romantic comedy
Shy or Easy-going ? Easy-going
Serious or Funny ? A little of both, probably more serious
Traveler or not ? Yes
Sporty or not ? Not, although I like to walk on nature trails
The Leader or not ? Depends on the group

“Favorite…”

TV show: Stargate SG-1, and after ten years, it’s OVER! Bwaaa…..
Movie : Star Wars, Galaxy Quest, Star Trek IV
Book : Too many to mention
City : Orlando
Food : Salmon
Music : Mozart
Favourite place to write in : Home
Quote or motto: Be Prepared.

Thank you, Nancy!
You can pay Nancy a visit here: http://www.nancyjcohen.com

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