Monday, July 8, 2013

Today's Special - - Nancy Northcott


It's my pleasure to welcome Nancy Northcott back to The Romance Dish today!  I've been captivated by the world of mages and mundanes that Nancy has created in her debut series and eagerly anticipate each new story she publishes.  The newest, GUARDIAN gives us the story of Dr. Stefan Harper, a hero for whom fans have been begging and, believe me, he's well worth the wait!  

For more information about Nancy, visit her website, like her at Facebook, follow her on Twitter and connect with her through other links on her site.    





Hi Nancy!  Welcome back to The Romance Dish!  Congratulations on the release of GUARDIAN.  As someone who has been eagerly anticipating Stefan’s story, let me say that it was well worth the wait!  Will you please tell our readers what to expect from this book?

Thank you, PJ, and thanks for having me.  I’m glad you enjoyed the book.

Guardian is a second chance at love story.  In it, Stefan Harper, the mage doctor, again encounters the woman he loved and lost when he was in med school.  She’s now an FBI agent, Camellia “Mel” Wray, and he’s the consulting doctor on a murder case she’s investigating.  The sparks between them flare again as soon as they meet, but there’s still a lot standing in their way.

She doesn’t believe in magic or paranormal powers, and her skepticism drove them apart nine years ago.
Because he knew how she felt, he lied when he went away to study magical healing.  Of course Mel eventually busted him about not being where he was supposed to be.  Rather than tell her a truth he knew she wouldn’t believe, he let her think he’d been unfaithful.  He thought it was better to be dumped for lying than for lying coupled with delusions.

As though the old distrust between him and Mel weren’t enough, he immediately realizes this is no ordinary murder, that  the mages’ old enemies the ghouls are involved.  He can’t tell law enforcement that, though.  The mages keep their existence a secret.  Even if they didn’t, Mundane (normal) humans aren’t equipped to battle supernatural beings.  Mel soon realizes he’s keeping something back, and that adds to the friction in their already difficult dealings.

Stefan and Mel have quite a lengthy – and rocky – road to their happy ending.  What would you like readers of GUARDIAN to understand about each of these characters? 

Seeing Mel forces Stefan to admit he never stopped wanting her.  He knows they have no future unless he can be honest with her, but if he tells her more about the magical world than she can accept and keep secret, the mages will wipe knowledge of them from her mind.  That could destroy her, as he knows too well because the fallout of such an event when he was in his teens devastated him.  Yet he longs to be with her.  He’s caught between his duty to his fellow mages and his burning desire to try again with her.

In contrast to Stefan, with his big circle of friends, Mel has felt like an outsider for most of her life.  She despises the idea of anything magical because her mom’s New Age ideas made her an object of ridicule in her hometown.  College gave her a fresh start in a new place.  She found acceptance  and love with him through the music they shared.  In class and in her job, she feels she earned her place by making herself valuable, by proving herself time and again. 

She doesn’t give her trust easily, and she’s doubly reluctant to give it to someone who not only betrayed it once, she believes, but works at place devoted to what she sees as paranormal nonsense.  Like many people, she’s trapped in a cage of childhood hurts and fears even though she doesn’t see herself that way.
Once again, setting is an important component of this book.  I’m fascinated by the mysteries of the Okefenokee Swamp and the unique character of the town of Wayfarer.  

What draws you to this area and what qualities does it have that makes this the perfect backdrop for these stories?

As I’ve said before, I had vague memories of the Okefenokee from a childhood visit.  I liked the name, a swamp seemed to have great spookiness potential, and I’d been told swamps had unique energy.  That was enough to start.

The mages’ power is nature-based.  That made the swamp attractive but also is ironic because I am so not Nature Girl. I like my surroundings climate-controlled and my wildlife safely distant.

I kept references to the swamp at a minimum initially because I couldn’t get to south Georgia and so had to rely on internet research, which can be dicey.  Since Renegade sold, I’ve visited the Okefenokee several times and am totally entranced.  I’ve seen thousands of stars overhead on a black velvet sky after a sunset cruise, admired the flowers and other plants along the water, and been struck by the story potential of Spanish moss cascading from the trees to form little alcoves along the water.

The Okefenokee Swamp, despite its name, isn’t really a swamp but a blackwater peat bog with sandy islands in it.  It isn’t muddy except along the water’s edge, and the water and ground don’t smell.  So it’s not quite as icky a setting as the name implies.

As an aside, I’d be less entranced if I ever saw an alligator or other predator having a meal, so readers can be sure they won’t see that either.  At least not in a book of mine.  This is romance, not horror.

The town of Wayfarer came into being because I wanted Griff, the hero of Renegade, and his friends to have a place where they could hang out safely.  Small towns tend to close ranks around their own.  Even a short-term resident qualifies when total strangers are asking questions.  And I thought it might be handy, considering that this series revolves around mages, if the town happened to be very accepting of supernatural and paranormal phenomena.

You’ve been blessed with some gorgeous covers!  What goes into the making of a cover?  Does the author have any input?

Thanks, PJ!  I love them, too.  I’m not sure what the steps are for making a cover, but I was asked to describe the hero and heroine and list covers I liked.  I actually said I was not much for shirtless male torso covers, but I changed my mind as soon as I saw the design for Renegade and could only say “Wow!”

I think the degree of author input varies from house to house and possibly from editor to editor, but I did have input into the weaponry on the covers and some other details. 

Will we be returning to Wayfarer for more stories?  Specifically, is there a woman out there waiting to steal Will’s heart?  I picked up on a few subtle hints in GUARDIAN that have me hoping!

Your hopes will be rewarded on both fronts.  *g* Wayfarer will figure in all the books to some degree or another.  We’ll also see the Collegium and the swamp regularly.

There may be a novella first, but the next full-length novel book will be Will’s.  We’ll see what kind of woman it takes to pierce his shell of breezy charm and touch his heart.  For those who don’t know, Will is an archaeologist, ace researcher, and ladies’ man.  The story revolves around a discovery in the swamp that will be pivotal.

Yay!  Can't wait for Will's story and to find out all about the swamp discovery!

Summer has arrived in our part of the world.   Any fun plans?

Not so far.  We’re hoping to get away for a few days, but we’re all juggling a lot, so we’ll have to see.

This is the time of year when many of us catch up with our reading.  What books are on your “must read” summer list?

You know, so many books come out every month that it’s tough for me to keep up with what’s out there.  My Romance Bandit blogmates, of course, are wonderfully prolific. I recently finished Summer at Mustang Ridge by Jesse Hayworth, Nowhere Safe by Dianna Love, Death, Taxes, & Pink Leg Warmers by Diane Kelly, and Carolina Girl by Virginia Kantra. I have Beckman by Grace Burrowes up next and am eagerly awaiting Ilona Andrews’ Magic Rises and Karin Slaughter’s Unseen.

Will you be at any conferences this year where readers can meet you?

I’ll be at RWA and am in the Grand Central signing, which is open to registered attendees only, on that Saturday.  I’m attending Moonlight & Magnolias, which is always a great conference, and I’m speaking on worldbuilding at the Emerald City Writers Conference in Seattle.   Just for the fun of it, I’m going to Dragon*Con.

That's a pretty busy schedule.  How do you relax in your off time?

I read, watch movies, or sit outside and watch the birds.  Even when I’m working on a book, I have to step away for a while and clear my head.

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Nancy.  Do you have a question for our readers?

Actually, I have several.  

Do you love the outdoors, or are you happier inside with a book?  

When was the last time you saw the stars without light pollution?  

If you read paranormal romance, what was the last one you read?

Thanks again for having me, PJ!

My pleasure, Nancy!

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment will receive a NetGalley e-copy of Guardian.






52 comments:

  1. Nancy,
    How thrilling. This sounds like a great series and I love your covers. As far as your question, I love to read outdoors. I saw stars on the balcony of my beach condo in Florida this past week. I can't see them much in Atlanta because we're surrounded by trees, which isn't a bad thing. Congratulations and good luck.

    Marilyn Baron

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Marilyn! I love my covers, too.

      I seldom see the stars at home because ambient light washes out all but the brightest. The first time I visited the dh's family in the Colorado Front Range, it was so dark at night that we could see thousands of stars. As more subdivisions spring up, though, they bring light that will ultimately make that area more like the city.

      Delete
    2. Hope you had a good time at the beach, Marilyn. I'm enjoying the same this week. :)

      Looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta next week!

      Delete
  2. Hi, Nancy! I love the name of your fictional town; it's so evocative. I'm not much of a paranormal reader, but I am a fan of your books. Guardian was the most recent paranormal I read. :)

    I'm a country girl, so I see stars in the night sky often. I love reading outside in the spring and fall when the temperature makes it comfortable, but I'm not a Nature Girl either. I have close friends who are camping enthusiasts who have spent years trying to persuade me to join them, but my idea of primitive is not having reservations at the motel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Janga! I appreciate that.

      I went camping once, with a group of friends just before our high school graduation. I enjoyed it, but that was mostly because of the company. I prefer having reliable hot water for a morning shower and not having to hike to the toilet.

      The dh and I are considering a one-night canoe trip in the Okefenokee, for research purposes, but that can't happen until at least one of us can handle a canoe. And one night in a sleeping bag on a wooden platform with an outhouse would be my limit. But I'm thinking the night sky and the sunrise (not my favorite time of day but a joy to see on rare occasions) would be glorious.

      Delete
    2. My old bones would not appreciate camping these days but when I was younger it was something I loved. The dh and I would tent camp every weekend on land we owned in the country. The stars we would see were incredible.

      Delete
  3. HI! I am a city girl so I prefer staying indoors with a great book! :) I haven't seen the stars much unfortunately since I live in the city. The last paranormal book that I read is Jen Estep's spider series.

    I like your cover!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, May! I'm usually indoors with the book, too. All the rain we've had lately has spawned hordes of moquitoes, in addition to ramping up the humidity, so I think outdoor reading is over until the fall.

      Thanks! I love my covers.

      Delete
    2. Jen Estep is great, isn't she, May? Have you read Nancy's books? I highly recommend them!

      Delete
  4. Hi Nancy! Great to have you visiting with us today! One of the things I miss now that I've moved from the country to the city is the absence of stars. It was very dark at my old place so I was treated to a beautiful star-filled sky most nights. However, the positives of this move far outweigh the negatives. Positives like being able to attend all the school and sports events of the kids in my life and having frequent lunch dates with good friends! :)

    This week I'm reading in a comfy chair on a sunny beach and loving it. It's one of my favorite places to read.

    My last paranormal? GUARDIAN!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PJ, thanks again for having me! I agree that there are big advantages to living in a metro area. I do miss seeing the stars, though. As we cautiously crossed the dark parking lot after our sunset cruise at the swamp, I looked up, and the diamond-spangled blackness above took my breath away.

      Thanks for the shout-out to Guardian. The last paranormal I read was Alyssa Day's The Cursed, which I bought on your recommendation. She has a mage, too, but a very different sort and world.

      I'm glad you're having good weather. Ours has been so rainy that the ground is saturated. UghM

      Delete
  5. Hey Nancy! Hey PJ and Andrea! SO fun to come hang at the Dish today with y'all! :>

    Nancy, I'm not an outdoors girl in the summer - tooooooo hot and stifling - but let the weather cool and you can't keep me inside. :> And I'll read anywhere, anytime, so outdoors, indoors, whereever I have light and a book. Or a flashlight and a book. Ha!

    I've seen the stars from way out in the bush in Kenya, and I didn't actually know that many stars existed. It was one of the most glorious things I've ever seen. 'Round here, in the DC area, there's a lot of ambient city light, so you don't see very many stars, but head up towards PA or Western MD and you can see a lot of gorgeous gems on that midnight velvet sky! Or if I head South towards home (NC) then I can get a glimpse of the stars w/o so much interference from the city lights. :>

    As you know, I adore paranormal romance, and the last one I read was...drum roll...Guardian! Yeah!! (And I HIGHLY recommend it!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeanne, thanks for the nod to Guardian. Glad you liked it!

      I'd bet the Kenyan sky was gorgeous--and with a different set of constellations, right? Someday I'd like to see the Southern Cross. As NC becomes more urbanized, starry skies become harder to find, but there are still places where you can see them.

      Delete
    2. Hi Jeanne! I bet that Kenyan sky was glorious!

      Delete
    3. It was totally glorious! I was so bedazzled by the whole trip to Kenya that it never occured to me to even LOOK for the Southern Cross. :> Evidently, however, it was too late in the year to see it at that location, so I would have been disappointed. However, it was so star-strewn, I didn't miss seeing any one thing, I was so gobsmacked by the whole. :>

      Delete
  6. Nancy, congratulations!!! Woot1 Woot!!
    I am outdoor person if the weather is just right....Not too cold, not too hot, not too humid. A perfect spring or fall day. My family loves to walk around at Backbone State Park here in Iowa and it's a beautiful place in late October. So, I guess I am basically an inside person. :)

    I live in a small rural town, so it is even easy to see the stars in our own backyard without too much light pollution. I only have to travel a mile or two out of town and sit up on a hill to see all of the heavenly wonders that light up the sky.

    I haven't read a paranormal book for awhile. But, hey, yours is on the list!! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb, I highly recommend Nancy's books!

      Delete
    2. Deb, I like walking outside in the fall, too. I love visiting Kings Mountain National Battlefield, a Revolutionary War site not too far from here. And I prefer the late fall or early spring for seeing the swamp, as there are fewer annoying bugs during the colder months. And the water level tends to be higher, which opens up more areas.

      The night sky was one of the things I loved growing up in a small town, though I didn't fully appreciate it at the time. That and the true quiet in the depths of the night.

      I hope you enjoy Guardian!

      Delete
  7. I'm reading this book right now and loving it. Have loved the entire series. Nancy's are the only paranormal books I read. The perfect amount of magic in a real world setting. Cannot wait for Will's book. I keep thinking that Finnish expert he thinks is a dude is really a woman. Am I close? ;)

    Okay, that might be spoilerish, but I'm dying to know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Terri, I wondered about that too!

      Delete
    2. Terri, wow, that's a high compliment. Thanks!

      Actually, you and PJ are not alone in wondering. I don't want to spoil things, but I will say I have plans for Jonas, who's currently scheduled to appear in Will's book (though that could change) but not as the heroine. :-) Does that help?

      Delete
    3. PJ, I meant to do individual replies and somehow botched it. Oops!

      Anyway, as things now stand, we'll meet Jonas in Will's book, as I said. And thanks to you both for being engaged enough to wonder.

      Delete
  8. Okay, I'm heading back down to the beach. I'll check in later!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi, Nancy! Great interview, PJ! I've already downloaded GUARDIAN and can't wait to start reading!

    If I said I was an outdoor girl, everyone I know would start howling with laughter. But it's true! Okay, I'm not talking about camping on the South Pole exactly, but I used to love river rafting and since I live by the beach, I love to walk or ride bikes by the ocean.

    The Okefenokee Swamp sounds so fascinating, Nancy. I'm tremendoulsy glad to hear it doesn't smell. Also glad you've never had to deal with an alligator. That sounds really scary, even for an outdoor girl. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kate! I hope you enjoy Guardian.

      I'd like to try river rafting sometime, and I love walking on the beach. I envy you that. I truly do find the Okefenokee fascinating. And I know if I keep going back, sooner or later, I'll see some sort of really revolting alligator behavior. The guides all have. But they're in the swamp day in and day out every week, so I'm thinking the odds will be in my favor on that for quite a few trips yet.

      And we'll never see that in a book, as I said, because..eww, and who wants to read that in a romance?

      Delete
  10. Hi Nancy! Hi PJ! Can't wait to see you both shortly!

    I'm not a hunting, shooting, fishing gal nor do I like the creatures and creepy crawlies associated with outdoor life. I don't spend holidays trekking through the wilderness, but I do enjoy seeing different places - like the Everglades, the Caribbean rain-forest, the Utah national parks, the Outback and the bayous in Louisiana. And there is nothing quite like the joy of lying by water (be it beach or lake) with a great book, like Guardian!

    You know yours are about the only paranormals I read, now that Terri Garey and Jess Andersen are done with their series!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anna, thanks! That's a great compliment.

      I'm not generally into hunting, shooting, fishing, etc., either, and I really do think one night sleeping in a shelter in the swamp would be enough--and it would need to be winter so there would be fewer mosquitoes (I don't think there are ever NONE). And I do love the view from a boat.

      Someday I'd like to see the national parks out west. We visited Mt. Desert Island, up in Maine, and it was gorgeous, but the west would be totally different.

      Delete
  11. Welcome back, Nancy, and congrats on your newest release!

    As for me, I'm both. I love being outdoors, but not too long if it's extremely hot; it'll give me a bad headache. And of course, I love hanging out inside with a good book. ;-)

    I'll see you at RWA!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Andrea! I like reading outside, but not in this weather.

      And just so you know, I'm now a fan of Julie James because of the post you did on her latest book. I gobbled up four of them in short order!

      Yep, see you in Atlanta!

      Delete
    2. Oh, Nancy, I'm so glad you like Julie's books! I hope you enjoy the ones you've yet to read, too. Honestly, I don't think Julie could write a bad book if she tried! Yay!

      Delete
    3. I have a couple of Julie's books in my TBR pile. I'll have to move those up the stack. I've never read one of hers I don't think.

      Delete
    4. Me too, Cassondra, so I'll have to move them up as well on all these high recommendations!

      Delete
    5. Cassondra and Jeanne, when you do read a Julie James book, please come back to let us know what you thought! :)

      Delete
  12. The last question is really an easy one for me. My last paranormal was The Protector and I loved it!! I've always liked the outdoors although it doesn't seem like we do very much outside activity any more other than taking care of our yard lol.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Catslady, thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed Protector.

    Our main outdoor activity is also yard work, and that's mostly the dh. I do like to read outside when the weather's mild.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Nancy and Hi Dishers!

    I would rather be outdoors almost ANY time, than indoors. The only exception is when it's both freezing cold AND blowing wind. Howling Cold, I call it. I hate howling cold. I even like to walk outside in the rain. I don't mind exercise if I can be outside to do it. I hate to work out at a gym. Even reading, I prefer to sit outside under the umbrella--the only negative is bugs of course--flies and mosquitoes. If I can saturate the air with citronella, I can sometimes manage it even in summer.

    Stars without light pollution? I have no recent memory--it had to be when I was a little girl on the farm. Most people didn't have security lights back then, so out on the farm we could see the distant glow of the small town to the northeast, but not much else. Now I have to battle what I call "everyone else's fear"--and the security lights surrounding the houses near us--even out here in the country. I think, "why do people move to the country if they're afraid of the dark?" as I shift my lawn chair around to use trees to block their lights so I can maybe catch a view of Orion.

    You already know I love the Light Mage Protectors series. Can't wait for Will's book by the way. He's slurpy. *lick*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cassondra! I'm glad you think Will is slurpy. *g*

      I prefer working out in a gym, but I do like to read outside if it the weather's mild.

      I didn't think about security lights, but that's a good point.

      Delete
  15. Hey, what hapened to my comment? It WAS here! Anyway, great interview. Lovely to see both of you together. Nancy, good luck with Guardian!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Congrats Nancy on the newest release!!!

    Ummm in my neck of the woods, we have lots and lots of mosquitoes and of course I'm very allergic so reading is done inside :) I last saw the stars w/out light pollution, last year when we went to visit a friend in the country. The last paranormal romance I read was The Wicked by Thea Harrison and it was fantastic :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Erin! I sympathize, as mosquitoes will zoom past other people go dive at me.

      I just discovered Thea Harrison. I love her books!

      Delete
  17. I love being outside. Saw the stars last without city lights probably 3 years ago on the beach in Jamaica. The next paranormal I'll be reading is yours!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, a beach in Jamaica. I'd love that view!

      And thanks, Nicki. I hope you enjoy it.

      Delete
  18. Hi Nancy! Hi PJ and Andrea! Lovely to see you ladies all together today.

    I've said this before, Nancy, but I marvel at the imagination it takes to write paranormal romance and to build a world with so much intricate detail. Actually, RENEGADE was the last paranormal romance I read and I loved it!

    As for stars, it must be the last time I went to Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in the world, off the coast of Queensland. This was pre-children so at least 12 years ago. Looks like I'm massively overdue for another visit!

    Have to confess I'm more of an indoors girl but whenever I spend quality time outside, I think I should do this more often. Anyway, congratulations on the release of GUARDIAN! Looking forward to reading it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why, thank you, Christina! I appreciate that.

      Fraser Island sounds beautiful. Maybe I'll get to see it someday.

      I'm definitely more of an indoor person, too, but I truly love the Okefenokee, and I could feel myself drinking in the national park in Maine.

      Delete
  19. congrats again on the release :) I admit I'm outdoorsy in the sense that I like sitting outside reading a good book or strolling about a park/garden (that someone else takes care of) while enjoying nice weather :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, gamistress! That's about my usual level of outdoors activity, too. :-)

      Delete
  20. Nancy, thanks so much for visiting with us yesterday. Wishing you all the best with GUARDIAN and looking forward to seeing you next week at RWA!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Congratulations on your new release, Nancy! I have issued a challenge to myself to read genres that I've not read before. After viewing your blog today, I'm ready to pick up a copy of Renegade and expand my horizons. Best of luck with your future endeavors.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I hope I have a chance to meet you in Atlanta next week, Nancy!

    ReplyDelete