I am pleased to welcome Nancy J. Cohen to talk about the latest in her fun Bad Hair Day Mystery Series!
Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve written 20 published novels in mystery and romance, and I love to write. But I’m a reader first. You won’t find me anywhere without a book in hand. My first career was in nursing. Cherry Ames books inspired me for that career and also got me started on mysteries, along with Nancy Drew. I earned my Master of Science Degree in nursing and worked as a clinical nurse specialist before retiring to write full-time.
I’m a Star Trek fan, so my initial published works were scifi romances. After writing four books in this genre for Dorchester, I switched to mysteries. I just finished the 12th book in my Bad Hair Day series. And while I love writing mysteries, I get a creative urge now and then to write a more adventurous story. So I also write the Drift Lords series for Wild Rose Press. These stories are romantic adventures with scifi/fantasy elements based on Norse mythology.
But the mysteries feel like home. It’s great fun to write about Marla the hairdresser and her escapades in crime solving. The beauty salon is a great background setting for a series. I’ve learned about all sorts of things in the course of research and visited some interesting places.
When did you know that you wanted to write professionally and how did you take the leap to get into the business?
I bought a book called Structuring Your Novel when I was in grad school and followed the steps to complete a work. I wrote six books before I sold one. I met my first agent at a conference sponsored by Florida Romance Writers, so I strongly urge aspiring authors to join professional writers’ organizations. Networking is critically important in this business. Joining a critique group made a big difference in my writing.
Can you tell me a little bit about your book and what inspired it?
Hanging By A Hair was inspired by personal experiences with neighbors and homeowners associations. Does anyone really like their HOA? But the story also stemmed naturally from the progression in Marla and Dalton’s relationship. They’re recently married and moved into a new house. Their first homeowners’ meeting doesn’t go quite as Marla had hoped when her husband gets into an altercation with the association president, who’s later found dead.
What do you hope that readers take away with them after reading your book?
It doesn’t pay to worry about the future. Enjoy life now. And I hope they’ll want to read the rest of the books in my series!
I find it interesting to know what environment authors find most productive… Do you use a pen and paper or laptop? Quiet room at home or bustling café? Basically, what gets your creative juices flowing?
I work on a desktop Dell computer in a home office. I need a quiet environment to concentrate, and I like to be surrounded by books and mementoes of my career. For revisions, I sit on a couch and read through a hard copy, making notes with a pen and then doing corrections on the computer. Sometimes I’ll use Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium for voice recognition. I am fortunate to have a great home office.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I have to watch out for TSTL (“Too Stupid to Live”) scenes where the heroine goes into a dangerous place by herself when she should know better. My editor has made me aware of these transgressions. LOL, I’ve had my heroine called “too nosy” as well.
The best compliment is from readers who love my mystery series and have read all my books. Sometimes people think I’m a hairdresser like my sleuth, and that’s cool. It shows I’ve done my homework. And when a reader says she couldn’t put my book down, I am delighted.
What book is currently on your nightstand? And who are some of your favorite authors?
For historical mysteries, I follow series by Rhys Bowen, C.S. Harris, and Alyssa Maxwell. For romantic suspense, I recommend Terry Odell and Maggie Toussaint. Otherwise, my favorite genres are historical romance, humorous mystery, and sci/fi fantasy. I’m a genre fiction fan.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’ll watch my favorite TV shows, read, go out to dine, meet friends, take walks, or go shopping.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Never give up, never surrender. Be professional, courteous, and persistent. Don’t take shortcuts. Learn the craft and the business aspects of writing in equal parts. Make a commitment to the career. Be active in your professional writing organizations.
What can we expect from you next?
Peril by Ponytail is book 12 in the Bad Hair Day series. This is the direct result of a research trip I took to Arizona. It was an amazing experience, and I had a great time writing this story.
Do any animals share your life? Please tell us about them.
We used to have an adorable cream-colored poodle who is no longer with us. Since my husband is retired and we can travel when we want, we prefer now to be pet-free.
And now for a little bit of fun 🙂 This or That?
Coffee or Tea? Both. I like coffee in the morning and green tea in the afternoon.
Sweet or Salty? Salty.
Beach or Lake? Beach.
Winter or Summer? Summer.
Cats or Dogs? Dogs.
Zombies or Vampires? Neither. I’d rather read a humorous story about a genie, witch, angel, or other mythical figure. (Yay for Witches!!)
Country or City? Suburbs near a city.
Shower or Bath? Shower.
Morning or Evening? Morning. The early bird gets the worm. I’m up by 5 am most mornings. That means I retire early in the evening, too. You won’t find me at night owl sessions.
M&Ms or Skittles? M&Ms.
Trains or Planes? Planes, unless I’m in Europe. We don’t have good trains in this country.
Comedy or Drama? Comedy. And a happy ending.
Thanks for having me here!
Title: Hanging By A Hair
Series: Bad Hair Day Mysteries #11
Author: Nancy J. Cohen
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: April 18th 2014
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, E-book
Find it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon| BN | The Book Depository
Marla’s joyous move to a new house with her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, is marred by their next-door neighbor who erects an illegal fence between their properties. When Dalton reminds the man of the local permitting laws, tempers flare—and worse, the neighbor is found dead the following day. Dismayed when Dalton is removed from the case due to a conflict of interest, Marla decides it’s up to her to find the killer. Can the intrepid hairstylist untangle the clues and pin down the culprit before he strikes again?
Nancy J. Cohen writes the humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series featuring hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several of these titles have made the IMBA bestseller list. Nancy is also the author of Writing the Cozy Mystery, a valuable instructional guide for writers on how to write a winning whodunit. Her imaginative romances have proven popular with fans as well. Her titles in this genre have won the HOLT Medallion and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews. 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. Currently, she is serving as President of Florida Chapter Mystery Writers of America. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys reading, fine dining, cruising and outlet shopping.
- Hanging by a Hair Tee Shirt
- Signed Print Copy of Shear Murder