Please welcome Nancy Cole Silverman, author of Shadow of Doubt.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Okay, this is fantasy, right? So calories wouldn’t count, there’d be peace on earth, my family and friends would be happy and healthy and there’d be money in the bank. Beyond that, I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve traveled and done enough in my life to say I enjoy a day of writing, particularly when I I’m working on a project where I’ve had that “ah-ha” moment and the end is within sight. It’s like giving birth, an unnatural high. I want to get up and run around the block, drink wine and celebrate. You can’t have too many of those.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
I like to end most of my correspondence with Stay Tuned. Perhaps this is because I was in radio for so many years, but it works for me and keeps the conversation going. As for a favorite color, it’s red. I love the excitement of the color. My favorite fragrance? Fresh sea air, or on the occasional morning when I’m able, the smell of the barn when I get there first thing as the sun rises and the horses are being fed. The hay, the warm sunlight, the horses. It doesn’t get better for me than this. My favorite meal? Anything with friends and family. Food goes better with love.
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
I’m going to break the rule here and say my husband Bruce. He’s a former creative director (think: Mad Man) very bright and creative. We weren’t married until I was well into my forties and he has been both supportive financially and creatively. Without him, I couldn’t be writing today.
As for the other two, they were both teachers. The first was my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Evans. She believed in me when I was a skinny little kid with big ideas and a not very good student. But somehow she taught me to believe in myself and encouraged me with my writing. She always seemed to remember me when we passed the hallway at school and she’d ask about my stories and tell me to never give up.
The second was a journalism instructor I had at Arizona State back in the early seventies. His name was Max Jennings, a retired reporter for the Associated Press and longtime editor for the Mesa Tribune. He was a fantastic teacher and much of what I learned about journalism and writing I owe to him.
Do you listen to music when you write?
While writing I like to listen to jazz or classical music. Of course it depends upon what I’m writing. I believe music is shorthand for the sole and a very necessary part of the process.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
That’s easy. It’d be a chocolate liquor served warm over vanilla ice cream. Why? Because it’d be relaxing and leave a little after taste. The way I hope my reader feels after putting my book down.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Most of my stories are inspired by actual news events. Several years ago an agent was murdered as she drove home from an awards show. I couldn’t shake the story and kept wondering who would do such a thing and why? Shadow of Doubt is one of those stories torn from the headlines, improvised and rewritten so that it in no way resembles the actual event.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
I love Stephen King. I enjoy the way he weaves a story with unusual characters that leave the reader wondering about the reality of it all. Throughout my career in radio I was continually surprised by the different personalities that I would meet in the course of a day. There was no accounting for who would come into the station or what the story would be that day. For that reason I like to include characters that possess unusual powers or beliefs. Most of my stories, particularly my short stories, touch on the idea that people possess the ability to connect with the here and now and perhaps the past and beyond in many different ways. It’s the unusual we’re drawn to; that that leaves us scratching our heads and wondering, could that really happen?
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Carol Childs is a single, middle-aged mom/career woman in the midst of reinventing herself. The radio station where she works has offered her the opportunity to go from sales to her dream job in the news department. The only problem is, her whiz kid boss thinks anyone older than thirty-five is ancient and would just as soon banish her to doing traffic reports for the duration of their agreement. Determined not to fail, smart, clever and opposed to physical violence, Carol bring guts and charm to the page as she reinvents herself as KCHC’s new investigative reporter.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
She’d have the determination of Amelia Earhart, the spunk of Amy Adams and the slow burn of Annette Bening.
If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Michael Conley, he’s actually a neighbor but we’ve never met. Lee Child, Daniel Koontz, Steven King, John Grisham, Sandra Brown, Janet Evanovich.
Whoops, that’s seven but I could go on….
What’s next for you?
I’m continuing to work on the Carol Childs series. For the time being that keeps me busy, plus I also have a number of short stories I’m always working on. I consider them works in progress. I never know when one of them will evolve into something larger, perhaps my next series. We’ll see. Stay tuned.
I have to credit my 25 years in radio for helping me to develop an ear for storytelling. In 2001 I retired from news and copywriting to write fiction full time. Much of what I write is pulled from behind the headlines of actual events that were reported on from some Los Angeles busiest radio newsrooms where I spent the bulk of my career. In the last ten years I have written numerous short stories and novelettes some on which have won awards &/or been picked up for publication. Shadow of Doubt is the first in the Carol Childs Mystery series published by Henery Press.