Interview: Nina Mansfield

Please welcome Nina Mansfield, author of Swimming Alone and Fake ID: Beyond Recognition.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
My perfect day would include: a relaxing morning cup of coffee; an early morning yoga class followed by several hours of writing; a lovely meal with my family; seeing some really good theater; and curling up with a good book at night.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression, or meal?
I wear a lot of black, so I guess that would be my signature. Occasionally I accessoriswimmingaloneze with some red lip stick.

Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?
Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd; Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer and Roald Dahl’s “Lamb to the Slaughter.”

Do you listen to music when you write?
No! I need total silence or I start to lose my mind. I really can’t stand background noise.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Swimming Alone would be a minty milk chocolate with a few hazelnuts sprinkled in. It’s fresh and fun, but has some crunch.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
After my first year teaching high school, I wanted to write a story even the most reluctant teen reader would enjoy. And I’d always planned to write a mystery novel, because they are my favorite thing to read. Summers at the beach and my morbid interest in serial killers inspired me as well.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Often my characters feel like people are keeping things from them—which is usually the case—and this makes them go a bit batty!

Tell us about your main character.
Cathy Banks is a snarky fifteen-year-old with a slightly over-active imagination. She’s a vegan (except for ice cream), and prone to hopeless crushes. When her new friend Lauren disappears, she naturally fears the worst, and will do anything to find out the truth.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Oooo… I would have to say: Nancy Drew; Chris Parker from Adventures in Babysitting; and Rosalind from Twelfth Night (because of the unrequited love.)

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Lois Duncan, Gillian Flynn, Umberto Eco, PD James, Agatha Christie, and Raymond Chandler.

What’s next for you?
My graphic novel Fake ID: Beyond Recognition, a girl-power adventure, illustrated by the amazing Leyla Akdogan, will be out from Plume Snake in late 2016. I am also currently revising a YA Paranormal Thriller, which like Swimming Alone, has a seaside setting.


Nina Mansfield is a Connecticut based writer. Her debut novel, Swimming Alone a YA mystery, was published by Fire & Ice YA in 2015. Nina has written numerous plays, which have been published and produced throughout United States and internationally. Her graphic novel Fake ID: Beyond Recognition, illustrated by Leyla Akdogan, will be out with Plume Snake in 2016. Nina’s short mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Mysterical-E. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, The Short Mystery Fiction Society and the Dramatists Guild.

Fire & Ice:

10 thoughts on “Interview: Nina Mansfield”

  1. Welcome, Nina! Swimming Alone sounds intriguing–I like that your MC is vegan except for ice cream 🙂 Great interview!


  2. Congrats on your debut! And good on you for your goal of turning reluctant teen readers into readers. Looking forward to checking out your stories.


  3. Another YA mystery author!!! Welcome my fellow teammate. Funny, but I am actually reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd right now. I can’t wait to see how it ends.


  4. Mary- I would imagine the conversation would be very interesting! But what would I cook? 🙂
    Kate- Thank you! The times I have gone vegan for a short period of time, ice cream was always the hardest to give up. (And cheese.)
    Sue- Thank you! I hope you do check them out!
    Kimberly- It’s always great to connect with fellow YA mystery authors!
    Keenan- Thank you! It really is so important, isn’t it!
    Sam- Thank you, I hope you enjoy it!
    Peg- It was a pleasure to visit!


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