Monday, July 21, 2008

Interview with Nancy Hunter, author of A TASTE OF LIBERTY

Congrats to Nancy Hunter, whose debut novel, Taste of Liberty, was just released a few days ago from Cerridwen Press! Nancy's a friend of mine (as opposed to 'a friend of ours,' because she's not, you know, made, unless she is and I'm not aware. Not that I would be. Anyway....), and I'm very excited to have her on my blog today.

She's giving away a copy of her new book to one lucky commenter. You can read an excerpt here if you like, but don't forget to come back and read the interview. We worked really hard on it. And when I say, "we," I mean Nancy.

Q. What's the most surprising/thrilling thing about being a debut author?

Nancy: As soon as I got my website up and running and began posting excerpts of the book, I started getting wonderful responses from people who read them. It’s a wonderful feeling to have readers fall in love with the characters you’ve developed and nurtured and grown to love.

Have you always had an interest in the American Revolution and its era? What made you choose this period?

I’m a bit of a history geek (seriously, it would take a 12-step program to wean me off the History channel), and I did have a great American History teacher in high school, so I was drawn to research the Revolution. But I also wanted to learn more about our foremothers – those incredibly strong, brave, resourceful women who helped settle the frontier and who, in the absence of the men, e.g, in times of war, single-handedly ran the homesteads and protected the land, with guns when necessary.

Does your anthropology background play a helpful role in your fiction writing?

Anthropology is a research- and writing-heavy field, so in that sense it helps tremendously. And because anthropologists thrive on uncovering the details of human culture on familial and societal levels, my mind is always returning to the whys and hows of my characters’ lives, which allows me to write about them in a more in-depth way. But at some point I have to force myself away from the research and just start writing, because I love the minutia so much, I could spend years reading about the time periods and never getting around to writing about them.

How many rescued cats do you currently serve? Care to share any funny or touching stories with readers?

Oh, ‘how many’ is a rather personal question. Will we also be discussing my age and weight? OK, I’ll admit that we currently have six cats, all ‘hand rescued’ by us from the nearby woods, or in the latest case, during a beach vacation. We do, indeed, live to serve these critters, and they are all family members (really furry, demanding family members). My daughter insists that we spoil them much more than we ever did her.

We had a tough year in 2007 when two of our cats died. One was a rescue cat who had Feline HIV. His demise was very sad, but not unexpected. Four months later, our very healthy, almost kitten-like Siamese (the only cat we ever actually purchased!) was diagnosed with asthma, and despite heroic measures, expensive pet hospital stays, and daily medication, died three short weeks later. Misser (pronounced ‘mee-sah') was as much like a sibling to my daughter as a pet can be, and he died exactly one week before her high school graduation.

If you could inhabit the life of any of your characters, enter their world and deal with it as that person, which one would you choose?

Well, if I had to go back to the rough-and-tumble frontier world in Taste of Liberty, I’d want to be Liberty’s Aunt Caroline. She’s an independent woman, a gunsmith, and a crack shot. She kicks frontier butt and takes names!

Conversely, which of your characters would you most like to bring to life in our world (as a friend or a little bit more ;-)?

I think most (female) authors would like to meet their heroes, and I’m no different, so I’d say Sebastian. Only as a friend, of course, as I’m happily married to my own real-life hero, although Sebastian is tall, dark and sexy, and has that British accent going for him.

What's the weirdest tidbit of research you've ever incorporated into a book?

So much research doesn’t make it into the books, but when researching folk medicine for TOL (she trains to be the Ocanneechi’s medicine woman), I learned that tobacco leaves can be wrapped around wounds to help draw out infection. Good to know if you ever take a bullet while traipsing through tobacco fields.

A tidbit of research that didn’t make it into the book is related to my surname (my real name – Yeager). Hessian soldiers were often called ‘jaegers’ after the jaeger rifles they used that had been brought to the Colonies by Hession gunsmiths. So when a lot of Hessian soldiers settled in the Susquehanna Valley in PA (from whence I hail), they assumed Jaeger, and it’s various spellings, such as Yeager, as a surname. To this day there are a lot of Yeagers in that neck of the woods.

What's your earliest memory?

I remember standing at the picture window in my childhood home, watching my older siblings play outside. I was too small to join them. Perhaps that’s why I’ve become such an observer, as most writers are. My family can only blame themselves for what’s become of me.

Do you have any phobias?

Besides my real, honest-to-God phobia of snakes, I have a few quirky, charming personality traits that others might consider irrational fears. One is that I don’t like to sleep with open doors (bedroom, closet, etc.) in my room. No scary person (or snake) has ever jumped out at me through an open door during the night, so I can’t explain it. I just know I hate it. Unfortunately, the previously mentioned furry family members have the exact opposite fear – that of closed doors. Guess who wins that battle? (hint: It’s not the one who has to get up in the morning for work and therefore must do whatever is necessary to stop the frenzied meowing outside closed doors.)

My husband hates when people use the word 'barometer' to mean 'measure.' Which word usage faux pas drives you berserkest?

My husband gets tired of hearing me rant about this, so I’m glad I can share with someone else! I hate it when people use the word ‘literally’ when in fact they’re speaking figuratively. The worst offense I witnessed was from an author (yikes!) on Book TV. Yes, in addition to being a history geek, I’m also a C-Span geek. Anyway, this non-fiction author was recounting her role in a company that was caught up in one of the major corporate scandals of recent years. She mentioned an incident that “literally scared me to death." Hmm. Really? Either she was speaking figuratively, or she’s going to be a character in one of my upcoming paranormal books.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

Ohhh, I’d go to a wonderful old bookstore, the kind with multiple floors and a balcony overlooking the reading area, and ladders to reach the upper shelves. I’d peruse shelves, read books, and drink unlimited free lattes, which would magically cause no caffeine-induced jitters. Then my husband would pick me up and would load my stacks of purchased books into the trunk, saying nary a word about the enormous height of my to-be-read pile. We’d go out for a lovely meal with wonderful wine, then would go home to a sparkling house because the cats had finally learned to clean. Please, can I have this day? Please, please, please?

If you could write in a totally different genre than your current one, which would you choose?

I already write in multiple genres. In addition to Historical Romance, I write Urban Fantasy and Women’s Fiction. I wish I could tackle murder mysteries, but I can’t get the past the plotting stage with them. So I compromise by throwing in a murderer here and there in my other genres.

What are you working on now, and what new releases can we expect to see from you down the road?

Taking the second question first, I have another Historical Paranormal coming out sometime in the next year (don’t you love the specificity of the publishing world?). It’s called Playing to Lose, and it’s a fun romp in post-Regency England with a beautiful lady, a sexy earl, and a deranged serial killer (excerpts are on my website!).

My current work-in-progress, which I’m polishing to a beautiful, lustrous shine, is an Urban Fantasy set in San Francisco, with the working title Beneath this Cape. This book has a kick-ass heroine, a sexy man, and a serial killer. Hmm…I’m sensing a theme here…

If you could tell a stranger just one thing about TASTE OF LIBERTY (other than what it's about--no cheating by quoting synopses or back cover blurbs), what would it be?

If you’re anxious to read a great love story with a dramatic historical backdrop and a deliciously evil villain, Taste of Liberty is the book for you!


Leave a comment, ask Nancy a burning question, or tell us which historical period you think is vastly underserved in today's fiction, down there in the comments before 5PM eastern time on Thursday.

***I recommend against putting your e-mail in the comments, since that brings on spam (not from me, from the Bad Guys). HOWEVER, if you don't leave a way for me to find you, you must stay subscribed to the comments or come back to the blog to see if you won.***

Good luck!

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Great interview! Thanks!

I am a Civil War person. The whole brother against brother thing just fascinates me.

Thanks again!

Posted by: Blogger Katie at 7/21/2008 7:52 PM

I went and read the first chapter and the book sounds like a great read. I really love historical romances but I don't think I would ever be able to write an accurate one. :)


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 7/21/2008 10:22 PM

Rock on to a CP author! The book sounds really good! I'm going to get it this weekend for my reader. And I'm on a book buying moratorium, dang it!

I'm with Katie. The Civil War fascinates me.

Posted by: Blogger Tarot By Arwen at 7/22/2008 12:19 AM

Congratulations on your recent release, Nancy. It sounds great.

I love the World War II era, which some might argue is too recent to be called historical. There aren't many books set in this period, and I wish there were more.

Posted by: Blogger Shelley Munro at 7/22/2008 12:56 AM

loved read in the interview.
I'm glad you rescued all those kitty's I rescue the ones that come my way.

I think any old war time are good for books but don't see to many of them.

Posted by: Blogger Cherie K at 7/22/2008 1:39 AM

Great interview, Nancy! When you're done with your urban fantasy, what historical period are you going to tackle next?

Posted by: Blogger Heather Redmond at 7/22/2008 11:23 AM

Enjoyed the interview and loved being introduced to another new author for me. Congrats on your latest release, now I'm off to visit your website.

Posted by: Blogger tetewa at 7/22/2008 2:20 PM

Hi everyone! I'm glad you checked out the excerpts and like the American Revolution setting.

I think we might see more war-time romances, especially set in WWII, since the success of Atonement. I also loved the book (and movie!) The English Patient, and Cold Mountain. (Who can go wrong with Jude Law:-)?)


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 7/22/2008 6:37 PM

I am definitely a Revolution War fan or the Wild West. I feel that both those time periods offer a lot of different venues to have stories told.

I will say your book sounns quite awesome.

Posted by: Blogger Chesh at 7/23/2008 11:03 PM

Congrats to Jamie, who won a copy of TASTE OF LIBERTY! Jamie, please send an e-mail to jeri AT jerismithready DOT com.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 7/25/2008 1:34 PM

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