Spotlight On...

Nancy Connally

by Gina Lee Nelson

This month let’s focus our spotlight on our delightful chapter secretary.

Nancy, why join NT?

Well, why not? It took me years to get up the courage. I was scared to be around real fiction writers. A friend in the writing industry pretty much insisted I join RWA or end our friendship LOL. And then one day I decided to take the plunge and find out which RWA chapters were in the area. I went into an NT meeting cold, not knowing anyone, and came out feeling welcomed by giving people who understood the craziness of writing.

Thanks so much for serving on the board. Why do you do it?

Ready to laugh? Jen FitzGerald can vouch for this. I volunteered to serve on the board as a way to get myself to meetings. And even though it's cliché to say this, I also volunteered because it's a way to give back. It's a way to say 'thank you' to all the people who volunteered to serve on the board and in committees before me and helped shape the chapter I enjoy.

Tell us, why writing?

Why writing? I've asked myself that many times through the years, even tried to get away from it, but it seems to follow me wherever I go.

I wrote stories from the time I was in junior high and took part in some UIL writing competitions. I was editor of my high school newspaper. I didn't know what to study when I started junior college, so I majored in journalism and helped start the newspaper at what was then Tarrant County Junior College South Campus. I finally left writing behind for a while and graduated from TCU with a degree in interior design. Years later. I was deep in volunteer efforts...and wound up writing part of a docent manual, pamphlets, information booklets, press releases, editing copy, writing ads, etc. I worked part time at a local newspaper, wrote a few pieces, and learned a lot when I was editing what others had written. And eventually I wound up working as a freelance writer with a magazine and writing western romance reviews for a website.

In 2001, I was introduced to fan fiction, and that's when my fiction writing surfaced again. The creator of the TV series encouraged fan fic and some of my stories were in a magazine published by a group the creator endorsed. Because of the fan fic feedback, I found out what appealed to the readers and I actually had a small loyal following. I finally quit the non-fiction freelance work about 2007, or so, and decided to devote my time to writing my own fiction.

What genre(s) do you write?

Two genres. 1880s historical romances that take place in North Central Texas and contemporary romances that take place in Northern New Mexico and North and Central Texas.

What's your writing schedule?

On a 'devoted to writing' day I can write from about 10:30 in the morning until about four in the afternoon. Understand that when I say "write" I am also getting up every 45 minutes to unload the washing machine, load the dryer, fold clothes, feed the cats, walk outside for a while and air my brain, and other activities designed to keep me from getting blood clots from sitting for too long. That said, there are those times when no buzzers or paws call for my attention and I realize I've been writing for several hours straight--and it feels like it's only been ten minutes. Those times are awesome. On other days, I usually have errands and appointments out of the way by about one and can write until about six.

What are the biggest challenges you overcome to write?

My biggest challenge is, beyond a doubt, ME. I convince myself I can't write. For example, even when a manuscript won first place in two contests, I found myself wondering if the contest had been low on entries and that's why my work won. Usually I like what I write, and I get good comments from my beta readers and critiquers. But I read what other writers in my genre have published, compare myself, and come up short. I know, I know, don't compare -- but that is my biggest challenge.

What's your WIP? How and when do you think you’ll be ready to submit?

I have two completed western historicals and three completed contemporary western historicals. But as far as 'in progress,' I'm editing my BIAY WIP, which is the third in the historical series. It's about a traditional ex-rancher who winds up with a woman who’s the architect for the opera house on which he's staking his financial future. Writing-wise, I'm working on a comic historical novella about a quirky group of people who, unlike everyone else in the West at that time, do not want the railroad to come to their town.

I'm submitting via two contests (four entries) right now. I've been interested in self-publishing for a long time; and I am 99% sure I'll pursue self-publishing because I find so many aspects of that process appealing. If I go with self-publishing, I'll upload the novella first and have the three single title historicals ready to upload. If I don't go with self-publishing, I'll be submitting in late summer when I plan to have the edits finished.

Finally, what book would we find on your bedside table?

I tend to read whatever suits my mood at the time, and I tend to read several books at the same time. Right now I'm reading "The Paris Wife," a category romance titled "Oklahoma Reunion," and am re-reading Anne Lamott's wonderful book "Bird by Bird." I tend to like any book that's so well written I can turn off my internal editor and enjoy reading.

Thanks, Nancy. We look forward to reading your stories one day very soon.


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