Nov 16, 2013

Interview with Nancy Segovia

Who am I?
Nancy Segovia is many things to many people. To her husband she is friend and prize winning cook. To her five daughters she is mom a sometimes inspiration and an all the time pain in the neck. To her grandchildren she is "Totally awesome!" -their words, not hers. And, to her students she is a hard task master who encourages them to excel and browbeats them into mastering the concepts of proper paragraph construction.

Nancy, herself, returned to college at the tender, young age of 49 and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Art's Degree in Religion. She then continued on with her education and pursued and achieved two master's degrees - the first from Northwest Nazarene University is a Masters of Arts in Religion and the second from the University of Denver is a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing. She drew from this advanced education the skills and knowledge she used to write Shine: How To Walk the Talk which is scheduled was released in May, 2013.

Prior to returning to college, Nancy achieved publishing success in many areas with successful publishing credits in poetry, children's literature, short stories and full length novels. She has worked as a newspaper journalist, a managing magazine editor and currently teaches English Composition for several universities.

Of herself she says, " When not writing or teaching, I like to take online classes in a variety of areas including history, education, religion and philosophy. I also read and watch TV. Much to my shame, I really enjoy reality TV shows like "The Bachelor" and "Survivor."  When not doing any of those things, I play with my three dogs and five cats as I love animals. In the past, I have raised and cared for horses - quarter horses and Thoroughbreds - geese, chickens, fish, birds, roosters, hamsters and once a pot-bellied pig."

Nancy believes that creation and all its beauty, grandeur and diversity is a direct reflection of God's majesty and power. One of her favorite quotes reflects this philosophy. It is:

“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.”
John Calvin

Why write?
You might say I am driven to write, or you could say I am obsessed with writing, or you could just say it is the only logical result of a life spent reading books. Any or all them could be true. In other words, I don't really know. I just know, that I get an idea for a novel, a story, or a blog and it keeps me awake at night until I begin working on it. Then, like a child of my own, it wakes me in the middle of the night and I must get up and tend to it, or there will be no peace and certainly no sleep.

Writing process
My writing process is rather eclectic. I don't do character sketches or keep note cards, I don't ever, create an outline, and please don't tell my students that because I am always pushing the importance of outlines in every lesson I teach. What usually happens is I get a sentence stuck in my head, something that sounds to me like,  "Ooooo now that would be a great opening line for a novel." I roll that  sentence around for awhile while plots and characters start adding their two cents worth and before you know it, I have characters, a plot and a climax.

The whole writing process for me is like taking a road trip. I know where i am starting from and I know where I want to go, eventually, but I usually leave the "how am I going to get there" up in the air. This allows me to take a detour every once awhile and explore new ideas, sub-plots and characters. Some of my best writing has been done on one of these detours.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen to or talk to to your characters?
I absolutely talk to them. I not only talk to them, I become them. Let me tell you a story. I was writing the climax seen of my first novel. A killing blizzard had blown in and the heroine and her children were battling it as they tried to escape the maniac who wanted to kill the heroine. I wrote a fast-moving, action packed scene about the killer losing his grip on the mountain side and on his AK 157 rifle. As he slides down the mountain, the gun becomes jammed in a tree root, it's trigger locked open.

I finished the scene, and walked outside to pick up my girls from school, and became totally and completely confused by the weather.  It was a sunny June day in the Colorado Rockies, the aspens were quaking gently, the columbines were blooming and I stood there thinking, "Huh? Where's the snow? Where's the blizzard? What the heck happened?" I was so deeply immersed in my character's life and problems that I had transferred them from the pages of the story into my own daily life.

How did you decide how to publish your books?*
It's very simple: Write, write and then write some more, and when you are not writing, read  about writing, and never give up on yourself. If you can dream it, you can do it. However, don't let your ego get in the way. There is always a better word, a better phrase, a better sentence. Be willing to learn, be willing to accept advice and be willing to change for the better.
How did you decide how to publish your books?*
I published traditionally for quite a few years, but made the decision to self-publish my non-fiction work because there are so many advantages to doing it yourself. It is hard in some ways, and you have to be willing to do the extra work of promoting your work, but I love it. All of it, well, maybe not editing. I actually don't like that part very much at all.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?*
I’ve read science fiction since I was 12 years old, and because of that immersion into the projected worlds of the future, I can see a society where all books are created in electronic formats. I can also see a time where anyone who wants to publish something will have that ability. Hmmm….I think that last one has already happened. Don’t you?

What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My own personal search to become holy and perfected, and the realization that it not only was it impossible, but that giving up was unacceptable. This book describes that search and it is my hope it will inspire others to seek their own perfection and holiness.
How is Writing In Your Genre Different from Others?
Non-fiction is somewhat based on truth and fiction is somewhat based on fabrications.  I use the phrase "somewhat" because truth can be seen as relative, i.e. relative to your personal belief systems which are not necessarily the same as your neighbor's. However, as Shakespeare says in Hamlet, "...to thine own self be true." And, this in turn also causes me to call fiction somewhat based on fabrications as many writers pull plots, characters, dialogue, settings, etc. from their own experiences or perceptions of life.  Thus fiction is true to the imagination of the writer and his/her experiences and perceptions of life, and non-fiction is true for the writer for the same reasons but with the added dimension of a valued belief system.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Write, write and then write some more, and when you are not writing read about writing, and then write some more. Never give up on yourself or your dreams. If you can conceive it, then you can accomplish it. However, don’t let your ego get in the way. Be willing to learn, to take advice, to get help and critiques, and to start over as many times as necessary to get the job done correctly. Remember, there is always a better word, a better phrase, a better sentence, so don’t fall in love with your “babies” because sometimes they have to be sacrificed for the better good of the finished work.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I simply cannot listen to music while I am writing. I love, love, love music and I know many writers receive inspiration from listening to music while writing. I simply cannot do that because I get too distracted by it. My mind starts to drift away with each melody and I completely lose the train of thought I was riding/writing.

Also, when I am in the middle of writing a novel, it is like having a baby in the house. The novel calls to me at 3 a.m. demanding attention, demanding to be released from my thoughts and given a place of permanence on the written page (computer file - nowadays).

What authors, or books have influenced you?
Aldous Huxley, Anne McCaffrey and Frank Peretti, and a couple of writers who are fairly new to the publishing scene: Elizabeth Hunter and J.R. Rain.
What are you working on now:
A young adult fantasy novel titled: Dragon Tears