Today I’m chatting with Nancy Mehl about the books that have influenced her life, her latest female lead, and the scenes she finds most difficult to write! Be sure to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a copy of her Fatal Frost, the first in Nancy’s Defenders of Justice series.
I grew up in…Wichita, Kansas. Lived there all my life except for a couple of years in Arizona. A little over three years ago, we moved to Missouri to be near our son, his wife, and our grandson. Now we’re enjoying a new addition! Bennett Bryson Mehl was born in September. We’re over the moon!
I was inspired to write my first published novel by…a desire to write a book! LOL! Actually, I can’t really remember where the idea for the book came from. The book was published by a small press, but I was thrilled at the time. To hold a book in my hands, seeing my name on the front…it was an incredible feeling. It’s still a thrill, but nothing gets better than the very first book.
The books that have most influenced my life are…the Bible, Battle Field of the Mind by Joyce Meyer, Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer and The War is Over by Andrew Wommack. Of course, these are all nonfiction. Fictional books that impacted me include the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, all of the Agatha Christie books, and believe it or not, everything written by Charles Dickens. I read his books when I was young and loved them. He was a master at creating deep characters. I still feel a strong desire to explore and develop my characters, and I think it originally came from reading Dickens.
My biggest challenge when writing is…balancing character development against keeping my suspense plot moving. It’s a tough balancing act.
One of my favourite authors is… Irene Hannon. Why? She knows how to handle the suspense element in her books, yet she never sacrifices quality writing.
If I wasn’t a writer, I would be…working in social services. That’s what I was doing when I began writing. I love helping people.
The superhero talent I would love to have is…speed. Like the Flash. I’d love to mess with people who are up to no good. For example, if someone was holding up a business, I’d run in, take the bullets out of the bad guy’s gun (have to leave the gun there for evidence!), tie him up, and call the police. No one could see me, but suddenly everything would have changed. People would be safe, and the bad guy would go to jail. Or…find a child being bullied, run in, pants the tormenter, and run away. Instant justice! My mind just starts buzzing with ideas – the things I could do. It would be awesome!
Is this twisted? LOL!
Mercy Brennan followed in her father’s footsteps in a law enforcement career, but she has no interest in any other connection to him. A U.S. Marshal in St. Louis, Missouri, she’s assigned to a joint task force with the St. Louis PD that puts her back into contact with her father and in the sights of St. Louis’s most powerful gang.
When the gang has reason to believe Mercy has possession of some highly sensitive and incriminating information, her boss assigns Mark St. Laurent–a Deputy U.S. Marshal and Mercy’s ex-boyfriend–to get her out of town until they can guarantee her safety.
Initially unaware of the danger she’s in and uncomfortable working with Mark, Mercy’s frustration escalates when she discovers the extent her boss and Mark have been keeping her in the dark. It isn’t until a freak ice storm hits, stranding them at a remote location and out of contact with the district office, that the full severity of their situation becomes clear. As the storm worsens, the forces of nature combine with a deadly enemy closing in to put their lives at imminent risk. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive–if help is even coming at all?
My latest novel can be described by these 5 adjectives…suspenseful, thoughtful, puzzling, emotional, and….really, really cold? LOL!
My main character is…Mercy Brennan. She’s a deputy U.S. Marshal with a shattered past. Some of her co-workers call her “No Mercy” Brennan. Dealing with a father who deserted her when she was young, and a mentally ill mother, she has built walls around herself so she won’t get hurt again. She’s good at her job and doesn’t accept weakness in herself or anyone else. As the story progresses, she has to deal with her past when she’s thrown into danger that threatens to end her life and the life of a man she has to finally admit she loves.
My main characters resemble…Caterina Scorsone and Brett Tucker. Catarina has been in quite a few things. She stars on Grey’s Anatomy, a show I don’t watch, but I really like her look. Beautiful – but not perfect. And Brett Tucker, who appeared in McLeod’s Daughters…well, he’s just a hunk!
A previously unknown fact about this novel is…that it is really different for me. It’s written in third person instead of first person, and there aren’t any Mennonites to be found anywhere! (Well, unless some of the Marshals are Mennonite. I didn’t ask them. LOL!)
My story’s spiritual theme is…God can heal any hurt. Although people may fail us, He never will.
While writing this novel I learned…my passion for law enforcement was overwhelming my plot. This has never happened to me before, but my desire to defend law enforcement became first place and my plot suffered for it. Thankfully, I have an incredible editor who gently pointed out what I’d done. It was a huge learning experience. In the end, I believe my passion is evident, but now it is part of the plot. “Showing” the struggle endured by LEOs in this country was much better than “telling”
The title was chosen by…my publisher. I give them suggestions, but in the end, they chose. FATAL FROST may have been my idea, but I can’t remember now. No matter who chose, it I love it!
As an author, the hardest scenes for me to write are… Love scenes! Why? I have no idea. Since I enjoy character development, it should be easier for me, but it isn’t. I just want to get on with the story!
The story I’m currently working on is…still cooking in my brain. The idea I had for the third book in this series has too many similarities to the first two. So…I’m rethinking. I actually love coming up with new ideas!
You may not know this about me, but I…hate lima beans and really like liver and onions? I don’t have a good answer. I’m kind of an open book. Most people who know me probably know more about me than they want to. Nothing hidden here. Hope I don’t lose readers over the liver and onions thing. Probably should have kept that to myself. Hmmmm.
If I could be a character in any novel, I would want to be…Sherlock Holmes? (But female. LOL!) Maybe Miss Marple would be better. I’d love to be so smart I could see through people, solve mysteries, and astound everyone with my ability to put clues together and bring criminals to justice. That would be really cool!