Thursday, September 16, 2010

Interview with Author Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

© Marta Stephens 2010 all rights reserved

NANCY TAYLOR ROSENBERG spent 14 years in law enforcement, including affiliations with the Dallas Police Department, the New Mexico State Police, the Ventura Police, and the Ventura County Probation Department, where she was a superior court investigator.  Her first novel, Mitigating Circumstances, quickly became a New York Times bestseller, as have Rosenberg’s subsequent novels, including Interest of Justice, First Offense, and Buried Evidence.

Q. Nancy, please tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey.

A. Writing is easy for me but shaping stories into novels and pleasing editors is extremely difficult. They have far more control over the content of your work than they should have, I believe, but don’t tell anyone I said that. All I ever wanted to be was a writer. All writers are first readers, and I read all the books in my branch of the library by the age of thirteen. I’m an introspective person and have no trouble spending time alone. I just moved back to California and there’s just way too much sunshine for me. I like cloudy, dark days. My imagination is more fertile on overcast days.

Q. Why My Lost Daughter? What prompted you to write it and what do you hope your readers will get out of it?

A. I have aspired to write this book since the onset of my career. I hope my readers will gain insight into the dark side of the mental health industry. Everything revolves around greed. If your insurance runs out, you’re instantly sane.

Q. Tell us a bit about your protagonist, and how she came about.

A. Lily was the protagonist in my first novel, MITIGATING CIRCUMTANCES, which was a New York Times Bestseller. I like to think I’m just like her. You know, smart, courageous, beautiful. I suspect I’m only like Lily in fiction.

Q. Please share with our readers a little about the plot, the characters, the setting, of your novel.

A. Lily has finally found a great guy – handsome, brilliant, and sensitive. She has an off and on relationship with her daughter for reasons she’ll never understand. Shana is now in her last year of law school and has become even more distanced from her mother. The money Lily gives her never seems to be never enough. When Lily catches her on the phone sobbing, she knows something is terribly wrong. And when she sees Shana in person, she becomes convinced the girl is having a nervous breakdown. I’m sure you see where this is going from what I told you earlier. Lily does the worst thing possible and takes her to a nearby mental hospital without her consent.

Q. Please describe the greatest challenge you faced in writing this book, why it was difficult, and how you resolved it.

A. Well, I have a bad back and neck and was in a huge amount of pain. I resolved it by taking pain medication, but then it dulled my mind, so let’s just sat I worked through the pain. (What I’m really saying is I suffered and big time.) Now I have a spinal stimulator implanted in my back and a battery in my hip. It helps my back but not my neck. It is cool, though, to be partially a machine.

Q. How much and/or what kind of research went into writing this book?

A. Not much as I knew my characters and based the story around real events. It was just hard to live through all that again.

Q. What do you find the most difficult part of writing in general and what do you do to overcome it?

A. I love to write and I guess I’m a natural storyteller. I despise timelines and seldom get them right. My editors figure it out and make me fix them, which I begrudgingly do. Hey, it’s fiction. Why does a reader have to know what the timeline is? I never read those things.

Q. How do you balance your time to make time for writing?

A. It’s how I make my living, so there’s nothing to talk about. There’s a lot of pressure to bring a book in on time, but somehow I always make it. When you really look at life, there’s plenty of time for everything. People fill their lives with a lot of meaningless nonsense.

Q. What impact would you say completing My Lost Daughter has had on you personally and on your writing?

A. Well, it’s my 13th novel so that has to count for something. Thrillers are hard to write. They’re very intricate and challenging. Boy do I feel good when I finish a book.

Q. Who has been the greatest influence on you with respect to encouraging you to write and become a published author?

A. An amazing man named Leonardo Bercovicci. He taught writing at UCLA. When everyone else in the class ridiculed me, he always believed in me.

Q. With respect to your writing, please give us some insight into your writing process. In other words, did you outline the chapters? Did you think about the plot for a while before writing it? What steps did you take before you wrote the first sentence?

A. I just write. I hate outlines and consider them a waste of time. Most writers never write what they put in their outline. Later, as the book starts to take shape, you can begin to organize it.

Q. What are you working on now? What's next?

A. My next book is called THE HEALING and its very different from my thrillers.

Q. Any words of wisdom and advice to aspiring writers?

A. Go to my website and find the section entitled FIGHT TO WRITE. It’s an hour long speech I gave at a writer’s conference. If I was just starting out, I’d think it was a goldmine. Be sure and have a pen and paper handy.


Marta Stephens said...

“There’s a lot of pressure to bring a book in on time, but somehow I always make it. When you really look at life, there’s plenty of time for everything. People fill their lives with a lot of meaningless nonsense.”

So very true! All the best with “My Lost Daughter” and this tour.

Kim Smith said...

Very cool post. Thanks for being here Nancy. I like that point you made about all you ever wanted to be was a writer. If that was all we had to do to get a book out into the hands of readers now, life would be wonderfuL!!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I've always admired your writing and enjoyed your books. Use to live in Ventura county and that's what started me following your career. Enjoyed the interview.

Marilyn Meredith

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Nancy, your book's premise is intriguing, and I'm going to check it out. Thanks for being here with us today on MB4, and best of luck with your next endeavor!