Interview with Nancy Moore, author of The Vicar of Wrynbury
Nancy Moore is originally from Northeastern Missouri and graduated from Truman State University with a degree in mass communication. She's worked in publishing, marketing, journalism, and in the non-profit field. She's dabbled with writing since childhood, winning a few awards for creative writing in her youth. It wasn't until later in life that her hobby developed into a serious pursuit. She is an unabashed Anglophile who lovesHarry Potter, Doctor Who, and Sherlock as well as any historical drama series to come out of the U.K. Nancy loves reading historical dramas, horror, biography, and non-fiction historical. She currently lives in St. Louis with "the greatest guy ever," her cat, and dog.
Her debut historical romance, The Vicar of Wrynbury, is set in the late Edwardian era, and was published by Vagabondage Romance in May of 2014.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I dabbled even before I could really write very well. I would draw pictures and make storybooks when I was really little. I did various stories as I grew. In high school, I got third place in a creative writing competition through a university and it really advanced my daydreams of writing as a profession.
Why do you write?
Because I have movies playing in my head. There are people in there, living stories and doing these great scenes that need to get out and on to paper. I’ve found that escaping into those story lands has been a great fantasy life for me. I can get away from real life, but also be creating something tangible too.
What do you think makes a good story?
A good story is one that you never want to end and characters that you want to have contact with forever. My favorite stories are ones I go back and visit, especially in times of stress or unhappiness, and they comfort and soothe me like an old friend or warm, snuggly blanket.
What's your favorite genre to read?
I love a good ghost story! A novel about a creepy house and mysterious haunting is such a treat that is rather hard to find. I also love biographies of the golden age of Hollywood stars. Usually their lives are very different than what was projected on screen or perpetuated by the big studios of the day.
Who is your favorite author or poet?
I discovered Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind when I was in junior high and it is still my favorite. Others include: Sarah Waters, Martha Grimes, Christopher Moore, and Audrey Niffenegger.
What books or stories have most influenced you the most as a writer?
Sarah Waters's Affinity influenced me a lot for its pacing and style. The delicate mix of formal construction and sensuous context was really well crafted. I remember going through the last pages and feeling like I was on the fast downhill of a roller coaster.
What books or stories have most influenced you as a person?
In college I had to read The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Kundera and was just amazed at how someone had put down in words a lot of the things I was struggling to understand as a young adult.
Where/how do you find the most inspiration?
I’ve got a vivid imagination that has a bizarre trigger. A movie or a picture can start the ball rolling for me and begin a whole story arc.
What does your family think of your writing?
My mother is my biggest cheerleader. She is an avid reader, and when I nervously let her read the first draft of my story she said to me, “This is as good as any book I’ve ever read. And I’ve read a LOT of books!”
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Very unstructured. My first draft of my novel took a year and that was with working on it most days. But, I run hot and cold about writing. I’ll work on it for several days then not touch it for a week or a month or more. I won’t say that this is the best way to write, it’s just how it has worked for me in trying to make it a part of my busy life.
Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?
When I’m stuck I walk away. If I start cooking or ironing or doing anything that allows my mind to wander, I can usually work out a solution.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I’ve realized creativity is like a cat. It can’t be summoned on demand. You just have to leave the door open and hope it wanders in on its own.
What is unique about the Edwardian and WWI era that made you place this story at that time?
I’ve always said I was born too late. The era of 1910-1930 is my favorite in many ways. There were many changes going on very quickly, especially for women. The world was progressing at an amazing pace. A lot of very old-fashioned notions and practices fell to the wayside as the world came into the twentieth century. Yet there is still this aura of romance, class, and formality.
In what ways are the character of Anne and you alike?
Anne is a lot like me, and I don’t know if anyone would believe me when I say that I’d never written a female character like that before. We both have had lives that didn’t turn out how we had expected and felt the need to nurture and cultivate positive relationships, not always with the best results. We both, also, went through changes when forced to be out on our own and learn from our struggles, which only made us stronger. The end of the novel reflected a lot of the change in my own life and my evolving views of love, romance, and lasting relationships.
What are your current projects?
I have started a modern day ghost story and would like to see how I am able to do with this genre.
What are you planning for future projects?
I have another turn of the century drama-romance started but sitting on the shelf. It would be a tale taking place in St. Louis at the turn of the century and centering around another woman going through some difficult life changes that affect her views on the people around her and herself.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
It takes nothing to put it on paper. Write like no one will ever see it. Write for yourself and you may end up creating something everyone appreciates.
Nancy's debut historical romance, The Vicar of Wrynbury, is set in the late Edwardian era, and was published by Vagabondage Romance in May of 2014, and is available in print and ebook from our website or from your favorite online bookstore.
As the Edwardian era fades into WWI, Cyril Dunstan, a man with a mysterious past, accepts the post as vicar in a small country town of Wrynbury. His benefactor and only ally, Anne Gladwyn, repeatedly attempts to assist the reticent and surly vicar with the task of reviving the dilapidated village church against all odds. Anne hopes to find some purpose to her dull and unsatisfying life as well as solve the mystery of the vicar’s history and demeanor. Their journals and accounts show the tenuous beginnings of a partnership that turns into a friendship then blossoms into a passionate emotional tie that could destroy all they have worked for. In a time when religious and social constructs would never allow the two to satisfy their desires, they must decide what to sacrifice in order to have happiness during the tumultuous early days of the 20th Century.