Writer’s Desk with Nancy Mehl
Nancy Mehl is the bestselling author of over 50 books. She’s won the Daphne Du Maurier Award, as well as an ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award and a Carol award. She was also a finalist for the prestigious Christy Award. Her short story, Chasing Shadows, was in the USA Today bestselling Summer of Suspense anthology.
More about Cold Threat
Twenty years ago, several people were murdered in Des Moines, and the only evidence left behind was a snowman ornament hanging ominously on a tree in the victims’ front lawns. With a suspect behind bars, the killings have come to an end–or so everyone thought. But now crimes with a similar MO are happening in a small Iowa town, and a local detective believes the killer is back and ready to strike again.
With little time left on the clock before they have another murder on their hands, private investigators River Ryland and Tony St. Clair must work alongside Tony’s detective father to find evidence that will uncover an evil that has survived far too long. As the danger mounts and the suspect closes in, it will take all they have to catch a killer–before he catches one of them.
Nancy Mehl delivers nail-biting suspense with . . .
“Plot twists you won’t see coming.”–Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author on Cold Pursuit
Enter to win one of three copies of Cold Threat.
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Q&A with Nancy Mehl
ARCF: Everyone always asks for an interesting fact, we’re going to flip the question. What is one boring fact about yourself?
NM: My son is a tremendous artist. So was my father. I can’t draw… at all.
ARCF: Where did you get the inspiration for Cold Threat?
NM: The books in this series are all set in the winter. That gave me the idea for a serial killer nicknamed “the Snowman”. The story came together after that.
ARCF: Do you have any habits or rituals as a writer?
NM: I always play music when I write. Strangely enough, it’s usually songs with lyrics. That doesn’t really bother me. In the winter, I love writing while there’s a fire in my fireplace. And I’m always more prolific when it’s snowing or raining. Not sure why.
ARCF: What habits would you encourage others to take up to be a more productive writer?
NM: Set aside a certain time during the day to write. Treat it just like a job where you have to show up at a certain time and you can’t leave until you’re done. Waiting for the “right time” never works.
ARCF: What do you snack on or drink while writing?
NM: I usually drink water or iced tea. Sometimes a caramel cappuccino. I don’t usually eat while I’m writing. Makes the keys on my laptop sticky!
ARCF: How do you overcome writer’s block?
NM: I hope no one gets irritated with me, but I’ve never had writer’s block. I do search for ideas sometimes, but it doesn’t usually take too long. I guess I have a big imagination!
ARCF: Are you an “edit-as-you-go” writer or do you wait until the very end before you do any editing?
NM: I try to edit a little as I go, but I like to do one big edit when the book is done.
ARCF: What would you say is the most common mistake new writers make?
NM: Two things keep writers from obtaining their goals. Their first mistake is to not understand that writing is a craft that must be learned. You wouldn’t want someone without a medical degree to operate on you. So, you shouldn’t attempt to write a book without the proper training.
The second mistake writers make is not understanding the market. Check out authors whose books are similar to what you want to write and find out who their agents/publishers are. Agents will be a lot more open to representing you if they believe you have a manuscript they can sell. Remember that once you have a relationship with a publisher, you can begin to move your proposals toward the stories of your heart. Creating relationships is vital to your success.
ARCF: What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
NM: Although it’s really simple, it helped me more than I can say. Another writer friend told me to “Never give up.” That advice kept me going. One caveat: We all need to search for God’s will in our lives. I truly believe there are people out there writing because they think it’s exciting. Sometimes, yes. But most of the time it’s hard work—just like any other job. The excitement can wear off quickly, but if you’re following God’s direction, you’ll have the determination to keep going no matter what.
ARCF: What Christian fiction book(s) are you currently reading?
NM: Actually, I’m reading one of my own books, Mind Games. This was the first book in my Kaely Quinn series. When working on a series, I push other books out of my head. I need to refresh myself with Kaely’s story so I can get the details straight for this new series.
ARCF: What is your favorite place on earth?
NM: Probably anywhere my family is. However, I do love the Lake of the Ozarks. So, my favorite place would probably be in a cabin on a lake…with my family!
ARCF: Cats or dogs?
NM: Both. I’ve had dogs and cats and loved each and every one.
ARCF: What is one thing you can’t live without?
NM: God. I know other people will say that, but I’m not being flippant. I’ve lived life with Him and without Him. I’ve learned that I need Him just to make it through each day. He also gives me hope for the future.
ARCF: What is the best song to blast when you need to be pumped up?
NM: I love Mandisa’s song, “Overcomer.” It is so encouraging and upbeat!
ARCF: If you could time travel to any point in history, when would it be, and who would you be hanging out with?
NM: Of course, I would want to spend time with Jesus. I have so many questions I’d like to ask. Outside of Jesus, I would want to go back to my childhood and make sure my brother learned earlier about God. I think his life could have been very different. I miss him.
ARCF: If you weren’t a writer, what job would you have?
NM: I used to work in social services. I loved that. But if I could pick anything, I think I’d want to rescue animals.
ARCF: Who is your dream co-author?
NM: Oh, my. There are so many. Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee. But I’ll have to pick the only co-author I’ve ever had my daughter-in-law, Shaen Layle (Mehl). I loved writing with her!
ARCF: What is coming up next for you?
NM: Following Cold Threat, the last book in my Ryland and St. Clair series, Cold Vengeance, will be released. I’m also currently working on a new series that will bring back a popular character—Kaely Quinn. Kaely will help an ex-cop turned writer, Erin Delaney, with research about the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. I’m really looking forward to this series!
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