By: Loni Cameron
We’d like to welcome Nancy Thorne to the Member Spotlight. A wonky writer, Nancy has learned what to lead with when asked what her books are about. She has worked through her procrastination to write her latest novel, Victorian Town, about a time travelling teen. As her writing room calls to her, we look forward to what she has to say.
Tell Us About Yourself
When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
In the middle of grade school I didn’t think I was going to be an author, I thought I already was an author. Because I was shy, it wasn’t something I went around broadcasting, but knew it all the same. I loved everything about words and all the combinations that created the rhythm and tone of a sentence.
Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
Victorian Town is about a struggling teenager trying to come to terms with her life in an unstable family. When she gets dragged back in time to 1876 by a spirit in a tourist attraction, the ability to time-hop gives her the chance to solve a century-old murder and change her life. But in doing so, she risks altering the history and lives of everyone she loves in a disastrous way.
How do other people define you?
Hopefully it’s not true, but I used to imagine that my friends thought I was wonky for attempting to be a serious writer. As my short stories became published and then my novel, I let go of that particular thought. Now, I’m pretty sure they think I’m not quite as wonky.
All About Business
What is the funniest/most embarrassing/scariest story from one of your books signings or events?
During a recent book signing, a middle-aged woman came up to me and in a friendly manner asked what my book was about. The first thing I said was that it was written for Young Adults, but immediately realized by her expression that she didn’t recognize Young Adult as a genre/category. I knew she thought I was telling her she was too old to read my book. I didn’t even have the chance to explain that many adults love Young Adult books, or that she might love my novel. She immediately walked away. Since then, I have never started a conversation by mentioning the age category of my book.
Writing and Critique Groups and Professional Organizations
They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle (or how have you handled) negative criticism or a negative review?
Okay, I admit to having an immensely fragile ego, but I try to hide it as much as possible. I handle negative feedback by moping around the house for a day or two, but that’s all the time I give myself to cater to someone’s critical opinion or rejection. I then remind myself that I’m doing the best I possibly can, except for my habit of procrastinating, which I figure will continually challenge me.
What brought you to the WCYR?
Very early in my writing career I was searching for an editor for my short stories. The name MJ Moores came up in conversation and I got in touch with her. The collaboration with MJ as my short fiction editor and initial novel editor turned out to be a wonderful one and I’m very grateful for that. Also, even though I live in Whitby, the few times I participated in a seminar or workshop at the WCYR, I was met with kindness and a sense of the geniality of a writer’s “tribe” as Margaret Laurence would call it.
The Process of Writing
What is your favourite place to write?
My favourite place to write is in my writing room, which was basically a spare room when we moved in. The house started out as a model show home for the builder, and it came decorated with wallpaper on some of the walls. And even though the wallpaper of the spare room was basically a design of hundreds of books aligned along vintage shelves of a bookcase, it still took me a while to clue in that the universe was sending me a conspicuous message: “Get in here and get writing!”
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
I recently asked the acquisitions editor for my book, Victorian Town, for advice on my next novel. I had two completely different premises and plots picked out for two completely different books. I described each one of them to her and asked which one she thought I should go with. She told me to “Write the book that keeps you up at night.” I love that answer, and it made my decision an easy one.
When it comes to writing, are you an early bird, or a night owl?
As quirky as it might sound, I write my night scenes at night. It feels realistic to me to write a scene that occurs at night when it actually is dark outside. I can immerse myself into my character’s actions much easier than attempting to write, “It was a dark and stormy night” when rays of sunshine are forcing their way between the slats of the blinds. I like to write other scenes in the morning after I’ve had my cup of coffee. But there was one time I had an incredibly vivid dream, and I made it into a short story. When I woke up, all I could do was bound out of bed and write it all down before it slipped from my mind (as dreams are apt to do).
The World of Publishing
Do you have another book in the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
The book I have in the works is set in the early 1970s. It tells the story of two poor young women – one of them will do anything to pull the two of them out of poverty. But plans don’t go as planned, and their quest for riches takes them on a journey across Canada to the west coast, but not before one of them stares her mortality square in the face.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
I do have a website and weekly blog, and I’d love readers to check it out. I’d also love to hear from anyone who would like to communicate with me. www.nancythorne.com
With the WCYR, Nancy has found her writer’s tribe. Please check out her website and blog. When we reach out, the community, the tribe, grows.
Nancy Thorne is an award-winning author of fiction inspired by the romance and courage of youth. Born and raised in Toronto, she fostered a passion for creating stories in grade school but hid it much too well. Five years ago she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of telling them. Her debut novel, Victorian Town, a young adult paranormal romance, was released this year. She lives in Whitby with her husband, two sons, an energetic Labrador and a Corgi pup.