Today's author is...
Tell us about your journey to become a published author?
I started my writing career as a playwright, and had my first play produced and published quite a few years ago. It was about 10 years ago that I decided I wanted to write a young adult novel. I was teaching high school at the time, and my students craved books with suspense and action. I wanted to write a novel that would intrigue even the most reluctant reader. The summer after my first year teaching, I finished writing the first draft of what would eventually become SWIMMING ALONE. Many, many rewrites and query letters later, I had a publication offer.
Now, tell us about your latest release.
SWIMMING ALONE is a young adult mystery appropriate for readers 12+...although I have had many adults read the book and really enjoy it. The Sea Side Strangler is on the loose in Beach Point, where fifteen-year-old Cathy Banks is spending what she thinks will be a wretched summer. Just when she begins to make friends, and even finds a crush to drool over, her new friend Lauren vanishes. When a body surfaces in Beach Point Bay, Cathy is forced to face the question: has the Sea Side Strangler struck again?
Give us one or two of your favorite lines from this book.
One of my favorite lines from SWIMMING ALONE is the first line of the book. Here it is:
Leave it to my mentally unstable, common sense impaired parents to ship me off to the only town in America with an active serial killer on the loose."
Tell us about your writing space and your daily routine.
I usually write either at the dining room table or sitting on my bed with my laptop. These days, my daily routine really varies. I tend to write in the evenings for an hour or so. Sometimes, I get a little writing done in the afternoon while my toddler is napping.
What’s one of your favorite reviews/comments you’ve ever received about your writing (on this book or any other)? Who did it come from and how did it impact you?
John Valeri of the Hartford Books Examiner called SWIMMING ALONE "a wise and witty mystery." This meant so much coming from him. Whenever I get a good review or positive comment about a piece of my writing, I am motivated to write more.
What’s your biggest struggle as a writer (or what was your worst critique)? And how do/did you handle it?
I guess my biggest struggle is finding time to write and staying focused. These days, I am a stay-at-home mom to a very active toddler. I mistakenly thought that staying at home would give me more time to write. I am constantly working on finding a few minute here and there to get my writing done. I also have trouble staying focused on one project. I have so many ideas, and I love starting a new piece of writing. Starting is one thing, finishing is quite another!
What is the high point of your career, so far?
I guess the publication of SWIMMING ALONE has been a major high point. But there have been others. I was thrilled a number of years ago to have a story published in ELLERY QUEEN. Also, a few years ago, my short play BITE ME was produced by City Theatre in Miami. That was the first Equity production of one of my plays, so that was pretty incredible.
What was the low point of your career? And how did you handle it?
I remember when I first started sending SWIMMING ALONE out to agents. I got many, many rejections. Ultimately, I realized that the manuscript wasn't ready yet. After attending an SCBWI conference, I decided to do another major rewrite of the book. I really focused on voice. It was immediately after I completed that rewrite that I landed my agent.
Give us the name of a recent book you’ve read that you would highly recommend to readers.
I recently read TRAIL OF SECRETS by Laura Wolfe. It is also a YA mystery, and I found it very hard to put down. I was totally sucked into the world that Wolfe created. TRAIL OF SECRETS takes place at the elite Foxwoode Riding Academy. Not only does she have to deal with snooty girls who look down on her non-leather riding boots, but she keeps seeing the ghost of a girl who disappeared four years ago. It was a real page turner. And I loved that it was a YA that focused on the mystery rather than the romance.
What’s next on your writing journey?
" have two projects in the works. The first is a graphic novel that is being released by Plume Snake in late 2016. It's called FAKE ID: BEYOND RECOGNITION, and it is a girl-power adventure. Seventeen-year-old Minnie VanCutler suffers an identity crisis after using the wrong fake ID. Aside from waking up with the world’s worst hangover, and being chased down by Russian mobsters, Minnie must battle her over-active conscience and rescue her doppelganger from a human trafficking ring.
I am also working on the rewrite of another YA novel. This one is a paranormal thriller. I am hoping to have this current revision done very soon!
What’s your favorite book on the writing craft or your favorite piece of advice to writers?
The best piece of advice I have ever heard was: "Don't be afraid to write a bad first draft." I can't remember who said this or when or where I heard this advice, but it has been very helpful. So often we writers try to get it perfect the first time around. But for me, it really helps to get my thoughts on paper first and fix them later.
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Nina!!
To find her online visit…
"My website: http://www.ninamansfield.com
My blog: http://www.ninamansfield.com/blog1
And to pick up her latest release, visit: