Interview with Nina Mansfield!

Interview with Nina Mansfield!

The Serious Questions

What made you want to become an author?
For as long as I can remember, I have loved both reading and writing. I wrote and illustrated my first picture book when I was five years old. I believe it was called Cindy and Sally in Polka-Dot Land. But I started seriously pursuing my dream about 10 years ago.  

Tell us about your current work in progress.
Currently, I am working on two projects. I am revising a young adult paranormal romance that I’ve been working on for some time. Like my debut novel, SWIMMING ALONE, this book has a seaside setting (this time on Long Island Sound). I am also revising a short mystery story, for adults, with a theatrical setting.

If you could rewrite the ending to any book, what would it be and why?
Oh gosh, I don’t know! Lately I’ve been reading Sandra Boynton’s But Not the Hippopotamus a whole lot to my 1 year old, and feel really sorry for that Armadillo!

Tell us about your journey to publication. What was it like?
Although I have had a number of short plays and a couple of short stories published, SWIMMING ALONE is my debut novel. I wrote the first draft about 10 years ago. It has gone through a great deal of revision since then. About five years ago, I signed with an agent, but the novel did not sell right away. Last year, I discovered Fire & Ice YA. Turns out, they were a perfect fit for SWIMMING ALONE!

What is the best piece of writing advice you NEVER followed? What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring author?
I know they say you should write EVERY DAY, but I don’t. I have found that when I force things, I end up end throwing a lot of my writing out. I prefer to write when I am really ready, especially since I am short on spare time these days.

I would tell an aspiring writer to be patient. Writing (well) and publishing a work all take time.

If you were stranded on an island with a fictional character, who would it be?
With apologies to my husband, Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre. Um…because I totally fall in love         with him every time I read that book.

Who is your writing hero?
Lois Duncan.

Do you work on more than one thing at a time, or work on many projects simultaneously?
I tend to work on several projects at a time. As I mentioned above, I am currently in the process of revising two different works. I am actually trying to get more focused and really “finish” one work before moving on, but I don’t think my brain works that way.

Your bio says that you’re a member of the Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. What do you enjoy most about writing and/or reading mysteries?
I’ve always thought that every piece of writing would be more interesting with a dead body. But seriously, as a reader, I love looking for clues and trying to figure out who did the deed. And as a writer, I love constructing a puzzle filled with subtle clues and red herrings.

What is the weirdest thing you’ve researched for a book or play?
I have a full length play called LOSING OUR HEADS: THE GUILLOTINE PLAY. I researched all sorts of stuff about guillotine, and other methods of execution, for that play. The craziest thing that I discovered was that the guillotine was last used in 1977.

Your website says you’ve written many plays, and they’ve been produced in Canada and the US. What was that like? Did you ever get to see any of them performed? What was it like being a member of the audience in that situation?
I have been fortunate enough to see many of my plays performed. Luckily, quite a few have been produced in New York City, where I used to live, and which is a short train ride away now. I did travel to Toronto to see a play of mine at a festival a few years ago. I’ve also traveled around the United States Recently, I’ve had short plays produced in Australia, Peru and Scotland. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it to any of those productions.

I am always very nervous when I see one of my plays performed. I’m lucky that most of the productions I have seen have been very well done. There were a few times though that I snuck out of the theater with my head down.

Tell us about SWIMMING ALONE!
SWIMMING ALONE is a YA Mystery with a lot of humor, a ton of suspense, and a serial killer on the loose. Cathy Banks, my fifteen-year-old protagonist is a little quirky, a tad snarky, and a wee bit paranoid. I think it will keep mystery and thriller fans, young and old, very entertained.

The Random Questions

Dinos or dragons?

What psychic power would you want?
Teleportation (does that count as a psychic power?)

Dream vacation?
Cruise to Antarctica

Tomatoes: Fruit or veggie?
Veggie (I know, I know, it is supposed to be a fruit, but I refuse to believe it!)

Morning Person or Night owl?
Night owl, but forced to be a morning person.

Favorite Book Ever:
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Favorite Movie Ever:
Shakespeare in Love

Music Earworm of the Moment:
A variety of children’s songs (I have a 1 year old)

What is the last line you wrote?
“Because water distorts our vision.” (For an online article that will be out in November.)

What is the last line you read? (book, cereal box, magazine, whatever)
“I Forget.” Last line in Sandra Boyton’s What’s Wrong Little Pookie, to my 1 year old.

About Nina


Nina Mansfield is a Connecticut based writer. Swimming Alone, her first young adult novel, will be published by Fire & Ice in 2015. Nina began her writing career as a playwright; she has written numerous plays, which have been produced throughout United States and in Canada, Australia, England and Ireland. Her short plays have been anthologized in Smith & Kraus’s The Best Ten-Minute Plays(of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014) and YouthPlays’ Middle Schoolin’ It.  Her one-act play Clean is published by Original Works Publishing.    A collection of her plays entitled Three More Marriage Plays, along with her plays No EpilogueCrash BoundText Misdirected and Missed Exit are available from One Act Play Depot. Her short mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Mysterical-E. In addition to writing, Nina enjoys reading, seeing theater, practicing yoga, traveling and spending time with her husband and daughter. Nina is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Mystery Writers of America, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Sisters in Crime. 

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