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Mystery Author Nancy G. West

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 15, 2012

Nancy G. WestA Secondary Character Appears Mid-Stream and Demands Her Own Story: Nancy G. West Interviews Her Series Protagonist, The Inimitable Aggie Mundeen                     

NGW: I was writing a serious suspense novel, NINE DAYS TO EVIL, about Meredith Laughlin, a graduate student facing a life-threatening dilemma. Why did you pick that time to pop into my head, Aggie?

Aggie: Meredith needed a friend.

NGW: Somebody with whom she could share problems? Somebody to help her?

Aggie: Somebody with a sense of humor. Meredith’s too serious.

NGW: Of course, she’s serious. Her world disintegrates. Her life’s in danger. And you showed up in the middle of my writing Meredith’s novel to be funny?

Aggie: To lighten things up.

NGW: So you appeared in my head making wisecracks about Meredith’s problems, about her outlook, about her husband, even about her professors . . .

Aggie: Yep. I was right there with Meredith in those classes at University of the Holy Trinity.

NGW: You showed up in class wearing a warm-up and sneakers. With hair like a Brillo pad. Giving the professor a ‘show-me-something’ look.

Aggie: The kids needed a role model.

NGW: You made me chuckle, sitting there like you owned the place.

Aggie: You needed to loosen up.

NGW: You made it hard for me to keep ratcheting up suspense in Meredith’s story.

Aggie: You needed contrast. Dark moments versus light. Scary versus comic . . . stuff like that.

NGW: Wait a minute. I’m the writer here.

Aggie: I got in your head, didn’t I? You needed me.

NGW: You made it hard for me to focus on Meredith’s problems. I’d be concentrating on how she could get out of her predicament, agonizing over it, and you’d do something to make me laugh.

Aggie: Yeah. I enjoyed that.  Fit to be Dead

NGW: My husband thought I was crazy.

Aggie: You share an office with your husband? That’s really crazy.

NGW: I’d be chuckling in front of the computer screen, and he’d ask me what was so funny. I’d say, “Aggie just did something hilarious.”

Aggie: That’s one way to get him out of the office.

NGW: I got tickled at you so often, it was difficult for me to stay serious long enough to even finish NINE DAYS TO EVIL.

Aggie: You made it.

NGW: Yes.

Aggie: And it’s a better book, thanks to me.

NGW: By the time I finished NINE DAYS TO EVIL, Meredith’s story, you’d taken over my consciousness to the point where I knew I had to write about you.

Aggie: And you knew that one book from my point of view wouldn’t be enough.

NGW: I figured you would demand your own series.

Aggie: If you hadn’t promised me that, I’d never have let you finish NINE DAYS TO EVIL.

NGW: I realized that. So your first mystery caper, FIT TO BE DEAD is out now. Your second mystery caper, DANG NEAR DEAD comes out December 1st.

Aggie: I like those books. You’re getting to know me, and I’m getting to know Detective Sam Vanderhoven better and better. I really like that part.

NGW: Meredith’s still your friend. She’s in both your books.   Dang Near Dead

Aggie: Yes. You and I appreciate her more. Thanks to me.

©Nancy G. West 2012


Nancy G. West is the author of an artist’s biography, the suspense novel NINE DAYS TO EVIL, numerous magazine articles and two books in her new Aggie Mundeen mystery series, Fit to Be Dead and Dang Near Dead.

FIT TO BE DEAD (Aggie Mundeen Mystery #1)
Aggie, single, pushing forty and terrified of becoming decrepit, tries to get in shape before anybody discovers she secretly writes the column, “Stay Young with Aggie.” At the health club, she deals with killer machines, muscle maniacs and disgustingly-fit fillies until a girl turns up dead. So curious it makes her feet itch, Aggie is determined to flush out the killer, despite warnings from the SAPD detective appalled by her sleuthing methods. When the killer comes after Aggie, and the club evacuates members in less-than-dignified attire, Aggie really has to get creative . . . while she tries to stay alive.

DANG NEAR DEAD (Aggie Mundeen Mystery #2, coming December 1, 2012)
Aggie vacations with friends at a Texas dude ranch. She’ll advise column readers how to stay young and fresh in summer. Except for heat, snakes and poison ivy, what could go wrong?

When the assistant ranch manager, an expert rider, is thrown from her horse and lies in a coma, Aggie thinks somebody caused her to fall. Determined to expose the girl’s assailant, Aggie concocts ingenious sleuthing methods that strain her dicey relationship with the handsome detective traveling incognito. When Aggie scatters a hornet’s nest of cowboys, more than one hombre in the bunch would like to slit her throat.

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18 Responses to “Mystery Author Nancy G. West”

  1. Great to have a sounding board in a book for the main character to rely on.

    Morgan Mandel

    • Hi Morgan,
      Aggie is a good sounding board for Meredith in NINE DAYS TO EVIL; as Aggie says, Meredith needs to lighten up. In Aggie’s books, FIT TO BE DEAD and DANG NEAR DEAD, she has trouble relying on herself since she’s obstreperous, curious and klutzy. Plus, Aggie doesn’t like to rely on anybody else. Makes for interesting situations.

  2. What a great interview–cute and funny! You made my laugh! So, did your husband get another office?

    • Hi Kaye,
      I’m glad you chuckled at Aggie, even though she does nearly drive me crazy.
      My husband and I still share an office, sometimes amicably, sometimes in stoney silence.
      He does disappear 1-2 days a week, though . . . a fair exchange for keeping his wife out of the asylum.

  3. I’ve had some secondary characters that threatened to take over the story. It’s great you can base a whole series on them.

    • Aggie’s very persistent. She lit up the classroom scene where I first found her like a firecracker ball with a crackling fuse. I thought if I could put her in distinctive places with potentially volatile characters, she’d be the catalyst to blow things up. So far, so good.

  4. I used to share an office with my husband. Now he’s upstairs and I’m down 🙂
    Sometimes it really pays to listen to our characters.

  5. We are fortunate to have separate home offices, which works well since my husband is retired. And I need solitude and silence to write.

    • My husband retired three times. He’d take another job even though I kept urging him to retire. What was I thinking?
      Solitude and silence are golden indeed, necessary for the concentration writing requires . . . required for mental health. Aren’t they also part of the marriage contract?

  6. Fun post, Nancy. I love the creativity of characters stepping in and taking over my novel but occasionally I wish they’d give it back to me. Aggie is such a hoot! I really enjoy this series.

  7. Jacqueline Seewald said

    I agree with Cindy! This is such a clever post. You are really into your characters and it’s a delight! Best of luck with the new novel.

  8. Oh, boy, can I ever relate to Nancy’s fun post (and her secondary character getting into her head to demand more time!) Enjoyed reading about Aggie Mundeen. Good luck with the series….

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