Author Spotlight: Nancy Moser

Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Angela Correll is Karen Peckham! Please email with your mailing address!

This week we are featuring Nancy Moser!  To win a copy of her new book, The Journey of Josephine Cain (Summerside Press, 2013) leave a comment on this post.

NMoser-171Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I’ve been married 38 years. We have three married kids and four grandkids—with one more on the way, all blessedly, all live within 20 minutes of us. I write full time, thanks to my hard-working husband.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest . . .

I started out writing contemporary fiction (16 novels), but in 2004 I took a turn and began to write historical fiction. Eight books later, I can’t imagine writing contemporary anymore. I love writing about the past, finding the neat moments of history to interweave into my novels, and learning that people haven’t changed all that much. I am very interested in the fashion of the past and have thousands of period fashion pieces on my Pinterest boards. I even like to sew period costumes, and I plan on sewing and blogging about an entire 1880 dress ensemble, from the corset on out, when I get going on my next British manor house project.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

My degree is in architecture and my interests leaned toward the theater. I’ve never had a writing course. But when my kids were little I started writing children’s books. No go. I was way too wordy! So I wrote novels. Five of them for the general market. They were my “practice,” and I learned a lot about how to write by writing and rewriting those manuscripts. None were published (thank you, God). In 1995 I had a God-moment and turned my attention to writing inspirational fiction. I set those five secular manuscripts aside. My first novel came out in 1998 and I just had my 24th published, which proves once you get on the right road, things can take off. Yet through the years, I’ve suffered hundreds of rejections. The key is persistence—and constantly improving your craft.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

About eight years.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?

I am creative in the morning, though I can edit in the afternoon. I think it’s essential for writers to find their best time of day and tap into it. When the kids were little I used to get up at 4:30 a.m. to write because I needed silence and solitude.

Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write?

I have a very unconventional writing area. I have never used a keyboard placed upon a desk, but rest it in my lap. So I bought a leather chaise lounge chair and have my screen on a little table 2’ past my feet. I have a credenza to my left with files close—and to act as a place to set my coffee. I am situated in the corner of a room with big windows looking out onto the backyard in two directions. We live on an acreage next to a wooded conservation area, so I often see deer and wild turkeys. The calming effect of nature helps me write.

How many hours a day do you spend writing?

Actual writing? About four. Thinking about writing? Sixteen.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups?

Getting to know other writers helped the most. I joined a local writing group and met more people at conferences. Over the years I’ve become close friends with a few of them, and we often meet in small groups (traveling to each other’s houses) where we talk about the business and brainstorm each other’s projects. That brainstorming is perhaps the most beneficial, but in order to do that you need to develop a deep bond, and a deep trust. You are using your creativity to help a competitor. Rather odd, but it can work.

Was your mom as your first draft reader?

My sister was my first reader for many years. Now, I don’t have a reader before I turn in a manuscript though I may have some of my writer friends read a few chapters to get their input. Now, I am having one of my daughters edit a manuscript that’s not placed anywhere. She’s an avid reader and a great editor—a hard editor. That’s what you need. You don’t need a yes-man. You need a this-doesn’t-work-man.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

No. For one thing, I thought book signings would be glamorous and there would be long lines. Ha. Book signing are embarrassing. Unless you are a big name, you’ll get more questions about the location of the restrooms than you will about your book. It’s better if you gather a few authors together and have a group signing, but even then it’s just a matter of having others to commiserate with you.

I also was pretty clueless about the very real fact that bookstores only have X amount of shelf space. And once your book’s initial release is over, it will be replaced with other authors’ releases. Of course now that online bookstores are replacing a lot of brick-and-mortar stores, that doesn’t matter as much. Yet there is something special to a reader about being able to peruse the books in a store. To touch them and leaf through them. We’re losing that.

JoCainMoser-e1371575571978What are your biggest distractions?

Email. I had to shut off the thingy on my computer that announced new mail.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

Best: Getting reader emails that say my books have changed their lives is wonderful and humbling. Writing is a very solitary life, and sometimes I feel like I’m throwing a new book into the wind. To find that it landed and was read, and that it touched someone . . . I encourage all readers to contact their favorite authors. It means a lot to us.

The worst thing was having one of my publishers close up shop when they still had two of my books to release.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

I probably like marketing the least. I’m an introvert and am happiest when I can just escape into my stories. Having to participate in all the social media stuff is daunting.

I like plotting the best. I am a seat-of-the-pants writer, meaning I do not outline and only have a minimal knowledge of what’s going to happen in the book when I begin writing. I refine it and expand the plot as I go along. But when it does expand and takes off . . . there’s nothing like getting that “Aha!” moment when I get questions like: What if my character finds out that her father isn’t really dead? Or What if they don’t like each other—at all? That’s exciting. Having it all fall into place makes me feel as though I’m supposed to be writing the book.

What is the role and importance of an agent?

My agent is a godsend. Because of her sterling reputation, editors listen to her when she pitches my ideas. She makes sure I sign a good contract, and if there’s ever an issue between the publisher and me, she acts as my go-between. She can be the bad guy when she needs to be—leaving me free to just be the writer. She is also good at career planning, helping me figure out which ideas are worth pursuing, and when.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Write every day. Even for a half-hour. And be willing to edit. My current book, The Journey of Josephine Cain, was restarted three times! I was nearly half-way through when I had a revelation about a character and went back to the beginning and changed tons of it. Too often I hear about wannabe writers who dig in their heels and won’t budge about items mentioned on a critique. I don’t know what I would do without the great editors I’ve worked with. Their critiques (and they are usually many pages long) are essential to fleshing out the best story. If I would have been unwilling to edit—and re-edit—my career would have been very short-lived. If you want to read more about some writing tips, go to my website.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

A pampered socialite embarks on a journey to the Wild West. Her life is changed forever as she witnesses the building of the Transcontinental Railroad right after the Civil War.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

A Downton Abbey-inspired series on life in a British manor house: Love of the Summerfields and Bride of the Summerfields.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

Here are all my links:

Historical Fiction Blog
Author blog

Here is my storyboard for The Journey of Josephine Cain
And here is a Pinterest board for fashions of the 1860’s

Some other boards that pertain to this book:
What A Lady Wore Beneath it all
Shoes of the Past
Accessories from History
Jewels and Sparkly Things

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Melanie Backus says:

    Suzanne, what a great interview . Nancy sounds like a delightful person. I can just picture her writing location and it sounds so peaceful to be able to look out and see deer and turkey. I know I would love her book. Thank you for this wonderful post.

  2. Connie Hendryx says:

    I really enjoy all your books, Nancy! Thanks for all your efforts….we readers really appreciate it!!

  3. Julie Smith says:

    I enjoyed this column. Nancy seems like a great writer, and I would love to read about Josephine’s journey! Also, her new series of life in a British manor house sounds fabulous, too!

  4. Patty H says:

    Thanks for the interview ladies! I have read and enjoyed several of Nancy’s books, most recently Masquerade. I passed it along to my Mom and she really enjoyed it too. Would love to own a copy of this most recent release.

    • Nancy Moser says:

      I’m glad you liked “Masquerade”, Patty. If you want to read a sequel that focuses on the Scarpelli family, try “An Unlikely Suitor” and see what Lucia, Mamma, and Sofia are up to 9 years later. Hint: Lucia is a dressmaker for the wealthy New Yorkers who go to Newport, RI for the summer.

  5. angela chesnut says:

    would love to win.

  6. Mary Tullila says:

    Very nice interview….makes me want to read her books!

  7. Kim F says:

    loved the interview – such great questions – and the new British Manor House series sounds fabulous – get writing 😉 and good luck!

  8. Tamara Wilkins says:

    I LOVE to read, and to imagine new story lines, but I couldn’t imagine writing for 8 years before I got published… Guess that shows it’snot a true passion or calling for me. 🙂 I would love to win, and thank you! tamara

  9. Amy Bateman says:

    Another book (and author) to add to my “to-read” list. Thanks for introducing me!

  10. Robin Bunting says:

    This inverview makes me want to grab a cup of coffee and sit down with Nancy in person myself and visit for a long while. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Robyn L says:

    I’d be convinced to buy your book with that 2 sentence promo; I’m glad
    I found you, a new to me author.

  12. sonja says:

    I love the honest statement about the embarrasing book signings. Very cool!

  13. What a great interview! I love hearing how authors found their niche in the life of writing. Thank you.

  14. Carol Edwards says:

    I really enjoyed learning some new information and would love a chance to read the book.

  15. Mallori says:

    I enjoyed this interview. Nancy’s words give hope and good advice to aspiring authors. And her new book sounds so interesting–the kind of book I really enjoy!

  16. Cindi Altman says:

    Lovely interview. I love the time period that your new book takes place, Nancy. Please enter me in the drawing to win a copy. Thanks!

  17. Love all your books

  18. What an interesting interview! Thank you for sharing! I love your books, Nancy, and I’ve even passed your books on to my Mom and she likes them too. You are one of my favorite authors and I would love to win a copy of your new book! Blessings, Juli

  19. Vicki Curl says:

    I love reading ‘true’ historical novels, which doubly Bless me by being inspirational! This author definitely does her homework! I would love winning a copy of her books! ;-D

  20. amyc says:

    Lovely interview with Nancy! Her new release sounds fabulous!

  21. Hello Suzanne and thanks for having Nancy for this interesting interview. Hi Nancy. First I want to say you must have extremely great eyes to see your monitor and read it from such a difference. 2 feet beyond your feet on a chase lounge. WOW! Wish my eyes were just half that good. I need mine very close. Sometimes the words are so tiny can hardly be seen. I’ve never understand that. Hard on the eyes. Your book sounds like a good story and I would love to win it. Might have to check out your fashion board. I love the dresses from way back, but not to work in. Like in the Pioneer days. Keep up the good work. Please put my name in Suzanne. Thanks! Maxie Anderson

    • Nancy Moser says:

      Hi, Maxie! I have my monitor set to show the print very large! If it’s set regular, I can’t see it from that distance, it’s just a blur.

  22. Heidi says:

    Your pinterest boards are amazing! I can’t wait until later when I’ll have time to really check them all out.

  23. MS Barb Dawson says:

    I enjoy historical fiction, so it was interesting to read about Nancy moving to the historical fiction genre–loved her comment about people being people no matter what the era!

  24. Donna D says:

    Nancy, I enjoyed looking at your boards of the 1860’s Fashions and the Journey of Josephine Cain. I’ve always wondered how in the world those long skirts that seem to drag the floor could ever be kept clean. But I would love to have one of the dresses to wear for events 🙂 . Although, I think a dress from the late 1800’s, the “West” in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas, would probably be more useful. {Dewey OK has a Western Heritage Days weekend; and hubby is a member of SASS – Single Action Shooting Society – and they dress in costume} 🙂
    I appreciate inspirational stories, and historical ones. Thank you for heeding your God-moment.

    • Nancy Moser says:

      I think the dresses got very dusty. And think of the horse doo-doo in the streets. Yuck. Plus, most of intricate ones couldn’t be washed. If I lived back then I’d need a maid–or two.

  25. Barbara Thompson says:

    Enjoyed the interview. Book sounds fantastic. Would love to win. Thank you for the chance of this giveaway.

  26. Leanna Morris says:

    Interesting interview. The book sounds great. Can hardly wait to read it.
    Would love to win it!

  27. Connie R. says:

    I love these interviews and the insights you all provide! Thanks for the candor and the peek into your world!

  28. vera wilson says:

    Book was restarted 3 times. Please enter me in the contest

  29. Sharon says:

    Restarted the book 3 times!!!

  30. Donna Harmon says:

    Third time was a charm. Sounds like a wonderful read. Would be thrilled to win a copy!!

  31. Donna B says:

    Great interview! I’d love to win one of Nancy’s books!

  32. Ola Norman says:

    Great interview! Sounds like a book I’ll like. I’ll be looking for it.

  33. Melinda Beard says:

    Just so glad God gave her the words to finish it. Congratulations!

  34. Joyce Johnson says:

    Looks like a book I very much look forward to reading. She restarted the book 3 times

  35. Shannon Stockton says:

    I really enjoyed reading the interview.

  36. Rhonda Lovell says:

    Thank you for not giving up on writing this book (lll). I can’t wait to read it.

    Thanks again.

  37. Kathy Jacob says:

    Sounds like a great book! Fun interview!

  38. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for the interview and the giveaway!!

  39. I enjoyed this delightful interview with Nancy! Loved the comment about book signings! 🙂 I look forward to finding out God’s plan for Josephine and thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of this novel!

  40. jean says:

    I love reading your books and this interview was great!!
    I look forward to reading all your books!
    I would like to win this one if possible!
    Thank you for the way you write!

  41. Barbara Lima says:

    I want to read this!!

  42. Lisa wilson says:

    The 1800’s time period is one of my favorites. I’d love to read about Josey Cain.

  43. I loved this interview, it was fantastic. I didn’t like history in school. The textbooks were just too boring. I absolutely love learning bits and pieces of it though through historical fiction. I appreciate all of the time and effort it takes to do the research needed for writing it. Thank you so much Nancy for sharing all that you learn with us. This book about Josephine sounds wonderful.

    • Nancy Moser says:

      That’s why I wrote four biographical novels about real women of history. I like to read history in story form, so I gave these ladies a voice to tell their life story: Martha Washington (“Washington’s Lady”, Jane Austen (“Just Jane”), Nannerl Mozart (“Mozart’s Sister”), and Elizabeth Barrett Browning (“How Do I Love Thee?”)

  44. karenk says:

    thanks for the chance to read this novel 🙂

  45. Sharyl B. says:

    Thanks for sharing with us Nancy. I would love to read one of your books.