Southern Writers Magazine names DANG NEAR DEAD a “Must Read!”
How Aggie Mundeen Popped into Nancy’s Head
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 to share problems? Somebody to help her?
Aggie: Somebody with a sense of humor. Meredith is too serious.
NGW: Of course, she’s serious. Her world disintegrates. Her life is in danger. You showed up in the middle of my writing Meredith’s novel to be funny?
Aggie: To lighten things up.
NGW: 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 to focus on Meredith. I’d be agonizing over how she could get out of her predicament, and you’d do something to make me laugh.
Aggie: Yeah …. I enjoyed that.
NGW: My husband thought I was crazy.
Aggie: You share an office with your husband? That’s really crazy.
NGW: I’d be chuckling at my computer screen, and he’d ask me what was so funny. I’d say, “Aggie did something hilarious.”
Aggie: That’s one way to get him out of the office.
NGW: I got so tickled at you, I could barely stay serious long enough to finish Nine Days to Evil.
Aggie: You made it, though. It’s a better book, thanks to me.
NGW: By the time I finished Meredith’s story, Nine Days to Evil, 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 Meredith’s book.
NGW: I realized that. So Aggie Mundeen’s first two mystery capers are out. Fit to Be Dead was a Lefty Award Finalist for best humorous mystery of 2012. Dang Near Dead has been released.
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.
Aggie: Yep. You and I appreciate her more. Thanks to me.
NGW: But you still want to be the main character?
Aggie: You bet. Now that their dude ranch vacation has ended and summer is over, Aggie and Meredith will be back at University of the Holy Trinity. I really want to learn about telomeres and biomarkers. Scientists think they might affect aging. I have to relay this vital information to my readers.
NGW: For your column.
Aggie: Naturally. I’ll talk Meredith into taking the course with me.
Aggie: Professor Carmody is going to teach it.
NGW: You had serious trouble with him in Fit to Be Dead.
Aggie: I thought he’d kick me out of school. In Dang Near Dead, the stuffed moose hanging in the dining hall reminded me of Carmody … something about the animal’s dull eyes. Anyway, I need to learn about telomeres and biomarkers, so Carmody will just have to deal with me again.
NGW: He’d probably like to strangle you.
Aggie: There’s always conflict in mysteries. Especially when I’m around.
NGW: What about Detective Sam? You and he have plenty of conflicts.
Aggie: We get along better now. He’s beginning to trust me. Mostly.
NGW: That’s the first step. If you want him to love you.
Aggie: …. I guess you could put it like that.
NGW: What will happen next between you and Sam?
Aggie: Why don’t you work on my next story? You’ll find out. When it’s time ….
___Nancy’s conversation with Aggie originally appeared in King’s River Life.
A review of Fit to Be Dead and interview is at http://tinyurl.com/bf5t977
Hey. Aggie Mundeen here. It’s time to address brain clash. I successfully got into the head of Nancy G. West: thus, the Aggie Mundeen mystery capers were born. Without me, West would be nowhere. We frequently disagree: that’s where brain clash comes in. For instance, her New Year’s Resolutions and mine are different. See below.
With MIDDLE AGE approaching like a run-a-way train, I’m naturally intrigued by exercises, products or miracles that prevent decrepitude. You and I (Dear Reader) can discuss products and lifestyle changes that promise perpetual youth. We’ll try to keep Nancy G. West out of it.
To illustrate brain-clash, here are Nancy and Aggie’s 2013 New Years Resolutions. Do other authors and their characters have similar problems? Comments are welcome.
|1. I will start research for Aggie’s third mystery caper.||1. It’s about time. You’ve been thinking about it for six months.|
|2. I will finish the research this spring and start Aggie’s book this summer or earlier.||2. Earlier is better|
|3. I will not let Aggie distract me with her funny fiascos while I’m working on the plot.||3. Ha. You know those are our favorite parts. Once I stumble into funny situations, you’re a goner.|
|4. Okay. Maybe I’ll write the funny scenes separately and work them in later.||4. That’s more like it.|
|5. I will finish the book before letting ANYONE read part of it.||5. Good idea. You’re tempted though, aren’t you? You get excited about my new book and want to share it.|
|6. I’ll do a better job requesting pre-publication reviews four months ahead of publication.||6. Good idea, but unlikely.|
|7. I won’t take on too many obligations while I’m trying to write this book.||7. You always say that. You’re getting better, though.|
|8. I’ll schedule AT LEAST two full 12-hr. days per week to write the book—not to read writers’ magazines, books on writing, promotion, internet chat rooms, email, website updates, blogs . . .||8. Two 12-hour days? Alone? To write? I told you not to share an office with your husband. (You can do that other stuff when you’re too exhausted to write any more.)|
|9. I won’t let Aggie’s fourth book intrude into my brain while I’m writing her third book.||9. Uh huh. Sometimes we get tickled about what’s coming next. You might as well just write it down. Then go back to the book you’re working on.|
|10. I’ll try not to take on other writing projects, even though I have other ideas.||10. You have a ton of ideas. But you won’t have near as much fun working on those as you do writing about me.|
|11. I won’t get discouraged. I’ve written three mysteries (including the suspense prequel to Aggie’s capers), a biography and umpteen magazine articles. What would I rather do than write? It’s become a necessary bodily function.||11. You can do it. Make the time. I’ll be there with you. In case you need me.|
Visit Nancy’s Website at http://www.nancygwest.com.
Hey. Aggie Mundeen here. This is an anti-aging blog. Since I’m way past thirty, single and terrified of becoming decrepit, I search for every available remedy to stay young. Sound good? Then let’s collaborate. We know staying young requires exercise, a healthy diet and trying every product on the market that promises perpetual youth. Exercise is a broad field (I had trouble with exercise at my health club; see my story Fit to be Dead), so lets break it down. Consider yoga, for instance. According to yoga, age is determined by the flexibility of your spine, not the number of years you’ve lived. Really? I stretch my spine to stay limber, but yoga people say stretching the spine also helps one’s digestion and nervous system. How does that work? According to ancient yoga masters, the sirsasana or headstand (the “strongest anti-aging Asana”) increases circulation of blood and nutrients to the brain and gives inner organs a break by reversing gravity. They say headstands, done correctly without stress, gives the heart a rest and the lymph system a boost. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand on my head without stress. I’m afraid I’ll break my neck. What do you think? Write to me, Dear Aggie, stayyoungwithaggie.wordpress.com.