Interview with Author Noelle Granger!
Please help me welcome, author Nicole Granger, to Jemsbooks.blog Segment, Interview an Author.
It’s lovely to have you here, Nicole, to share a little about yourself and your books.
Thank you, Janice. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Please tell us something about yourself.
Well, I’m at heart an academic – retired bench scientist and teacher of human anatomy, plus holder of an EMT license.
Here’s the boring stuff: I got my undergraduate degree at Mount Holyoke College, my Ph.D. at Case Western Reserve, and taught undergraduates Biology for Non-Majors at the University of California Irvine, while doing research. I did post-doctoral research for a year in Prague, Czech Republic (now), then a fellowship at Northwestern in Chicago. In 1981, I moved with my husband to Chapel Hill and started at the bottom of the academic ladder at the University of North Carolina. While there, I helped to create the University’s Women’s Center; paid maternity paternity and elder care leave; and Bridges, a developmental program for women faculty. I think I am most proud of those accomplishments.
After retiring, writing a book was at the top of my bucket list, and nine months later I had a first draft of my first book. It took three years and a lot of help from my critique group before it was ready to publish!
I’m an extrovert, love to eat – which is why I alternate between enjoying food and dieting, adore cats, and like to do adrenaline-rush activities like sky-diving, zip lining, white water rafting, and one thing I haven’t done yet – go down in a cage with great white sharks.
Jjspina: Quite an impressive set of credentials, Noelle! Wow, what surprises me is you are a dare devil doing all those death defying stunts like sky diving, etc. May God watch over you! I tremble just thinking of doing any of those things! Yikes!
How do you come up with ideas for your stories?
I spend part of each summer or fall in Maine, one of my favorite places on Earth. I’ve even visited there in February to get background for the second book. The idea of mysteries set in Maine was a natural, and the idea for the first book (Death in a Red Canvas Chair) came to me while watching hundreds of games of soccer with my son in goal.
The second book (Death in a Dacron Sail) was spawned from a discussion with my husband, when I told him I wanted to spend some time with a Maine lobsterman. That led to lobsterpots and a finger within. The third book, Death by Pumpkin, came from watching the pumpkin drop at the Damariscotta, Maine, Pumpkin Festival.
My most recent outing (Death in a Mudflat) came from watching the opening scene in the book (minus the arm in the mud) at a wedding on Cape Cod.
Jjspina: You can never tell where or when your muse is going to wake up.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’ve written the prologue to my fifth mystery, Death at the Asylum, but am currently writing a historical novel called The Last Pilgrim, about Mary Allerton Cushman, the oldest surviving person to sail to Plymouth Colony on the Mayflower. I grew up in Plymouth and worked as a tour guide, and my hope is to make the Pilgrims’ experience up close and personal. And I’m sort of under the gun – the quadricentennial of the 1620 landing is two years away.
Jjspina: This sounds like a fascinating subject to write about, Noelle. I look forward to hearing more about this.
What hobbies do you have when you are not writing?
I swim laps nearly every day, enjoy travelling in spurts (Egypt, Jordan, all over Europe, Iceland), knit, read, and review books for Rosie’s Book Review Team, love action movies and Guardians of the Galaxy, and tutor middle school students one day a week. Plus I have to play constantly with my blog-writing Maine coon cat, Garfield.
Jjspina: You are certainly one busy and productive lady! I love Guardians of the Galaxy too!
What advice would you give prospective authors?
I would tell them to sit down and write. It doesn’t matter if it’s not the next great American novel. The way you learn to write is by writing. I had a career in writing: manuscripts, book chapters, science books, and grant applications. It was a start, but I had to learn how to write fiction. And that’s where critique groups come in. Find one, join it, and learn how to write – learn how other people view your writing and can help you with it.
Write every day, even if it’s only a blog piece, off-the-cuff thoughts, observations.
Jjspina: Excellent advice, Noelle.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
This is a tough one – there’s lots of places I haven’t been and wish to see: Antarctica, Italy, Greece, Nepal. Next year we are heading to Ireland, in search of my roots and to kiss the Blarney Stone!
Jjspina: Have a wonderful time in Ireland. I’ve heard it’s beautiful! I’d love to go one day too.
If you could have one wish, what would it be?
Continued good health. At my age (74), that’s the underpinning of everything I do and I’m only sorry I took my good health for granted for so long! The pictures of me on my book covers are recent; I’ve been blessed to stay more or less young-looking (knock on wood)!
Jjspina: I would never have guessed that was your age! You look wonderful! It must be all these dare devil things that you do! LOL!
Do you have any unusual talents? What are they?
The only one I can think of is that I am very good at fancy hair braiding (courtesy of my daughter and her long hair). Plus if you ever saw The Silence of the Lambs, I raised the insects for that movie and taught the insect wrangler how to handle them.
Jjspina: Let me get my hands under control. I am laughing so hard I need to stop shaking. Braiding I can believe! I could use a good braid. Now I know where to go to get one done.
jjspina: I know where to go for a French braid! Braiding I can believe but the insect thing! I am laughing so hard it is difficult to write this! LOL! You are hysterical!! Unless, your are serious…
Email: sailingawayng @gmail.com
N.A. GRANGER is a Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. After forty years of research and teaching undergraduates and medical students, plus earning her EMT licence, she decided to use her knowledge of human anatomy and emergency medicine in mystery writing. In addition to the Rhe Brewster mystery series (Death in a Red Canvas Chair, Death in a Dacron Sail, Death by Pumpkin), she has written for Coastal Living and Sea Level magazines and several times for the Bella Online Literary Review. Her latest mystery, Death in a Mudflat, was released in June of this year. You can find more of her writing and musings on her website: saylingaway.wordpress.com. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband and a Maine coon cat who blogs, and she spends a portion of every summer in Maine, researching for her books and selling them, too.
Thank you so much for coming today, Noelle. I had a wonderful time getting to know you. I love your sense of adventure and humor. I look forward to reading your books. I wish you much success with all your future endeavors. Please feel free to come back again to share new projects.
Thank you, readers, for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed learning about this entertaining and fascinating author as much as I did. Please check out all her links and her books above.
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