Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and her son, Danny. She’s authored nine books and is currently at work on two new series for Barbour Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul.
“I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.

You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her website at: or her blog at:

When did you decide to be a writer?

I began to really think seriously about writing when I was in my forties. I’d spent my life “trying” many things, but I never felt as if I’d found that one thing I was called to do. I heard a teacher point out that we need to go back to our childhood and look at what we did naturally – that this would help us to see what God had gifted us to do. My look back showed one thing – reading and writing. When I first started trying to write a novel, I hadn’t actually decided to be a writer – I just wanted to see if it might be the thing I was supposed to do. It took several years before I was certain I was on the right track.

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

I’ve always taken fair critiques and suggestions seriously. Many times I found them helpful. So, if I can find something that helps me to improve as an author, I pay attention. But sometimes people make comments that I can’t use at all. For example, one publisher told me she didn’t think I was called to write mysteries. I knew that was wrong, so I discarded it. I think once I knew I was going down a path God had planned for me, being overly concerned about other people’s opinions became less important. Unfortunately, the other side to the “criticism/review” situation comes from people who get their kicks by being hateful. Mean-spirited and unkind comments will come. I have no idea why anyone would find enjoyment from writing comments full of poison – but it happens. You have to ignore that stuff. I started out trying to understand these folks – but now I just feel sorry for them. For the most part, I think these comments come from people who are rebelling against the Christian content in my books. I just pray for them that something they read will stick with them and that God will be able to use it in their lives.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

I need discipline. I have a certain time of day to write, and I try hard to stick to it.

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

Hmmmm. I probably watch too much TV. I need to get out of the house more, but I haven’t been real good about that. I intend to improve in this area.

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?

A friend of mine, Laurel Johnson, wrote a book called The Grass Dance. It has always been at the top of my list. It is so real, raw and honest – yet it shows how incredibly God loves us. I can’t open the pages of that book without crying.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

Well, that’s a loaded question! LOL! Sometimes I find things I don’t want to do. Other times I find things I want to emulate. I spent eight years as a book reviewer. To be honest, I don’t read as much as I used to. I need to turn off the TV and open a book, I guess. I think I just got burned out. I have read a few things. If I wasn’t reading at all I would have missed some really wonderful books like The Shack or Tosca Lee’s books, Demon: A Memoir or Havah: The Story of Eve. I’ve also read some great books by Jim Bell, Ted Dekker and one of my all time favorite authors, John Robinson. He has a new “end of days” book coming out that’s a “don’t miss!”

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Simple Secrets is the story of Gracie Temple, a graphic designer who lives and works in Wichita, Kansas. A phone call comes from her father, telling her the uncle she never met has died. Benjamin Temple lived an Old Order Mennonite life in the small town of Harmony, Kansas. He’s left all his property to her. Gracie goes to Harmony with the intent of selling his house and property and bringing home family heirlooms. But once she reaches Harmony, she discovers he’s left her something else as well. A terrible secret – a family legacy that could bring destruction to the people she loves. She will have to decide what to do with Benjamin’s terrible secret.

Where did you get your inspiration for Simple Secrets?

Originally, it was a proposal for a cozy mystery series. It was titled “Murder, Plain and Simple.” But I wasn’t able to write it for a couple of reasons. The idea originated with the thought that evil surrounded by a setting of purity, simplicity and innocence would make create interesting conflict. I hope I achieved this.

Which character is most like you?

There’s a little of me in every character I write, although none of them are completely like me. I don’t believe we can write about people we don’t understand.

Who is your favorite character and why?
Well, I love Gracie for her bravery and dedication to her family. But my favorite character might be Sweetie. She’s a gutsy, rough-edged broad who loves with her whole heart and speaks her mind – even when she shouldn’t. LOL! But I love her loyalty to her nephew and her “never give up” attitude.

Did you know how Simple Secrets would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

I usually have an idea as to how a novel will end. But I don’t always know “who” did it. I’ve never been able to completely plot a novel beforehand. The story and the characters take me where they decide to go. My job is to listen to them.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

That secret hurts and pains buried alive never die. Too many Christians are carrying secrets that are causing destruction in their lives. We need to release everything to God – no matter how painful it is. God wants us to be free. Hiding secrets keeps us from the life He has for us.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

Honestly? Having a wonderful publisher who does most of the promotion is the most important thing. I know that’s not the answer most authors want to hear, but it’s true nonetheless. I’ve done all the promotion stuff in the past and never saw that much come of it. However, working with an awesome publisher in a partnership relationship is the best way to promote your work. I intend to do the Facebook, blog, newsletter thing – it’s my responsibility to do what I can. But I count on my publisher to do the lion’s share. It’s important that anytime they ask me to do something they feel will help them to promote my work – that I do it. As I said, it’s a partnership. I respect them and know they’re working for my good. The best thing I can do to promote my work is to work as willingly with them as I can. I realize not everyone has a publisher who promotes the way mine does. In that case, I guess being active on Facebook or Twitter might help. Having an active blog that brings people in can also make a difference. In the end, though, your book must be good enough to capture readers. I’d rather spend my time writing a good book than being “Miss Promotion.”

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I just finished book two in The Harmony Series, Simple Deceit. I’m beginning the third book, Simple Choices. I also have another series debuting this year. My Curl Up and Dye mystery series kicks off with Missing Mabel. It comes out in August, followed by Blown Away. After that, I will write the third book in that series. I really hope mystery fans will give this series a chance. I really love this quirky, fun series.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Yes. Not everyone is called to be an author. Find out from God what you’re called to do. Don’t write because you think it’s cool or because you want to be like someone else. Your calling is unique and important – and geared especially for you. If you really are called to write, learn your craft. Don’t be sloppy and uninformed. I suggest you join a good group like American Christian Fiction Writers. There are people there who can give you guidance and share their experience with you.

God bless you, Lisa. And thanks for the chance to be a part of The Borrowed Book.
Nancy is giving away a copy of her book Simple Secrets. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!


  1. Wonderful interview. I need to read this book!

  2. It does sound wonderful! Thanks for stopping by, cindi.


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