Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Author Nancy Martin: How The Publishing Industry Has Changed

It is my pleasure to welcome author Nancy Martin here today to talk about her writing and her latest release in the Blackbird Sisters Mystery series, NO WAY TO KILL A LADY.

Here’s a brief synopsis of NO WAY TO KILL A LADY: The Blackbird sisters are back—and as witty and wonderful as ever!

For richer,  for poorer...              

Nora Blackbird, the Bucks County ex-debutante with a haute couture wardrobe, a hot job as a glamorous society columnist and a stone cold bank account, might finally have her own life just right, but everyone around her is going down in flames. Her sister Libby seems destined to be the lead character in a tabloid sex scandal.  Her sister Emma is expecting a mysterious love child.  Her best friend, Lexie Paine, is serving time in the slammer.  And now her mobbed-up boyfriend, Mick Abruzzo—who might actually be her husband—is conducting clandestine capers from Blackbird Farm while under house arrest. What’s a good girl to do? 

Find a killer, that’s what!  Word arrives that the sisters’ great aunt, Madeleine Blackbird, has died in a volcanic eruption on an Indonesian island and left her fabulous country estate, worth millions, to the three of them.  But when the Blackbird sisters show up to claim their windfall, they find the house in a state of disheartening decay and all of Madeleine’s to-die-for treasures gone. Worse, the mansion has been hiding a grisly secret: the body of a woman who died there many years ago.  All the evidence points to a high society murder...

Nora’s special bond with flamboyant Aunt Madeleine compels her to seek out the truth.  With her aunt’s amorous stepson dogging her footsteps, her unscrupulous lawyer acting like a skunk, and her devoted housekeeper not to be found, Nora’s investigation is going nowhere.  Good thing Mick’s close by to offer Nora distractions both dark and delightful.  And, as ever, her irrepressible sisters provide some unexpected... and highly unorthodox... assistance when she most needs it.

Please join me as Nancy answers some questions about her writing and her series.

Mason - For someone who hasn’t read your series, how would you summarize it and do the books have to be read in order?

NoWayToKillNancy - The Blackbird Sisters came about when I was feeling jaded and looking to fulfill some fantasies. What if I inherited a whole lot of money? What if my grandmother left me a closet full of vintage haute couture? What if the man in my life could cook like a dream, take me to bed in a romantic whoosh, then disappear before he left his socks on the floor? But after starting with that rough idea for a character, things fell apart for my heroine, Nora Blackbird. Her parents ran off with her trust fund and left her with a decrepit old mansion . . . and a two million-dollar tax bill.  

Yes, she might live in the glittering world of Philadelphia high society, but she’s flat broke. To keep body and soul together, she gets a job reporting on the social scene for a Philadelphia newspaper. And that romantic boyfriend of hers? Turns out he’s a criminal, the heir to his father’s gambling empire. Oh, and Nora keeps stumbling over dead bodies, too, so she ends up solving crimes on the Main Line. The fun never stops for the Blackbird Sisters.

I’m a big believer in characters who grow and change, so if you’re a fussy reader, yes, you’re going to want to read them in order.  Here’s the list:
Mason - What is a typical writing day like for you? Do you have a favorite place to write and/or a favorite time?

Nancy - For me, writing looks a lot like Nancy sitting in a recliner reading Vogue magazine. I believe in doing lots of research. ;-)  

Mason - What type of research did you do for your latest book?

Nancy - Did you know that tickets to a museum exhibit can be tax deductible for a writer? And lunch in the café was lovely. Our table had a view of the fountain, and that bottle of Pinot noir was delish.
Mason - How has the publishing industry changed since you wrote your first Blackbird mystery?

Nancy - I’ve been writing for thirty years—since the day when romance writers were all asked to use a pen name…because it was just nicer that way. I never thought I’d be nostalgic for a day when I pulled on my warm socks and locked myself in my study to be creative, but I am. Today’s writers have to be marketing geniuses, experienced television performers, experts in the latest technology, and we must be well-versed in all aspects of the business side of publishing, too. It’s a whole new world. (You didn’t really believe that stuff about reading Vogue in the recliner, did you?)

Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?
Nancy - We have re-launched the Blackbird Sisters Mysteries, so there are more adventures for Nora Blackbird coming after NO WAY TO KILL A LADY. I have a single title novel coming out next year, too, plus several revised romances from my backlist. 

And . . . have you read the Blackbird prequels that were re-pubbed this summer in e-book form? Mick Abruzzo’s Story tells how Mick and Nora Blackbird first met . . .and the circumstances are going to surprise longtime readers. And Slay Belles, a novella first published in a paperback anthology called DROP DEAD BLONDES, is a Christmas story that’s sure to please mystery readers. If you like your mysteries a little edgier, try my Roxy Abruzzo series with STICKY FINGERS

Nancy, thanks so much for guest blogging today. And here I had pictured you relaxing in your recliner with a glass of Pinot noir and a box of chocolates while your secretary took dictation. Winking smile I am always amazed at how the publishing industry has changed and continues to change.

For those who haven’t meet Nancy before she is the author of nearly 50 popular fiction novels in the romance, historical and mystery genres. Her most recent title, NO WAY TO KILL A LADY, is the 8th book in her award-winning Blackbird Sisters Mystery series. In 2009, she received the Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award for mystery writing. She is a past board member for Sisters in Crime, a founder of Pennwriters, and she prefers to shop at Nordstrom.

To find out more about Nancy and her writing, visit her website at where you can also read the first chapter of NO WAY TO KILL A LADY. You can also find Nancy on Facebook at and see her boards on Pinterest at
If you have any questions for Nancy, please leave them in the comments. She hopes to stop by sometime throughout the day to visit. Do you read books in a series out of order or prefer to read them in order? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have a great Wednesday and remember to share a book with a friend.


  1. Nancy, thanks again for answering my questions and giving us a look at your writing process. Wishing you much success.

  2. Interesting post! Publishing has changed a ton in the last 5 years--can't imagine how much it's changed in the last 30! Congratulations on your release, Nancy.

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Nancy.

    Nancy - Right you are indeed about the major changes in the publishing world. Authors really need to stay updated! I wish you much success with your Blackbird Sisters series.

  4. The character sounds fascinating. It's interesting to see how the publishing industry has changed in thirty years.

  5. Hi, Nancy and Mason. This was a fun and informative interview. I chuckled especially your research method.


  6. I've never read this series but you've definitely caught my interest. I'm a 'read 'em in order' gal so I'll be hunting for number one.

  7. Thanks so much for having me, Mason. On a daily basis, the main thing that has changed in 30 years is that we don't have to depend on the Post Office anymore. The time lag, the cost, the aggravation---email has changed all that for the better. The greatest change, however, must certainly be the e-book. I actually started an e-book company back in 1999, but gave up when we couldn't get the software to ensure author's work couldn't be hijacked. Some days, I wish I'd stuck with that project!

  8. Nancy, I love your novels and I loved this interview!!

  9. Nancy, I haven't read any of your novels so I'm glad Mason has posted this - they sound delightful and I will put them on my TBR list. I heard that pen names were used so that if the author discontinued writing a series, the publisher could have someone step in and use the same name. That may have only been for certain publishers though. Nice to get to know you.

  10. Great interview.

    For those who haven't read any of the Blackbird Sisters mystery series, start at number 1 and work yourself up to number 8. You are in for a treat.

    I like to read my series in order. If I'm introduced to a book further down the line..I read that book, then catch up by reading the previous ones.

  11. Ann, you're sort of right. Back in the day, we really didn't have series in romance, but I think publishers weren't going to risk losing any assets. Thanks for stopping by!

    Dru, you're such a sweetheart. Thanks you. Mwah!!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.