Interview with Nancy O'Hare

Published 2023-01-13.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is a mystery/suspense novel released January 11, 2023. I started writing it as a personal challenge to write one paragraph a day and to make that paragraph as intriguing and engaging as possible. I wrote it for my father who was fighting lung cancer and mother, his primary care giver. I wanted to give them something to look forward to each day—somewhere for them to escape from the daily stresses they were enduring.

In time, a story with layers of plots and subplots emerged. Through feedback from beta-readers, a handful of friends who read early drafts and my editor’s thorough review, I feel the final story is intense, complex and will keep readers on the edge of their seats. At least, that is my hope!

Normally, life on the Mediterranean island of Malta is safe and calm. Then two professors go missing on the same day. A baker starts dealing in a shady side business. Foreign agents become involved as religion and cybertechnology intertwine.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I do a lot of hiking and some mountaineering. Over the past few years, my husband and I have been training to do the Great Himalayan Trail. We actually started in 2020, but it was cancelled five weeks in due to corona virus lockdowns in Nepal. It looks to go ahead in 2023. We will attempt both the Nepal trail and India trail, taking a total of nine months to cross the Himalayan high-altitude trail.
What is your writing process?
- Attention to each paragraph, it must stand on its own right and leave the reader wanting more.
- Engage beta readers and friends who enjoy the genre I am writing in for an early, second take on the story line.
- Hire a professional and trusted editor. Susan Fitzgerald has edited both my travel books and latest mystery novel and she brings insight, clarity and consistency to the writing.
- Review, re-read and revise.
How do you approach cover design?
I leave cover design to the experts. The cover for my latest book, The Man in the Barretina Hat, was designed by Bespoke Book Covers. They were superbly attentive and did a fantastic job to bring elements of the story and intrigue into the design.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
For my latest book, the freedom to create the most engaging story possible energized me. It was such a difference from writing nonfiction where you are bound by actual events. That said, I loved writing the travel books and personal handbooks at the time. There was a lot to share and I enjoy writing in a way that brings the experience alive for the reader. I believe it is fair to say that the same concept applies to fiction. The narrative must feel real and carry the reader into a fast-paced world that keeps them wanting to read more.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
There are two parts to this question; the transition to become an author and the choice to self-publish as an indie. Writing slowly drew me in after a twenty-year career based in many countries working as a finance professional. This career transition may sound odd, to go from a very structured field into such a creative sphere. But looking closer, there is a common thread that connects these varied pursuits—travelling. Exploring our planet alights a passion inside me. It inspired me to pursue roles in Australia, Oman, Switzerland, Canada and Nigeria. It galvanized my decision to save enough money to take a few sabbaticals and travel the world with my husband. Countless stories unfolded from these journeys and these are the moments that I have captured in my writing.

After deciding to write a book, the choice to publish it as an indie author proved a natural fit. The process offered flexibility and control. I read a lot about publishing options, their pros and cons as well as various viewpoints from seasoned writers. Ultimately, two factors solidified my decision. First, as an indie author, I could manage everything including the book's timeline and choice of editor, cover designer and proofreader. Second, the cost of independently self-publishing is lower than going through a publishing house. As an unknown author starting out, I was not convinced that a publisher would create sufficient value to warrant paying their higher fees. I wanted to produce a low-cost book, accessible to anyone interested in reading it. By keeping my expenses down and taking on much of the marketing and management myself, the indie route allowed me to sell Dust in My Pack at an affordable price. This leaves more money in my readers' pockets for their own travels.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
River God by Wilbur Smith. This book brought Egypt's historical magic to life. Smith incorporated immense research and facts to create a complex storyline. The words connected an ancient world with a plausible narrative, full of emotion so that I, as the reader, felt connected to Egypt's past.

Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town by Paul Theroux. This was one of the first travel narratives that I read. It inspired me to explore remote, lesser-visited places and look beyond the typical tourist sites in search of the essence of a place.

Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I read this book soon after living in Nigeria and its story showed a different yet authentically realistic side of the country than I had experienced. The characters and their story were complex and fascinating.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. I was addicted to this book after reading only a few pages. The story was compelling and fast moving. The characters were unique and intriguing with a plot full of depth and unexpected twists.

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. This was the first book I read about life in Afghanistan. For a country that typically receives news reports of war and oppression, Hosseini's story personalized the life and people behind the headlines.
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Books by This Author

The Man in the Barretina Hat
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 78,910. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2023 . Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
Normally, life on the Mediterranean island of Malta is safe and calm until two professors go missing. This triggers a series of events that sends intelligence agents to untangle a web of misinformation, conspiracy and shifting allegiances.
From Wages to Riches
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,250. Language: Canadian English. Published: November 20, 2020 . Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Money
Just starting out and want to know how to manage your money? This handbook outlines what you need to know to achieve financial freedom—from diversified ETFs to reducing your investment fees.
Reclaim your Financial Wits
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,320. Language: Canadian English. Published: November 20, 2020 . Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance / investing, Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success
Overwhelmed by money management advice? Sift through the clutter with eight simple lessons. From smarter spending choices to simplified investment decisions, learn how to better manage your money.
Searching for Unique
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 76,850. Language: English. Published: November 22, 2018 . Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Specialties & interests » Essays & Travelogues, Nonfiction » Travel » Hikes & walks
(4.00 from 1 review)
After travelling to over seventy countries and living on five, the author distills the best undiscovered destinations and shares insider advice. Searching for Unique is meant for travellers seeking hidden sights that most people overlook or simply do not know exist.
Dust in My Pack
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 72,840. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2017 . Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Specialties & interests » Adventure, Nonfiction » Travel » Essays & Travelogues
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Dust in My Pack is a new kind of travel book. It brings far-flung destinations to life while providing practical guidance to help readers create their own personalized adventures.