Nancy Minnis Damato is the author of the exciting Taylor family saga. The last book in the series, Belonging, was just release last month by Wings ePress. In this interview Nancy talks about her inspiration, book romotion and her forthcoming projects, among other things.
Welcome to Blogcritics, Nancy. It's nice to have you here. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your book, and what inspired you to write such a story?
Seperate Worlds completes the Taylor banking family trilogy. The third generation of the famous Taylor banking family, Taylor, Lily and Amanda Pickett leave the U.S. for France with James in pursuit of his title Duke of LaFevre. In 1914, Château Rose finally becomes a paying endeavor in time for the invasion of WWI. Lily’s trapped in Brussels where her only chance of survival is to betray her family. James decries Lily’s murderous ways then becomes caught in a similar web. When Amanda becomes a victim of her mother’s obsessive ex-lover, they both pay a heavy price. Unable to communicate they each fight their private war and fault the methods used by the others to survive.
The Pawn introduces this series. Historically based the trilogy begins with a single woman born into a strict, austere community of Elders who expect her to overcome the willfulness, ambitions and coveting that rules her. Her flight leads her to become The Pawn in a plot to destroy everything and everyone she loves. Belonging, book II, continues the Taylors’ pursuit of dreams and their need for roots.
The cover of each book is a “jewel”, i.e. blue sapphire necklace, emerald pin and ring, and ruby in a silver medallion. The gems serve a purpose in the stories with their purported emotional influences, i.e., peacefulness, envy, and rage, but in contrast to the battle each wearer believes she is staging. The series is about strong women who butt heads with rules, survive by their own determination, fool themselves along the way and pay the price of their independence. And, about family relationships and how our flaws and personal desires weighed against the pressures of outside expectations can destroy our dreams or force us to fight harder.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this novel? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline? How long did it take you to write it?
The series begins in Illinois where I was born and is based on religious followings of my Grandparents. The story travels to St. Louis and onto Bisbee, Arizona, places near where I have lived. Each of these communities bubble with history and influenced me heavily on how we repeat what has gone before — adding very little except modern conveniences. Our basic desires and coping mechanisms remain the same. I researched for years building a timeline, a theme, until Josefina Taylor invaded my nights to the point I couldn’t sleep and interrupted my days with such blatant intrusion it became impossible to conduct a normal conversation without her butting in to “tell her story.” Once the writing process began, The Pawn and Belonging flowed for two years — as steady as my physical strength could handle. Editing and marketing ate up more time. Then Seperate Worlds, researching WWI for accuracy and communicating with friends in Europe, took over a year. To answer your question, actual sitting at the computer writing time took three and a half years, but the total time beginning to end took almost seven years.