Friday, January 18, 2013

#BookChat DUE DATE by Nancy Wood #mystery #womensfiction

Short synopsis
Surrogate mother Shelby McDougall just fell for the biggest con of all—a scam that risks her life and the lives of her unborn twins.

Twenty-three year-old Shelby McDougall, recent college graduate, is facing a mountain of student debt and carting a burden she'd like to exorcise. A Rolling Stone ad for a surrogate mother offers her a way to erase the loans and right her karmic place in the cosmos. Within a month, she's signed a contract with intended parents Jackson and Diane Entwistle, relocated to Santa Cruz, California, and started fertility treatments.

But Jackson and Diane have their own secret agenda, one that has nothing to do with diapers and lullabies. With her due date looming and the clues piling up, Shelby must save herself and her twins. As she uses her wits to survive, Shelby learns the real meaning of the word “family.”

From the author
I’ve always been intrigued by open adoptions, where the birth mother and parents maintain a relationship after the birth. I had written a book about an open adoption and took it to a conference, where the leader and other participants suggested I turn it into a mystery. At first, the idea seemed impossible. How could I write a mystery and plant all those clues in way that would make sense? But I decided to give it a try, using a surrogate mother as the amateur sleuth. Part of the reason I used a surrogate mom for the protagonist was that I wanted to get the reader thinking about surrogacy. What would it be like to carry a baby for someone else? Would the money factor into it? What would the relationship between the surrogate mom and the intended parents be like? And how would it all play out after the baby was born?

Reader’s reactions
"With her debut novel Nancy Wood firmly places herself in the Mystery and Thriller genres. The book grabbed my attention from the hit-you-with-a-right-punch opening, through plot twists that kept me glued to the pages." --Jodi Hanson, Chapters and Chats

"This is not only one great suspense novel that has it all -- mystery, action, adventure, and romance, but it also gets you to thinking about surrogacy with all the possible pros and cons. Nancy W. Wood has written one great book that offers something for everyone's taste...Ms. Wood is a talented writer that you can expect more great books from in the future." -- Anita, The Kindle Book Review

Behind the scenes
I placed DUE DATE in Santa Cruz, California, where I live. At the very last minute, in the few final weeks before publication, I decided to change the names of businesses, even though I’d written the mystery and submitted it with actual business names. I decided to switch the names for a couple of reasons. I didn’t want the name of the business to throw off my readers, if, for example, my description didn’t match their mental picture. I also didn’t want to risk alienating any business owners. I’ve had a nice surprise since the book was released: readers are doing their own sleuthing and figuring out which businesses are which.

I also really enjoy writing about the outdoors: the way the light falls during the day, the clouds, the water, what a person sees on a walk around a neighborhood. I found that placing DUE DATE in Santa Cruz county provided me with ample opportunity to explore the outdoors in a new way, by translating what I was seeing around me into words and sentences. I am lucky to live in an amazing county, that stretches from the Monterey bay to the redwood forest, and I loved being able to use the different landscapes in my writing.

Twitter: @NancyWoodAuthor

About the author
I live in Santa Cruz, California, where I've been lucky enough to make writing my career. For many years I made my living as a technical writer, working in software documentation. 
About six years ago, I was laid off from my job and decided to set up my own shop. Now, I'm a writing consultant for the high tech industry and get to spend every day grappling with words and sentences. I love it!

Due Date, published by Solstice Publishing, came out at the end of May, 2012. This is my first published book. I started it about six years ago, and am now working on the second book in the Shelby McDougall series, which I hope won't take quite so long!

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