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Inspirational Women in Their Prime: Nancy A. Hughes

What’s a woman to do when she leaves the big city where she grew up and finds herself in a very small town with few options for a career? That’s the story behind mystery writer Nancy A. Hughes.

Nancy grew up in Pittsburgh, graduated from Penn State in journalism and ended up marrying her love who was of all things, an agricultural banker. His business caused the couple to move to a tiny Pennsylvania town where Nancy had to find a way to use her newly acquired education. So she cobbled together a business writing company and called it Nancy A. Hughes, Public Relations.

For the next ten years, Nancy A. Hughes worked from home helping local businesses and nonprofits with writing and press related projects. After ten years, she decided she needed a steady paycheck to pay for her children’s education. She was hired by a local bank in media and community relations. Nancy was never fully satisfied working for the bank and realized she was most fulfilled being her own boss. When she wrote the last check for her last child’s education, she quit to begin a writing career.

From Small Town PR Firm To Big Time Mystery Writer

The Dying HourNancy realized she always had a creative and vivid imagination. She made a list of things that happened in her life – she loved to read mysteries and remembers being fascinated by Nancy Drew books and the TV show, Murder She Wrote. Writing her first book was easy in comparison to finding a publisher. However, she persevered, and in 2016, Black Opal Books published her first mystery novel, The Dying Hour. The Dying Hour takes place in a VA hospital, an organization where Nancy volunteered for 15 years. “A warm, human story packed with suspense,” said one reviewer on Amazon.

After her initial success with The Dying Hour, Black Opal Books released A Matter of Trust in May of 2017, the first in a three book series. Amazon reviews say, “Hughes is a great story teller.” It was followed by Redeeming Trust published in December of 2017 and the third in the trilogy, Vanished – A Trust Mystery will be released in October of 2018.

We posed a few questions to Nancy so we could get to know her better:

How do you introduce yourself now?

When I meet people who ask what I do, I say “I murder people!” On paper, I say I am a mystery writer.

Describe your daily routine.

I work best in marathon sessions where I write all day and into the night.

Do you have a mentor or person who influenced you early in your career?

My mother, who was an English teacher, and my grandmother, who corrected my English.

When have you been most satisfied in your life?

Volunteering at the VA for 15 years and my marathon writing sessions.

What is your favorite thing about your work now?

Having a publisher who believes in me and holding my books in my own hands.

I also love being a member of the Mystery Writers Association (MWA) where I can network with others in my field.

What do you NOT like doing?

Anything to do with technology. Also it is hard for me to promote myself.

What keeps you awake at night?

I worry about missing deadlines.

What’s on your nightstand?

Linda Castillo’s books about a Chief Detective in a small Amish town in Ohio.

Name a product you can’t live without.

Macbook Pro

Do you have a quote, mantra that inspires you?

Never give up.

Tell us something that might surprise people about you.

I am a gardener and just got “Garden of the Week” in my town.

You can find Nancy’s books on Amazon.

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