Interview with Nancy Peacock

Only 10 more weeks until. . .

Pamlico Writers Conference and Competition’s

The Art & Craft of Writing!

Washington Civic Center, Washington, NC
Saturday, March 8, 2014
9:00 am – 6:00 pm
 And now to begin this week’s interview:

Nancy Peacock

Nancy Peacock’s first novel, Life without Water, was a New York Times Notable Book. She followed with another novel and the memoir, A Broom of One’s Own, about her experiences working as house cleaner while also navigating the literary world. Her latest work is a historical novel, The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson.

Nancy will be presenting a non-fiction session at the second Pamlico Writers Conference on the afternoon of March 8. The title of her session is: “Finding Story in Your Life”. She wrote, “As a memoirist, one has to choose which story to focus on, and decide what parts of your life contribute to the telling of that story. Through exercises and study of personal essays, we will explore these issues.”

In an interview, Nancy shared her thoughts about writing.

Interviewer:  Is there a singular event that led you to become a writer?

Nancy:            I wouldn’t say a singular event, but I would say a single teacher. I was fortunate that my teacher in fourth grade introduced me to the concept of creative writing. Until then, I had never heard of it. She was a remarkable teacher who believed in the arts, and I have always been grateful for her.

Interviewer: Did your writing begin as poetry, short story, non-fiction, etc? And which genre would you now consider to be your “passion”?

Nancy:            I began with poetry, as so many adolescents do.  Poetry is wonderful. I love poetry. But as a young person, I assumed it was an easy form and would be a place to deposit all my teenage angst. I was wrong on both counts. The form I always admired the most was the novel.  And I would say that the novel is my passion today, although I probably read more memoirs than novels. What I really look for in both is good storytelling.

Interviewer: If you also teach, does your writing interface with your teaching?

Nancy:            I feel that teaching others helps me teach myself. Plus I love continuously experiencing beginners’ enthusiasm. It keeps me from becoming too discouraged.

Interviewer: Is some, most, or all of your writing conceived through personal experience?

Nancy:            Some, but I always draw on what we share as human beings, using those emotions and my personal experiences to tap into the lives of my characters.

Interviewer: Do you consider commercial value when choosing subjects and characters for your stories or poems?

Nancy:            Never, and I think it’s foolish to do so. The market does not even know itself, and artists should not be trying to guess its desires. Instead we need to let what we are interested in lead us, which in turn will lead the market.

Interviewer: What is your favorite of all your works? Why?

Nancy:            My favorite is my most recent novel, because it was such a learning curve to write. I learned and grew as a writer, but I also learned so much about the subjects of American slavery and the Comanche Indians. The character who narrates this book is one of the strongest and most honest, and driven characters I have ever worked with. I am still stunned by the experience.

Interviewer: I read the first sentence of that novel on your webpage. I was instantly hooked, and look forward to having you sign it at the conference.

Doris Schneider

For more information on our upcoming conference, presenters, workshops, and panels, visit our website.


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