The Writing Life of: Nancy Peach

Nancy Peach

This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author Nancy Peach. Nancy will be sharing with us details of her writing life, telling us all about her new book ‘Love Life‘, which was released on 16th September 2021, and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.

Nancy Peach

Nancy Peach is a writer of commercial women’s fiction, a mother of three, and an owner of various ridiculous-looking pets including a dog who unexpectedly grew to be the size of a small horse. She is also a practicing doctor working for the NHS and for a national cancer charity, and has been writing (in a terribly British, embarrassed, secretive sort of way) for as long as she can remember.

Nancy has been longlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020, nominated for the Joan Hessayon Award 2021, and shortlisted for the Harper Collins / Gransnet competition 2019. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and is represented by Tanera Simons at Darley-Anderson. Love Life is Nancy’s first novel; a heartwarming, uplifting rom-com with a nod to Jane Austen, described as ‘Pride and Prejudice set in a hospice’.

 

1) Did you enjoy writing when you were a child?

I loved writing at primary school – in fact I was given a room outside the headmaster’s office to write in when I had spare time because I enjoyed making up stories so much (I don’t think it was detention). At secondary school creative writing seemed to fall off the curriculum, so I moved on to writing a diary packed full of self-absorbed teenage angst and drama that thankfully will never see the light of day.

2) Which author shaped your childhood?

Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume in my early childhood – Shirley Conran, Jilly Cooper, Mills and Boon, Stephen King and Catherine Cookson in my teens. I wasn’t exactly a connoisseur of high-brow literature, more a fan of a good story and a hot love interest, but I also adored Vanity Fair, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice (all of which contain those essential ingredients).

3) What motivated you to begin your first novel?

At medical school the writing took a back seat as most of my time was spent sitting exams or revising for them, but once I’d qualified as a doctor I started again and began a novel about a GP who had a variety of interesting patients; like an ‘All Creatures Great and Small,’ but for humans. This ground-breaking work of literature was interrupted by the sequential arrival of three small children in my life and it wasn’t until my mum was diagnosed with early onset dementia that I hit the keyboard once more and started an anonymous blog.

Blogging gave me a chance to rail against the injustices of the world and also laugh about the completely bonkers things that happen when a family is hit by dementia. It was extremely therapeutic, but I also wanted to immerse myself in something entirely fictional and when Trapeze and eHarmony ran a competition for the ‘next great love story’ in 2018 I thought I’d have a go.

My first three chapters were catastrophically awful, I had no idea about structure, no idea about showing not telling – it was a masterclass of bad exposition – but by then I had the bug, and from those first rubbish chapters Love Life was born.

4) Do you plot your book, or are you a pantser?

Following the disastrous unpicking of my first pantsing forays in writing fiction I am now more a plotter. In fact, my favourite part of the writing process is where I absolutely know the sequence of events and can then just enjoy writing the characters, scenes and dialogue to take me to my destination.

5) What is your average writing day?

There genuinely is no such thing for me. The start of my week is spent working in general practice and those are eleven-hour days. It’s often so busy that I barely get a chance to eat, let alone write something other than a prescription. I also work for a cancer charity so I often have meetings and strategic work towards the end of the week.

I fit my writing into my free time, around my kids and family life. It’s my version of ‘me time’ – whereas some people choose to spend that time going to the gym or shopping or partying, I am rarely happier than when I’m reading an amazing book or writing (a marginally less amazing book).

6) What is the best thing about being an author?

Having the permission to spend hours in an imaginary world and being able to read a story that you have invented, whether it’s ever published or not.

Love Life by Nancy Peach

Love Life

Author – Nancy Peach
Publisher – One More Chapter
Pages – 400
Release Date – 16th September 2021
ISBN 13 – 978-0008496265
Format – ebook, paperback, audio

Synopsis

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Yorkshire lass in possession of a career, a house, and a cat, must be in want of a husb― Oh get a grip!

Dr Tess Carter is no starry-eyed Jane Austen heroine. After all, if your dad left without a backward glance and you found your last boyfriend in bed with another guy, you wouldn’t believe in romance either. And the voices in Tess’s head – you know, the ones that tell you you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough – well, these voices are very loud. Very loud indeed. Especially when the proud and disagreeable son of one of her patients starts challenging her every decision.

Edward Russell might have a big job and a posh voice, but Tess is determined not to let him get to her, especially if she can get her inner monologue to stop with the endless self-sabotage. And Edward, it turns out, may be less of a prat than he first appears; he’s certainly handy in a crisis.

In the real world, where gentlemanlike manners and out-of-the-blue declarations of love are a story-book fantasy, it’s up to Tess to decide whose voice to listen to … and how to make her own heard.

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7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?

Luckily my day job gives me ample opportunity to observe human interactions and I have the privilege of working within the field of end-of-life care, so much of my time is spent in a hospice environment. It wasn’t a great leap to imagine a love story in such a venue.

8) How long did it take to go from the ideas stage to writing the last word?

That depends on whether you mean the first draft or final edit. I had a completed manuscript after about six months of writing but it was a mess. There have been two or three major overhauls since then and I even made a few changes in the weeks before publication (three years after I started).

9) What made you choose the genre you write in?

I tend to write women’s commercial fiction and Love Life, my debut, is marketed as a rom-com. But to be honest I think love and romance are at the heart of all universal stories. Surely, it’s impossible to write books and not write about love?

10) How did you come up with the name(s) for your lead character(s)?

I’m not really sure, they just seemed to work. I needed Edward’s name to be suitably ‘well-to-do’ but also to have options for a diminutive version like Eddie for those who knew him well, and I just like the name Tess, it sounds friendly.

Tess’s surname, Carter, is the same as one of my very best friends, also a doctor (although that is where the similarity ends, there’s no way my lovely friend would end up in some of the scrapes that Tess does!). And a few of the minor characters share names with those in Pride and Prejudice – prizes for those who spot them all (no actual prize other than the knowledge of your own literary superiority).

11) Can you give us an insight into your characters?

My publisher has captured this so well I think they do my characters more justice than me, so here’s their blurb:

Dr Tess Carter is no starry-eyed Jane Austen heroine. After all, if your dad left without a backward glance and you found your last boyfriend in bed with another guy, you wouldn’t believe in romance either. And the voices in Tess’s head – you know, the ones that tell you you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough – well, these voices are very loud. Very loud indeed. Especially when the proud and disagreeable son of one of her patients starts challenging her every decision.

Edward Russell might have a big job and a posh voice, but Tess is determined not to let him get to her, especially if she can get her inner monologue to stop with the endless self-sabotage. And Edward, it turns out, may be less of a prat than he first appears; he’s certainly handy in a crisis.

12) How did you feel when you had completed your book?

I’d love to say, ‘elated’ but in reality, I just felt anxious and a bit bereft! There have been times where I felt very conflicted about sharing my book with the rest of the world. I’m quite a private person and putting your debut novel up for public scrutiny does feel like parting with a first-born child (if that child was made of paper).

Fun Questions

Interview penguin 2021

1) Do you have a favourite quote you live by?

‘What would Caitlin Moran do?’

2) Do you have any pets?

I have an enormous dog and a multi coloured tabby tortoiseshell cat. The dog is constantly surprised to find that she lives with a cat and alerts us to her presence on an hourly basis with barking and comedy chases. The cat hates the dog with an intensity bordering on the psychotic. If it wasn’t such carnage I’d have more pets, but the cat would literally leave home.

3) What’s on your current reading list?

I’ve just finished ‘The End of Men’ by Christina Sweeney-Baird. ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles is my current read, and next up is The Imperfect Art of Caring by Jessica Ryn – I loved her last book and cannot wait to read this!

4) Your book has been made into a feature film, you’ve been offered a cameo role, what would you be doing?

I would be working in the hospice café with Dave. As he says, ‘you see all sorts in here.’

5) If you could travel to the fictional world of any book for the day, which would you choose?

One of the most atmospheric books I have read in recent years is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, so I think I’d go to the marshes of North Carolina.

6) There’s a penguin sitting in your writing chair, what is the first thing he says to you?

‘Do you have any more chocolate Hob-Nobs? I appear to have eaten them all. And by the way, your cat has just packed her bags and is headed for darkest Peru.’


I would like to say a big thank you to Nancy Peach for sharing with us details of her writing life and for a wonderful interview.

Author links

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interview Website 2021


Share your thoughts on our interview with Nancy Peach in the comment section below!


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2 Responses

  1. Jo Linsdell says:

    Great interview. I loved reading Love Life. Nice to know more about the author.

  2. DJ Sakata says:

    This paragraph made me snort! “My first three chapters were catastrophically awful, I had no idea about structure, no idea about showing not telling – it was a masterclass of bad exposition – but by then I had the bug, and from those first rubbish chapters Love Life was born.”