Welcome to Writers4Higher
This issue, Writers4Higher features
Hi, Nancy. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
Tell me about yourself. Your book, your life, your inspiration.
Washed in the Water: Tales from the South is my debut collection of short stories. Roughly, the collection is a collage of people and events garnered from different places over time liberally dusted with fiction. I grew up in the Deep South on a tobacco farm in north Florida. My mother was a high school history teacher and one of three liberals on the faculty. My dad was a hog farmer. I had a horse during those years and rode the dirt roads in my community with abandon until I left home for college. (People still ask if I have horses. I do.) My years growing up were years when the South was experiencing racial, social and political upheaval. These struggles colored my perceptions with a broad brush. The grinding poverty, complex civil rights issues, cultural challenges, and the people found in my work exist in the South today. They wear slightly different clothing but are nonetheless still there. The good coexist with the bad, the kind with the harsh, and the beautiful with the ugly.
I left home after college and moved, first to Georgia, then west, living for various periods in Texas and California. As I have grown older, I have come to respect and value that humid mosaic called home. In fact, the South takes on the role of a character in my tales.
Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
I do not have a vision nor compass for my writing. I write because I enjoy it. I love honing words, distilling thoughts, poking around in the past, and seeing the world in word pictures. Reading and writing transport me to other realms. Publishing is a way of validating my thoughts and perceptions. I do not consider a book an end in its self. But, having said that, I hope to write another collection of tales set in the South, a collection of stories set in the racing world, and maybe more western short stories. I hope my readers walk through a new door and begin to see the South differently.
How do you use your talents/time to help others?
I belong to two critique groups that meet weekly. Through those groups I support and mentor other writers. I listen with a thankful heart when other people talk about their ambitions. I offer workshops and readings. I volunteer in the community, support local business, and make every effort to stay connected with friends.
I try to write daily – usually in the morning. I get grumpy when days go by and I don’t get to "write" despite doing "writerly things." Example, recently a community wide literary festival was offered to the general public largely hosted by my library. As part of that, I wrote speaker introductions, PR clips, info on our workshops, and assisted with the full day author presentations. Although exciting, I felt exhausted from all the new information and ideas and grew anxious to get back to my own writing. Stories come in all shades and shapes at all times of day and evening. A word, a phrase, an interaction, an overheard conversation, a reflection pops up and a story starts to spin out. I carry a notebook and jot down ideas, words, and phrases – whatever strikes me.
At one time I rode to the hounds over fences, English style. The rallying cry in the hunt field was "Kick on," meaning to ride forward no matter the trappy terrain or height of the jump. Now I shout "Write on!" Same idea. I plan to write so long as the distilling of experience gives me joy and makes my readers think.
Would you like to find Nancy?
Check out the links to this talented author:
Nancy Hartney's Website
Nancy Hartney's Blog
Order Washed in the Water: Tales from the South