Blanton - A Little Interview That Grew

Nancy was recently interviewed for our newsletter and the questions sparked such great answers, we just couldn't leave anything out.

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Nancy Blanton writes compelling historical fiction set in 17th-century Ireland. 

Her novels transport the reader through a turbulent, exciting era and riveting tales of war, love, families and clans.

Nancy’s writing is elegant and clear, but you’ll find that the people, landscapes and stories that draw you in. Her next book, The Noblest Share of Earth, is currently with an editor in London and should be available in time for Christmas. (Santa, are you listening?)

Blanton on Writing

Q1. Describe yourself in three words.

A1. Dreamer. Introvert. Seeker.


Q2. Every first book has a story. Tell us the story of your latest book.

A2. My latest is my 5th novel set in 17th-century Ireland. I’ve focused on Ireland because of my own heritage, and on the 17th-century because it’s so often overlooked. The settings are amazing and stories abundant. This book was inspired by my visit to County Donegal. The Noblest Share of Earth brings to life the true story of Sir Cahir and Lady Maire O’Doherty in their struggle to maintain clan leadership, protect the fertile homelands of Inishowen, and maintain their family heritage though the English plantation scheme is closing in. The story is exciting, emotional, and at times astonishing.

Q3. What has writing taught you about life? 

A3. Mostly, life is fraught with struggles, and every struggle is a story. If I’m willing to dig in, I’ll be rewarded with the most amazing gems. The challenges of writing have forced me to grow and to test my own powers, especially when I’ve wanted to give up or hide. I’ve learned to recognize certain signals and follow where they lead.

Q4.What has life taught you about writing?


A4. There is a place within that’s impossible to explore without writing. The act of writing releases what’s been buried inside, strengthening self-knowledge and confidence. Writing has given me a sense of purpose that compels, reveals, and sustains.

Advice for the Rest of Us

Q5. If you could go away anywhere in the world to write or read for a week—where would you go?


A5. I’m mixed on this one. My husband and I have visited Ambergris Cay in Belize three times. It was a wonderful, breezy, quiet place, perfect for writing, but it also made me want to relax and do nothing! If I’m writing about Ireland (which is always), I’d like to be in a gorgeous restored castle with a view of the ocean and someone bringing me tea and chocolate. 

Q6.    What advice do you have for other writers?


A6. Avoid self-doubt. The tactic that has worked for me is to establish a mission and dedicate myself to its completion. That way, it’s not about me but always about the mission. I must move forward, no matter what, in its service. And, if the mission is well stated, you always know what comes next. My mission is to complete a series of historical novels that span the 17th century, a time of sweeping change for Ireland. I’m still at it.

Q7.    What are you writing now?


A7. In April, I completed my most recent book, which I mentioned previously. It’s with an editor in London, and when it returns, I’ll focus on revisions and production. I expect it will be available for purchase in time for Christmas. After that, I’ll begin research for my next book in the series, which will take place during the reign of King Charles II of England.

Wrapping  Up...  and Inspiration

Q8. Do you have pets? Do they interfere with your writing?

Q9.    Tell us the best advice you ever got about writing.


A9. This falls more in the realm of encouragement than advice, but it has been very powerful for me. A dear friend, Ed Mailey, who has since passed away, sent me this note and Emily Dickinson poem:  

A8. Seriously, does this answer the question?

"Just a refresher course on what you are doing and why it so important: 

There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away

Nor any Coursers like a Page

Of prancing Poetry –

This Traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of Toll –

How frugal is the Chariot

That bears the Human Soul –


Nancy, whenever you think you can't go on, read that poem.”

Q10.    Which remarkable book should we go read right now?

A10. I still love each of my books and generally recommend The Prince of Glencurragh as the best place to start. It’s the first of three of my books that make a consecutive series. Many of my readers love the political intrigue of The Earl in Black Armor, the last book in that series.


Q11.   Tell us something about yourself that few people know.

A11. My first job after graduating from journalism school at the University of Florida was gift wrapping at JC Penney. I liked it! We all have to start somewhere, right? A couple of my friends stopped by to wave their shopping bags and make fun of me, but I didn’t care. I had a paycheck, and I was good at my work!