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Journalist turned murderer? How did that happen? Nancy A. Hughes followed her dream from PR, community, and media relations to writing mystery novels. Her debut book, The Dying Hour, was launched September 16, 2016. A Matter of Trust will follow in 2017, both published by Black Opal Books. Three additional mystery novels will follow.

Living in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, she is inspired by her beloved garden; her “big green cathedral.” Working with perennials and flowers clears her mind, letting inspiration enter about good gals and bad guys and which poison mushroom or weapon to choose.

Nothing encourages her more, however than visiting old friends and making new ones at the Mystery Writers of America's New York chapter meetings in Manhattan. MWA and Sisters In Crime energize her with industry news and professional direction. She hopes her stories entertain, inspire, and provide escape for readers who love a mystery.

 

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Spring Township author's persistence pays off By Susan Shelly

By Susan Shelly - Reading Eagle correspondent Monday January 2, 2017 12:01 AM

Nancy Hughes of Spring Township began creating stories as a child, weaving tales based on overheard conversations or events that she observed.

Her love of stories led to a love of writing, which, after many years of effort, has resulted in the publication of her first mystery novel, "The Dying Hour."

Released in October by Oregon-based Black Opal Books, "The Dying Hour" is the tale of a serial killer who routinely kills hospice patients in a veteran's hospital. It is the first of five mystery books for which Black Opal has contracted her.

Hughes started writing her first mystery shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. That book, titled "A Matter of Trust," is one of a series of three books to be published by Black Opal over the next several years. She also is contracted to write a sequel to "The Dying Hour."

"If nothing else, I am persistent," Hughes said. "I started this venture in 2001 and didn't find a publisher who wanted my books until 2015. It took a while, but then one day I got a lovely email saying they wanted to publish my book."

"The Dying Hour" was officially launched in November during a book signing at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York. A

 member of The Mystery Writers of America organization, Hughes regularly attends meetings and events in the city.

"Being a member of that group is a great networking opportunity," she said. "I've met so many people there and learned so much."

Hughes got the idea for the storyline of "The Dying Hour" during her work as a volunteer at the VA hospital in Lebanon.

While all the characters in the book are fictitious, she employed her knowledge of the hospital and the type of care provided there to form the basis of the story.

After carefully outlining the plot she created the book's characters, which feature a troubled 5-year-old boy, a Vietnam veteran who is a hospice patient and an unrelenting killer.

After that, she said, the really fun part of her work begins.

"Then I get the most fun of all, which is researching all the details of the book," Hughes said.

She is meticulous in her research and writing, working hard to assure that the manuscript she sends to the publisher is as perfect as possible.

"I try so hard to make sure the craft is as good as the story," she said.

Hughes, who writes from an office in her home, has been a fan of mystery books since she was a child. Blessed with a lively imagination, she began spinning stories of her own at a young age.

"I have a very vivid imagination," she said. "Creating stories is something I've always done. Anytime I needed a distraction I would make up a story."

Hughes graduated from Penn State University, planning for a career in advertising. She eventually started her own media relations and marketing business, working from home while her children were small.

 As both her children and her business grew, she needed to make a decision.

"I got to the point where my business either had to get a lot bigger, or I had to find something else to do," she recalled.

Her writing career began after her youngest child graduated from college, and she hasn't looked back.

"I'm having so much fun," she said. "I'm just thrilled that Black Opal wanted all five books. My mind now is free to create, learn and grow, and I'm looking forward to spending time with other mystery writers and friends."

"A Matter of Trust," which is the story of a young, recently widowed banker who uncovers a loan scam at her new job and eventually discovers the killer of her husband, is set for publication in late spring or early summer.

"Redeeming Trust" and "Vanishing Trust" fill out the rest of the three-book series. She also is working on a sequel to "The Dying Hour," called "The Innocent Hour."

Contact Susan Shelly: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Reprinted with permission - Original article at: http://www.readingeagle.com/life/article/spring-township-authors-persistence-pays-off

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Nancy’s summer office, built of
hundred-year-old barn boards.
Tranquility and murder plots inspire crime fiction.
©2017 Nancy A. Hughes. All Rights Reserved.

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