Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.
Nancy Alexander devoted her professional life to helping those in need. As a psychotherapist, she provided intensive, reconstructive psychotherapy to those recovering from childhood trauma; as a mental health educator, she developed and delivered comprehensive mental health staff training programs; as the chair of the Maryland Social Work Coalition, she advocated for healthcare, mental health and social justice reforms in Maryland.
In 2017, she and her colleague, Linda Ciotola developed, recorded and launched a comprehensive online training series in Psychodrama, a reparative, expressive treatment modality. The training program can be found at www.ac-ts.com.
Nancy launched her career as an author in 2015. Five of her short stories have been selected for publication in Literary Magazines; three of her novels are available online and she has recorded seven audiobooks. Her most recent novel, Twisted Realms is available in paperback and kindle version, that audiobook will be released shortly.
She is currently working on her 4th novel, Sun Runner. Nancy has been publishing independently and has formed her own production company, NJA Productions.
Her blogs and her novella, entitled Elisabeth, can be found on her website at www.nancyjalexander.com
Wolf: Wow. You’ve been very busy the past few years. If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?
Nancy: A wolf. Wolves are smart, confident and loyal pack animals. Wolf packs coordinate well with each other, care for their cubs collectively and have a high level of respect for pack hierarchy.
Wolf: Thank you. I’m a big fan of wolves myself, for obvious reasons. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?
Nancy: I’d pick my body as a weapon… skilled in the martial arts. I’d always have my weapon with me and be strong enough, well trained enough to fight most foes. The advantage would be surprise, because no attacker would ever suspect I have these many skills.
Wolf: Remind me not to startle you in a dark alley. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?
Nancy: Let them be themselves. I work to create characters who are authentic and internally valid. Once they are created I let them take the lead in the story and support their needs, instincts, conflicts and emotional complexity.
Wolf: Super. I’ve always said people should be who they are. What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?
Nancy: Superimpose my will on them or misunderstand them. My writing works better if, once characters are created, I respect who they are and let them do the things that each particular individual would actually do.
Wolf: You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.
Nancy: I am amazing, full of color, movement, beauty and grace. My flower blossoms are like the hibiscus plant but they cluster around one another forming complex patterns of splashing orange, yellow and red. I am tall and willowy; I stretch high into the sky like Jack’s beanstalk, moving past the clouds, flowing with the breeze; I reach toward the sun.
Wolf: Don’t go too close to the sun. You could get burned. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?
Nancy: I am both. I love all creatures domesticated, wild, farm, aquatic. I have had the pleasure of having many different species through the years of my long life and recognize the gifts each species has brought into my life.
I see cats as living sculptures who bring beauty, warmth and love into my world. Their cuddling warmth, calming purr and soft touchable fur, make them unique family members. They can also bring a sprinkling of chaos. Cats are to be loved, respected, admired and appreciated.
Dogs bring their pack mentality into my world, they are responsive, joyful, and intelligent; dogs move in concert with me bridging the gap between the inside and outside of the home.
My dogs wanted to be with me, listen to me and be one with me. They have loved me as I have loved them. They were my dearest friends.
Wolf: There is a door at the end of a dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?
Nancy: First I’d hide so I could evaluate the sound. Once I knew what it was I would decide whether to run away, stay hidden, call for help or fight. Hopefully by the time I was in this corridor, I’d have my ‘weaponized body’ ready to deal with whatever opened that door!
Wolf: Which of your characters is your favorite?
Nancy: The title character in my Elisabeth Reinhardt series is a fav in that series. She and I are a lot alike, especially when in our therapist role.
As to bad guys in that series, I’d have to say it’s Jake. He’s sociopathy to its core.
In my Olive Grove Series, my fav is Rafi… though he and Ari were identical, I like Rafi’s personality. Their twin-ship is always a pleasure.
Wolf: What story are you working on now?
Nancy: I’m working on my 4th novel, the 2nd in the Olive Grove series called Sun Runner. It’s action-packed, fast-paced, complicated and filled with exciting ‘spy’ things.
Wolf: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Nancy: I have a small private psychotherapy practice and provide consultation services to other therapists. A colleague and I have developed an online training series in a reparative, expressive treatment modality called Psychodrama. Our training series is available online at www.ac-ts.com.
I maintain a blog that leans toward social/political commentary on my website @ www.nancyjalexander.com
I am the president of the Maryland Writers Association, Howard County Chapter; I go to the gym and I see my children and grandchildren as often as possible.
Wolf: Thanks for stopping by. You can learn more about Nancy Alexander by visiting these links.