Nancy is offering to one randomly chosen commenter their choice of either one of her novels or a $10 Amazon Gift card--a very sweet deal! The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 10th, between 4-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks! Here's Nancy's Amazon link if you'd like to consider her novels:
Questions for Nancy
I’ve known you during your pre-published days of fiction, when you wrote strictly non-fiction for a variety of periodicals. Did this background help or hamper you with the creativity of fiction? Did this background leave an impression with your fiction editor?
Actually, I have been writing fiction ever since I created picture books for fellow students in elementary school. I wrote my first novel in a high school creative writing class. A novel I began when I was 17, that has been rewritten numerous times, is to be published by Crimson in the future as “Champagne for Breakfast.” I’ve always enjoyed writing non-fiction as well. I began as a reporter for a small local newspaper called “In the Neighborhood” and won a small press award for a feature story. I proceeded to write for trade publications, local consumer magazines and authored a local history book. This led to the “Cleveland, Ohio: A Photographic Portrait” book. This was an interesting project because the publisher is out of Mass. And the editor contacted me.
Being able to write both non-fiction and fiction is a bit of an anomaly, so I’ve been told. They are two different animals. In non-fiction, it’s essentially “telling.” In fiction, it’s “show don’t tell.” I do find that I have a habit of “telling” in my fiction, especially through description. Since I used to specialize in architecture, I tend to over-describe exterior, interior design and landscapes. I used to write some travel pieces, so some of my description probably reads like a travelogue.
I think that fiction editors are impressed with anyone who has previous publishing credentials and experience in working with an editorial staff and meeting deadlines. I believe that penning the “Cleveland Portrait” book added more credibility to my resume.
Your publisher, Crimson Romance, is a small publisher. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with this size publisher?
Ah, so many people are under the assumption that Crimson Romance is a small publisher. It isn’t. Crimson Romance is the new women’s fiction imprint from F&W Media. F&W is a media giant that has been around for 100 or so years. It is the parent company of Writers’ Digest Books and magazine and the famous Cup of Comfort series as well. They are an industry leader in “how to” and craft books. They are a highly successful and established operation. Actually, I decided to query Crimson because it is a part of a larger entity with a track record in the industry. Romance and women’s fiction is what Crimson offers and it’s a new imprint and has had some growing pains as any new endeavor encounters. Crimson is the offspring of a major corporation.
I find that my novels and the novels of my fellow Crimson authors lean toward being more mainstream women’s fiction and less formula romance. I, like many of my fellow Crimson authors felt rather orphaned in the publishing world because our books are unique and don’t fit category romance and are a hybrid of romance and mainstream, having the “happily ever after.” Crimson has taken chances with the “different.”
My first novel, Paradise Found was published with a credible small publisher. However, the publisher did not survive in the competitive marketplace. Thus, I was very careful about who I would query. BTW, that book has been re-issued as a self-published novel.
You’re also a wonderful dancer and instructor of Middle Eastern dance. What attracted you to this type of dance? What has it taught you about being a woman?
Ever since high school, I have made a point to learn at least two new skills a year. I’ve managed to keep that goal. One class was Middle Eastern dance offered through an adult recreation department. It was taught by a famous local cabaret dancer. I was hooked by the history, culture, music, the sensuous movement and the fact that it is the world’s oldest dance and a dance of female empowerment. The dance is great exercise, reduces stress, aids in enhancing self-esteem and body acceptance, is ageless and timeless and creates self-confidence. It brings out the earth mother and femininity in women. I’m an instructor and a performer at family-friendly events.
I do tend to get teased and eyebrows are often raised when I’m introduced as a belly dancing romance writer!
For several years now you’ve taught both dance and writing at the legendary Chautauqua Institute. I just spied wonderful words from you on Facebook today: “Scarlett had Tara, I have Chautauqua.” Can you elaborate?
I was introduced to the esteemed Chautauqua Institution by a friend at my church (The First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland). He had taught a class on the Dead Sea Scrolls through the Institution’s Special Studies program and urged me to apply. I did so. Since thousands of people apply to instruct at intervals throughout the nine-week “Season” and a couple hundred or so get accepted, I wasn’t expecting much. Surprise, I was accepted to teach belly dance. A couple of years ago, I was the first non-ballet performer to lecture and perform before their prestigious dance circle and last year was featured in their promotional videos. I was even featured in The Chautauquan Daily newspaper! This year will be my sixth instructing dance. Yes, I have to re-apply every year. In addition, I will be teaching a writing course for the second time. Spending three weeks on the grounds of the Institution is like returning to my Tara. I leave my husband, dogs and problems back home and escape to the “Disneyland for intellectuals” on scenic Chautauqua Lake. For nine weeks in the summer, the Institution is a gated educational community with renowned speakers, entertainers, educators and religious leaders. It has a Christian basis, having been established initially as a retreat place for Methodist ministers and their families. It is world-renowned and it’s an honor to be selected as an instructor. Chautauqua stimulates my mind, is a sort of religious retreat and an escape from the “real” world. It hearkens back to a simpler and safer time. Love it!
I enjoy reading both CBA Christian fiction and ABA fiction. You write sensual romance, yet what in your stories may appear to the reader who enjoys both kinds of markets?
My novels are more mainstream romance. However, I notice a pattern in my books about the past influencing the future in my character’s lives. My characters are decent human beings with real human issues and predicaments. Yet, what I like most about romance, is the “happily ever after.” I read once that Oprah stated that she doesn’t read romance because “happily ever after doesn’t exist” I beg to differ. Thus, I consider my books “fairy tales for adults.” My future Crimson release, “Special Angel” has a very spiritual slant. No, it isn’t about angels! Also, if you edit out the sensual scenes from my novels, you still have a story. My characters are in committed relationships and lovemaking does not define them or their relationships, it is just part of their lives, as it is so often in “real” life.
You are a huge animal lover—even leading llamas and camels down your church aisle for the Christmas pageant. Can you share a particular funny story with us?
Yes, I love animals. I helped create the initial Christmas Eve pageant in my church, which is a telling of the Christmas story through words, music, costumes and sets and animals. It’s become a big tradition and people of all religions attend it as part of their holiday celebration. When planning the pageant, the executive minister was discussing the pageant with me and another committee member when the senior minister scoffed saying, “Farm animals have no place in the Sanctuary.” I piped in by saying, “But Christ was born in a stable surrounded by animals and was placed in an animal trough.” Complete silence. The pageant was born and, apparently, without objection to a camel, sheep, goats, a donkey, a cow, ducks and llama being in the church. Yes, I lead a llama down the aisle as the lead servant girl preceding the entrance of the Three Kings.
What do you hope your reader takes away with her upon finishing one of your novels?
I hope that my readers are entertained, educated (as I like unusual locations, settings, and occupations) and believe in “happily ever after.”
Visit with Nancy Loyan Schuemann: romance author & Middle Eastern Dancer. (Tweet This)
“I hope that my readers are entertained…and believe in ‘happily ever after.’” (Tweet This)
“Middle Eastern dance…brings out the earth mother and femininity in women.” (Tweet This)
After graduating with a BSBA degree in marketing from John Carroll University, Nancy Loyan pursued a career in sales and marketing, and freelance writing, specializing in construction, design, architecture, histories, profiles, antique safes, dance, travel and special interest in local and national publications. She has taught writing at the prestigious Chautauqua Institution in New York State.
Nancy is a Cleveland, Ohio native who shares her knowledge of the city as author of Cleveland, Ohio: A Photographic Portrait and On the Threshold of a New Century: The City of South Euclid, 1967-1999. Her love, however, is writing women’s fiction. Her first novel, Paradise Found, a multicultural romance set in the exotic Seychelles Islands was published in 2011 with electronic book publisher, InnerVision Books and, later self-published. She has since contracted with Crimson Romance, an imprint of F&W Media (Writer’s Digest Books, Cup of Comfort among others) for six novels. Three are currently available: Lab Test, Hearts of Steel and Wishes and Tears.
In addition to traveling around the world, Nancy teaches and performs, Middle Eastern dance as “Nailah” (www.NailahDance.com) She shares her life with her husband, Bill, and her Pointer/Labs, Amber and Topaz. Her web site is www.NLSScribe.com
You can also find Nancy at: