Nancy Herriman left Arizona and a career in chemical engineering to return to Ohio, where she began a new career—in writing.

After several years of learning the craft, she won the 2006 Romance Writers of America Daphne du Maurier award for Best Unpublished Mystery/Romantic Suspense. Three years later, she was selected as a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest. This month, Worthy Press releases Nancy’s debut novel, The Irish Healer.

She resides in central Ohio with her husband and two teenaged sons.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? What led to your interest in historical women’s fiction?

Maybe I’m like many writers in that it seems I have always wanted to write. I didn’t start writing until after I’d spent many years as an engineer, however. I write historical fiction because I love the escapism, the absolute ability to lose oneself in another time and place. As I tell people, I live in the contemporary world; I don’t have any desire to write about it. I need to get away!

Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?

There have been many detours in my life, big and small, but the greatest has been a diagnosis of breast cancer last year that was utterly unexpected. I have been forced to reevaluate life and living, learn to fully appreciate all the many blessings I have, and give thanks for them regularly, and value the people I have in my life, so many of whom have given so much to me. In unanticipated ways, the disease has provided numerous blessings.

How does your faith play into your work?

Since I write Christian historical fiction, it’s a vital element of my work. I hope that readers are touched by the themes within my books, and that they are encouraged in their own faith.

Let’s talk about your new book The Irish Healer (Worthy Press, April 2012). Please tell us about it.

The book is set in London during the cholera epidemic of 1832.

Here’s a blurb:

Acquitted of murdering a child under her care, Irish healer Rachel Dunne flees the ensuing scandal and vows to never sit at another sickbed. She no longer trusts in her abilities—or God’s mercy. When a cholera epidemic sweeps through London, though, she is forced to nurse the dying daughter of the enigmatic physician she has come to love. James Edmunds, wearied by the deaths of too many patients, has his own doubts about God’s grace. Together, they will have to face their darkest fears . . . and learn what it means to have real faith.

Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?

I hope that readers come away with the message that, through a sincere trust in God, we can find the strength to heal past wounds and overcome the most fearsome of obstacles. And that even if our faith in God stumbles, He will still be there for us.

As a debut author, what advice would you offer to other writers—young or older—who are just starting out?

I am of the firm belief that you learn the craft by working at it, so keep writing! Also, keep submitting. I spent more than ten years attempting to become published, and it would have been very easy (and many times I was tempted) to give up. The support of fellow writers, and the advice I gleaned from them, has been invaluable. This is not an easy journey to make alone.

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

I’m sure this is a common answer—chocolate!

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?

I love to sing and have fronted a rock bar band, done musical theater, performed with gospel choirs and received training as a classical vocalist. Right now I sing/solo with my church choir as well as with a community chorus. Singing is truly my greatest joy.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

No doubt about it, I’d be a gospel song.

Are you a major or a minor chord?

I’m very drawn to the sound of minor chords, but I feel more a major chord.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

I like to imagine I’m the mysterious woman behind dark glasses, but I dare say most of my friends would claim I’m the strong, female lead.

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

Sadly, due to allergies in my family, we don’t currently have any pets. I grew up  owning dogs, though, and spent my teenage years with a black Hungarian Sheepdog named Skipper. He was a wonderful dog.

Thanks, Nancy. It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.

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For more information about Nancy, visit her website at

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