Nancy Yeager joins The Spotlight to discuss her latest novel, When We Were Friends

Author Name: Nancy Yeager

Book Title: When We Were Friends

Book Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: Oct. 25, 2022

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Welcome, Nancy! How would you describe When We Were Friends?

What would you do for your best friend? When We Were Friends is a heartwarming story about the power of women’s friendships and the lengths we’ll go to for the people we love.

What sparked the idea for this book?

For me, book ideas are the result of multiple disparate elements tumbling around in my mind until they stick together. In this case, it started with the political zeitgeist of 2018, the year I started writing the story in earnest. As an American woman, I was thinking about threats to women’s bodily autonomy, the effects of unintended pregnancy, and how poverty impacts those issues. As a writer, I’ve always wanted to write a caper. When those ideas came together, the idea of an unintended pregnancy leading to a small, non-violent crime spree became the seed of this novel.

But when I started actually writing the story, the caper plot was not where the juice was for me. I kept thinking, then what? These two women are not criminal masterminds; they’re going to get caught, and then what? So I looked five years into their future and started writing about that instead. They did get caught, and one of the women took the rap and went to prison, while the other hobbled together a seemingly decent life. But when they meet again, they’re each broken in different places, and are each holding on to fragments of their shattered friendship. The real story, for me, was about how—and even if—their lives could fit together again.

The idea of women’s friendship, and specifically best friendship, was last piece of the story puzzle for me. My own best friend died several years ago. I’d love to share one more heart-to-heart conversation, one more laugh, one more hug with her. But I can’t. But Frannie and Lexi, my fictional BFFs, could. I wrote an ending for their story that I couldn’t have in real life. And when I had that epiphany, I knew I’d found the heart of this book.

What do you hope readers will take away from this story?

The short answer is: I hope When We Were Friends makes readers want to hug their best friends, then hand this book to them to read as well!

The longer answer is that I hope this story makes readers appreciate the women—the friends, mothers, sisters—who stand by them through everything. When I fall in love with a book, it’s usually because the people and events in the story make me think about my own real-life relationships. I hope this book gives readers “all the feels” about the women, especially the friends, in their own lives.

Any words of wisdom you give your pre-published writer self (or to a new writer)?

There is no one true path to publishing success, nor even one true definition of what constitutes success. You have to find your own way and keep your eyes on your own paper. Comparison really is the thief of joy in this industry. Celebrate the successes of fellow authors, of course! But also enjoy your own journey, celebrate your own successes, large and small, and find a community who will celebrate with you.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

Wait, authors are allowed to have non-reading and writing interests? I might be doing this wrong…

Actually, I love taking on physical challenges, and since I am not a natural athlete, it’s easy to find hard things to try. As a baseline, I hike, bike, weight train, and practice yoga. I’ve also taken Krav Maga and HIIT classes, and regularly sign up for 30- and 90-day fitness boot camps. My next new challenge will be rock-wall climbing. But—and it feels like I say this every time I’m about to start a new adventure—I’m waiting for an injury to heal first. (Because in my case, “not a natural athlete” = many injuries.)

Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.

I’m always working on a new project, and usually more than one, as I write in multiple genres and under a separate pen name.

My next commercial/women’s fiction story will go out to my beta readers in February. I’m going to redact the working title for a number of reasons, but I can say the story follows two high-profile frenemies whose online antics get them “canceled,” and then their respective lives fall apart. They go on a journey to rebuild their relationships, their online images, and, ultimately, themselves. (And there’s so much more to the story! But that’s all I can say for now.)

Where can readers find you?

My website is the best place to learn about my books and upcoming events in one convenient location! While there, readers can sign up for my newsletter, and check out the book-club page where they’ll find everything from a story playlist to discussion questions, as well as contact information to invite me to virtually attend book-club discussions about When We Were Friends.

In February, I’ll be doing an Amazon Live event, and a multi-author interview on the Launch Pad podcast. I hope to add some in-person events to my calendar in March. I’ll have links to all of my events on my website.



Book Club Page:

Thank you, Nancy! When We Were Friends is out NOW.

They were best friends. Sisters of the heart. Partners in crime. Until they got caught…

Five years ago, Frannie Willets committed grand larceny to help her best friend, Lexi Maddox, escape an awful situation. Now paroled and prospectless, Frannie needs to disappear from her dead-end life. To do so, she’ll need her share of the stolen money that Lexi has been hiding all these years. But Lexi has other plans.

By all appearances, Lexi is thriving, but in truth, nothing in her life is going according to plan. She can’t carry a pregnancy to term, her sweet stepdaughter hates her, and even the family’s new rescue dog knows she’s a failure. Lexi’s only path to happiness is making amends with the friend she dearly misses. But the only thing Frannie wants from Lexi is cash.

Out of desperation, Lexi offers Frannie all the money, with one catch: Frannie must stick around for one month. Stranded in their suffocating small town, Frannie gets tangled up in Lexi’s issues, her mother’s questionable dating life, a lonely kid’s desperate attempts to find friends, and a high-school crush’s fantasies about what could have been. Suddenly, leaving doesn’t look as easy as it once did. But when an old enemy surfaces, Frannie realizes staying endangers everyone she loves. And even though she might have found her heart’s true home, there’s no guarantee she can keep it.

Author Bio:

Nancy spent her early years longing to be an English countryside vet thanks to James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small series and dreaming of being an adventurist-archaeologist thanks to George Lucas’s Indiana Jones character. After studying veterinary pre-med and earning an anthropology degree, she realized her true passion is story in all its forms.

When she’s not reading, writing, or binge-watching stories, she’s often pursuing a physical challenge like studying Krav Maga or aspiring to achieve the perfect crow pose. She also spends her time drinking too much coffee, not enough red wine, and just the right amount of bourbon. She lives in Maryland with her fabulous family, which includes some very spoiled rescue cats.