Winning Texas – Author Interview

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Nancy Stancill 

Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Date of Publication: April 26, 2016

# of pages: 230

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When a female body is found floating in the Houston Ship Channel, Annie Price, an investigative journalist for a struggling Houston newspaper, is propelled into a dangerous web of intrigue. She must solve a complex mystery that includes a corrupt strip club empire, a ruthless human trafficking scheme, and deadly competition between two separatist groups seeking to impose their twisted visions on the Lone Star State. As two murders hit close to home, Annie and a fellow reporter risk death to expose the hidden secrets of a Texas ranch.


“Sex traffickers and guns-for-hire meet in a nefarious plot to see Texas secede and America shaken to its core. Witty, gritty and filled with brilliantly realized characters, this book is a pure delight for lovers of suspense as the ever-dogged Annie Price risks life and limb to uncover the truth.”

– Tony D’Souza, author of Mule

Winning Texas is a moody thriller, an ode to people with outsized dreams and the ones they prey on; to those who populate the city by day, and those who rule the night. In the wake of L.A.-noir and Florida glare, Nancy Stancill gives us Bayou City grime. In her pages, Houston seduces and leaves us breathless, begging for more.”

– Stefan Kiesbye, author of The Staked Plains

Nancy Stancill “captures a newsroom’s camaraderie and angst . . . while her descriptions of Houston and the whole of Texas make you feel the heat and see its beauty.”

– Mary Cornatzer, The News & Observer





How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

I lived in Texas for fifteen years and thoroughly identified with it. Even though I now live in North Carolina, Texas is embedded into my soul. It’s the only state I’ve ever wanted to write about. I love the grittiness of Houston, the swaying palms of the Rio Grande Valley, the balmy beaches of the coast, the San Antonio River Walk lit up for Christmas and the rolling beauty of the Texas Hill Country. But most of all, I love West Texas, which I consider my spiritual home. One of my favorite places in the world is Big Bend National Park. I love the wide-open spaces, the harsh cragginess of the mountains and the feeling of endless vistas.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I love reading mysteries and thrillers when they’re done well with deep characters. I started reading Agatha Christie murder mysteries when I was twelve and have always enjoyed a well-crafted suspense novel. I want to bring literary quality to everything I write and believe in creating well-rounded characters with the depth to surprise. I knew I wanted to write about a female investigative reporter because I believe investigative reporters are detectives with a noble mission — to expose wrongdoing and inform the public.

What did you enjoy about writing this book?

I must confess that I enjoyed researching the modern strip club industry. I’ve done investigative stories about those businesses in the past and for this book, I revisited that strange but interesting world. In fact, I took my husband with me on a visit to a Houston strip club and just soaked in the atmosphere. I think he was embarrassed to be there, but he was a good sport about it. That’s what I liked about reporting — you could go anywhere and see and learn about things that most people either don’t think about or don’t see.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

I think the biggest challenge for me was juggling a lot of characters. My first book had fewer characters and a simpler plot. Winning Texas has a lot of elements — a corrupt strip club mogul, a deadly nest of secessionists, a failing newspaper, a group of Albanian stowaways, Annie’s complicated love life and the mysteries of a hidden ranch. Chapters are written in different points of view and everything — or almost everything — comes together at the end. It was fun, but difficult, to write this kind of book.

Who would you cast to play in the movie version of your book?

I haven’t thought much about the male characters but I visualize Annie Price being played either by Jennifer Lawrence or Julia Roberts. I guess that’s because Annie is just a hair under six feet tall and Jennifer and Julia are both five feet ten or eleven! They both have the moxie and the assertiveness to play a reporter as well!


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Nancy Stancill spent more than 30 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before she began writing fiction full-time. She was an award-winning investigative reporter at the Houston Chronicle and the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer and worked as a reporter and editor at other newspapers in Texas, Virginia and California. Stancill is a journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and received her master’s in creative writing from the University of Tampa in Florida in 2015.  She and her husband lived in London for three years before moving back to the United States in 2012.  She has a son in Virginia and she lives in Charlotte, N.C. with her husband, Len Norman, and black cat, Spud. Saving Texas was her first novel. Winning Texas is her second.

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* Signed Copies of Winning Texas and Saving Texas *

* $15 Starbucks Gift Card * 


  June 30 – July 9, 2016

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Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

6/30    Texas Book Lover  – Promo

7/1       The Librarian Talks – Review

7/2       Margie’s Must Reads – Excerpt

7/3       A Novel Reality — Promo

7/4       Country Girl Bookaholic  – Review

7/5       The Crazy Booksellers  – Promo

7/6       The Page Unbound  – Guest Post

7/7       Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Review

7/8       Forgotten Winds – Author Interview                    

7/9       StoreyBook Reviews  – Review


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