• Author

Nancy Wikarski is a fugitive from academia. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, she became a computer consultant and then turned to historical mystery and thriller writing.

She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Society of Midland Authors, and has served as vice president of Sisters in Crime - Twin Cities and on the programming board of the Chicago chapter. Her short stories have appeared in Futures Magazine and DIME Anthology, while her book reviews have been featured in Murder: Past Tense and Deadly Pleasures.

Her novels include the Gilded Age Chicago Mysteries set in 1890s Chicago. The series has received People's Choice Award nominations for best first novel and best historical. The award-nominated seven-volume Arkana Archaeology Thriller Series is an Amazon bestseller.

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1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your hobbies and interests.

I spent a few decades in the business world as a technology consultant before I got around to writing my first novel. Since that time, building a backlist and working to pay the bills has taken up all my spare time. When I can find a few hours for fun, I enjoy gardening and hiking in nature.

2. When and why did you start writing books?

When I hit forty, I had a midlife crisis. I'd been working for large corporations ever since I finished school, even though my childhood dream had always been to write. Shortly after my fortieth birthday, I had an epiphany. If I hadn't written my first book four decades down the road, when was I going to start?

3. What made you decide to tackle writing as a career?


4. Which one of your books or characters is your favourite?

I love all my characters, even the villains because through them I can indulge my dark side. I suppose my two favorites are the protagonists of my two series--Evangeline and Cassie. I identify most closely with them on a personal level.

5. Which one of your books was the hardest to write and stretched you the most as a writer?

The entire Arkana Thriller Series was hard to write because the story involves a global treasure hunt across multiple continents. I had to stretch to figure out how to capture the essence of places I had never visited.

6. Who is your favourite author and book?

Jane Austen for her subtle wit. Pride and Prejudice for its elegant social commentary. More recently, I became entranced with H. Rider Haggard's SHE series. I happened to be writing a book that was set in Africa at the time, so his eye for geographic detail helped me quite a lot.

7. What book are you reading right now?

I just finished a wickedly funny social satire called Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen. Having spent some time in rural Florida, I understand the world of his eccentric characters.

8. Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

The plots usually involve a psychological problem that I'm trying to sort out for myself fictionally. As for the source of the inspiration, I think I've just been blessed (or cursed) with a hyperactive imagination.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I don't have any spare time. I'll let you know what I do when I do.

10. Do you have any new books in the works?

I just finished THE BLACK WIDOW'S PREY (Book 3 in the Gilded Age Chicago Mysteries). My next project will be to revisit my Arkana characters and give them a new adventure in a spinoff series called The Trove Chronicles. The first book in that group should be out toward the end of 2022.