Nev March 
Historical Mysteries

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Events, thoughts, discussions and epiphanies from author Nev March

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My mystery novel Murder in Old Bombay won MWA's award!

Posted on October 13, 2020 at 6:50 PM

Each year Mystery Writers of America and Minotaur books invites unpublished writers to submit their manuscripts for the First Crime Novel Award. This prize is not awarded each year. It’s deferred until both the panel of MWA judges (published mystery writers themselves) and Minotaur’s experienced editors are satisfied they’ve found a new talent.


Therefore, imagine my delight and amazement in 2019 to hear that my novel had won! At the time it was titled The Rajabai Tower Mystery. Chosen from about 600 entries each year, my book won a prize that had not been awarded in three years!

Attending the Edgar Awards was a dream come true. Imagine you’re a struggling actor auditioning for parts big and small, eking out a living, and suddenly you’re invited to The Oscar Awards! You’re not just attending, you’re a winner! You’ll speak in a vast hall filled with all the pros you most admire!

I attended the Edgar Awards feeling like Cinderella, made an acceptance speech and accepted a contract from Minotaur books, an imprint of Macmillan, the world’s largest publisher of detective fiction.

Renamed Murder in Old Bombay, my historical mystery will be published Nov 10, 2020. Based on real events, this tale is about the mysterious deaths of two young Parsi women during the British Raj which sets a young detective on a surprising path.

On sale Nov 10, 2020.


My Interview with Shelley Irwin for NPR

Posted on October 1, 2020 at 1:45 PM

At eight o’clock in the morning I pick up the phone to hear a smiling voice ask, “Is this Nev?” Yes, yes it is, it’s my pen-name, and I’ve started to feel comfortable in the new skin I’ve created, my new role of writer and author. Shelley Irwin of WGVU is a charming professional who gets the job done so comfortably that all my jitters melt away. I’m in competent hands, as we chat about my book.

Ever mindful that this is going to be a short segment in her Morning Show, I keep my answers short, but can’t help being carried away as I answer--of course she’ll edit it, I think, and I keep going.

Her perceptive questions are brief; Do you think people should follow their dreams? How did you research the book? I try to answer with authenticity. Later of course, I will think of brilliant things to say. In the moment, all I can be is me.

Enjoy the nine minute interview:" target="_blank">


On the Joys of Writing

Posted on September 24, 2020 at 11:55 AM

When I write a good chapter, I’m filled with emotion that blows through me like walking outside after a hurricane. That sense of achievement comes from knowing that something fine now exists that did not exist before. The rush of feeling is difficult to express- -and this is before a single person has set eyes on the piece!

Then I put the chapter aside and pull in a breath, and thank the universe for this moment, this splendid moment that will feed my soul for weeks to come. Joy is difficult to quantify.

Of course, I go back to those pages the next day and tweak them as I start to build the next chapter. I change the piece, and move it about in the book, and it morphs again and again. It will grow as I add description or dialog. It will shrink as I hack out redundancies and explanations.

Yet that kernel is good, so it will be a milestone in my book, a major turning point or an “aha” moment that will propel my story onward, ever onward to the final inevitable crucible, the moment of truth.

There are other joys as well. Reading the chapter aloud to my writing partners (performing the lines!) is exciting and revealing. Now I notice how many times the word ‘foray’ or ‘fleeting’ was used, ugh! Despite their cheerful ribbing, it’s their reaction I enjoy most: the gasps; sighs of relief; the long pause, waiting as they recover; smiles as they start talking all at once. What unfettered delight! I grab my pencil and take notes, savoring it all, this colossal collaboration that is the creative process. Then there is the fun of assembling it for my agent, who is often the first person to read my chapters. With heated discussions we arrive at a fork in the road, to face the quandaries of a decision that will forever drive the story upon that chosen path. Then come my reluctant looks toward the path not chosen, those nail-biting steps of no return.

Agonizing. I wouldn’t give up a minute of it. At last, after what seems like endless tweaking, I send it on to my award-winning editor and her team, to await their considered opinions on what works, and what needs to change. The detailed discussion that follows shows me the depth of this team’s understanding, articulating aspects of the protagonist’s journey that I only felt, but could not, before, put into words.

When the minuet with my awesome staff at Macmillan is complete, the promotions begin. The first reviews start to trickle in, bringing a rush of adrenaline, and panic: can I bear to read my book’s reviews? What if my readers didn’t like it? What didn’t they like? I open and begin to browse—Ah, what joy, what tingling delight to see the words my kind readers have pulled from their hearts and spilled upon the page. They get it. They loved the journey. It’s all been worth-while.

I know I’m not supposed to reply to reviews, good or bad, but I cannot resist writing, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” And when I post one to my facebook page, I add the words, “This is why writers write.”

The writer’s life is not for all. It’s full of trepidation and self-doubt. But the rewards, my friend, the rewards are unparalleled: To be doing that which you were put on this earth to do.

Mystery Tribune: Unknown Man #89 By Elmore Leonard Is Detective Fiction That Plumbs The Soul

Posted on September 23, 2020 at 7:15 PM

My article in Mystery Tribune talks about what makes a good detective book, using principles derived from Raymond Chandler's famous essay, THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER which demonstrates that mystery fiction are a form of art, and not an easy medium either!

Sneak peek in BookBuzz

Posted on August 29, 2020 at 1:25 PM

Honoured to have my debut historical mystery novel, Murder in Old Bombay, featured in @MacmillanLib

Book Buzz Mystery/Thriller category! Listen in around the 7-minute mark for a sneak-peak of the book’s synopsis.

Link to Book Buzz:

OMG I'm a writer!

Posted on August 26, 2020 at 12:05 AM

Although I caught an editor’s attention in 2006, my work life and family commitments did not afford the time needed to revise my book as she proposed. And if I’m honest, I didn’t have the writing craft knowledge to pull it off then. So I set it all aside to focus on my analytics job. After all, we had to save enough for our boys to go to college. 

In 2015 I got laid off. Anyone who’s had this experience will remember how it shakes you. The shock of it, the uncertainty, the self-doubt. I’d always been a “high performer” so I wondered how come, after the ton of work I’d done, this could happen? Turns out most people who’ve been let go worry about this. It took me two painful days to recover.

 Then I began to smile, and do all the things I’d put aside. I played piano. I had lunch with long lost friends. I joined non-profits and filled my life with joy. My kids noticed, saying, “Mom, you look different!”

But I missed the sense of purpose that one derives in a meaningful occupation. When old colleagues began to call, I did project work for a few years as a consultant. However since I travelled frequently to be with my aging parents, it wasn’t possible to take on a full time job.

“When I retire, I’m going back to writing,” I said to my husband one night.

“Why not now?” he asked.

Write? Really write all day, like I had dreamed of? Giving myself permission to experiment with this idea I joined a local writers group, the second smartest decision of my life. (I’ll leave you to guess the smartest one.)

So yes, I’m now a writer. OMG