I first discovered Norah Wilson when I read her book, The Case of the Flashing Fashion Queen. Since then I've gotten to know Norah and, despite her fame, she's a wonderfully down-to-earth indie author who truly loves connecting with her fans. I recently had a chance to interview Norah and felt that she would make the perfect choice for the first ever Author Spotlight feature here on A Girl and Her Kindle. Enjoy!
I’ve been writing for almost 20 years, but I stumbled around in the dark by myself for those first few. In the early 90s, I found some local aspiring romance authors and we all joined Romance Writers of America. There was no looking back after that.
What genres do you write?
Here’s where I perhaps don’t help myself out. I write in way too many genres! With my solo writing, I focus on romantic suspense (RS) and paranormal romance (PNR). But I also write with a partner, Heather Doherty, who is published in literary. Together we write the hilarious Dix Dodd mysteries, kick-ass YA paranormal and even some dystopian romance. Some readers have actually followed me across all those genres, and I love them for it!
Who do you imagine you're telling a story to as you write?
That depends on the genre, of course. My solo RS and PNR books are very sensual, and are directed at an adult audience. (Particularly, I’m writing to smart women for whom time is a precious commodity. I try to hook them right away and deliver a fast-paced story that puts them through an emotional wringer right along with the characters as they earn their happily-ever-after. And I never write down to my audience. As a reader, I don’t appreciate being beaten over the head with various plot point, thus being robbed of the chance to decode the subtext and join some of the dots myself. I always strive to leave room for that kind of collaboration with the reader.
The YA paranormal is aimed at older teens. We want our stories to resonate with every kid who ever felt like an outsider. Of course, that could be a high percentage of teens! I don’t remember too many teenagers who felt completely secure in themselves, even those who seemed to be at the top of the social food chain.
And with the Dix Dodd cozy mysteries, our aim is to make women everywhere laugh out loud whilst reading our books on public transit, causing the people around them to inch further away.
What's your latest book about?
My next book is a romantic suspense with paranormal elements. Every Breath She Takes will be released in about three weeks’ time (Sept. 4, 2012) by Montlake Romance, and I cannot wait! I should mention that this is a reissue of a book previously published as Lauren’s Eyes. This is the same book that finaled in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® contest and which won Dorchester Publishing’s New Voice in Romance contest. It’s the book that just won’t die! Here’s the back cover blurb:
Veterinarian Lauren Townsend has good reason for hiding her psychic ability. Not only did her “freakishness” earn her pariah status in the small town where she grew up, it cost her a fiancé and her faith in love. When Lauren foresees a murder—through the killer’s eyes—she traces the victim to a sprawling ranch, never guessing what waits for her…
Cal Taggart’s rugged ranch life doesn’t need any more complications. His stubborn determination cost him his marriage, and now may cost him his livelihood. But then beautiful Lauren enters his corral…with danger close behind. And Cal wants nothing more than to protect her. They can’t deny their intense attraction. Nor do they want to. What begins as a fling with no strings becomes a fight for survival—and for true love.
And the Amazon buy link: http://amzn.com/B007REBMKY
Which authors inspire you?
That’s a long list! Anne Stuart probably tops it. I adore everything she writes, contemporary or historical. I think I was also influenced by the likes of Linda Howard and Tami Hoag. Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind can always provide a comfort read. Susan Elizabeth Phillips rocks. These days, I can’t get enough of Pamela Clare’s I-Team series and love her historicals too. She can actually make me cry, which is not an easy thing to do. Oh, and I love JR Ward! Her BDB books are like crack cocaine to me! I love, love, love Joss Ware’s dystopian romances. But the self-publishing explosion has brought so many terrific authors to my attention – Bella Andre, Marie Force, Cynthia Eden, Trish McCallan and so many more. Many of them have big traditionally-pubbed backlists for me to explore, if I ever find the time! And just looking around the Montlake Romance stable is humbling. They have some serious talent! I could probably read for the next year just from that pool.
What's your favorite book?
I’m an ebook girl these days. You just can’t beat being able to carry 3,000 books around in your purse, not to mention never losing your page. That said, I think my favorite book was a Random House first edition of Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara which I read as a teen. It had a color fold out and maybe a half dozen monochrome illustrations by the Brothers Hildebrandt. I loved it not just for the fantastical story, but also for the physical book itself. It was simply gorgeous. I wish I knew what happened to it. It was passed from reader to reader until it was lost.
Why did you choose independent publishing?
That’s an easy one! At the time (2010), I had been agented for several years, but my quest to make that second sale to a traditional publisher was still unrealized. I’d gotten rights back to Lauren’s Eyes, so it was a no-brainer to self-publish that one. But then it occurred to me that I had a handful of category-length romantic suspense books that had already been shopped to the market and therefore were of no interest to my agent. I was thinking about pitching them to Carina, an epress owned by Harlequin, but my experience with Lauren’s Eyes showed me that it wasn’t that onerous a job to self-publish. I think my decision came down to not being prepared to wait yet again for months and months only to possibly face rejection. I wanted those books out there yesterday, and I wanted control. That turned out to be the best decision of my career. Those little books earned me more in a few months than my one traditionally published mass market paperback had earned during its lifetime. I went on to self-publish almost everything in my catalogue of manuscripts.
What one piece of advice would you offer other indie authors?
Just one? I’m torn! I think covers are critical. If yours isn’t professional, if it doesn’t look great in thumbnail size, or if it doesn’t immediately communicate the book’s genre, you are going to labor under a huge handicap right out of the gates. But presuming the cover does its job and a reader picks you up, you’d better make sure that the quality is there (solid editing, quality formatting, etc.) or you’ll lose that customer, probably for life.
Norah Wilson lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada with her husband and two adult children, a Rotti-Lab mix dog and one rat (the pet kind). She has been writing romance a long while, and has finaled multiple times in the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart® contest. She also won Dorchester Publishing's New Voice in Romance contest in 2003. In addition to the romance, Norah writes paranormal YA stories with writing partner Heather Doherty, under the name Wilson Doherty. She and Heather also write the laugh-out-loud Dix Dodd mysteries under the name N.L. Wilson.