Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am very pleased to introduce you to Norma Gail. I very much enjoyed this interview and fell in love with Norma’s spirit while reading it. Her book sounds amazing – Scotland is one of my favorite places in the world. Norma is graciously giving away a copy of her book! Read below to see what to do to be entered to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I have lived in New Mexico pretty much all of my life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing and quit working to raise our two children, now adults. I have a passion for leading women’s Bible studies, and have done so in various capacities for 19 years. I love family history and work at a desk with portraits of my ancestors looking down on me.
My husband and I moved to the mountains about 5 ½ years ago. The peace and quiet of our new home gave me the peace and quiet to pursue my dream of writing seriously. I love taking my Jeep out on 4×4 trails and traveling. I write poetry and devotionals and would like to someday use some of my family history as the basis for a series of historical novels about the pioneer spirit of our country.
Tell us about your current release. Land of My Dreams is a contemporary Christian romance set in Scotland and New Mexico about an American college professor who accepts a job teaching at a small Christian college in Scotland to escape the loss that has overwhelmed her. She meets a Scottish sheep farmer, angry at God over a painful past, and they fall passionately in love. Can they set aside the past to make way for a future, or will it drive them apart?
Land of My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? I would. I know the story has the power to work in the lives of the readers, and I have already seen it do so. It would be worth all the work if it changed one life. I believe it shows the importance of a right relationship with God and shows what kind of attitudes Christians should and should not carry into relationships.
What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? I know a lot of Christians who do not read Christian fiction, mostly because they feel the writing is inferior to secular fiction. I believe Christian writers have a call from God to write with excellence, no matter what genre they write. I have seen Christian fiction change lives. It is a valuable tool for both evangelism and discipleship, a way to open doors with those who might not want to visit a church or attend a Bible study. Our books need to have stories that are well-written and edited, and covers that look as professional and appealing as any put out by secular publishing houses. They need to have maximum impact in a non-threatening manner that displays a biblical world view.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher?
I had to be convinced that God had a purpose for my story. I asked about 15 friends to read it and tell me if they thought it was worth pursuing before I ever pitched it to anyone. I knew I could write as well as many books I see published, but it was still a scary venture. You are putting your work out there for criticism, and sometimes it’s painful. It is necessary to believe you have something worth saying, written in a way that will appeal to readers. Then it is a matter of practicing your pitch and making yourself do it. If you fail you try again. If God wants your story published, your efforts will pay off. A rejection from one is not a rejection from all, but if you can’t pitch it to publishers and agents, how will you be able to do the marketing after it is published. Believe in what you write.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I am not particularly bold by nature, so pitching it was difficult for me. However, my husband and I prayed and discussed it and decided that if it was not good enough to be picked up by a traditional publisher, it was not good enough. I was prepared to wait for years, but I received a contract the second year that I attended a writer’s conference. If I had not I would have kept trying. It was important to me to have the backing and support of someone who knew the business. I am with a small, but fast-growing publisher, which proved to be the best fit for me and for my book.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Attend Christian writer’s conferences. There is nothing more important for you to do. The best time is while the book is still in its infancy. Be teachable. Be open. Be bold. Learn your craft, and then get a professional edit before you pitch it to anyone. It will be worth the money. If you believe in your story enough to think it is publishable, then it is worth paying for the edit. Learn from it, and don’t give up.
Which of your characters most reflects your personality? The heroine, Bonny Bryant is most like me, even though I am not certain I would have the courage to move to another country. She takes things to heart and hurts a long time. She comes across as brave, when she is terrified inside. Bonny loves with all the love she is capable of giving and fights for what she believes in. She is tenacious, and goes after what she wants, even if it is scary.
Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction? I can’t tell you how many times the beginning changed, but the biggest change was made after I had a contract and was working with the editor assigned to me. We made the decision that the character of Bonny’s former fiancé needed to be a real character rather than someone in her past. It is not an easy thing to write a character into the book when it is pretty much finished and have it not seem like it was patched in. It was the right decision because readers want to see him back in the sequel I am writing. So he is. We also made extensive changes to a minor character that will play a much larger role in the sequel. The direction of the story itself did not change. We felt the changes were necessary to give it the ability to carry on in another book. I do not have a contract for the sequel. The success of the first book will drive the future of the second.
You can find Norma Gail on the following social media sites:
You can purchase Norma’s Books at:
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