I’m pleased to welcome Norma Gail as she celebrates the third anniversary of the release of her debut novel, Land of my Dreams. I truly enjoyed this story, but then I love all things Scottish, including the skirl of the bagpipes. Norma truly makes the reader feel like they are wandering the highlands with all its craggy charm.
Please tell us something about yourself, Norma.
Thank you for inviting me, Janet! I really appreciate it! I live in the mountains of central New Mexico with my husband of 40 years. We have two adult children and a sweet daughter-in-love. I have wanted to be a published author since I was a child but never had the nerve or time to pursue writing seriously until my children were grown. Following a career as an RN, as well as being a homeschooling soccer mom, I decided it was “now or never.” I was 59 years old when my debut novel released.
What sparked your interest in writing?
I loved to read as a child, devouring everything including the back of the cereal box at breakfast. I have been known to cook or load the dishwasher with a book in one hand. My husband and kids are not big readers and think I’m insane. The book that most influenced my desire to write was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I wanted to be like Jo March. I began writing poetry and making up stories as a child. My best friend and I were the teacher’s pets of our creative writing teacher in high school, but I chose nursing as a profession.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
I am a dedicated “seat of the pants,” writer though a historical trilogy is going to force me into outlining and plotting. I love following an idea and seeing where the characters take me! It can be quite surprising. Anyone who has not written fiction may have a difficult time understanding that, but characters do take on lives of their own.
What do you find most challenging about being a writer? (research, plotting or organizing a story, marketing, or something else)
Research is an absolute delight. Organizing a story can get a little dicey at times, but is a great challenge. Plotting becomes a necessity at some point. I think most writers would agree that marketing is a huge downer. It’s fun talking to people in person about your book, but hours on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media is not fun. I love guest blogging and hosting other authors on my blog. I promote their books because I wish someone would have given me a hand when I was a newbie, but I will never say I like it.
What was your inspiration behind creating Land of my Dreams?
Land of My Dreams began as a dream, believe it or not! My husband and I visited Scotland for our thirtieth wedding anniversary and during the planning; I began to dream of a man in a kilt standing on a misty mountainside with his bagpipes surrounded by sheep. I have to say, we saw nothing like that in Scotland, though there were plenty of sheep. However, the dream began to rattle around in my head during the daytime. It’s not unusual for me to dream up stories about interesting places we see when we travel, but when I broke my foot and ended up in a wheelchair, I decided it was time to see if I had what it took to be a published author. I received my book contract following my second writer’s conference.
God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing this story?
I learned that I don’t have a lot of self-control when it comes to writing. I get so carried away with what is going on in my head that I can ignore meals, oven timers, and the disappearance of daylight. I have been found writing in my pajamas at 3 in the afternoon. God has really convicted me about making my time with Him happen and taking care of the necessities of home and family before I allow myself to begin writing in the mornings. I am pretty good about it most days now. I led women’s Bible studies for 21 years, so Bible study is a passion of mine. I cannot write without including spiritual lessons in the story. I believe God wants me to spread His message in a way that reaches people who might not pick up a Bible. I also love writing devotionals and often write my weekly devotional for my blog as a part of my quiet time.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My favorite quote from my book is “Sometimes the greatest blessings come when we leave the familiar behind and take a step of faith.” We have to step out of our comfort zone and trust God to lead us to what He has for us, even if it scares the daylights out of us. He is always going to be there to guide us to His best for our lives. Walking into a writer’s conference and pitching a book for the first time when you’re 58 years old is somewhat intimidating, especially when some people there have studied writing for years. In my book, Bonny Bryant, an American college professor, leaves behind everything she has ever known to escape heartbreak and teach at a college in Scotland. In fleeing a broken heart, she finds a love greater than anything she ever dreamed of and challenges that make it seem that she will never be with Kieran MacDonell, the love of her life. Learning to trust God to lead both of them to where He wants them to be is the theme of the story.
Do you have a sequel written or planned?
My sequel is written and has been submitted to the publisher. I await an email telling me if they have accepted it or not. It is a romantic suspense and was much more difficult to write than the first book because the characters would not behave. I have completed a romantic novella, and am researching a historical trilogy based on old family stories dating from the Revolutionary War into the early 1920’s.
Thank you so much, for being my guest, Norma.
Thank you for inviting me, Janet! I loved A Heart Set Free! Your readers are invited to visit http://www.normagail.org/land-of-my-dreams-celebration/ to enter the giveaways I am offering for my book’s third Birthday Celebration!
Where can readers find Land of my Dreams?
Land of My Dreams is available through Amazon and the publisher, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas: https://lpcbooks.com/norma-gail/
What are your social media sights?
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Norma-Gail/e/B00ILHXBAK/
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQbZIoC_JSE