Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
If I could do it over again, I would begin attending writer’s conferences in the early stages of writing my book. Like many new writers, I thought because everyone said I could write, and I loved to write, that a publisher would snap up my book and turn it into an instant bestseller. When we start out with too much enthusiasm and not enough education, the learning curve is steep and sometimes overwhelming. Take time to find out what editors and agents want. Find some knowledgeable critique partners, and learn the craft, whatever your genre.
It took over two years for my book to make the bestseller list in one category on Amazon. It was there briefly on book launch day, but it is hard and takes time and money to market your own book. Unless you have multiple books and a proven track record for writing bestsellers, 80% of the marketing is up to the author, even with a traditional publisher. Be patient and work hard. A huge part of success is never to giving up.
Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
Scotland is the setting of Land of My Dreams, and was the destination for our 30th anniversary trip. It has fascinated me since I was a little girl and discovered I had ancestors from there. I would travel anywhere in the US and Western Europe, maybe Kenya, Australia, and New Zealand. I love to see new places, find out how others live, experience new foods and customs, and learn their history, causing my kids to say I am a killer tour director. My first choice would be to return to Scotland and rent a vacation home on Loch Garry, the setting for Land of My Dreams.
|Bonny’s cottage in Land of My Dreams, a gardener’s cottage in Edinburgh, Scotland|
What does your husband and family think of your writing career?
How many husbands would listen to their wives read a romance novel to them for 3-4 years? My number one encourager and critic is my husband. Many scenes in Land of My Dreams, including one of my favorites, are the result of his advice. I have become irritated more than once at his explanation about how men look at things. He is not upset by the frequent lack of royalties new authors’ experience, and encourages me to give books away to familiarize people with my writing. My 93-year-old mother-in-law read my book three times. Her last words to me were to write another book. My mom has read it and given it to her friends. My sisters, sister-in-law’s, nieces, and one nephew read it, with mixed reviews. However, my son, daughter, and daughter-in-law have not read it. I doubt they will, even though they are proud of me. My adult children are convinced I spend way too much time on social media and firmly believe I will be kicked off Pinterest for my 34,000+ pins.
|The Holtman Family|
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
If you want a critic who is even tougher than family, ask your best friend from junior high. We analyzed everything each other wrote back then, and I can still count on her to be blunt. She once returned a manuscript with the opening scene stapled shut. Her note said I should throw it away and start again. My husband refers to my best critique partners as my “imaginary friends”. I met Nan on Twitter, which advanced to Facebook messaging, and she introduced me to Marcie. It’s a long way to North Carolina from New Mexico. We met in person at a conference in 2015, but beyond that, we communicate through messaging, probably holding the record for the longest running chain of Facebook messages ever. We talk almost every day, off and on. Marcie is a poet interning as an editor. Nan is working on her second non-fiction book and writes poetry, as well. I am working on my second fiction book and write poetry. All three write devotionals and blog. I can count on them for wise advice no matter what I’m writing. For grown women, we get thoroughly enjoy the stickers on Facebook. Nan and Marcie are my sisters of the heart.
Nan, Norma, & Marcie
*Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?
My 14-year-old nephew chose my pen name. Everything I write is copyrighted under Norma Gail Thurston Holtman—a mouth full, right? Since I am named for two aunts, I have been stuck with Norma Gail all of my life. I am affectionately known as “Auntie” to my nieces and nephews, leaving them to wonder if I had a real name when they were little. The youngest said my name was too long for the front of a book. He suggested using my first and middle names because it was easier to remember. I actually couldn’t find my book in the local Christian bookstore because I was looking under “H” instead of “G”!
*What was the scariest moment of your life?
When lightning strikes your father, it gets your attention. My family has had too many narrow escapes. Lightning struck two of my parent’s homes prior to my father’s death. When a bolt of lightning travels 25 miles through a clear blue sky, it got my attention, even though I was cautious already. I had two children playing soccer in different locations when he died. Late afternoon thunderstorms caused a panic. My husband worked at least 30 minutes from either park. I bought a lightning detector and stopped practices, games, and even a tournament, creating many embarrassing moments for my daughter who played through college. At least the NCAA has sensible guidelines. My efforts resulted in our local soccer complex putting in a state of the art lightning detector. We do not use electricity, shower, or go outside during a lightning storm. The New Mexico Athletic Association, the private Christian school they attended, and the soccer clubs my daughter played for were glad when she graduated. The fear will follow me the rest of my life.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Land of My Dreams
by Norma Gail
GENRE: Christian contemporary romance
Alone and betrayed, American professor, Bonny Bryant longs for a haven of peace. She accepts a position at a small Christian college in Fort William, Scotland, craving escape from her painful past. The passionate love which develops when she meets fellow professor and sheep farmer, Kieran MacDonell, is something she never anticipated.
Kieran harbors a deep anger toward God in the face of his own devastating grief. When Bonny’s former fiancé reenters her life, Kieran’s loneliness draws him to a former student.
How will Bonny decide between her rivals? Can they set aside the past to make way for a future, or will it drive them apart?
Land of My Dreams, Christian Romance Novel, 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.
Kieran brought Bonny’s hand to his lips as they enjoyed the sunshine of the hospital courtyard. “The hours I spent in the hospital chapel praying for your life included healing our relationship. I cannot separate them. God saved your life for a purpose and I believe it involves me.”
He drew the small velvet box out of his pocket and revealed her ruby ring. “Bonny Faith Bryant, will you marry me?”
She wanted to talk and pray with Kari and Dan, but in the end, the decision was hers. Janet’s words came back. It’s possible you’re not in his life to marry him.
Her heart was pulsing in her throat. “Kieran, I need more time. It was wrong to relive those old memories.”
The color faced from his face. “They’re ours. They watered the seeds of our love. I never intended to hurry you. I thought remembering…”
“Kieran...” The touch of one calloused finger wiping her tears caused her to cry harder.
“You’re going to marry Adam.” There was defeat in his voice. How could she hurt him?
She saw her own pain mirrored in the blue pools of his eyes. The hand holding the ring—her ring, dropped to his side. He walked across the courtyard, standing with his back to her, snarling his fingers through his hair.
“I haven’t said I’d marry anyone. I can’t make such life-changing decisions when I’ve only now reached the point where I still have a life.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Norma Gail is the author of the contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 40 years. They have two adult children.
Connect with Norma:
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Norma-Gail/e/B00ILHXBAK/
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQbZIoC_JSE
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas Bookstore: http://store.lpcbooks.com/product/land-of-my-dreams/
Norma Gail will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway