Today in the Library we have Norah Bennett, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
Norah lives a double life. By day she is a suit-wearing, prim and proper, professor, administrator, researcher, and lecturer. By night she is a PJ wearing dreamer and writer of books that make people sigh, smile, cry, laugh, fall in love and believe in second chances.
Norah lives in Andover, New Jersey with her husband of thirty years, a cranky geriatric maltipoo, and an obnoxious cockatoo who runs the house and terrifies all its inhabitants.
Norah discovered the joy and escapism that comes from reading at the age of twelve and swears books saved her life and her sanity. Through reading, she has travelled the globe and learned all kinds of equally useful and useless skills such as the proper way to eat a pomegranate, carve a watermelon, or bathe an elephant. These are skills she has passed down to her two daughters who are incredibly supportive, but often wish she had a wider scope of hobbies.
Norah has a long publishing history in academia, but she started writing fiction recently. In July 2016 she published her first work of fiction, R.I.L.Y. Forever with Evernight Publishing and in January 2017 her second book, Everything I’ve Dreamed Of, was also published by Evernight Publishing. Currently, she is working on her third novel, Six Months.
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Hello Norah, you are very welcome. Did you read much as a child?
I discovered the joy of reading when I was twelve and my family moved from Boston to Texas. I had nothing to do and was sad to leave all my friends. I picked up a book out of shear boredom, then another, then another.
Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
I am a voracious reader. I love women’s fiction and contemporary romance, but honestly, I read EVERYTHING.
Are you self-published or traditionally published?
I am not self-published. Both of my fiction books are published by Evernight Publishing. My academic textbooks are published under a different name through FA Davis.
Which genre do you write in and why?
I write contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Why is a good question. I guess it comes easy, naturally. I am a romantic at heart and believe in love at first sight and second chance love. Mainly, I love writing about the heart, the emotions that bring us together and tear us apart. You know … life.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
I don’t have a specific person as I am constantly finding new and inspiring people. I love Nicholas Sparks for his ability to draw the reader in with the first page and hold our emotions hostage with his words. But there are so, so many authors who have influenced me … Kathleen Woodwiss, Jude Deveraux, Robyn Carr, and who doesn’t love Jane Austen! Lately, I have enjoyed Corinne Michaels, Kristen Ashley, M.S. Force, Lisa Kleypas, Nalini Singh, J.R. Ward, and A.L. Jackson.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
I was born in Cairo and although my WIP does not have cultural elements, I do have a project I am working on that does. I believe all our experiences impact our writing, even if we do not realize it.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
Self-doubt! Sometimes it is so crippling and I am paralyzed. I get over it by sharing my work with beta readers and wait for their comments. Most of the time, they kick my butt right back into gear. I have heard that everyone has one book in them, but can you write 2 or 3 or 4? I am not sure I agree about the one book theory, but writing doesn’t just happen, it is work and you must love it to overcome the difficult moments that haunt every writer.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
I wish I could write every morning. That is when my mind is alert and awake the most. But I have a day job. So I write mainly in the evenings and all day on weekends and holidays.
What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?
The best thing for me is the ability to create an alternate world in which I can lose myself and create characters who become my best friends. The ULTIMATE reward is when a reader says they have enjoyed my book … that is bliss! The worst is when the characters take over and do what I did not plot for them to do. They misbehave and take over the story. They keep me up at night and fill my days with their adventures and it takes me a while to clean up after them.
Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?
For me, social media is a chore. My time is so limited because I have a very demanding day job. When I get home, I would rather write than be on social media. But I am learning to put more time and effort into Facebook and twitter, etc …
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
I would be spending my days travelling and hiking and walking beaches all around the world. Of course, I would have to be independently wealthy … sadly, that is not the case.
It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?
I would not read. I would LIVE.
Norah, please tell us about your latest published work.
Everything I’ve Dreamed Of
Kate Willowbrook dreams of a life filled with beauty – a man who loves her, friends, and a home. At eighteen, Kate’s dreams are replaced by nightmares when she witnesses a crime. Kate runs, never settling down or trusting anyone. Ten years later Kate discovers the small town of Lakes Crossing and Noah Reed.
When Noah’s wife is killed in an accident, he buries himself in work and family obligations, believing he will never find love again until he meets Kate. The more he learns about her, the more he is drawn to her and his protective instincts kick into overdrive.
Noah is everything Kate has ever dreamed of, but his take-charge attitude is scaring up old demons she fought hard to bury. If they can’t find a way to strike a balance that satisfies both their deepest needs, they could lose their second chance at love.
Buy Links: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MR3847R/
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