My guest today is author Nora Snowden. Welcome, Nora. Please tell us about yourself.
In school I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Unfortunately the answers changed every time I was asked. My career paths have followed a rather eclectic series of muses. Over the years I have dallied in acting/directing/sales/environmental protection/financial markets and gambling among others. I have lived in Vancouver, Toronto and New York and am now back on the left coast and focusing on writing.
Where can readers find you?
on facebook posting obscure rants and reposting funny cat pictures
and at the Hastings Park (horse races)
I like that last place. LOL When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
My mom was a newspaper journalist way back when, so it was always a dream. I originally wanted to be a humour columnist like Eric Nicols, Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry.
How I wish I could write like Erma. She was a gem. How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the book. I don’t plot. I just start from a sense of characters and a vague idea. Sometimes the novels fly out in a couple of months. On others I get tripped up and have to go back and delete/rewrite several times until it makes sense. Then there’s all the self-editing, critique group work and polishing before it goes out to hopefully find a publisher and audience.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I’m a news junkie so that sometimes helps with plotting. Also with romance novels a lot of it is wish fulfillment. Strangely enough, most of my heroes seem to be the type of guy I’m attracted to—humorous, intelligent, tall and lanky with a big nose…
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve got four books out for sale, plus short stories. Several more books are in my computer awaiting either re-editing or deletion. Favorite book is a tricky concept because there are things I especially love about each one. I love the phone sex scene in Arsonists Anon that went funny instead of sexy. I enjoyed the scene in Love at First Sniff where the young werewolf tries to decide whether ghosts and zombies could be real. And I loved how much Carlos grew emotionally in Spanish Acquisition.
How’s that for a non-definitive answer?
But a good one. It's like asking someone who's their favorite child. What did you learn from writing your first book?
Apparently structure is a good thing in books. I love just writing and throwing in scenes/lines that surprise me or make me laugh. But I’ve learned I have to be ruthless in cutting the parts that don’t move the story. It’s not all fun and games. Sigh.
It's hard to cut all those darlings. How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?
What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
So far I’ve used my jobs in 1)dress store 2)financial market in Sew Happy Together. My art student days in NY are in Spanish Acquisition. My acting jobs influenced the heroine’s career in Love at First Sniff. (and my border collie was used for some of the werewolves’ traits in L.a.F.S.)
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
A good chuckle.
Oh, I like that answer. Tell us about your latest book.
The Spanish Acquisition is a straight romance with no hyphens. A broke New York sculptor meets a rich Spanish businessman in the Dominican Republic and sparks fly. Mistaken identity and a collision of lifestyles and expectations tear them apart. They both must rethink their assumptions to find their common ground and love. Ooops, it’s actually a lot funnier and sexier than it sounds. Although I never did get to use the word schmeckel. Maybe in my next book…?
Excerpt: The Spanish Acquisition
Her horse automatically followed the others and Lily felt a little better. She didn’t like the idea of kicking the poor animal. She tried turning her horse by pulling on one rein, but it didn’t seem inclined to obey; it just followed the horse in front. She smiled back at Carlos as they rode along the pathway. At this speed she felt okay. They reached a grassy area and Paul turned back to shout.
“You can gallop your horses here. If you don’t want to, hold back on the reins until the rest have gotten ahead.”
Carlos looked over at Lily. “Would you like to try trotting first?”
He reached over and held her horse while the others galloped off.
“Hug the horse with your knees and hold on to the horn if you want.” Carlos lightly swatted her horse on the butt, and then urged his own into a trot.
It felt very awkward as she bounced up and down on the hard saddle. A couple of times she landed too close to the horn and that was even worse. They went in a small circle.
“You are doing very well,” Carlos called out over the bumping and squeaking noises of their horses and saddles. “Are you ready to try a little faster?”
“I guess so.” Lily had only a small tremor in her voice.
“Just lean forward and try to move with your horse. Don’t fight it.” He leaned over and gave her horse another tap on the butt.
Quicksilver’s gait changed into a faster, but much less bumpy stride. Lily tried leaning forward just as Quicksilver’s head rocked backwards and she narrowly avoided colliding with its neck. She grimaced as she grabbed on to the saddle horn yet again.
“Feel your mount’s rhythm,” Carlos hollered. “It is like dancing with a partner.”
With grim determination, Lily let herself be lulled into Quicksilver’s motion. It was like a rocking horse, she finally realized with a giggle. As long as she didn’t fight the movement, it was quite smooth. She laughed out loud when Carlos cantered by and turned to head down toward the beach. She leaned a little to the right in her saddle as she pulled on the one rein. Quicksilver turned as she was asked and Lily felt oddly proud.
Then when they straightened out to run along the beach, Lily sensed that something was wrong. Her saddle seemed to be still tilting to the right. She tried to correct it by leaning left, but somehow the whole saddle kept shifting the other way with her in it. She pulled on the reins to stop Quicksilver. The horse ignored her, intent on catching up to Carlos’s mount.
This is silly. She tried to keep from panicking. Maybe I just need to turn the other way. But the horse wasn’t listening to her as she yanked on the reins with increasing strength. The saddle slid further down the horse’s belly. She let out a cry of shock when Quicksilver’s hoof connected with her calf. The horse stumbled slightly and pain shot through Lily’s leg. Her fear seemed to slow down time. Her right foot was flopping under the horse’s stomach, but the horse kept running.
“Carlos!” she screamed. The hooves were flying ever closer to her head. She couldn’t think about Paul’s earlier comment. She tried to climb up the saddle, which was now halfway under the belly, but her feet were trapped in her stirrups. Am I going to die?
“Help!” she managed to eek out. Her brain was racing in all directions. Could she somehow throw herself clear of the horse without getting trampled to death?
“Grab the horse’s mane!” Carlos commanded.
Oh God, yes! She grabbed a handful of horsehair and pulled herself slightly away from the terrifying hooves. Suddenly a hand looped under her armpit and started to lift her up. Her mind went blank as she felt herself being torn in two directions.
“Let go, Lily! I’ve got you.”
She couldn’t understand what he meant until she realized that her hand was still in a death grip with the poor horse’s mane. She quickly let go and felt a jolt, her body slamming against Carlos’s horse. Another hand secured her and then she was lifted up onto the other horse. She grabbed Carlos’s neck and buried her face in his shoulder. She heard him say something, but didn’t know what. She closed her eyes, trying to make the fear go away.
Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/Ujs7YI
Thanks, Nora, for sharing your stories with us.