Our guest today is Daniela I. Norris, author of the inspirational women’s fiction, Recognitions. Daniela is a former diplomat, turned political writer, and with age and wisdom – inspirational author and speaker. Her award-winning stories, articles and essays have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.
Published books include –
– Crossing Qalandiya – Exchanges Across the Israeli Palestinian Divide (Reprtage Press, 2010)
– On Dragonfly Wings – a skeptic’s journey to mediumship (Axis Mundi Books, 2014)
– Collecting Feathers: tales from The Other Side (Soul Rocks Books, 2014).
Daniela lives with her family near Geneva, Switzerland, and is co-director of the Geneva Writers’ Conference and part of the International Grief Council panel.
Her book, Recognitions, centers on Amelia Rothman, a foreign-rights editor from New York, who has a turbulent personal life. She juggles a divorce and two teenage kids, and decides to seek hypnotherapy to help her deal with insomnia and anxieties. But when during the session an unexpected event emerges, she tries to understand how it is relevant to her current life and why it suddenly triggers a series of synchronicities that take her on an unexpected personal journey to the depth of her subconscious.
At once a spiritual and psychological novel, Recognitions explores the concepts of past lives, recognition of people and their roles in our present lives and life lessons.
Dorothy Thompson: Can you tell us about your publishing experience?
Daniela I. Norris: I started writing and publishing under a pen-name, a man’s at that – as I was working for the Foreign Service at the time and did not want to publish under my own name.
Once I left the Foreign Service some ten years back, I started publishing under my own name. Initially I self-published a collection of short stories that were previously published in magazines and anthologies, and learned a lot from that process. It was the early days of Createspace – which was very much a game-changer in self-publishing.
Then I was offered a contract for a political novel I just finished by a small publisher – but some googleing showed that they had many authors complaining about unpaid royalties, typos in final books etc. I just found an agent at that time, and she advised me to pass, which I did.
My agent said that that first novel was not good enough, and in retrospect – she was right, I am glad it was never published. However, another UK publisher offered me a contract for a non-fiction book which I co-wrote, and Crossing Qalandiya: exchanges across the Israeli-Palestinian Divide was published by Reportage Press in 2010.
I went on to publish two inspirational/spiritual books with a different publisher – John Hunt, in the UK, and was very happy with the experience, so when I finished my second novel, titled Recognitions, and they accepted it, I was thrilled.
D.T: What can you tell aspiring authors on their quest to be published? Any advice?
D.I. N.: Several bits of advice, in random order:
• Never give up
• Hone your writing skills while you wait to find a publisher or agent for previous works – as your writing improves, so will your chances of publication.
• Know your audience – who are you writing for? If it’s family and friends – no problem, self-publishing came a long way and is a very valid option.
• Publishing is an ever-changing game – what was true ten years ago is no longer true today.
• Trust your gut feeling – if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Whether it is a publisher or agent who give out strange vibes or a company or a publicist who promises they will turn your book into a best seller if you pay them – there’s no substitute for a good piece of writing, good contacts and yes – some good luck, too.
• Attend writing workshops, conferences and events whenever you can, and at least once a year. Networking with the writing and publishing community is not only fun but can along be helpful along your publishing path.
D.T.: Where can we find you on the web?
D.I.N.: Please visit my website and my blog.
I am also on Facebook and Twitter, although I must admit I prefer spending time writing over twitting, unless I have something really useful to say.