Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Nora Fountain: Blackthorn Child

A big hello to Nora Fountain who is our guest on the blog today.
Nora, you have written short stories for the women’s magazine market as well as novels. What would you say is your favourite form of storytelling?
I prefer to write novels. I’ve written lots of short stories and sold some of them but it’s not really my thing. I very much admire those who can turn out short, snappy stories. I like to get my teeth into a story, with the freedom to develop characters, and more than one or two of them. I like to get inside their heads and become that character. The first draft is the bare bones of the story, then comes the best part, editing and polishing, going through several times, the characters developing each time till I know them like old friends. As they develop they suggest little twists and turns of their own. In the end I love them all – even the baddies. They are me. I am them, and I’m sorry to have to say good-bye to them.

Would you recommend that those new to writing try their hand at writing long and short fiction?
If they want to. I don’t think it’s always necessary. I always wanted to write longer, more in-depth stuff. However, I didn’t really have a clue when I started Blackthorn Child, which began life as Downton’s Heir (!) and grew with every rewrite until it reached 180,000 words. Fortunately I’ve always enjoyed the art of précis but I’m now aware of the practicalities of producing such a long book. Publishers do not want to invest large sums in new writers.
I tried writing for M&B for a while, reading their authors voraciously. I loved writers such as Charlotte Lamb, Penny Jordan and Sara Wood. There was a seamless quality to their writing it is difficult to emulate. I did try, though, around a dozen times. On three occasions they read a partial and asked to see the rest. I was quite excited the third time but in the end it was turned down. I submitted one to Robert Hale, minus the steamy bits and it was accepted. Hurrah! They went on to take several more. These went into large print and translation in some cases. I carried on with full-length fiction and, to my delight, Thorpe bought Love Thine Enemy direct from me.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading, Love Thine Enemy, Can we expect more historical novels from you with overseas settings?
I certainly hope so. Blackthorn Child went back and forth to agents and publishers till I changed tack and put it on Kindle. It soared to the top of three of their lists, occupying top spot for a while.
I am currently writing another historical set in Puglia where my youngest son lives, designing houses and teaching yoga. I have lots more research to do but I’m enjoying it. I’m also writing a contemporary romance set in Africa called Tropical Madness. It’s a year now since the accident that wrote off my car and broke eleven bones – a bit of a setback but I’m getting back in the saddle with interruptions for physio, etc. Perhaps I should write a hospital drama.
There are certainly a few health issues in Cupcakes and Candlesticks. This is my latest novella with a mature hero and heroine and set in the Dorset I love. When Rob announces he is leaving Maddy and their four children she is shocked but she picks up the pieces and forges a new life for the family out in the sticks. There she meets the gorgeous Guy Deverill, a landowner with angst of his own. I sold the large print rights to Cupcakes and Candlesticks to Thorpe and in the same week brought out the Create Space version of Blackthorn Child – or rather my son Basil did. He’s been a driving instructor for a couple of years but now has another string to his bow, offering services to novelists, formatting, putting on Kindle, etc. I’m no techie and couldn’t manage without him. My younger daughter played her part designing the cover for the paperback so it’s something of a family production.

Please tell us more about your five novels that are being reprinted by Samhain?
The American publisher Samhain have started a new line called Retro Romance. They’ve taken five of my novellas and given them gorgeous new covers which is all rather exciting. They can be viewed and are available on line from Samhain.

These days authors have to promote themselves on social media. How much time do you spend online? How does it help your work?
I probably spend far too long online, mainly Facebook where I have two pages, one an author page. I enjoy keeping up with news of my extended family- recently extended to include my first great-grandson, Alby Koa. Don’t ask. I’ve never heard of the names, either, but I do know he’s absolutely gorgeous with silky dark hair and eyes that will probably be brown. It’s great to hear news of other writers’ successes, too. I occasionally post on Twitter but I think I need lessons on using social media to the best advantage.
Nora Fountain is a professional writer and translator. Her short stories have been published by People's Friend, Yours, Australian Women's Weekly, Woman's Day and Fiction Feast, among others.
Her novels are mainly in the contemporary romance genre published by Robert Hale and My Weekly Story Library. Nora has also written historical romance. Her books are available on Amazon.
Five novels are currently being reprinted by Samhain as part of their Retro Romance series and are available from the publisher as ebooks.
Nora lives in Dorset and is a member of the Society of Authors and the Chartered Institute of Linguists, and is a committee member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Thank you, Norah. It’s also good to hear you are well on the way to recovery after your accident.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is a lovely interview with Norah. I enjoyed reading it.
Glad you are up and about again. You can't keep a good writer down.

Nice too to hear about your new great-grandson.