Suzanne Norquist on Christian novella collections

Suzanne Norquist is the author of two novellas. Everything fascinates her. She has worked as a chemist, professor, financial analyst, and even earned a doctorate in economics. Research feeds her curiosity, and she shares the adventure with her readers. She lives in New Mexico with her mining engineer husband and has two grown children. When not writing, she explores the mountains, hikes, and attends kickboxing class.

Tell us about your newest book.

My story, Mending Sarah’s Heart is included in the 4-in-1 Thimbles and Threads collection. It is an inspirational romance that takes place in a Colorado mining town in 1884. My heroine, Sarah, is a widowed seamstress with two young boys. Her business faces competition from the Emporium of Fashion while she tries to raise her sons to be honorable men.

In walks Jack Taylor. He claims to have been her husband’s partner in a mine and wants to share the profits with her. The man is up to something and too handsome for his own good. As she pushes him away, he sees her desperate situation and vows to help her. It is a romance with a little bit of fun. It is also a story about trust and redemption.

What inspired you to write Mending Sarah’s Heart?

Sarah is the sister of the heroine in my first novella, A Song for Rose in the Bouquet of Brides collection. Rose worked at Sarah’s seamstress shop and carried a sewing basket everywhere she went. When a friend invited me to write a proposal for a sewing themed collection, Sarah came to mind. A widowed seamstress with two boys would make the perfect heroine. I developed a hero who would drive her a little crazy in the process of winning her heart because that’s part of the fun.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Sarah seeks a quiet life as a seamstress. She doesn’t need anyone, especially her dead husband’s partner. If only the Emporium of Fashion would stop stealing her customers, and the local hoodlums would leave her sons alone. When she rejects her husband’s share of the mine, his partner Jack seeks to serve her through other means. But will his efforts only push her further away?

What genre do you focus on and why?

I write historical romance set in the Colorado gold rush. I’m married to a mining engineer, and we spend vacations exploring Colorado mining history together. Every summer, when we camp near the ghost towns and historic mining camps, I read a book set in that time. So, it’s only natural that I would write about it too.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I don’t have a set schedule. I am a planner all the way, so I carefully lay things out before I begin to write. First, I explore each of the characters, who they are, their wants and needs, what drives them. Then I lay out the general plot. Then scene by scene. Finally, I’m ready to put words on the page. With all the leg work done, I can complete the story pretty quickly.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

The hardest part is finding a process that works for me. I’ve been to a multitude of classes about different parts of writing—story structure, dialogue, editing, time management, and so on. But no one can tell me what tasks I need to do to create a story. There is no single process to learn to write a novel. There is a jumble of ideas that work for some people. In most fields, there is a process. Go to college, take the classes, and learn the thing. I’m good at following that kind of roadmap. Or, work your way through the piano books in order, and you will be able to play the piano. Pulling them all together to create my own story is the hardest part.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? 

I love seeing a blank page (nothing) turn into a story (something). The process of writing is an amazing way to connect to the Creator. I love finding the perfect word and watching my characters grow in ways I never expected.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

I never intended to be a writer. I worked as a Chemist and then earned a Ph.D. in economics. That was my career. When I started reading Christian fiction, I discovered the joy of story.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

I started writing fifteen years ago, while I worked full time and raised two small children. At that time I didn’t know anything about crafting a story with a beginning, middle, and end. I didn’t know how to develop flawed yet lovable characters. So, I spent years learning the craft. I attended classes, workshops, and seminars. I like to believe my stories are stronger and more engaging now.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

I have one other book, A Song for Rose in the Bouquet of Brides collection. It was my debut novella. It comes first. Sarah, in Mending Sarah’s Heart, is Rose’s sister, and her story follows after. Rose is a main character in Sarah’s story since they work together.

What are you working on now?

I have proposed several novellas for various collections. The one I am writing now is about a woman who experiences the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. The hero is an inventor who doesn’t care much about women’s rights, but values her as a person.


Blog: Ponderings of a BBQ Ph.D.

Link to book: Thimbles and Threads Collection

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