Meet author Norma Gail

Norma Gail’s debut novel, Land of My Dreams, won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award. Within Golden Bandsreleases May 19th. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals have appeared in several publications. She lives in New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, or Amazon.

Tell us about your newest book.

Within Golden Bands is the sequel to my debut novel, Land of My Dreams, which released in 2014.

Here is the back cover copy:

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. When her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage, she fears her husband’s reaction will hurt more than the loss of their child.

But Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of their child, Bonny struggles to hold her marriage together. When faith in love is not enough, where do you turn?

Meanwhile, they are faced with a malicious stalker who threatens not only their lives, but the sheep farm Kieran’s family has built over generations. Who knew that the path to parenthood would also reveal a family secret and lead to a kidnapping?

What genre do you focus on and why?

Land of My Dreams, winner of the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, contemporary Christian romance. Because a book cannot be considered romance once a couple is married, Within Golden Bands is considered women’s fiction and romantic suspense. I love exploring the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. My author tagline is: Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. I want to encourage the reader through my stories.

Why do you write? 

I love words. They hold so much power. From the time I was small, I have always made up stories. I wrote them down as soon as I could. I convinced my sisters and neighborhood friends to play out my ideas. I have notebooks full of stories and poems written in junior high and high school. In fact, a novella that I am preparing to submit to an agent is a rewrite of a story I wrote in high school.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

My main character is Bonny MacDonell. I had a great aunt named Bonnie and always thought what a beautiful name it was. I changed the spelling simply because in Scotland, the word bonnie is used so often that I wanted it to be different. Bonny is an American college professor who met her husband, Kieran, while teaching at a college in Fort William, Scotland. Within Golden Bands begins a couple of months into their marriage. She discovers that life with a new marriage, in the rainiest part of Scotland, far from her life in New Mexico, is not an easy thing.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

Right now, crazy! One of the reasons for the years between books was some major surgeries for me, the death of my mother, taking on the care of a childless aunt and uncle in their 90’s, moving them from a small town to assisted living near me, my aunt’s death, and the continuing care of my uncle. Add in my husband’s partial retirement and decision to work from home, and the temporary return of our 36-year-old son. No two days are the same. Other than a quiet time in the morning, my writing and book marketing have to fit around the needs and schedules of others.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

The marketing and social media time is the hardest part for me. I would love to sit and write books without worrying about anything else. However, book promotion is a major responsibility for any author today. It can mean hours of promotion with no change in Amazon ranking, which is the number that an author’s world revolves around. I wouldn’t mind the social media if it meant just getting to know other authors and readers, however the marketing gets in the way.

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

I love time sitting at my computer in silence and letting words flow through my fingers and seeing the result on my computer monitor. I love creating a story world that makes a reader feel as if they have been there, and characters that they get emotional about. Reviews can be awesome when they are positive and show that readers want more.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

After the release of my first book, I did a book signing at a tea room and tea store where they said they had hosted Christian authors before. They had another author at the same time because they said it had worked well in the past and the readers often bought books from both. It was pouring rain, which tends to make New Mexicans stay home. The other author had written a non-fiction book about evolution. He was perhaps the most uninformed person where the Bible is concerned of anyone I ever met. Anything I said kind of bounced right off of him. We had an interesting discussion, drank a lot of tea, and ate too many sweets. I sold two books, both to a friend who bought them for gifts. He sold about half a dozen books to people fascinated by his evidence for evolution found in New Mexico.

What are you most proud of?

Pride may not be the right word, but I am honored and blessed to have raised two children, adopted as infants, to be wonderful adults who are the delight of my life. I am proud of their hard work and big hearts that reach out to everyone who crosses their paths. I enjoyed being able to take the experiences of infertility and adoption and write them in a fictional format that I hope will minister to many people who read it, or make people more aware of the wonderful blessing of adoption. There are far too many children in need of a home in this world. I believe if adoption were more widely accepted and understood, there would be far fewer abortions.

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading and writing fill my days, however, I take a break now and then to indulge in my passion for family history. I have boxes full of old family photographs to scan and much more research to do. I have gone back 14 generations on one side of the family. My husband and I love to travel in our RV and whenever possible, our trips include a visit to a town or cemetery related to my family history. I am planning a series of historical novels based on old family stories.

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

I have already mentioned Land of My Dreams. The idea of basing my stories in Scotland resulted from some dreams I had around the time my husband and I took a 30th anniversary trip to Scotland in 2006. I had no idea I would ever write a book. A few years later, when a broken foot landed me in a wheelchair, unable to drive, I decided to see if my desire to write would lead to anything.

What are you working on now?

I recently accepted an invitation to be a monthly contributor to the inspirational devotional site, Inspire a Fire. I am getting used to writing on assigned topics and adding that into the mix of launching a new book and all the previous responsibilities I mentioned. I hope to submit the novella I mentioned later this year, and then move on to writing historical fiction. Somewhere in there, I hope to begin doing author interviews on my own blog again.


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