Prompt: This year, your character resolves to get his driver’s license. A week after he does, he is driving on a lonely road when a pedestrian suddenly walks in front of the car. Your character hits the person, then panics and drives off. Now, he’s tormented by guilt. Has he killed someone? He can’t find any information about the accident in the newspapers. He needs to discover the truth and, if possible, make amends. But he doesn’t want to be arrested…
Read about the fateful Drive and what happens next at D for Drive
When you read a book, it is almost like having an intimate conversation with the author. Directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly, you come to know about the author more and more with each new book. Earlier, the only way an author could communicate to their readers were through books. Now, we have more and more opportunity to know more about our favorite authors via various channels – one of them being Author Interviews.
The first time I had communicated with Daniela was when I got the book Collecting Feathers: Tales from the Other Side for review. The journey from then with her was an amazing adventure. The first book was so beautiful that I was determined to try one more book of hers, and that is how I came across Recognitions . Both of these books are amazing literature by Daniela and truly capture her essence as a writer. I became a huge fan of hers. So imagine my surprise when I realized that we have some more things in common like the way we like our books. I have enjoyed knowing more about my favorite author. I hope you do too. So let us start with our discussion with Ms. Daniela Norris.
About Yourself (Personal)
Tell us something about yourself and your background?
I am a former diplomat, turned political writer, and with age and wisdom – inspirational author and speaker. I think Current Affairs and Spirituality can go together very well, they are not contradictory and interest in both can help find balance in life.
What were you like at school?
I always liked to observe people – teachers as well as other pupils – because I always knew I was going to become a writer one day. I am a writer who finds inspiration in people, their challenges and their achievements, and from a very young age I kept notes to use in the future for my fictional characters. Most of them are (often loosely) based on real people from my past
Do you prefer e-book or hard copy?
Initially I resisted reading ebooks but now I’ve become a convert. I still prefer the feel and the smell of a real paper book, preferably a hardback, but you can’t beat the practicality of reading ebooks when travelling. I no longer have to pay overweight charges like I used to five and ten years ago, because wherever I went, I always bought books.
Which is your favorite movie? Why?
I love watching movies and it is very hard to pick, but if I had to choose one it would be Legends of the Fall. It is based on a novella by Jim Harrison and is about three brothers and their father living in the wilderness and plains of Montana in the early 20th century and how their lives are affected by history and love. I suppose it is my favourite movie because something about it stuck in my mind and I find it unforgettable. If you’d like to know which movie I’ve watched most times – that would definitely be The Princess Bride.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would probably say: “Never give up on something you really want in life. If you want it for the right reasons and willing to work hard enough, you will find a way to get to it”. That, and “Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line”.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I’d love to meet the authors of all the books I’ve mentioned above, just to be able to say personally: “you’re amazing, you’ve touched my life with your writing, as well as the lives of millions of others.”
What is your favourite motivational phrase?
Probably “what comes around goes around” – I believe it is true, even if it takes more than one lifetime to happen.
About being anAuthor
What made you start writing?
I started writing as soon as I could hold a pen properly, and never stopped. What made me start publishing my work was the realisation that I want to make a living out of writing, that it is really what I want to do in life as a profession, and not just as a hobby.
What is the best time you find to write? (day or night) Why?
My best writing time is from four to six in the morning, although since I had my third boy I find it difficult to wake up that early. Generally speaking, I write when and where I can: in the car, under a tree, between kids’ activities. I’ll take whatever writing time I can get.
How do you handle Writer’s Block, if any?
What’s ‘writer’s block’? I believe this is a privilege that I don’t have – whenever I have some free time, I write.
How important do you think Cover Page is for a book?
These days a cover is important, but only if you choose books in a bookstore. I think that many books that are promoted and reviewed on the internet are often read despite their cover – because of word of mouth. But there are covers that would turn me off picking up a book – anything with zombies, blood or explicit pictures.
How much research do you do for a book?
That depends on the kind of book – for my non-fiction books I write about what I know, although of course there is some research involved. For my novels – as there are many periods and lifetimes involved – I tend to do quite a bit of research.
Who / What inspires you to write?
It is always people who inspire me – people who I meet, or people who I met in the past. I find people fascinating – and some people I meet stay with me for the rest of my life because of something they did (or didn’t do). I often forget places and names, but I never forget faces, and acts of kindness.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Reviews are important for the ranking and sales of a book, but they are technical details – what really matters to me is what is left with the reader once they’ve finished a book. If something sticks – it means the book was important to them at that time in their life. And this means more to me than a good review on the internet.
What do you do to get book reviews?
I ask nicely.
Do you think reading habit has decreased in the current generations? If so, What is the solution for that?
From my experience – it hasn’t. It is just the content that has changed – there are shorter novels perhaps, and more ‘to the point’ and ‘how to’ books that are sold than in the past. More readers expect immediate satisfaction, and that’s something that needs to be taken into account – but that depends on who you think, as a writer – that your readers are.
Do you have any advice for upcoming writers?
Try doing something else first – and then if you can’t help it, become a writer. In any case, any experience you have in life will later feed into your writing if you don’t give up!
About your book
How did “Collecting Feathers” and “Recognitions” come across to you?
These two books came after my two books of non-fiction, when I realised that many readers might feel more comfortable with themes of past lives and the role of people we meet in our current lives – as fiction. It doesn’t mean that these themes are not real – because I am confident that they are. It just means they might be ‘out of the comfort zone’ of some readers when presented as fact, but would be within their comfort zone when presented as fiction.
How was the journey from “Collecting Feathers” as a collection of Short Stories to “Recognitions” as a full novel?
Collecting Feathers is a collection of previously published short stories – most of them were published in magazines and anthologies over the past ten years. I didn’t realize until much later that there was a thread going through these stories – a thread of ‘contact with the Other Side’. Some of the stories were written ten years ago, and some only two years ago – but they all seem to fit in together well. Recognitions is the first of a trilogy, and I’ve been working on it for a few years now. It is part of a longer tale that spins many centuries, and will be followed by Premonitions and Transmissions, which I am currently working on. The transition from short stories to a trilogy of novels felt very natural to me, although I still enjoy reading and writing short stories.
Are there any sequel to “Recognitions”?
See above 🙂
Do such things as Past Life Regressions exist?
Absolutely. I didn’t really believe that they were real when I trained as a Past Life Regression therapist, but I was curious and said to myself that I am just doing research for my next book. But today – after everything I’ve seen and experienced, I am confident that they are real – at least to the person going through them. Whether these are ‘real past lives’ or not is irrelevant, because following PLRs many people gain valuable insights about their lives and find ways to deal with emotional and physical issues, which to me – is the main benefit.
How has your experience as a Hypnotherapist helped you with “Recognitions”
Recognitions is based on some Past Life Regressions I’ve experienced myself, although I did take literary license to change many details!
How did you come up with the cover page for both the books? Is it your own design or someone else designed it for you?
The wonderful designer at John Hunt, Nick Welch, designed both covers and I am grateful to him for his wonderful work and designs. I think his covers convey the feel of the books very well.
How does the cover pic of “Recognitions” relate to the story?
If I revealed this I’d be risking a spoiler… but I can just say that the theme of fencing runs through the book, and in fact – through the whole trilogy. Readers will have to read the book and find out for themselves as it is the last chapter of Recognitions that gives the answer.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Thank you so much for giving me this wonderful opportunity to discuss my writing and my new novel, it is much appreciated!