Tuesday, April 24, 2012
An Interview with Liz Norris -- Happy Book Birthday to UNRAVELING!
Happy book birthday to Elizabeth Norris! We're lucky to have an interview with her today, so read on to hear how this former high school English and history teacher wrote her first novel. As for the rest? She traded in the southern California beaches and sunshine for Manhattan's recent snowpocalyptic winter. She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi, and Argo Tea, fortunately not all together. UNRAVELING, out today from Balzer & Bray, is the story of one girl's fight to save her family, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming. Find her at liznorris.blogspot.com or on twitter @liz_norris.
Q. How long have you been writing and what was your journey to publication like?
A. I wrote my first picture books when I was three years old. Actually I drew the pictures and my mom helped me write the story. Then I wrote my first novel when I was in ninth grade. It took me all year, and it was pretty terrible. But when I finished, I wrote another book and another and another. During my senior year, after I'd finished a fantasy novel, I went to a writing conference and pitched an agent. But I was too sensitive and I didn't really know anything about the industry, and it didn't go well. I left the conference thinking that publishing wasn't for me. I knew I would always write, but I figured I wouldn't really pursue being published. I wrote consistently after that but never really showed my writing to anyone. Then a year and a half ago I started writing Unraveling and joined a writing group for fun. They really loved it and encouraged me to let an agent take a look.
Q. What inspired you to write this book?
A. I was in a long distance relationship and thinking a little dramatically about people who fell in love despite being from different worlds. I spent a weekend watching reruns of The X-Files, and listening to Paramore, and I started plotting Unraveling.
Q. What advice do you think most made the difference to you to push you from a writer to a publishable author?
A. I really can't take credit for it. I had given up on that. I'd have to say that the difference for me was having some great friends who continued to tell me how great the story was.
Q. What advice would you like to pass on to other writers working toward publication?
A. I've heard a lot of great advice like "write every day" and "don't ever give up" but that advice didn't stick with me. I'd say for me, the best thing to learn was that there are highs and lows when writing a book and even more on the road to publication and you have to savor the highs and let them inspire you, and let the lows roll off your back.
Q. How has your life changed since your got a book deal? What do you love and what would you have done differently in hindsight?
A. I'm busier. I have less time to watch TV and more time that's spent sitting at my kitchen table with my laptop. But otherwise, it's pretty much the same. I suppose if I looked back I could list a lot of things that I might have done differently, but I don't really know how things would have turned out if I changed it up. So I don't think I'd change anything. I'm just really grateful to be where I am.
Elizabeth is generously letting us give away a signed copy of UNRAVELING on Friday 4/27. So stay tuned!