Prolific Norwegian novelist Natalie Normann has recently moved to Cardiff and is about to publish her 44th book.
Could you tell us about yourself?
I’m a Norwegian writer. I have published 43 books in different genres, mostly fiction; crime novels and children’s stories, and for the last 10 years I have been writing Historical Romance series, a particular Norwegian subgenre of romance, where you either write about one main character or a family, following them through anything from 10 to 40 books. I’m on my third series, and I write six books a year. Also, I just moved to Cardiff in Wales and I’m really enjoying being away from home for awhile.
How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first complete story when I was 14, so I have been writing for a very long time. I started out writing short stories for magazines in Norway, then books, and I became a full-time writer in 2006.
Tell us about one of, or your most recent book?
Right now, I’m working on the 13th book in my series about Clara Wahl, a young doctor who comes to a small herring fishery town on the west coast in Norway in 1919 to run the local hospital for fishermen. It’s lots of drama, lots of intrigue and romance, and great fun to write.
What do you love about writing?
Lots of thing. I like the challenge of developing a story. It’s one thing to get an idea, and something quite different to actually manage to see it through to a complete book. I love it when the story suddenly takes off somewhere I really didn’t expect it to do. I enjoy that I can do this for a living. It’s a crazy, fun job and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
How do you get inspired/where do you get your ideas?
Very often I get ideas for stories through the research that I do. I read a lot of local history and always look for a story in what I read. I like exploring old photographs and imagine the life behind them. Sometimes it’s a name, sometimes a sentence in a book, and sometimes ideas come when I start to write. I always have more than one project going at the same time.
Do you have a specific writing process?
Because I write six books a year, I have to manage my writing time with discipline and focus just to be able to meet my deadlines. Every book in the series build on the previous one, so as soon as one book is finished, I have to plot the next one by finding out what unanswered questions to answer, and what to bring in to create a new story line or at least something interesting, and try very hard to come up with a good cliffhanger before I even start writing. Then I write every day for six to eight hours, depending on how quickly I meet my daily word quota.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write a lot and read a lot. Know that your first attempts will be rubbish, but that with time and determination your writing will improve. There’s no shortcut to writing. It doesn’t matter how advanced your computer programme is or how many writing classes you take, what matters is that you write every day. It’s a craft and you can’t do it in theory, you have to sit down and actually write. I always tell people that they should finish a story, no matter how awful they think it is. Too many get stuck on the first chapters and never manage to finish. To finish a story gives you confidence.
What are you currently working on? How long before release?
In my romance series, I have a book coming out every second month, the next one comes in mid december. I am also working on a story I ‘m writing in English. It’s been a hobby for awhile, but suddenly the story is falling into place and I’m having great fun with it. We’ll see what that leads to.
What are you currently reading?
I just moved from Oslo to Cardiff and since I am writing historical fiction, I always research the history of a new place. So right now, I’m reading Cardiff, A maritime history by John Richards. It’s fascinating and very inspirational. I found an old photograph of Cardiff Bay and there’s a story there. For Christmas I’m planning to read The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman.
Who are your favourite authors?
I love horror and fantasy, probably because I can’t write it myself. Phillip Pullmans books are always good, also Neil Gaiman. London is not the same after Neverwhere. I fell in love with the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. And a few years ago I discovered Donna Gabaldons Outlander books. I read most of them in a week, I think. I like her style and her courage.
Do you have any favourite fictional characters?
Jane Eyre. I read it again every few years or so, and it’s always just as good as I remember.
Any fun facts about you that you would like to share?
I can’t buy a book before I have read the ending. I need to know if the writer can end a story before I read it. Because of that I have very few novels on my Kindle.
You can find out more about Natalie on her WEBSITE
Or on her Norwegian WEBSITE