Saturday, July 28, 2007

Christine Norris' Visit to My Blog

Hi, how’s it going? I know, right now you’re asking yourself if you’ve clicked the right link, or if you perhaps mis-typed the blog url. Nope, this is Marilyn Meredith’s blog, but I’m not Marilyn. My name is Christine Norris, and I’m a YA fantasy author. Marilyn has been kind enough to allow me to mooch her blog for today and pimp my new book to all of you.

When she agreed to this, I asked what I should write about. She said, ‘why don’t you write about the inspiration for the book?’

‘Good idea!’ said I. ‘Sounds like a plan.’

Wait, I guess I should tell you the title of the book first, huh. Return to Zandria. So, you’ve probably guessed there is another book, since this one is about Returning. You’d be right. The first one is called Talisman of Zandria. That’s really where I should start, because the two are interconnected, inspiration-wise.

The first book came about really as a bit of a lark. I had finished reading the first three or four Harry Potter books. I came late to the game on that front. I fell in love with the stories, like most other people, but read about how JK Rowling was a welfare mom, writing about Harry in a cafĂ©. I decided if she could do it, so could I. I could try at least, right? I only wanted to get to the end and see if it was good enough. That’s all.

Okay, so now you know about that. But what inspired the world of Zandria, and Ivy, the shy heroine (who is not so shy in the sequel!), and all the rest of it. You’ll probably be able to tell if you read the books that there is a lot of fairy tale romanticism in them. Pseudo-medieval setting, much like Narnia or Middle Earth. Elves, fairies, a twinkly-eyed old wizard and his apprentice. Years of reading C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien and JM Barrie (Peter Pan still being one of my favorite stories ever) were my guide, as well as a deep love of the stories of Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm. I have prized hardcover editions of their complete works, and re-read them often.

I also have a bit of a thing for the real Medieval and Renaissance periods. Just ask my husband, who dutifully dons a ‘silly costume’ and trudges around the Ren Faire with me every fall. (Don’t let him fool you, he likes it!). Again, it’s more of a fascination with the trappings of the period, not so much the history, although I’ve kind of got a thing for William Shakespeare. Why else would I take a college course on his writings, not because I had to, but for fun.

Return to Zandria’s story was a little more difficult to write than Talisman’s. It took me a long time to come up with a reason for Ivy to go back. In fact the whole first chapter didn’t really fall into place until I was almost finished with the book. Then it became so clear I wondered why I didn’t see it earlier. I suppose I was focused on the latter half of the story (which is really good, by the way. Even during the final proofing, when I’m usually sick to death of a book, I still loved it.)

Once that last puzzle piece was in place, I saw the picture. There are themes, although I didn’t really plan them that way. If the theme of the first book is ‘believing in yourself’, then the theme of this one is ‘family’. It’s buried in there, underneath all the Dragons and adventure and wizards and fairies.
I guess what really inspires me is the desire to see the characters change and grow, and taking them on the journey is its own magic.

Much thanks to Marilyn for letting me suck up some of her space, and to you for listening to my rambling.

Make every day magical!


Christine Norris is the author of several works for children and adults. She spends her time divided between her writing, substitute teaching, and caring for her family of one husband-creature, a son-animal, a large dog whose greatest achievement is sleeping in one position for an entire day, and a small feline who is very adept in his position as Guardian of the Bathtub. She also works at English Adaptations of novels translated from other languages.

She is also available for school visits and to give talks to other writers, book clubs, and anyone who will sit still long enough to listen to her.

To learn more about Christine Norris, please visit Send an email to Christine at or through her MySpace page, at

Ordering information - from LBF Books ( or from Amazon ( )

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gearing Up for A New Book Promotion

The galleys arrived for Judgment Fire. I made the corrections and sent the pages back the fastest way possible. I'm on a panel about publishing at the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime on August 4th in Fresno--it'll be a miracle if I have books for that. I have been promised books by August 11th when my book launch is scheduled at the Springville Visitor's Center (my hometown). I'm publicizing it, so all I can do is pray.

Speaking of praying, since Monday I've been one of the helpers at Vacation Bible School at our church. I've been herding around 6 12 year-olds, 3 boys --2 act like they are about 6, and 3 girls, one who acts or thinks she's does anyway, 18. We have lots of older teen helpers and the girls flirt with the males outrageously. My job is making sure they all behave as we go from Missions, Music, Recreation (wild and involves getting wet), Bible Study and Crafts. I'm not sure this is such a wonderful job for a 73 year old great-grandma as I expect kids to be respectful and act reasonable. But I'll tough it out through Friday. Of course the temperature is soaring to three digit numbers.

Last weekend we went to Ventura again for the West Coast Author's Book Festival. It was right on the beach, though we were inside. Nice people and was thrilled to be visited by two friends from the Public Safety Writers Group. We also celebrated one of my grandson's 26th birthday with a wonderful dinner prepared by his mom and step-dad and we played a goofy game. Apples to Apples. Needs very little brain power and it's lots of fun.

Throughout August, I'm going on a virtual book tour visiting other people's blogs. I'm also hosting some other authors on this blog. These are the first few places I'll be and on those days.

August 1 – The Writer’s Life
August 2 – Plug Your Book
August 3 – The Story Behind the Books
August 6 – Pump Up Your Book Promotion
August 7 – As the Page Turns

Sounds like fun. Hope you'll visit some of them.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Animals in Life and Books

We've always had animals. We raised three kids and lots of animals: cats, dogs, chickens, ducks, snakes, guinea pigs, and that was when we lived in the city. We have plenty of animals in our life these days. Three inside cats, Sundance (looks Siamese), Butch (gray and white tuxedo), and Shirley, multi-colored and mother of the boys. Outside are a bunch of feral cats, where they come from we don't have a clue. Hubby feeds them along with a gangling mixed breed dog named Beau who loves the cats.

In my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series I have yet to include an animal. Why, I don't know. Perhaps it's because I haven't taken much from my own life experiences for these books. It's a different story in my Rocky Bluff P.D. series. The idea for that series came directly from my friendships and acquaintances with the police officers who lived in our neighborhood though not at the time we were living there. When my daughter married a police officer, his story telling added to what was becoming more than an idea. He came to the house every morning after his shift, had coffee and told me what had transpired while he was working. One night he took me on a ride-along after making me promise I would not let anyone know I was his mother-in-law.

When I began writing the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, beginning with Final Respects, I borrowed liberally from my life experiences. In that series I wanted to show how the police officer's family life affected his job and vice versa. Also in that book, there is a family who runs a mortuary and their children use it as a playground--and important factor in the story. My youngest daughter had spent a lot of time with a girlfriend whose family ran a mortuary and the children always played hide 'n seek among the caskets. In that book there is a pit bull. My youngest son had several pitbulls, and we had a wonderful one for awhile.

We've had other Siamese cats and I put an incident with a Siamese cat that actually happened in the second book in that series, Bad Tidings. It isn't an important scene except to show more sides of one of the characters.

So, now I'm wondering if I should incoporate a cat or a dog in my next Tempe book. Any thoughts or suggestions?


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Promotion Etc.

Life would be so much easier if all an author had to do was write books. Instead, a great deal of time is spent on promotion. If you don't do promotion, it's possible no one would hear about your books or have the opportunity to read them. No longer is it the publishers' responsibility to make sure the word gets out about your book.

Oh, sure, if your a big name author, money will be spent on promotion for his or her latest book, but it doesn't happen for the midlist author, or the author problished by a small press. Because I have a new book coming out, I'm spending a lot of my free time thinking up ways to promote.

My contest is one--see detail below. Actually, I've received some very good entries and it will be hard choosing which is the best. Might even have to give a second prize. We'll see. If you haven't entered yet, please do. It's free--and you might win copies of the earliest books in my series.

I hope all of you are managing to stay out of the heat. It's been 100 plus here for the last two weeks--not unusual for July.