My Books!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Who Is Norma Huss?

Who is Norma Huss? That's a good question. Norma and I share a publisher, Wings Press, and she agreed to be part of Wings month (six weeks actually) at my blog. I've gotten to know Norma through her interview, and she sounds like a wonderful person. I've also read an excerpt of her work, I think if you like mysteries you'd like her book. Remember if you leave a comment for one of the authors your name is entered in a drawing for a free copy of The Welcome Inn. That's my Wings release. Okay, let's get to that interview.

1.Hi, Norma, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. First of all, congratulations on your achievement. It’s not as easy as some people think to get published. How did you find Wings ePress?

Norma - Thank you for inviting me to appear on your blog. And you are right - it’s not easy getting published. This acceptance was a long time coming. In fact, I gave up on Yesterday’s Body two or three times, but then, I took a look, tweeked the story, and started over - sending queries to agents. Some showed a bit of interest, even read parts or the whole manuscript. But agents didn’t think they could sell my manuscript. Finally, I researched small presses on the internet. When I checked the Wings ePress site, they were looking for books with older protagonists. That fit my manuscript. I then realized a friend had published through Wings. Unfortunately she has since died, but I have a copy of her book. I liked the quality, the cover art, in fact, the whole presentation.

2. How did you celebrate when your book was accepted?

My acceptance of many rejections has been along the lines of, “Oh, another one.” It took me about three days to realize this wasn’t, “Another one,” but the real thing! So, perhaps, I’m only working up to that celebration. I’m sure receiving my two print copies of the book will generate a real celebration. (And, that might happen before this interview sees print.) My husband wants a “real book” to read. I’ll also send one to my mother who turned 100 this October, the same month my book came out.

3.There's nothing like holding your copy in your hand. Oh, yeah, you'll feel like celebrating. Did you always want to be an author? When did the writing bug bite you?

When I was in fourth grade I began writing my first book - but I never finished it. Then I wanted to be a champion ball bouncer. Then I wanted to be an artist. When my oldest daughter was five, I wrote and illustrated a picture book for her in the vain hope that she’d dress herself without whining. But my writing ambitions didn’t take hold until the youngest of my five children was in high school. I started with short children’s manuscripts and had several published in magazines. Finally, without kids in the home for inspiration, I turned to adult mystery. (Of course, I don’t have any murdered bodies in the home either.)

4. That's good. About no bodies I mean. Has being an author made you feel any different about yourself? If so, how?

I do have an identity other than wife, mother, and grandmother, and writing gives me that. But, I think with publication of Yesterday’s Body, that identity has been strengthened considerably - a least in MY mind.

5. Tell us about Norma the person, not Norma the author, if indeed you can separate them.

I guess, other than “the author,” I’d classify myself as wife and home-maker. I no longer have to clean house (thank you very much!), but I don’t mind laundry, and I love to cook. Which is why my amateur sleuth also loves to cook. In Yesterday’s Body, she sometimes tosses together an impromptu meal (one of my specialties too). I don’t have the recipes in the book, but I will post her favorites on my website (which, I hope is up by the time this interview appears).

6. Tell us about your typical writing day.

Typical day? Is there such a thing? As I answer these questions, my typical day includes a lot of frustration over the whole idea of websites, as well as registering copyright, publicity, what’s next. But my daughter is helping with the website, the copy is on its way for registration, and hey, isn’t this publicity?

My USUAL typical writing day starts with doing the daily sudoku to get my brain moving. Then I sit at my computer in the basement with my back to the window overlooking any number of distractions, pull up my Goals page to inspire me, then proceed to write. The length of time I work is directly connected to my level of enthusiasm. If that’s low, I may realize I need to wash clothes, or organize closets. If the level is high I’ll suddenly realize it’s two in the afternoon and I haven’t had lunch yet.

7. What future goals have you set for yourself as a writer?

My goal is to write the second in the Jo Durbin series, to finish and market the first of another series, and to continue working with a co-author toward a picture book about bloodhounds. (Visit my website to read about a wonderful volunteer family.)

8. Do you have a work in progress? If so, is it the same genre as Yesterday’s Body?

Yes, I do (see the answer above). The working title of the book nearing completion in the second series is Death of a Hot Chick, so you know that it, too, is mystery.

9.What advice do you have for people who want to be authors?

Keep at it. If I’d stopped after ten years, Yesterday’s Body would be gathering dust under the bed. Another bit of advice is, keep learning. That book under the bed would not have been the book that is now published. I learned from agent comments, from countless “how-to” books, and from the in-person and by e-mail encouragement from writing groups. So, that is my third bit of advice. Join one or more constructive groups of writers. Writers are unique in helping their competition. Actually, writers don’t think of other writers as competition. They think of them as family.

10. Okay, now tell us all about Yesterday’s Body. Give us an excerpt if you’d like, and be sure to tell us where we can buy it. I know I’m looking forward to reading it.

Hey, I can’t tell you ALL about Yesterday’s Body! You’d never buy it.

I can tell you that Jo is no spring chicken. In fact, she says: “I’m not saying Abbott Computing Services suffered from an acute form of TV demographics, but how did I get the job? I wasn’t under forty. I wasn’t anorexic slim. I didn’t have a face that would launch a thousand ships, or even a rowboat.”

But, I’ll tell you something that’s only hinted at on the Wings website. Jo is acting the homeless bag lady, even inventing an imaginary cat to further that image. She hopes to write and sell a best-seller of that life, “as she lived it.” Finding a murdered body was not in her plan.

Part of chapter one is on Wings ePress, Inc. website.

Available from and I understand it will also be available from as well as by order from your favorite book store. (But wings has the best price.)

I’ve enjoyed meeting you electronically, and I wish the best to all. Okay, read my book, and Elaine’s books too!

I sure second that last part. Thanks for coming, Norma. It was a pleasure to meet you too.


Debra Lee said...

Great interview! I have Norma's book on my TBR list. The excerpt on her publisher's website made me want to keep reading. So I will.

Carol Silvis said...

Good interview! I'm very happy for Norma, a fellow Pennwriter.

Elaine Cantrell said...

Thanks for stopping by, ladies. Good luck in the drawing for The Welcome Inn.

Unknown said...

Great Interview! Thank you Norma for writing with the "older heroine" book. Congratulations on your new book.

susan said...

Norma, I truly enjoyed this blog and to get to know you better. Your book sounds great and being "an older woman" this really made me feel good. It sure is a change from all those young and sexy things books are made about. Course I won't give those books up either. ha ha I hope to be entered for the book The Welcome Inn. That would make my day even better. Happy Halloween also to both of you. Thanks Elaine for having Norma here..I really enjoyed meeting her. Welcome to Norma also. susan L.

Sheila Deeth said...

Lovely interview. Thanks. Nice to meet you.

Lyn said...

Great interview. Jo sounds intriguing and I look forward to reading the book.

Historical Writer/Editor said...

hello, Norma, good luck with your writing. -Laura