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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

From Pictures to Prose: Author Interview with Krista Noorman

As a professional photographer, you created pictures without words. What made you decide to create the words rather than the pictures?
I'm not sure it was really a conscious decision. I sat down to write my first novel during National Novel Writing Month (NaNo), mostly just to see if I could write a novel in thirty days. I was in the midst of a busy wedding photography season and had an idea to write about a wedding photographer with a broken heart, who was surrounded by happy couples. What happened during those thirty days was that I fell in love with writing. It made me happier than my photography ever had, and that's saying a lot, because I love photography.

When did you actually start writing your first book? Is that the one you first published? 
I began writing my first book on November 1, 2008 during NaNoWriMo and finished the first draft twenty-six days later. But that book was actually not the first one I published. I decided to publish The Truth About Drew first, which I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2009. 

How long did it actually take you to write it? How many rewrites did you do? 
The Truth About Drew took a month to write (November 2009). I think I went through three drafts of that novel before getting it to the final edits. 

Who encouraged you along the way?
My biggest encouragements came from my husband, who read an early draft on an airplane and tried not to cry in front of the stranger seated next to him, and my mother-in-law, who emailed me when she finished reading it to tell me she would personally kick my butt if I didn't publish it.

Prior to publishing your two current novels, did you have other publishing credits? Who helped you edit your books? 
My two novels are my only publishing credits so far. I did all the initial editing myself and had a few trusted writer friends look it over. Then I went over it several more times with a fine tooth comb. It was a long process, but worth it in the end. 

Are you active with any writing groups?
I'm a member of a group of indie authors, who write clean fiction (no explicit sex, violence, or language in our novels), and their support has been wonderful. 

You’ve said NaNoWriMo inspired you to get serious about your writing. What did you learn from that experience? 
I participated in NaNoWriMo twice - in 2008 and 2009. At first, I did it just to see if I could. My husband had participated and I was curious. Could I write a novel in a month's time? I went for it and wrote what eventually became Goodbye, Magnolia

The following year, I did it again and that book became The Truth About Drew. The biggest thing I learned from NaNoWriMo was to get the idea out of your head and onto the page. That first draft will inevitably need a lot of work, but the basics of the story will be there.

You have written both a YA novel and a contemporary romance novel. Why two different genres? Do you have a preference of one over another? 
I enjoy reading many different genres, and it's the same with my writing. I loved writing both romance and YA, and I hope to venture into some other genres in the future. The ideas are flowing, and I've got a couple book ideas in Historical Romance and Dystopian.

What do you want readers to take away from your stories?
All of my novels have a message of faith, and I hope that will be encouraging and hopeful to my readers.

What made you decide to go the indie-publishing route? Did you pitch traditional publishers or agents? 
The idea of pitching my books to publishers and agents and having to face probable rejection was not something I looked forward to. I considered it, but then I began researching my options to self-publish and I knew I was more than capable to go that route. I do not regret it one bit and enjoy being in charge of the entire process of getting my books out into the world.

How do you write? Do you do an outline first? Do you do individual character development before doing the full plot?
Well, for the first two books, I wrote them in 3-4 weeks during NaNoWriMo. The first draft of my most recent work in progress took me two weeks to write. I'm not one who outlines. I have a basic idea of where I want the story to go, then I just write and see where it takes me. 

As far as character development, I made some character sheets with traits and backgrounds and such to help me get to know who my main characters were. That helps a lot in the process of figuring out where they came from and how they will deal with different situations.

What type of publicity has been the most successful in promoting your book? What has bombed and you will steer clear of in the future? 
Both of my books are fairly young (my first came out last spring), so I'm still learning the ins and outs of marketing. Being an indie-author, I've got to handle all of that myself and there's a lot to learn. I've been blogging for many years, so I write there about my books and writing and everyday life. I'm also very active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and promote my books everywhere. I also have an e-newsletter that I send out every month or two with information on my books, new releases, sales, etc. Haven't had anything "bomb" for me, but I have held a few sales where I did very little promotion outside of social media and didn't see much of a return there, which is not surprising.

What do you know now about writing that you wished you had known sooner?
I never realized just how much goes into making a book ready to publish before I was actually faced with doing it myself. It takes a lot longer to edit a book than it does to write it. All of mine were written in less than a month, but it takes many months of rewrites and even longer on the editing. I actually enjoy the process, though. Well, I'm not a huge fan of copy editing, but it's a necessary evil.

What other books do you have in the works?
I'm so excited for my upcoming book projects! My next book is called Until Then, the sequel to Goodbye, Magnolia, contemporary Christian romance. I'm in the rewrite stage on that one right now. I've got a dystopian series I want to start on and a historical Christian romance that I'm beginning to research.

What is the best advice you’ve been given about writing or that you’ve learned that you would like to pass along?
Write for you. I was once asked if I never made a cent on my writing, would I still write? And my answer was absolutely. I love telling stories and will keep telling them as long as there are new ideas flowing. The other thing I've learned is to just write. Get those ideas out of your mind and onto the page. Sit down and write that story you've been thinking about and you may be surprised where it takes you. I always am.

Are there any other notes you’d like to add?
Just a thank you for the interview. I appreciate you reaching out to me and asking to do this.

That's all for today's interview. Hope you've learned something to help you with your writing. If you'd like to learn more about Krista's writing and her upcoming projects, here's some way to do that. 

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1 comment:

  1. Such great questions. Thanks for the interview, Chris! :)