Interview with Author James Norwood

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’ve had quite the interesting life. I was a military brat so I was born in what was then West Germany in 1972. My family moved a lot so it wasn’t until the late 1980s that I settled down in Southern California and made a life here. My wife and I love to travel, but of course the pandemic put a pin in that for us. I have been teaching middle school English for the past eighteen years. I’ve always loved books in general and Science Fiction in particular. I also am an avid reader of historical fiction as well as anything at all to do with the British monarchy. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but writing hasn’t always been my focus. Over the years I’ve started and stopped writing numerous books. I started the initial writing of my first full-length novel “A Trio of Worlds” several years back. I wrote the first fifteen pages and, as was typical, I put it down. Every so often I’d re-read the writing and plan to work on it. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I wanted to find something to fill the hours with. I started writing Trio again and, this time, I finished it. It took me three weeks to write the first draft. A few months later I started on the sequel, “Heirs of the Ancients.” That book will be released on September 3, 2021.
2) What inspired you to write your book?

Well I’ve always loved Science Fiction. I had the crazy idea of what would happen to an astronaut if he suddenly found himself floating in empty space. I loved the idea so much I built an entire fictional universe around the circumstances that led my main character, Major Cormac Gallagher, into the perilous situation. I’d have to also be honest when I say that other fictional universes like Star Trek and Star Wars inspired me, however, I took great pains to make my ideas original. I even spend a few lines of text making fun of Science Fiction writing and television. It was great fun!
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I think the overarching theme of the book is perseverance. My main character finds himself in several challenging situations and through it all he doesn’t lose his wry sense of humor or his desire to protect his home. I hope readers see that as they read not only A Trio of Worlds but also Heirs of the Ancients. Book two is a bit darker than the first one, but the theme endures.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I grew up in the 70s and 80s so Star Wars was and is my mainstay. I also was an avid reader of Isaac Asimov when I was in high school. I read just about everything by him I could. The Tripods series by John Christopher was another major influence for me. I’m a bit eclectic in my reading choices, so not only do I love Science Fiction, I’ve read a ton of historical fiction as well as biographies. Pretty much anything to do with England and its past is in my library.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

What of the major characters in my novel is an alien by the name of Ret D’iash. I would love to sit down with her and ask why she is just so mad at the universe. Why does she believe she is destined to rule and what does she hope to gain by destroying her former home. Even though I spend a lot of time in book two covering this conflict, and of course even though I’m the author and she lives in my imagination, it would be quite interesting to talk to her. That is assuming she doesn’t put me out of an airlock for my intransigence!
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I spend a ton of time on Twitter. I’ve found the most engagement there and there is an amazing community of other Indie writers like myself. The encouragement from that talented group keeps me going. It’s hard to gauge success with social media, however. I’m not an expert in marketing and my first book came out without any kind of book launch or pre-publicity. I’ve been working to do more on that front for the upcoming launch of Heirs of the Ancients, including making sure all formats, eBook, print, and audio, are released at roughly the same time.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

My advice to any would-be writer is rather simple. Just keep writing. Writing a book is hard work and can be frustrating, especially when I write myself into a corner and I have to figure out how to get out of it. Nevertheless, the satisfaction of writing that last word and knowing that, no matter how well received by others your books is, you did it. You wrote a book. You can now officially call yourself a novelist. I’d also encourage any new writer to seek out support from friends, family, or on social media. Ask a ton of questions and don’t take no for an answer. Even if you book hardly sells at all, get it out there and let the world see you. Writing is intensely personal and you put so much of your own personality into the work, so it can be a little scary. Do it anyway!
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

While I’m in the pre-publishing phase of my second full length novel, Heirs of the Ancients, I’m not writing but I am planning book three. I foresee that my series, The Three Worlds Chronicles, will be a four-book arc. I’ve made notes and written down plot details for book three, so I generally know where the series is headed. I tend to be a “by the seat of my pants” writer, so I never fully know what is going to happen. I let my main characters drive the plot and, as it happened in the first two books, they surprised me. There is one scene in Heirs of the Ancients that absolutely shocked me, even though I wrote the whole damn thing! After I finish, or rather, IF I finish my current series, I really don’t know where I’m headed. I know one thing for sure, however, I have the writing bug and I’m never going to stop writing.

About the Author

James Norwood is a middle school teacher. He lives in Riverside, California with his wife Kelly and their three cats.

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