Today I have the pleasure of welcoming fellow Escape Author, Nora James, to the blog to talk writing and her new novel, A Shot at Amore, which is to be released on 12th October.
Can you tell us a little bit about your new novel?
Sure. It’s about an Australian teacher of Italian descent, Sofia, who returns to the small town of Sant’Agosto in central Italy to take care of her sick aunt. There she finds Antonio, her childhood sweetheart who is back from Rome, has become the sexiest man alive – and carries a gun. That’s because he’s Vice Commander of the ROS, a special operations group that fights the Mafia. Sofia is slowly drawn into a dangerous world where nothing is as it seems and Antonio can either push her away to save her, or let her love him at the risk of losing her life.
It’s a story close to my heart, and although the place is fictitious, it’s loosely based on a town I know very well for having family there and having spent a couple of blissful years there myself.
Is this a standalone novel or are you planning a series?
It is indeed going to be a series. I am currently working on the second book which I hope my publisher will love and bring to my readers soon.
Authors are always being told it’s best to diversify in this ever-changing publishing environment. Do you write only romantic suspense, or do you also write in other genres too?
I have written pure contemporary romance, a Christmas story with a rural romance feel, and romantic suspense. I think that the most important thing regardless of genre is to write from the heart, and to write what you know or understand well.
What are you working on currently?
I am working on the second book in the Amore series, To Kill for Amore. I’ll tell you this much: just like A Shot at Amore, it also involves guns, a love story and the same Italian town of Sant’Agosto. There’s also a wedding – although not necessarily of the hero and heroine of book 2.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to writing?
I guess that in some ways I’m what you call a ‘bitsa’. I’m Australian but have lived in several European countries and I have extended family scattered throughout the world. I’ve also had several professions, from shop assistant to international lawyer. I currently live in France with my sweet French husband and our beloved daughter, as well as our menagerie of furry friends.
How long have you been writing and what led you to being published?
I’ve been writing for about 15 years. I’d always wanted to do it, but life was hectic. Somehow, I managed to find the time to write regularly, and not long after I was lucky enough to join the Fine Print critique group with authors Anna Jacobs, Claire Boston, Juanita Kees and Susy Rogers. I spent a number of years learning the craft with them before I published a book. I’m pleased to say I’m still in that awesome critique group.
Are you published traditionally? Self-published? Hybrid? What made you decide to go that way?
I am published by a traditional publisher, Escape Publishing (HarperCollins group). I am not self-published because I feel that you really need to be capable of marketing yourself in a way that makes you stand out if you go the self-published or hybrid route. With traditional publishing you have a bit more support.
Can you share your ‘Call’ story with us?
For me the ‘Call’ story isn’t a call story. I actually never got the famous emotional, exhilarating, unforgettable phone call. I received a wonderful email instead. I still walked around with a stupid big grin on my face for at least a week, if not more. It felt a bit like falling in love for the first time. Everything around me was wonderful, from the taste of bread to the daisies in the garden. Even the weeds looked good. I suppose what I’m saying is that it really made me happy.
What do you think is the best advice you could give to a new writer with an aspiration to being published?
The best advice I could give is to persevere. It can be a very long road, a hard one, too. It usually takes years to be picked up by a traditional publisher. It’s absolutely normal to get rejections. Don’t take it personally, just keep going.
What inspires you to keep writing?
I write the way people exercise: I started off with a desire and a need, and then I got into the habit of writing. And once you are used to doing it, you simply have to do it. I don’t really have a choice anymore. When I don’t write I quickly feel something is missing.
Where do your writing ideas come from?
My ideas come from life itself. There are wondrous things happening around us every single day, things I have to weave into my stories, and hundreds of characters who talk to me, compelling me to put them onto the page. My ideas are a mix of the things that I live, that other people live, and pure imagination, in particular the answers to the question “what if”.
What are your pet peeves?
Bureaucracy! And there’s plenty of it in France, believe me. I don’t understand why systems have to be convoluted when things could be simple and efficient.
What are your favourite things?
I don’t care too much about things as such. Sure, it’s nice to have a roof over your head, a certain level of comfort, and I’m not one to say no to a pretty necklace or a luxurious jumper. But if I don’t have those things, it’s fine. I adore my family, my pets, my friends and nature. At the end of the day, that’s what matters to me.
Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog today, Nora James. It was fun finding out a little bit more about you and your writing.
A Shot at Amore
Second chance love has never been so alluring … or dangerous.
When Sofia returns to the small town of Sant’Agosto in Central Italy to take care of her sick aunt, she doesn’t expect to find Antonio, her childhood sweetheart, there. He’s back from Rome, has turned into the sexiest man alive – and he carries a gun. That’s because, as Vice-Commander of a special operations group, he fights the mafia on a daily basis.
Can Antonio be trusted with Sofia’s heart? Or will he disappoint her as he did when they were teens?
For Antonio, the situation is even more fraught: should he push Sofia away to protect her from his dangerous world, or let her love him although it could cost her life?
Nora James grew up in Australia, before spending several years in Paris where she studied, worked and met the Frenchman who would soon become her husband. In her mid-twenties she returned to Western Australia with her spouse, read law at UWA and travelled extensively through her employment as an international resources lawyer and translator.
In 2016 she and her family returned to France. She now writes novels from the home in coastal Brittany that she shares with her husband, their daughter and a menagerie of furry and feathered friends.
When Nora’s not dreaming up stories she can be found in the garden growing vegetables, in the kitchen cooking up a storm or on the couch reading a good book.