Interview with EJ Norris   1 comment

LELA: Quick change of direction because my previously scheduled author has delayed his book launch. I’m rechecking with him on his interview details since some time has passed and may run in concurrent with the launch.

E.J. Norris photo.Today’s interview is with EJ Norris, author of The Mirror and the Sword. Welcome to the blog, Emily. Tell us something about yourself.

I’m from the wonderful state of Maine. It’s a fantastic place for books to grow up.

I love Maine! My husband is originally from New Hampshire, so we’ve been to Maine a few times. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I always loved writing. It was such fun to create whole new worlds where anything I wanted could happen. Most of my very first stories were prompted by grade school assignments. Later I started to really branch out on my own, exploring the art of the novel.

Yeah, fiction writing started from a school assignment for me also. Tell us about your writing process.

Well, developing a process took a bit of trial and error, but I finally settled on the following:

  1. The idea. Perhaps born in a daydream or a prayer. I think it over, ask myself questions about the plot and the characters.
  2. Rough draft. When I have a general idea of where I’m going I begin a handwritten draft.
  3. After I’ve written the story, I type and revise it.

You are a rare breed in modern circles. Handwritten drafters exist — I interviewed one last year — but it’s truly uncommon in this day of keyboarding. I still resort to it when I need some poetic infusion into my novels. Something about handwriting really kicks poetry into gear for me. What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

I love reading and writing fantasy. There’s so much freedom in the fantasy world. I also like to read British literature. I swear, when I enter a book store I can find something British. It’s like a Brit Lit magnet in my forehead!

The Mirror and the SwordWhat a great skill for a fantasy author, though! What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about my faith, writing naturally, reading, music, in depth conversation, and friendships.

What is something you cannot live without?

Christ in my life.

Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

Well, The Mirror and The Sword was the first ever novel I gave to God and that decision has forever altered the motivation behind my projects. I now weave Christ into nearly every single one of my projects.

Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

Inspiration can come from anything. A song, something someone says, a daydream. Inspiration is unpredictable, but when it hits there’s no missing it.

If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

I would say vivid, adventurous, and well thought out. I write stories with a good balance of elements to them so that there’s something for anyone.

Do you have a special place where you write?

In a car, on a plane, whether in the sun or in the rain. I can write pretty much anywhere.

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Both. The plot is the car and the characters are the gas.

I like that analogy! Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

Discovery. I’ll go with the basic idea and then keep writing to see what wonders appear.

What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

I’ve recently taken to writing in a combination of the first and third person. This began when I started The Mirror and The Sword. I wanted the character to narrate, but I also knew there were some things that the reader needed to see that said character didn’t. So, I started switching back and forth. Thus far it’s proved most efficient.

That’s interesting. I think I’m going to have to try that technique. Tell us about your books.

I’d be delighted. The Mirror and The Sword is a stirring adventure story of one boy’s quest to escape a convoluted world of lies. It’s an epic journey that you won’t soon forget.

Then there are the others. The Mirror and The Sword is not meant to stand alone. There are two others. The sequel is getting some spit and polish while we consider its opportunities for publication. The third is in its roughest stages and I am considering prequels.

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

Yes, it was. I hope that people see Christ in my work.

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I hope they say, “I WANT MORE!!!!”

 

This is a fascinating subject for me because you and I are both Christians who write fantasy. I didn’t write my books necessarily for Christians and I don’t market them as Christian literature, but Christian themes undergird my writing because I am a Christian. Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

Well, a Christian reader might recognize the symbolism more readily, but it is my hope that it witnesses to the non-Christian audience as well.

 

What do you think are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

For me, I tend to worry about doing the message justice. Therefore I pray quite fervently about it.

 

Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

As I work on this story I hope it will represent spiritual matters in a physical way, much like Christ’s parables brought a new understanding to many who followed Him. Of course this will get more and more complex as the concepts become harder for my physical mind to comprehend. In such times I will pray on my face for God’s guidance. Without Him I can do nothing.

Do you feel that Christian writers are expected to conform to some standards that are perhaps not realistic to the world?

Well, to call yourself a Christian writer there are certain things that shouldn’t be there. For instance, I don’t write detailed descriptions of sexuality. Famed fellow writers may find that old-fashioned as well as unrealistic in today’s book market.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

One should strive to do both. I remember this was one of my earliest struggles in Christian writing. Then I thought over the works of C.S. Lewis. I noted that he didn’t have a representation for every single biblical event in all four gospels. All that was needed was the iron hard, back bone of Christianity. That should leave plenty of room for creativity and personalization.

 

 

Here are my links:

 

The Mirror and The Sword on Amazon

EJ Norris on Twitter

EJ Norris on Facebook

EJ Norris on Goodreads

One response to “Interview with EJ Norris

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  1. Reblogged this on Daermad Cycle.

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