Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease Norma Beishir, Toni Collins and Scarlett Martin!
Your Name or Pen Name you use: Norma Beishir…but I’m also known as Toni Collins and Scarlett Martin!
Title of the book you are promoting: I don’t have a new book out yet, so for now I’m promoting my self-pubbed titles—two originals and three ebook editions of previously published novels.
Link to purchase your Book:
Genre: supernatural romance, romantic suspense, and romantic comedy.
Welcome NB….I, LH have some questions for you 😉
LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?
NB: I can’t remember ever wanting to be anything but a writer. Oh, wait a minute. I did go through a period during which I wanted to be a jockey. My favorite movie when I was a kid was National Velvet. I wanted to do what Elizabeth Taylor’s character had done in the movie…but as good a rider as I was, being a writer was a more realistic ambition!
LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?
NB: Influences? My mother, for one. She always wanted to write. She didn’t actively pursue it, but she gave me the bug. Another influence was my junior high English teacher. She encouraged me.
As for literary influences—E.B.White was the first. I fell in love with Charlotte’s Web in the third grade and read it over and over and over. I loved that book! Later, the most important influences were Jacqueline Susann and Sidney Sheldon. I think I learned more about writing from reading Sheldon than I did from any other author.
LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?
NB: Indie! My first fourteen novels were published by traditional Big Six publishers, and I’ll be the first to say that I was very fortunate to have been published by both of them. Berkley not only bought my first novel, they bought two more on proposal for a six-figure advance before I’d even finished the first. Never in my wildest dreams did I really believe that would happen!
They published my books as lead titles—second position on their lists, usually behind Robin Cook or Dame Brown, a very nice place to be for a newbie like me. They promoted the books, advertised them in major publications, and supported my career in every way.
But there’s always a downside. I was not being allowed to do books I really wanted to do. I’ll never forget the day my agent told me one of my projects had been rejected because it “wasn’t glamorous.” That was when I knew I had a big problem. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not into glamour. I’m a jeans and T-shirts gal. I wouldn’t even wear shoes if I could get away with it. I don’t know Donna Karan from Kmart!
LH: As an Indie Author, I was hesitant about being with a publishing company. If you are an Indie author, would you like to be published by a traditional publisher and if so, why or why not?
NB: Been there, done that—and the answer is no. I’d never go back. Why not? I can sum it up in two words: creative freedom. Now I do whatever I want.
When I was younger, I was all about the money and the bestseller lists. Now, all that matters to me is being able to make a living writing the books I really want to write.
LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies! Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?
NB: Johnny Depp—that would be interesting! Wow…I’d have to think about this one for a minute. My first thought is to say Jesus Christ. Invite Jesus to dinner but don’t discuss religion—right!
That would be like inviting Joss Whedon to dinner and not discussing The Avengers or Firefly. Or Mark Zuckerberg and not asking why Facebook’s such a screwed-up mess.
I know…I’d invite Noah and never once mention the weather forecast!
LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?
NB: I do. I feel conflicted when I have to use violence in a scene I’m writing. I’m very uncomfortable with violence, to the point that sometimes, when I’m watching on TV, I’ll turn the channel. I don’t like plots involving serial killers, things like that. I don’t like to watch anything involving rape, no BDSM, none of that.
It’s funny…I used to enjoy movies with a lot of sex. Now, not so much. Maybe it’s because I’m getting old. Seriously. I’ll be sixty in August. That’s pretty old.
LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
NB: Just one thing? Okay, that would have to be drugs. Rid the world of drugs. That’s where the sickest crimes come from—drug-addled minds.
LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?
NB: I do—I suppose because I still pay attention to them. But then, I’m like a crow with shiny things. I have a thing for color—I’m drawn to bright, vivid colors. A good cover design with bold colors catches my eye every time! That’s what a book cover does for me—it catches my eye. But from that point on, the book itself has to hold my attention.
LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?
NB: Early—eight or nine. I was always in trouble in school for writing stories when I should have been paying attention in class (or at least they kept telling me I should have been paying attention….)
LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?
NB: When I started out, it was the plot. One editor used to call me the Master Plotter. Now, I’m more interested in character.
LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?
NB: I usually get my ideas from real life events. For example, Alexander’s Empire was inspired by a news story out of Italy in the early ’80s. A little boy had fallen into a well. For days, attempts were made to rescue him—but he died there. As the mother of a toddler, I was deeply affected by the story. I started to wonder—what if he had survived somehow? What if he had ended up in an underground cave and was rescued without his parents’ knowledge and grew up as someone else’s child—but was troubled by dreams of his past life? That’s how most of my stories begin.
LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?
NB: Yes! I’ve been moving in a whole new direction for while now. My current work in progress, Superhero in Training, is about an aspiring comic book writer who creates a superhero identity that takes on a life of its own in a quirky Midwestern college town.
I’m also almost finished with a collaborative effort with James Morgan (aka William Kendall), Same Time Tomorrow, about a couple who meet and fall in love online. And no, it’s not autobiographical!
LH: I’m working on #6…3 are published and the other 3 are due out this year… How many books have you written? How many have been published?
NB: I’ve lost track of how many I’ve written—but sixteen of them are published and with luck, three more will be published within the coming year.
LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?
I’m trying to remember who said, “Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, then you do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for money.” I was backward. First I did it for money. Now I do it for love.
LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends when writing?
NB: The race to the mailbox when the advance and royalty checks arrived! We were knocking each other down!
LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
NB: I think I may hold the record for writer’s block. I had a bout that lasted seven years!
As for overcoming it…I’d given up. I was resigned to the possibility that I might never write again. Then, out of the blue, came the idea that became Chasing the Wind.
LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?
NB: Yep. Read. Read a lot. Learn from your favorite authors. Forget about creative writing courses unless you like to throw money away.
LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
NB: I’d try not to make so many stupid mistakes. Maybe not be so quick to lose my temper. Learn to ignore idiots….
LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?
NB: I might tell JFK not to go to Dallas. Or the crews of the Challenger and Columbia not to get on those shuttles….
LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?
NB: I’ve been in that position twice. I was thrilled! The first time around, I told my mother. The second time, I told my son. But lots of projects get optioned and never get filmed, so the movies have yet to be made. Maybe one day….
Thanks for that hysterical and intimate interview NB…Now… for the fun stuff!
Favorite Beverage? Banana smoothie!
Exercise or Bubble Bath? I’m a shower person, so I guess I’ll have to choose exercise….
Favorite Color? Yellow…bright yellow, none of that pastel crap!
Take out or Dine in? Take Out…with a DVD!
Camping or Hotel? Hotel—with room service!
Sports or Chocolate? No contest—CHOCOLATE!!!!!!
Dogs or Cats? Birds!
Favorite Food? Depends on my mood. At the moment, tacos or pizza!
Favorite Song? Walk on Water by Blue County
Favorite Movie? The Avengers!
Favorite Car? MiniCooper
Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Oh, good—both!
And now for the essay part of the interview 😉
If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?
NB: If I tell you, people will find out!
Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure you pick up your copies of Norma Beishir, Toni Collins and Scarlett Martin work