NEW VOICES, OPENING THE BOOK WITH… ELIZABETH NORRIS

Posted by | September 19, 2012 | 1 Comment

Yesterday we brought you an inside scoop on UNRAVELING, and today we’re giving you some insight into the author herself, Elizabeth Norris.  Be warned: by the end of this, not only will you be dying to read the book, you’ll be sighing with envy at Elizabeth’s romance and craving banana pudding.

Which was your favorite book from childhood, and what are you reading right now?

When I was first learning to read, my mom bought me a collection of picture books about characters from the Disney movies and I read them over and over again until I could practically recite them. Then in fourth grade I read A Bridge to Terabithia and it was the most incredible story. I begged my mom to buy me a copy since I had to give the school its copy back. Right now, I’ve just started reading Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta, and it’s wonderful.

What is your secret talent?

I’m not sure if it’s a talent, but I always manage to find myself in strange or awkward situations that make hilarious stories after the fact. My friends in college used to joke that I should put all my embarrassing stories together in some kind of memoir and title in Only in My Life.

Fill in the blank: _______ always makes me laugh.

My sister. Whenever we’re together it’s like the stars have aligned and everything is hilarious.

My current obsessions are…

I recently discovered the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery and I swear I have dreams about it. I’m also super obsessed with Game of Thrones–the books and the television show. I feel like Westeros is a real place and I want to go visit it (but after the war ends).

Any gem of advice for aspiring writers?

There are a lot of highs and lows when you’re writing a book and even more when you’re trying to get published. You have to savor the highs and let them inspire you, and then let the lows roll of your back.

Finish this sentence: I hope a person who reads my book…

…feels something.

Tell us more about how UNRAVELING was born.

Like most of the crazy stories in my life, this once starts with “So I met this guy…”

Only, I didn’t actually “meet” the guy in a traditional sense—I became friends with him over the internet. He was a friend of a friend, funny, intelligent, charming. We traded meaningless comments or jokes with friends, but the more I got to know about him, the more it seemed we had in common. We liked the same movies and television shows, we both loved to read and to write, and we just seemed to be on the same intellectual wavelength. We recommended books to each other and we could talk about anything and everything.

And somewhere along the line, I realized he had become my best friend—and then we met, and it just felt like we belonged together (I’m a hopeless romantic, I know). Of course, he lived in another state and neither one of us had any ambitions to ever move so we started muddling through a long distance relationship, making up our own rules and trying to figure out what worked best for us.

Which got me thinking about long distance relationships. They’re hard—flawed and tragic. Most of them are doomed from the beginning. The emotional highs and lows in that type of relationship add an intense stress to even the most calm lives.

In June 2010 (during one of those emotional lows), I thought about how universally unfair it was, that I’d finally found this guy who was perfect for me, who really belonged with me, and yet he actually also belonged somewhere else. And that was the moment of inception of UNRAVELING. Because at its heart, it’s a star-crossed love story. Janelle and Ben are from different worlds, and in their darkest moments, they find each other.

I am also a huge science fiction and fantasy nerd, and I hate the perception that science fiction isn’t cool so I wanted UNRAVELING to be accessible to people who don’t know a lot about science or who don’t normally read science fiction. I love shows like Fringe and The X-Files and I wanted to do something with science fiction that was very grounded in reality. I spent about two months thinking about the plot and writing down character ideas in a notebook while riding the subway, and then I started writing pieces of dialogue and a few key scenes. And then before I knew it, the book was almost complete.

 

Thanks Elizabeth!  UNRAVELING is on sale now.  And you’ll be happy to know that this won’t be the last you’ll hear from Ben and Janelle. Check back next summer for more!

 

And that wraps up our Summer New Voices!  We’ll be back January to share our amazingly talented debut writers of the winter with you.  Until then…

Comments

One Response to “NEW VOICES, OPENING THE BOOK WITH… ELIZABETH NORRIS”

  1. Janet Reid
    September 26th, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

    I can’t believe you are just NOW discovering banana pudding!! I could have sworn I plied you with that eons ago!

    In fact, after reading this all I want to do is read GoT and chow down at Magnolia!

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