Author Spotlight: Lisanne Norman

  • writer of the 9-book Sholan Alliance series.

Readers! Let’s give a good hearty welcome to Lisanne Norman!

A Scots writer living in California, she just completed a 9 book series for DAW Books Inc. called The Sholan Alliance, where Science Fiction meets Fantasy and Magic!

Lisanne, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

A dragon, I love dragons. Or a tiger. Or both! I’ve loved big cats since I visited a tiger rescue ranch in Berlin and was able to pet one of the tigers there thanks to his owner holding my hand. Tiger noses are dry, not wet like our domestic kitties, and their fur feels like that of a Corgi breed of dog – rough not smooth.

Excellent choices. And wow! I didn’t know that about tiger noses. So sweet.

What do you write and how did you get started?

I write Science Fiction and Fantasy, and I began writing at 8 years old because I ran out of books to read.

How difficult could it be, I thought!

My parents encouraged me by buying me a child’s typewriter for Christmas that year. By the time I reached 12 I had graduated to the old fashioned Remington typewriter they bought for me. It was a beast of a machine! You needed a sledgehammer approach to it because of the few sticky keys.

My first job saw me getting a nice portable typewriter which was blissful after the Remington! But it was when I was 36 that the real breakthrough came with my friend Marsha offering to take my book home with her at Christmas to her sister in New York.

Why would your sister be interested in my book, I asked.

“She’s an editor with DAW Books.”

Once I picked myself off the floor where I had fallen in shock, we laid plans for me to send my book to her a chapter at a time so as to get it ready for her sister for Christmas. It was hard work, but we made it!

The rest is history as they say, with DAW buying the book and me learning so very much from my Editor in reworking the novel.

That had to be an amazing experience. Who you know can help, but you clearly still need to put in the work!

What do you like to read?

I love a good Science Fiction Book, but will read Fantasy that is different. I really don’t like books about yet another quest to find the magic sword/cup/lost princess/prince. Favorite authors include Lois McMasters Bujold, Julie Czernada, Gini Koch for her sense of humor. In fact most of my favorite authors are also with DAW I discovered when I examined my bookshelves.

Our tastes heavily overlap — not surprising since I enjoy your writing as well.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

“If it comes easily to you when you are writing, it can’t be good”

This was told to me by a friend who helped me a lot when I was learning my craft, but he was wrong with this piece of advice. Everyone is different, and once I get into my story or novel, it just flows. Yes, I have the odd hiccup like anyone else, but then out comes my paper and pencil and I get down to writing it longhand.

Oh wow. I’m always a bit jealous of the writers whose stories just flow. 3,000 words in a day is a rare experience for me. But, I’m sure it helps to keep a nice flow to the story’s pacing.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Be aware that layout of your book can attract readers as well as put them off.

Don’t make your paragraphs too long, it looks like your book isn’t an easy read.

I knew that tip from all this time blogging, but I didn’t realize it translated so heavily to the novel itself. Although, out of blogging habit, I think I’ve been following your advice without intending to!

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

If you like felines, and stories about telepaths, you will like my books. They have been likened to Babylon 5 for their scope and treatment of the characters.

Sholan Alliance

Book 1:

Cut off from Earth by alien conquerors, the human colony on Keiss was slowly building an underground resistance movement to stand against the Valtegan invaders. But for many of the colonists, it was already too late.

Her twin sister Elise captured by Valtegan soldiers, Carrie telepathically and empathically linked with Elise, experiencing all the pain and terror that her sister was suffering. Only Elise’s death freed Carrie from torment, though it also left her completely alone in her own mind for the first time in her life. 

But this mental void was unexpectedly filled when Kusac, a felinoid crewman of a crashed starship, touched her thoughts. Drawn to him by their shared Talent, Carrie hid the injured Kusac from the Valtegans and in so doing found a friend and an invaluable ally.

The series concluded with its ninth book: Circle’s End.

In Harm's Way (Defending The Future Book 8) by [Sparhawk, Bud, Greenberger, Robert]

As well as my 9 novel Sholan Alliance series, I have some 16 short stories in DAW anthologies. I am proud to say one of those is in Defending the Future: No Man’s Land. And just come out is a 2nd story in Defending the Future: In Harm’s Way – an anthology that looks at rescue and recovery missions.

It’s always nice to have a change of pace and write what I hope is a short story that you will like.


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