Author Norma Jarrett loves to inspire and encourage others to pursue purposeful passion. She’s an award-winning bestselling author with over nine titles and twenty years experience in the writing industry. Welcome Norma to my blog today.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I write women’s’ fiction that incorporates faith themes. I host a podcast Grown Women Brunch, inspired by my first novel series Sunday Brunch. I love to encourage women through my creative gifts and speaking. I’ve been walking in this gift for over 20 years. My books have been featured in Essence, Ebony, USA Today, Southern Living and other media. I’m married, reside in Houston, Texas and attend Lakewood Church. I’m a proud graduate of North Carolina A & T State University and Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I love watching movies, concerts, brunch with friends and traveling. Spending time with my husband and hanging with my pups Lexi and Mylo.
Do you have a day job as well?
When I first started writing straight out of law school I wrote and promoted full time. I currently work in the contracts and procurement area for a local government. I love my job and the people I work with.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing poetry since I was in grade school. I wrote my first novel in my last year of law school in 1999 and published it in 2000. I eventually signed my first book deal a few years later with a division of Random House.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I think the genre chose me. Initially I wanted to write stories about women who looked like me. I wanted to tell stories as a gift to the women I spent time around. These women were educated, smart, beautiful, faith-filled and accomplished women. They were my friends, family, sorority sisters and fellow professionals. I wanted the world to know how awesome they were. The faith-based component naturally flowed from my spirit.
Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come from life experience, the Holy Spirit and circumstances. My mantra is “Writing books allows you to be whomever you want and go wherever you wish.”
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
A little of both. Most of the time I just write and flush out the storyline (outline) somewhere along the way.
Is there any author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Terry McMillan, Susan Taylor, Dorothy West, John Grisham. Many, I love a variety of books, not necessarily authors.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Self-publishing was just finding knowledge. At that time, I didn’t have many people to consult so I researched. I wasn’t searching for a book deal, it somewhat landed in my lap because of all the hard work I put in as a self-published author. It was a part of God’s plan.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
How do you market your work?
Social media, book clubs, collaborations, radio/TV interviews, brand partnerships conferences, speaking engagements, magazine events.
What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Social media, events, speaking, radio interviews.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No. If I want it published I do it myself. However, I have started books and haven’t finished them. I tuck them away for later.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Ivy’s Soul is a novel and what I’d describe as, “The Notebook meets A Different World.” Ivy, the main character had plans to attend an Ivy League university. However, she escaped to the HBCU campus her parents attended, after a tragedy all but destroyed their idyllic family. Ivy struggles to find purpose, friendship and even love while her parents find their way back to each other through retracing their courtship. It is a story of timeless romance, healing and forgiveness, rooted in the power of faith.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
There is a small part of my life in every book.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
The epilogue and the first chapter. I needed to take the reader to an emotional place quickly. I had to use some harsh words. I had to imagine, what would be some of the worst words a mother in pain would say to their child.
How did you come up with the title?
I always loved the name Ivy. And it is symbolic.
What project are you working on now?
I’m only working on Ivy’s Soul.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Ivy’s Soul will be out in 2020. It is a complicated story with layers, so I didn’t want to rush it.
How can your readers find you?
FB Page : https://www.facebook.com/normajarrettwrites/ (Norma L. Jarrett)