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Author Spotlight: Hana Samek Norton

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Teresa's Reading Corner: Author Spotlight: Hana Samek Norton

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Author Spotlight: Hana Samek Norton

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Hana Samek Norton at Teresa's Reading Corner.  Her book, The Sixth Surrender is a 2010 Finalist in the New Mexico Book Awards.  Come back tomorrow for more about The Sixth Surrender tomorrow. 

Five and a Half Rules I Learned about Writing

By Hana Samek Norton

During a recent book signing, the book store manager mentioned that quite often her customers would ask her about how to get their book onto the book shelves—a book they haven’t written yet. Sometimes they say they have an idea for a book, but don’t know how to do it.

Frankly, the book store manager’s words surprised me – doesn’t everyone know that you have to WRITE a book first? I think, however, that the question is in fact the “how to,”  or more precisely, WHERE to start. Actually, a good question.

For those who have already ventured into writing, there seem to be “rules” in the writing world for just about anything—plot, characters, setting—and getting started on that first or latest project. If any of those “rules” work for you, great! But the most difficult thing still seems to be that “where/how” to start.

Many of my accomplished friends love to write—I don’t, and I hate them (just kidding). It may seem like a heresy to confess it, but I really don’t like “to write.”  I like to dawdle over research—occupational hazard of a historian. So here are my five rules and a half rules from getting me to “THE END”.

  1. Deadline. I have to have a dead line. It’s the “dead” that inspires me more than anything else. A page in the next l5 minutes is a good deadline for me.
  2. The tighter the deadline the better. Thirteen minutes and counting—the characters start shouting at me to sit down and start typing. 
  3.  Ok, ok--start typing while they are doing something interesting. 
  4. “Bad” characters are always doing something interesting.
  5. What next—where are all these guys heading?  I reach for Chris Vogel’s The Writer’s Journey . He knows where they all ought to be heading and how to get them there.
     5 1/2 Repeat

    Hana’s passion for the Middle Ages dates to a childhood exploring the ruins of castles and cloisters in the (now) Czech Republic. She also developed that “lurid taste in fiction,” by reading dog-eared novels full of the drama and melodrama of history. She graduated with an MA from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, and a Ph. D. (both in history, of course), from the University of New Mexico where she currently resides. She is married to an Englishman, teaches part-time, and works as a historical consultant.

    Her latest book is The Sixth Surrender.

    You can visit her website at



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