Thursday, September 2, 2021

eSpec Books Focus #13: Lisanne Norman

I've got a special treat for you this month and next month. I'm going to devote Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays to writers from eSpec Books. They're a great bunch of folks whom you need to get to know.

Next up, Lisanne Norman, contributor to No Man’s Land (Defending the Future #4) and In Harm’s Way (Defending the Future #8), edited by Mike McPhail and published by eSpec Books. 

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

It's a Lost Colony story about Scots settlers who get stranded on a planet reemerging from an ecological disaster that destroyed most of the life there. It is slowly regrowing, but this is where my Scots landed. Some 200 years later they are an arrested civilization being studied by Earth anthropologists. It's called Dream Warriors.

What happened in your life that prompted you to become a writer?

I couldn't find enough books of the kind I liked to read when I was 8 years old. My parents bought me a toy typewriter for that Christmas.

What inspires you to write?

Despite me plotting out my novels to a scene-by-scene level, they are still organic and can and do change. I want to know what happens next!

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

The main characters being different someway from those around them, and learning to come to terms with that difference, to see it not as a debility but as an asset to their personalities.

What would be your dream project?

To work with a TV crew on a production of my novels! 

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Firstly, the children's author in the UK, Enid Blyton, then Rudyard Kipling, then Anne McCaffrey, and too may others to mention.

If you had any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

I learned a long time ago that when a work is finished, it has to be finished. It is too late to wish you had done it differently. Leave it behind you and go forward and make the next project with the knowledge learned from the last taken into account.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

I think it is both. Each piece for me is an experiment to see how it unfolds, and I adapt it to get the result I want. 

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The beginnings are always difficult till you know whose voice is the one that takes you into their world, and also you find the voice of what will become the whole piece. I once wrote 6 beginnings for a novel with each being up to 20 pages long before hitting on the right one. I had to ask my main character what he'd do and suddenly all the stress went out of my situation and the book just flowed.

How do your writer friends help you become a better writer? Or do they not?

I sincerely believe your greatest asset as a writer is the friends you have made along the way. Not necessarily writer friends because avid reader friends have a lot of knowledge to share with you. If I don't possess a skill, then chances are I know someone who does possess that skill and can tell me what it is like to, for instance, rock climb on a wintry day.

What does literary success look like to you?

Always having an outlet for the next novel, and having outlets, such as eSpec Books, I can submit to for short stories. I have acquaintances who have written a book and are now looking for a publisher to buy it. I'm with a publisher who wants first refusal on my novels and that for me is success. 

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Only Dream Warriors, which I hope to be finished this year.

For more information, visit:

Sadly, my web page is down at the moment and I hope a friend will have time soon to rework it and sort me out a domain and all that stuff, but his new baby daughter takes priority.

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