Today we travel to Oslo, Norway to chat with Natalie Normann about how hygge, living in Spain, watching dubbed TV, dragons, Viking ships, writing a book in English, and book treasure hunts come together as part of Natalie’s current and past life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi. I’m in Oslo, Norway, where it’s getting darker and colder by the minute. We have a saying in Norway – well, it’s a line from a Christmas song – that Christmas will last until Easter, and with the year we’d all had, I wouldn’t mind. I need all the cosy and hygge I can get.
In which genre do you write?
I write contemporary romance in English and historical romance series in Norwegian.
How many published books do you have?
I had to use a calculator for this. By the end of 2020, I will have published 63 books, and finished another that will be out early next year.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
When I was twelve we moved to Spain and I had to live without books for three years. I went to a Norwegian School and I had read all the books in the tiny school library already. The public library only had books in Spanish, which didn’t help me at all.
We had a TV, but everything on it was dubbed, we couldn’t understand a word, but that didn’t stop us from watching. We would guess what the characters said and have a grand time trying to figure what the story was, and from there I started writing what would now be called fanfiction.
Later, when I saw movies that I had only seen dubbed, the story was usually very different from what I had imagined. Three years later we returned to Norway, but by then I was in the habit of writing and I wrote my first novel at 14. It was not very good, but it was a whole story.
What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
I have the TV on while I write. It keeps the restless and unfocused part of my brain occupied, while I write. That usually mean I only see bits and pieces of a movies, but I can live with that. It works best if it’s something I have seen before, so I don’t get engaged in the story.
What would you choose as your mascot, and why?
A dragon, no contest. Viking ships had dragon heads, my grandfather carved dragon heads that he put on his garage roof, and I loved the dragons in Cardiff when I lived there.
Dragons are awesome.
What are you currently reading?
One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson. It’s lovely.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
It showed up when I was writing Summer Island. Throughout the story, Jack, my British main character, talks to his sister Holly on the mobile. She’s fascinated by his adventure on a Norwegian island. So, of course Holly needed her own story. It grew from there.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
I’m basically a lazy person, and I’m really good at thinking about doing things, and not so good at following through. When I became a full time writer – with a contract to write six books a year – and I actually managed to find the self-discipline to do that, nobody was more shocked than me. But it was fun and it was paid work, and I had a great time writing. Still do.
What is the most crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?
I got to write a book in English. That’s pretty crazy and something I never thought I would be able to do. And now I have written two!
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?
I’m very confident and calm before something like this, especially if it’s not happening for a while. And then, about half an hour before it starts, I have an anxiety attack, and if there’s nobody there to either introduce me or ask me questions, I freeze like a deer in headlights. It’s really embarrassing and so annoying, because I would like to do well, I love talking about books and writing, and I keep hoping I’ll get used to it. Maybe one day.
What do you miss about being a kid?
I miss all the reading time I had, the wonderful excitement of discovering new books and new writers. It was like a treasure hunt. I would read everything I could get my hands on. Now, I have to manage my time and that’s not fun at all.
At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?
I would tell myself not to take everything so serious and to have more fun.
Tell us about your most recent book.
It’s the story of Holly, a very stressed, just graduated doctor, who has an episode at the hospital where she works. She is suspended while the hospital tries to figure out what to do with her. Her brother suggest that she comes to the Norwegian island where he lives, for a change of scenery, cozy surroundings and good food.
It was great wonderful to have you on MTA, Natalie! I very much enjoyed learning more about you and your writing style. Wishing you all the best! – Camilla
Where to find the book:
Christmas Island is published on the 30th of November as an ebook.
It will be available everywhere they sell ebooks.
Connect with Natalie:
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/NatalieNormannAuthor
Pinterest: Natalie Normann
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