About Norma Hinkens:
Travel junkie, former professional globetrotter, legend lover, idea wrangler. Norma Hinkens has lived, worked and visited her way across continents, soaking up stories along the way. Her writing is greatly influenced by the resilient characters she met, and the fascinating cultures she experienced during her journeys. Norma Hinkens grew up among vibrant storytelling traditions in her native Ireland. A Celtic bard at heart, she wields her wordsmithing sword with as much wit and eloquence as a bard can muster. She’s a legend-loving author who takes a fiendish delight in pushing reluctant characters over cliffs to find out what they’re made of. Epic odds, seemingly impossible missions, pasts that haunt, intrigue and misadventure. She’s happiest when wrangling provocative big picture ideas that are never black and white when you turn them inside out. It’s all about the tension in the journey. She lived and worked in Germany for several years, and currently resides in California with her husband, three children and Chihuahua extraordinaire. She is the author of The Undergrounders Series, Immurement, Embattlement and Adjudgement, a Young Adult post-apocalyptic, sci-fi adventure trilogy.
What inspires you to write?
Writing fires me up and makes me come alive. Maybe it’s a power thing. I can give my characters their hearts’ desire and take it away from them in the very next scene. I can kidnap people without being arrested for it, and force them to embark on jaw-dropping Baggins-like adventures. Why do I write?
I write because writing is where my passion and strengths intersect.
I write because creativity is an integral part of who I am.
I write because my art has the power to move another human being.
I write because not writing is toxic to my spirit.
I write because I don’t want to go to the grave with my song still in me.
I write because I’m wired to dissect issues and clarify my ideas through the written word.
I write because it’s how I best shape, inspire and contribute to the world I live in.
I often get asked where the idea for The Undergrounders Series came from. It goes all the way back to my childhood. I’ve always been fascinated by regimes and resistance movements, and the heroes who emerge from atrocities. I grew up reading every concentration camp escape story I could get my hands on. As an author, I find it intriguing to place characters in post-apocalyptic settings and watch what unfurls inside them as they go head to head with staggering odds. After spending several summers in Idaho, and learning more about Preppers and survivalists, the idea to plant Derry Connolly in a bunker community of homesteaders and mountain men took seed and The Undergrounders Series was born. It’s prepper survival fiction meets science fiction dystopian!
Tell us about your writing process.
I aim for about three hours of writing time, five days a week. I sometimes do some editing later in the day if I have extra time, but with three kids heading in different directions to various activities after school, it gets frantic!
I do all my writing in Scrivener, which is a powerful tool for simplifying and streamlining writing projects, research notes, web links, images and audio. I’ve learned the hard way that Writer’s Block has a tendency to flare up more frequently when I’m pantsing my story. Sketching out my plot points before I begin means I’m statistically less likely to end up in no-U-turn tangle two hundred pages in. And the great part about is that I can still change things up as I go, a little freewheeling within an outline is a good thing. The issue of pantsing versus plotting is hotly debated among authors. For me, the sweet spot is somewhere in between. You can over engineer anything, including a story, and part of what makes writing exhilarating is the process of discovery as the story unfolds.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I always take the time to wine and dine my characters, and listen to their hopes and dreams, before I begin writing their stories. When they feel loved, the actual writing flows a lot more steadily!
What advice would you give other writers?
If writing is where your passion and strengths intersect, don’t take your eyes off the goal. Put your shoulder to the wheel and throw your whole heart into mastering the craft, and taking incremental steps toward publication. Dogged persistence will get you there in the end, and the talent you have honed along the way will be your staying power.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After two years of back and forth with a couple of agents, and ultimately getting what I call the imperial thumbs down from the traditional publishing world, I decided to invest my time in pursuing alternative routes to publication.
Thankfully I discovered the incredible community of indie authors out there and got inspired to take my own show on the road. Self-published authors are very transparent and generous in sharing everything they have learned. They are also a can-do bunch of optimists and will ignite your belief that you too can be a Phoenix rising from the ashes of the slush pile. If you decide to pursue independent publishing, my best advice is to become a student of how to do it right. There is a wealth of information out there nowadays. You are not the pioneer wagon.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Independent publishing will continue to grow and improve. The Berlin Wall of publishing is down, and authors now have access to their readers who are free to decide who and what they enjoy reading. Traditional publishing is adapting to the new playbook and learning from the grass roots methods of independent publishers. A peaceful coexistence is the best long-term option for both readers and authors.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Young Adult
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.