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Nora Roberts: the latest author from our Relax and Read Book Club

Roberts+Nora+(c)+Bruce+Wilder+-completed copy (1)’s Relax and Read Book Club gives you the chance to discover new books, learn about the authors, share your opinions and really escape into an inspiring world of literature. Each month we select five customers from a self-nominated pool, to read and review a newly released or soon-to-be released book, spanning all genres. You then have six weeks to read the book before writing reviews that are published here on the Hot Tub blog, and shared with club members via a dedicated newsletter. This month’s author is Nora Roberts, joining us with her latest book, Under Currents.

The book is about a seemingly perfect town with some ugly secrets. From the outside, the house in Lakeview Terrace looks perfect and the Bigelows seem like the perfect family: the respected surgeon father, the glamorous, devoted mother and two beautiful children. A perfect family, in a perfect house living their perfect lives. But perfect surfaces can hide dark undercurrents and behind closed doors lies a very different story.

Here we chat to Nora herself about writing, wellbeing and the inspiration behind her writing…


Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing is a joy, even when it is not going particularly well. The simple fact that you are lucky enough to have a job you love can’t be beat. The days when you can’t wait to get to the keyboard are the best. You can sit there and work in your pajamas. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Where is your favourite place to write?

I write in my office. Years ago, we added a third floor on our home. We live in the woods and the office features a large window in front of my workstation and skylights. I see nothing but trees when I look out. It’s full of light and very roomy. It’s a nice comfortable place to work.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Write what you read for pleasure. Concentrate on the work, on making the story better. Whatever the market. Most of all have fun with it.

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

Before writing I was a very bad legal secretary. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Writing is my career, my job, but it’s also something I love. I have these stories running around in my head, and I can sit down and articulate them on paper, and it’s just great good luck that someone will actually pay me to do that. It fulfils me. I have these people in my head, and I want to find out what happens.

What is your favorite childhood book?

I’m lucky to have grown up in a family of readers and surrounded by books. My father was a Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour kind of guy. My mother devoured historical novels. My oldest brother turned me on to Shakespeare with “Macbeth” when I was about 10, and it remains my favorite play. I had four brothers, so the Hardy Boys and comic books were big in my house, and I read them all — plus Nancy Drew — and I bet some of my brothers dipped into my Nancy Drew collection. I could speak knowledgeably about Batman, the X-Men, Spider-Man, Iron Man and so on with my kids when they were boys. And now my grandsons know where to go when they want to talk graphic novels. I’m not going to pick a favourite book; again too many, even as a kid. But Eloise will always be my favourite character in children’s books. She’s sassy and sweet, full of imagination and adventure. One of my favourites to read to my own kids was “Where the Wild Things Are.” I’ll pull it, or one of my Eloise books off the shelf, skim through and be flooded with good memories.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I don’t read reviews - I’d rather be writing.

What other authors are you friends with?

One of my dearest pals is Ruth Langan - we met just around the time our first books came out. Once a year I host a week away at a spa where we’re a mix of writer friends and civilians. I hang with Patricia Gaffney, Mary Kay McComas, Elaine Fox, and Mary Blayney in the writer department on this annual girls’ week.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I don’t base my characters on real people, I make it all up - I think a novel is a lie, it’s meant to be a big, entertaining, plausible lie. Sometimes I’ll hear an interesting name at a signing and make a note for future reference. Otherwise it’s just a name that fits the character.


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