Monday, 30 September 2019

Nora McKinney



1. Where do you live?

I live in a small town near Munich, Germany.

2. What is the first thing you remember writing?

I wrote a poem when I was six years old. It was about snow. I still remember it by heart.

3. Why do you write?

I could answer to you with the overused line, “I write because I can’t not write,” and it would be absolutely true. I didn’t intend to be a writer. It was never one of my dreams.
But I have always lived in a well-balanced mix of fantasy and reality. At some point, the world in my head started conquering the outside, and I started being afraid that I would become psychotic. Sometimes, I was barely able to look where I was going, and I found myself running red lights while being absorbed in the alternative worlds in my head. I found myself secretly wishing that I could fall into a full-blown psychosis. They would put me in a clinic, and I would be allowed live inside my head, oblivious to the bleak realities of the outside world. 
But I have a family and I was invested in living in the here and now, so I asked a friend who had gone through psychotic episodes what one does when the fantasies start feeling more real than the outside world. She suggested that I just write everything down. So, I did. Five months later, the whole story took a life of its own, and I had a novel. I am happy to say, I am less of a danger when I’m driving now.

4. Have you published any of your work?

Yes, I self-published my erotic drama, “A Natural.”

5. What are you currently writing?

I’m writing the two sequels to “A Natural.” The story was not quite finished

6. Are you querying?

No. I work fixed-time contracts in academia, which means I have to look for a new job again soon, and I also have a family. I don’t really have the time or the energy to put effort into it, and, quite frankly, I didn’t know anything about querying until I published my novel. I’m afraid I have only little knowledge of how the publishing world works

7. Finish this sentence (Three lines or less)
It was a dark and stormy night...

and I lay in the grass, pelted by the freezing rain. “Beautiful,” I thought as the circle of flashing azure lightning above me got bigger and bigger. The funnel descended towards me, bringing with it an eerie sense of calmness.

8. Which activities do you like to participate in, in the Twitter writing community?

I love the Writer Lifts! Specifically, I love lifting people. I have met several brilliant writers on Twitter, and I advertise their work as often as I can. True talent must be acknowledged!

9. Do you have any formal training/education for writing?

No, unless you consider thirty years of obsessive reading training.

10. Do the people in your life know that you write?

Due to the nature of my writing, I don’t share this aspect of my life with them. I don’t think they would appreciate the explicit nature of my works. I don’t live in the country of my birth, so I don’t interact with them every day, and therefore they really don’t need to know. Their English is not very good, so they wouldn’t be able to read my books anyway. My husband and children know that I write, of course. My husband is actually my harshest critic!

11. Tell me about the people in your life. Family? Pets?

Two children and one wonderfully nerdy husband. He has lots of tiny fish in two aquariums. And I never kill the spiders.

12. Where do you wish your writing to take you?

I want to be read and appreciated by people. That’s the important thing, isn’t it? Neither critical acclaim, nor earning a lot of money. All right, I wouldn’t mind some money, but being a best-selling author is not really what writing is about. I also have another cause – that of devilifying sex in literature. I don’t like the distinction between “clean” and “smut.” This use of language is indicative of prejudices and taboos that linger in our subconscious even today. As if sex were something unclean or unnatural. I write high quality literature, and sex plays a prominent role in it. It is a part of life, and an important one. It affects our mental and emotional development and well-being. If my writing contributes a little bit towards that cause, I will consider it a job well done.

13. What did you expect when you joined the Twitter writing community? Did it turn out as expected?

I didn’t really expect much. I just wanted to advertise my book. What I found were wonderful friends and some marvelous books by brilliant authors. I got much more than I expected

14. Where do you write?

I have a small writing space in the attic, but I also write in the kitchen.

15. How much time do you dedicate to writing, weekly?

It varies. When inspiration hits, I’ll sit and write around the clock, with brief breaks to go to work and sleep. Working part-time helps with that. Of course, you need someone to do the cooking and washing, and thankfully, my husband does all that. Other times, life gets in the way, and I don’t write at all.

16. Do you have other talents?

I can cook or bake nearly anything. And I can make it low fat, low carb, gluten-free or vegan. I can bake croissants from scratch. I used to draw and sketch, and I can paint a portrait, but I never really bother, since we have agreed that my daughter is the artist in the family. I have a Ph.D. in astrophysics. I also speak four languages.

A. I do not mind when other writers ask for advice.

B. I'd rather keep to myself.

I don’t mind when other writers ask for advice (why would I mind?)

Born and raised in Greece, from a young age I read every book I could get my hands on. As a child, I wrote poetry. As an adult, I loved learning languages and getting acquainted with other cultures. I studied physics and moved to Germany for my doctorate studies in astrophysics. After a brief stint as a post-doctoral researcher in France, I decided to settle down in Germany, where I tried my hand in web development. I quickly got tired of that too and went to work as a climate scientist at the German Aerospace Centre. 
But you can't hide from your true passion forever, and the words poured out. These days I'm writing and editing my books, and I'm toying with the idea of finally realizing my lifelong dream: going back to university to study linguistics.

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