Nora on Writing


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Before she started writing, Nora Roberts was a woman in search of a creative outlet. Staying at home with her two small sons, she was the ultimate earth mother, gardening, canning fruits and vegetable, making her son’s clothes, stitching and knitting. “I macramed two hammocks,” she admits now. “I needed help.”

That help came in the form of a blizzard in February 1979, which left her stranded at home for a week. In an age without four-wheel drive vehicles, getting down the hillside from where she lived was impossible. Morning kindergarten was canceled for a week. It was the endless games of Candy Land and a severe lack of chocolate that drove her to look for a little entertainment that was not child-related. She took out a notebook and started to write down one of the stories she’d made up in her head.

As the story took shape on paper, the idea took shape in Nora’s mind that “this is IT. This is the thing I am meant to do.” The sun came out and the snow melted. The crafts were shelved and a career was born. She decided to write the story as a category romance, since she’d recently started reading Harlequin romances. At the time, Harlequin was the only publisher of category romances and their pool of writers was mainly British and the manuscripts she submitted were summarily rejected.

In 1980, Nora heard that a new publisher -- Silhouette – was looking for authors who would put an American spin on Harlequin’s framework. In the summer of that year, Silhouette bought Nora’s first book. Irish Thoroughbred was published in 1981. As the years passed, Nora Roberts’ books were published several times a year under various Silhouette imprints. In 1987, she began writing single title books for Bantam. Five years later she moved to Putnam to write single title hard covers as well as original paperbacks as both Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb.

Now that her sons are grown, Nora looks back at that February Blizzard as a blessing in disguise. “I started writing as a way to save my sanity,” she says, “and I fell into a job that I love.”


Copyright 2006 Nora Roberts