Frequently Asked Questions
and Answers from Nora Roberts
(Professional)


How Nora Started Writing | Pseudonyms? | Jill March/Sarah Hardesty | J.D. Robb | Synopses/Proposals | Cover Approval | Dedications | Draft to Publication | How Many Drafts | Longhand or Type? | Creating Characters | MacGregors vs. Kennedys | Capturing Ideas | Readers' Ideas | Dialect | Like Best: Straight Romance, Romantic Suspense, or Futuristic | Will You Reissue Promise Me Tomorrow? | What About O'Hurleys? MacGregors? What Happened with Silhouette? | What About Aubrey? Will Eve Get Pregnant? | Do You Mentor Writers? | Books Made into Movies? | Favorite Pen? | Spring 2003 Hardcover? | Trilogy for 2003? | Autographed Books | Writer or Author? | Back to ADWOFF Messageboard



When did you start writing?
"During a blizzard in February, 1979 while housebound with the two small boys. Three feet of snow. A dwindling supply of chocolate. No morning kindergarten. Day after day after day. It was just a nightmare."

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Do you write under other names?
"I write under Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb."

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If you only write as Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb, then who are Jill March and Sarah Hardesty?
"I wrote a story for a magazine years and years ago titled "Melodies of Love" under the name Jill March. IT IS NOT AVAILABLE, don't go searching for it.� The Born In series, when it was released in Britain, was released with the name Sarah Hardesty. I have since changed publishers."

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What does J. D. Robb stand for?
"It's actually for my sons, Jason and Daniel. And the Robb is a shortened form of Roberts.� I initially began writing the In Death series under the name D. J. MacGregor - even have the first cover flap with that name. Right before publication, it was discovered that T. J. MacGregor was writing romantic suspense. So I had to make a quick change. Switched the initials and went to Robb."

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Do you enjoy writing synopses or proposals?
"I don't do synopses or proposals. Really never have. I usually just send in the whole shot."

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Do you have cover approval?
"I have cover approval on all my books from Putnam/Berkley. I get a comp of the cover early on, so I can give them any comments. My comments generally are: Wow! This looks great!"

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How do you choose the dedication of a book?
"Dedications, for me, usually come when the book is finished. Sometimes it just occurs to me that the story fits a particular person."

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How far in advance do you turn a book in before it's published?
"Usually, I'd need to turn in a manuscript about nine months prior to its pub date. Less, and it can cause a real crunch for the publisher."

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How many drafts do you write for a book? And do you edit as you go?
"I do three drafts for a book. Might do four if it doesn't feel right after the third pass, but never less than three. I am solidly don't look/proof later."

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Do you write your stories longhand or on the computer? Does any read it while its a work in progress?
"I compose straight onto the computer. Don't use a recorder, and haven't written in longhand since back in the day. Nobody sees or reads my stuff until it's finished."

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Do you base your characters on people you know?
"I don't base my characters on myself, or on people I know. I make them up."

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Was the MacGregor family based upon the Kennedys?
"Wasn't thinking of the Kennedys when I did the MacGregors. I've had a lot of people ask me this question though."

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Do you write all your ideas down?
"Actually, I never scribble anything down. Wouldn't do me any good. I just juggle the idea, or the seeds of it in my head. The only thing I scribble down are names of various characters as I write them. Then I usually lose the paper, so that doesn't do me any good either."

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Do you ever use readers' suggestions or plot lines for your stories?
"NO.� While I enjoy listening to them, I NEVER use them."

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Do you ever write in dialect?
"Not much dialect in my books. Dialect, imo, doesn't read well and should be used sparingly, if at all. It's better to use speech patterns, rhythm of speech, give the idea of dialect and accents, I think."

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Which do you like writing more, romantic suspense or the futuristics?
"I like writing both the dark and the light. It's good for me to be able to switch around, and not write only in one area. Hope you enjoy the In Deaths."

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Will you be reissuing PROMISE ME TOMORROW?
"No reissuing of PMT. Ever, ever. Mediocre book, and that's being generous. Anyone who pays over a couple bucks for it is getting stung."

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Why won't there be any more MacGregors, O'Hurleys, etc.?
"I feel I have to explain why I won't be writing the O'Hurley boys, or the MacGregor grandkids or any of the other kids in the Silhouette series. At least not for some time. After a great deal of time and effort on all sides, Silhouette and I were unable to find a way to mesh our needs and goals in a way that made it possible for us to continue our 22 year partnership. We had a long and satisfying run together, and I'm proud of everything we accomplished. I made a lot of good friends at Silhouette, and treasure them. That affection remains, again on both sides, though our active business association is ended. Silhouette will continue to reissue my backlist titles, but I will no longer be writing new books for them. I'll miss that as I have a strong affection for the category form."

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Will you consider writing another Quinn book? Aubrey's story?
"Hell is much more likely to freeze over before I write another Quinn book or Eve announces that she's knocked up."

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Would you ever consider mentoring another writer?
"No, I don't mentor. I'd be even crankier than Eve. And mostly, honestly, I think writing's something you have to figure out yourself. It's so individual."

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Have any of your books been made into movies?
"Yes. THIS MAGIC MOMENT (Silhouette Intimate Moments #25, Language of Love #24) is a movie titled, "Magic Moments", starring John Shea.� And SANCTUARY, was a made-for-tv movie, starring Melissa Gilbert that aired in February of 2001."

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Do you have a favorite pen?
"I do have a pen I prefer. It's the Uniball Gel Impact in black. Very easy on the hand."

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What's the title of your spring hardcover in 2003?
"Birthright."

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Will there be a fall 2003 trilogy?
"Yes.� They are being published in concurrent months. Titles are:
Key of Light
Key of Knowledge
Key of Valor
"

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How can I get an autographed copy of one of your books without going to a signing?
"You may order them directly from my husband's bookstore,
Turn the Page."

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Do you like being called writer or author?
"... Writer works most usually for me. It's simple and to the point."

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FAQ for Nora Roberts
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