I’m welcoming to the blog today my friend, fellow author, and partner in crime Norma Beishir, bestselling author of numerous novels, including Angels At Midnight, A Time For Legends, Chasing The Wind, and Final Hours. Thank you for coming.
You’ve been a writer within the industry, and more recently, an independent writer with your current works. Tell us about the challenges, and the freedoms, involved in writing Chasing The Wind.
I should have gone indie long before I did. Pride got in the way of making the best decision for me and for the novel. I had been a bestselling author–lead title, six-figure advances and all that. I knew there were people who would say, “Oh, she went indie because she couldn’t cut it.” I struggled for a long time, and Collin and I paid a high price for my refusal to do what needed to be done. Finally, when an agent who really loved my writing admitted she’d have a hard time getting any editor to accept the story’s spiritual elements and advised me to go with a strictly sci-fi thriller instead, I had to decide what was more important to me: status in the publishing community or telling the story I wanted to tell.
You’ve finished a revised version of the book, which has been previously published, and spans the world from America and Britain to the Sinai and New Zealand. The revision shifts the narrative from first person to third person. What was your reason for doing this, and why do you enjoy this style?
This is one of the many advantages of self-publishing–that I can do this!
After publishing Chasing the Wind, I wrote a short novel titled Final Hours, which was written in first person. I loved telling the story in the character’s voice! Still, I didn’t think it would work for the series–until I read the novels of my good friend Beth Muscat, who writes in multiple first-person points of view. I decided this was the best way to go with the series, which meant Chasing the Wind would need a rewrite.
The Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
As I was reading the book, I was struck with the differences between your earlier books, where you could see the glamour and the jet-setting lifestyle played out, and the weighty themes you write about in CTW, such as faith versus science, evil and good, the march of history, law and order, and the notion of fate. Tell us how you approached these concepts in the writing and research.
This is the kind of novel I always wanted to write–but my publisher wasn’t interested. In fact, none of the Big Six publishers wanted to let me go in that direction. Now I write what I really want to write, and I may not make as much money, but as a writer I’m much happier. I don’t write every scene wondering how much the book will change by the time it’s in print.
I’ve always been a square peg trying to fit publishing’s round hole, and Chasing the Wind was no exception: too spiritual for the mainstream, too mainstream for the Christian market.
One of the things that I found intriguing is the profound sense of evil you create in the book, manifesting itself in two characters: Nicholas Dante and Judas Caine. Where one can write villains with a certain degree of sympathy and humanity, you chose to create these two characters as pure malice and evil, and it really works. Tell us about the two of them, where they come from, and your approach in conveying just how sadistic they are.
To put it simply, they’re the devil incarnate. As disciples of Satan, there is no good in them. They exist to destroy.
I’ve always loved the Omen movies (well, the first three anyway) and wanted to write something in that vein. While my protagonist would be an emissary of God, struggling with his own spiritual identity, he would have to face off against adversaries who had no such self-doubt. That makes his willingness to take a leap of faith even more imperative.
New Zealand (South Island)
I think that your two leading characters, Connor and Lynne, are both characters on a journey- physical, emotional, and spiritual. I also like the way they banter with each other- it’s a touch of humor in a book that gets pretty dark. Tell us your point of view in creating them, in the bond between them, in the road they take.
They’re both vulnerable. Connor tries to hide it, but his emotional scars run deep. He grew up believing his mother abandoned him. He had an underlying hatred of women. Lynne was the black sheep in her family, having faith but challenging everything anyway. She tries to act tough, but she wants what her three sisters have: love and marriage, children. They’re more alike than they realize at first. They need each other to survive.
As for the humor, most human beings respond with humor even under the most dire circumstances. It’s our nature. I can’t imagine writing any novel without a big dollop of humor.
I was surprised reading the way one of your supporting characters changes through the events of the book. Connor’s sister Sarah starts off in a very set way, seemingly emotionally distant and cold. As the book goes on, we ultimately see her in a very different way. What do you think about Sarah? Was it deliberately done that way, or did she gradually change things as you went along?
Sarah grew up without her mother, ignored by her father and brother. She craved love, but made some bad choices. Deep down, she never really stopped loving her brother. When she realized he was in danger, she couldn’t walk away. She was terrified, but found the courage to act. Like Connor, she had grown up very cynical, but when God spoke to her, she was desperate, with nowhere else to turn.
Chasing The Wind ties into your companion book currently underway, An Army Of Angels. Give us some information on the book, on the characters and the storylines you have in mind for the follow-up.
I can’t give too much away! I will say that the male protagonist, Alex, also discovers an unbelievable fact of his existence–one that, in his mind, isolates him from society. Finding love, he finds a new life. When he loses his wife, Robyn, he goes over the edge. The result can only be defined as a miracle.
Last question: you’ve told me about an idea you have in mind for a future work, which I think is brilliant and will really get under the reader’s skin. Any hints for the readers?
I can’t go into any detail since it hasn’t been written yet, but like Final Hours, it involves characters having to face certain death and how they choose to respond to it.
I know I look forward to it! Thanks for taking part today!
I’m thrilled to announce that the 2012 edition of my 2008 novel, Chasing the Wind, the first book in the Messiah Project series, is now available in ebook format (with paperback soon to follow) at
To promote the book as much as humanly possible, I’ll be reposting reviews of the book and interviews I’ve done at my website/blog, Beishir Books.
Today, I’ve posted Beth Muscat’s review from Writers of Mass Distraction and a recent interview we did at Beth’s Reviews and Promotions. Tomorrow, I’ll be posting William Kendall’s interview from his popular blog, Speak of the Devil. Hope you’ll check out all of them!
As of yesterday, the 2012 e-book editon of my 2008 novel, Chasing the Wind, became available at Amazon. You can find it by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00729RX9I
To mark the occasion, I’m going to be re-posting reviews and interviews I’ve done regarding the novel and the series, starting with Beth Muscat’s review of the book and a recent interview we did….
An excerpt from Chasing the Wind:
Connor~ “There’s something else I’ve never told you about. I’ve had a nightmare–the same one–since I was fifteen. It’s always the same, it never changes. There’s a violent storm. I’m in the water, and it’s very cold. The current is overwhelming me. I’m struggling to stay affloat. I see a light, a boat, and try to swim toward it. There’s someone on the deck, calling to me, reaching for me, but I can’t quite make it. I see your face, just once, before I’m pulled under.”
Lynne~ “Mine?” Lynne asked.
Connor~ “You,” Connor said. “The woman on the boat is you. I saw your face for the first time over twenty years ago. That’s why you seemed so familiar to me the night we met.”
Lynne~ ”What do you think it means?” Lynne asked. She didn’t laugh, didn’t question his honesty or his sanity. She believed him. “God gives us visions sometimes to lead us where we have to go.”
What an adventure! This very exciting book is filled with love, heartbreak, danger and a lot of very interesting characters.
Lynne is a religious archeologist who wants to work on a dig in Egypt, but she isn’t able to start the dig due to lack of funding. In comes Connor Mackenzie. He asks his stepfather, Edward, to fund the project. He does, and Connor goes off on his own adventure with Lynne.
But, there’s something mysterious about Connor. He has never been able to love anyone before. Any women he had before, he treated them like objects. He was afraid to love them in case they abandoned him like his mother did.
But, when he meets Lynne, he realizes that she is different, and he does everything to get her to love him. And, she does. With everything that she is, she loves him.
Connor is mysterious in other ways. He’s able to heal others with a single touch. He healed the baby bird that Lynne found, allowing it to be set free when he touched it. He healed the bruise she received when a rock fell on her shoulder during an earthquake, and the woman with cancer that he met when he was a young boy.
“Go. The angels will guide you.”
Connor and Lynne, married now and pregnant with a baby, are forced to run for their lives. Their love is tested in many ways when truths are brought to the forefront of their relationship.
This is an excellent read. It will keep you on the edge of your seat as Connor and Lynne face danger after danger as they try to keep themselves, and their baby, alive.
It isn’t a book that you will likely be able to read in an afternoon, but I highly recommend this book. The love story is beautiful and the story compelling. I give this novel a 5 star rating.
Norma is currently re-writing this book so that it is in multiple first person point of view. I look forward to reading her new version of Chasing The Wind.
Please join me today in welcoming my friend and bestselling author, Norma Beishir to my blog. She is going to have a re-release of Chasing The Wind, a book that has intrigue, romance and a healthy dose of religion in it. On the eve of its re-release and the sequel to it, I thought some of my friends and I would ask her some questions.
Norma, I’ve never done an interview with you before, so this is a pleasure. And, welcome to my blog. I hope that I can help get the word out about your re-release.
I thought it might be fun to do something different. A little more unconventional to the ordinary interviews I’ve done before. I decided to have some of our friends ask you some questions, along with myself. There are some things we NEED to know!
So, here we go!
1. Who are your favourite published authors and why? Have you gained inspiration from them for your works in the past?
Sidney Sheldon–I’ve always said he was my creative writing professor, he just didn’t know it. I learned more from reading his books than I could ever have learned in a course. I also love Janet Evanovich. And there’s a new author I predict will be a huge success: William Kendall.
2. Mike asked, “After publishing 14 novels traditionally and making bestseller lists, what specifically was your ‘trigger’ to decide that you wanted to go Indie?”
Two major reasons. One was the freedom to write whatever I wanted. I have manuscripts tucked away that my publisher would not put under contract. I was known for writing big, glitzy novels, very popular in the eighties. I was actually told that they rejected one of my projects because the female protagonist “wasn’t glamorous.” I counted fifteen times in one manuscript where my editor asked, “What’s she wearing?” Research was a drag–I’m not into fashion. I don’t know Donna Karan from Kmart. And spending hours reading Town & Country was not my idea of fun.
The second issue was the phoniness of the business. Don’t get me wrong–the people I worked with directly were terrific. All of them. But publishing is a business in which your value as a person is directly tied to your sales figures. The more books you sold, the more they loved you. I knew one editor who was very friendly with myself and another author who was a good friend of mine–she’d once been my agent’s assistant. Maria warned me that this woman was not a real friend. I discovered Maria was right.
And it’s not just the publishing executives. Authors have been known to stab each other in the backs on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that’s also true of some self-published authors. I suppose some people can play those games but I have no use for backstabbers or phonies. I tried to be something I wasn’t, and the results were a disaster.
3. You’re in the process of rewriting Chasing The Wind. April wanted to know, “What inspired your story of the book and its characters?”
In the spring of 1998, I saw a segment on a TV newsmagazine in which Bryant Gumbel talked to experts about the Shroud of Turin. In the interview, it was suggested that DNA from the Shroud could be used to clone Jesus Christ. That was the story I started off with–but it wasn’t working, and soon there were several books out there with the same premise, so I knew I had to take a different route. I stuck with cloning and genetic engineering, but went with something more closely resembling the Omen films.
4. Writing in the first person is my favourite way to write. I can “get” into the character easier. The originalChasing The Wind was written in the third person point of view. Why did you decide to rewrite it in multiple first person point of view?
I had never written a novel in first person and never thought I would–but my second self-published novel, Final Hours, needed to be written in first-person. I found I enjoyed it so much, I didn’t want to write any other way. The beauty of self-publishing is that if you want to rework a book, you can–and I did.
5. Of your other works, what other rewrites have you considered?
Most of my future novels will be written in first person. As for the backlist, I’ll probably leave them as they are.
6. Karla asked, “I’m curious about Collin’s involvement in the book. How did that come about, and what role did he play? What was it like collaborating with your son?
Collin started off as my researcher. Then he helped develop the storylines. It’s a very different collaboration than the one I have with William, but collaborations often take different forms. Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, authors of the Left Behind series, for example–LaHaye develops the story ideas and Jenkins does the actual writing.
7. Expanding on the above question, would you ever write another book with Collin?
I would, and I am!
8. Eve wanted to know, “How long have you been working on the rewrite of Chasing The Wind?
About a month.
9. You’re also in the process of a sequel to Chasing The Wind. Can you tell us about it?
The sequel is about a clone, Alex, who’s a brilliant artist but is tormented by terrifying visions that inspire his paintings. He’s a man who’s lived a solitary life because he feels he has to, once he learns the truth about his birth. The turning point in his life is meeting Robyn, who accepts the truth and loves him anyway.
Thank you, Norma, for stopping by. It has been a wonderful pleasure to have you visit my blog, and to do this interview for my friends and I. We look forward to the re-release of Chasing The Wind, as well as the release of Army Of Angels.
William introduced me to Word It Out, a fun way to create a word cloud image of text from our books. Here are word clouds I did for Chasing the Wind:
For Final Hours….
And for An Army of Angels….
I know I’m going to have T-shirts made from these! To make your own word clouds, go to Word It Out!