Daniela I. Norris is Canadian-Israeli, a former diplomat turned political writer , inspirational author and speaker. Her stories, articles and essays have been published in numerous newspapers and magazines, have appeared in six different anthologies and won numerous awards. She has also published a non-fiction book On Dragonfly Wings – a Skeptic's Journey to Mediumship and a novel Recognitions, the first volume in a planned trilogy. For more information about Daniela and her books, please visit her website. or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
Daniela was a committee member with the GWG and co-organiser of the 2016 Conference. Although she has now moved to the UK, her heart is still very much with her fellow authors in Geneva.
Where did your love of books/storytelling/writing come from?
I always knew that one day I’ll become a writer, but I also knew that I needed to live, love and learn about life before I could write about it. My day-jobs included several student jobs: a year of waiting tables, two of translating movies for subtitles, one summer of riding across the country on a motorcycle for an advertising campaign, four years as a flight attendant for an airline while I completed my studies. This was followed by two years in the military and then seven years as a diplomat. About half way through all that I started writing and publishing - and a few years ago I dropped everything else and started writing full-time. So the love of reading and writing was always there, but I also needed to learn quite a lot of things along the way before I could write about them!
What sort of writing do you do and why?
While initially I considered myself a political writer, these days I write about more inspirational themes, namely the possibly pre-determined role some people have in our lives. I am fascinated with the topic, and over the last five years I’ve trained as a hypnotherapist and a past-life regression therapist – initially for the sake of curiosity, then research. As you can probably imagine, this gave me a lot of writing material!
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your genre?
There are many who don’t believe in the concept of past-lives, or who don’t consider themselves ‘spiritual’ or interested in inspirational stories. To these potential readers I can only say: that’s absolutely fine, you can enjoy these stories even if you don’t believe in any of it; it’s not about believing, it is about keeping an open mind.
Who or what inspires you?
I love reading novels by Paulo Coelho, Elizabeth Gilbert and David Mitchell, among many other novelists. I also enjoy non-fiction: biographies, true inspirational stories and history.
Tell us a little bit about your publishing journey.
I started by self-publishing a collection of short stories in 2008; most of them have been previously published in magazines or newspapers by then. This was followed by Crossing Qalandiya - a political book co-authored with Palestinian writer Shireen Anabtawi and traditionally published in the UK by Reportage Press in 2010. After the sudden death of my twenty-year-old brother in mid-2010 my world-view, and writing, shifted from political to inspirational. I’ve since published 3 books with different imprints of John Hunt in the UK –
On Dragonfly Wings – a skeptic’s journey to mediumship / Axis Mundi 2014
Collecting Feathers – tales from the Other Side / Soul Rocks 2014
Recognitions – a novel / Roundfire Books 2016
So I’ve tried a bit of everything: self-publishing, traditional publishing and hybrid-publishing. I enjoyed all these experiences, and am curious to discover what the future holds for the subsequent novels I am now working on!
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy the freedom it gives me to explore new ideas, meet new people (imaginary and real) and to a large extent be out of the rat race. I also love the actual writing process – of taking an idea from thought into written words and then seeing the actual printed book. I feel it is like a phase-transition, a de-sublimation, a deposition of an idea.
What is your writing routine?
The most difficult at this point in my life is carving out the time, with a young family – I have three lovely boys who have many demands on my time and attention. So, routine is a big word for my current writing process – I write wherever and whenever I can. On the train, in the car while waiting for my kids to come out of school or other activities, in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, and of course – during the day when the boys are at school. There are days when I write for five hours, other days when I write only for five minutes. But I write every single day!
How did you hear of GWG and in what ways has it been significant for your writerly career?
I first came to the GWG in 2008, a year after I moved to the Geneva area. I’ve joined the steering committee shortly after and served on it for eight years – until I recently stepped down because I plan a lot of travel and moving around in the coming few years.
Through the GWG I’ve made many friends and met many wonderful people – other writers, as well as publishers and agents. It is a fantastic support network for writers – beginners and multi-published alike.
What advice would you give to new writers?
The single advice I can give – and it is relevant to everything in life, not just to writing – is to never give up if the flame of writing burns within you. Don’t give up on your idea, don’t give up on finishing that story or that book, and don’t give up on getting it published. Seeing things through is often the biggest challenge of new writers, but if they do see a project through, then it is also their biggest triumph.
Thank you, Daniela, for those lovely encouraging thoughts. If you are a published author and a member of GWG, we would love to feature you in this series, so please do not be shy about getting in touch. We intend to start a new series in the future with unpublished writers, provisionally entitled 'On the Brink of Discovery'.