Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hoping for a Glimpse of Nora Roberts in Boonsboro


Most of you probably know by now that I'm a huge fan of Nora Roberts. Sea Swept was the first romance novel I ever read, and it was *the book* that made me want to become a writer. After graduating college and finishing my first romance novel, I learned about Romance Writers of America, and signed up for their annual conference. At the time, I was working as a journalist for my small town newspaper and I asked Nora Roberts' publicist if she'd grant me an interview. She did--which I'm still kind of amazed by to this day! I got to meet my favorite author, shake her hand, and interview her. Plus, she signed my copy of Sea Swept. :)


At that first RWA conference, I learned so much about writing and I realized I had a lot to learn before starting a new book. I began to study writing: reading books on craft, going to workshops, joining writers groups, and finding critique partners. I spent a lot of time learning the process, but you know what taught me to write more than anything? Reading Nora Roberts. I spent months taking her books apart, dissecting them chapter by chapter, scene by scene, trying to figure out how she created such memorable characters and stories I wanted to stay up all night reading. Once I'd learned how to put those pieces together, I tried again and wrote The Selkie Spell.

Since its release, The Selkie Spell has had over 100,000 downloads (including both free and paid) and consistently landed on bestseller lists at Amazon. I recently released the third book in the Seal Island Trilogy, The Selkie Sorceress, and thanks to my readers, I am now living my dream and working as a full-time writer. To celebrate finishing my first trilogy, I thought it would be fun to take a trip to Nora Roberts' hometown, Boonsboro, Maryland! Luckily, one of my best friends just moved into a house a few miles outside Boonsboro, so she gave me the grand tour. :)


I arrived late afternoon and we popped into Dan's Restaurant and Tap House to grab a pint and watch the Kentucky Derby. Dan's is rumored to be owned by one of Roberts' sons. I have no idea what he looks like, so I can't say if we saw him or not!

 
We passed by the Inn Boonsboro, which Nora Roberts owns. The guest rooms are named after famous literary couples from Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Thin Man, and The Princess Bride.


The next morning, we went for a stroll through neighboring Antietam National Battlefield. I couldn't help thinking of the romances Roberts' has written that include ghosts from the civil war era. I imagine this battlefield offered some inspiration.

 
It's a beautiful place, but I'll admit, it starts to feel a tad unsettling after a while...
 
 
Then we headed back into town to Nora Roberts' Turn the Page Bookstore, which is run by her husband.


Look! There she is! No, just kidding. That's actually a cardboard cut out of Nora Roberts, but this entire back room is filled with her books, DVDs of movies based on her books, and the table in the middle contains a line of Inn Boonsboro soaps, perfume, and candles.

In all seriousness, I would like to say thank you to Nora Roberts, for teaching me how to write and for unknowingly showing me the path toward my dream of being a writer. Maybe one day I'll get to shake her hand again and tell her that.

What about you? Readers, what was the first romance novel you ever read? Writers, is there an author or a book that changed your life, and made you realize you wanted to become a writer?

14 comments:

  1. This was so much fun to read. Nora's romances were the first ones I read as well. She's a great storyteller just like Sophie Moss!

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    1. Thank you! I bet a lot of people started reading romance after reading Nora first. :)

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  2. I loved hearing about what inspired you to write Sophie, and I'm in awe at your success, it's wonderful!
    It was 'The Hobbit' that made me want to write as a kid, then when I was almost thirty, I read the first Harry Potter book along with my own children...and thought...I could do that! I am now editing and rewriting the book I wrote after that epiphany now! I think children's fantasy is where I am, despite writing other things too!

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    1. I can't wait to read your children's fantasy book, Lisa! I also love The Hobbit. :)

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  3. Sophie, a delightful post! How wonderful to visit a town full of such inspiration (and fun!).

    I don't have a specific author who has inspired me like Nora Roberts did for you...which makes me a bit sad :((. I will say that I have several authors who make me swoon with delight when I read their creative, well-honed, unique character filled stories. Perhaps they didn't initially inspire me but they do propel me along now that I've started.

    I'm going to have to visit your blog more. So many lovely things to read!!

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    1. Thanks, Jo-Anne! I think having several authors who inspire you on a regular basis is just as good. :)

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  4. I read Sea Swept so long ago!! I think I was still in high school. She was my introduction to romance novels too. So great to see you live your dream Sophie. :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Crystal! Your support means a lot to me. :)

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  5. What a lovely blog! Very inspiring and was awesome to see all the photos you shared. Can't say there was an "a-ha" moment from a specific author that made me want to write. I can say that Poe, Shakespeare, King, Keats, Bronte, and Koontz all have inspired me :)

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    1. I'm a huge fan of all the authors you listed. I love Poe's creepy short stories. He really knew how to set the scene! :)

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  6. Nora Roberts is the reason I got into writing, too! I just love her :) Sea Swept is an amazing book, as is that whole series...my first of hers was Irish Thoroughbred (which coincidentally was the first book she ever wrote!) and its sequel Irish Rose (Burke Logan is my perfect man, omg). I've read more books of hers than I can count, and have shelves full of them at home. Have you read The Donovan Legacy? Entranced is book two in that series, and is my other favorite of her books. As is Montana Sky, Three Fates, The Villa, Angels Fall, and on and on and on LOL.

    Anyway, congrats to you on all of your success, Sophie!! You deserve every bit of it and I know you make Nora proud! :)

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    1. I love that Nora is the reason you got into writing too, Katie! My favorites of hers are definitely her earlier works. I can read them over and over and over and never get tired of them. :)

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  7. I love Nora, too, and she has been a great inspiration. Before her, I remember reading Mills & Boon romances, as well as the early books of Danielle Steel and Barbara Taylor Bradford. All of these inspired me to write. I love your books, Sophie. You know how to sweep a reader away into a world of fantasy and romance. So glad you are now a full time author, and can keep those awesome books coming even quicker, I hope! Congratulations on your success!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words, Gemma! I really appreciate it. :) Writing full time definitely means writing faster. I'll announce the details of the first book in my new series very soon!

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