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Author Carla Norton's EDGE OF NORMAL Signed by Liza Dawson Associates

Carla Norton Liza Dawson

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:28 AM

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Author Carla Norton's EDGE OF NORMAL Signed by Liza Dawson Associates
Reeve drives north from San Francisco to the rugged town of Jefferson, where she meets Tilly’s family and establishes an instant bond. But gaining the girl’s trust has a price. Tilly swears Reeve to secrecy and reveals that the real mastermind of the crime isn't known to the police and is lurking nearby, watching, waiting patiently for Tilly to make a mistake.
- THE EDGE OF NORMAL by Carla Norton
Once a neophyte in the world of competitive fiction writing, bestselling nonfiction author Carla Norton joined Author Salon and her first writer workshop group, made excellent use of the AS Critique Guide, and together with writers and professional editors in the AS community, honed the many elements of her novel, THE EDGE OF NORMAL, into a competitive manuscript that was just picked up by Liza Dawson Associates. AS is sharing publishing contacts with LDA gained from the Author Salon Literary Showcase, contacts which include acquisition editors from Random House, Harper Collins, and Penguin who asked for fulls and partials.

A Dialogue With Crime Writer Carla Norton

Carla Norton is a seasoned true crime writer whose nonfiction, PERFECT VICTIM, became a New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Best Seller, spending four months on the list and four weeks in the #1 spot. It was later put on the reading list for the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit. Carla has twice served as a judge for the Edgar Awards and has been a guest speaker at conferences, as well on “Geraldo” and “Larry King Live.” She has an MFA, and this is her first novel.

1. What inspired you to write your story? What do you love about the genre?

When my first book was published, people would ask, “How can you write this stuff? Doesn’t it give you nightmares?” And the answer is yes, if you’re doing it right, it absolutely does. Colleen Stan’s incredible ordeal of kidnapping and captivity just kept buzzing in my head. It haunted me, and I wanted to transform that true crime story into crime fiction.

I love fast-paced, juicy thrillers, especially SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, which seems more brilliant with each reading. Structure is the key to writing in this genre, but most thrillers are excessively testosterone-driven, and I wasn’t interested in another protagonist who happens to be a weapons expert with muscles of steel. Instead, I set out to write a plot-driven story about a survivor of kidnapping who is not a cop or a karate expert, a damaged young woman who is outmatched by a clever criminal.

2. Prior to being included in the Author Salon Literary Showcase, how did your project and/or your writing evolve here at Author Salon? What have you learned that has brought your novel closer to publication?

I’d actually thought my novel was finished before I started with Author Salon, but the writer peer group I met there gave me great feedback based on the Author Salon critique criteria, and I went back to work. The group was supportive and insightful and they helped me fine-tune the novel elements in my profile as well as my first 50 pages. Also, the whole process sharpened my pitch considerably and strengthened my prose. It gave me the edge I needed.

The critiques of other novels actually took more time and effort than I’d expected, but one unexpected and lasting benefit was that critiquing my peers’ work helped me look more critically at my own, identify weak spots, and improve my entire novel. I became a better editor as a result.

No writer can afford to just hand over a manuscript and expect an agent or editor to see the underlying potential. It has to shine. And Author Salon provides a meaningful and unique way for writers to polish their work and improve their chances for publication.

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