Myra Nour

Describe yourself, what you write, and any miscellaneous tidbits the readers might like to hear.

I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for in describing myself, but if I were to answer it like describe one of my characters, it would go thus:

I'm 5'3", blonde hair, with a little help from the beautician to keep the gray hairs under control, blue-green eyes, slim, & 46 years old. My personality could be described as kind, gentle, easy-going, a good listener, but with a hot temper when someone pushes me enough. I am also a very strong person, having been a single parent of two small children while putting myself through college, worked every weekend as a nurse & part-time through the week, & graduated cum laude.

I also have a congenital heart problem, been in the hospital numerous times & had many painful procedures done on me which many people might find depressing. But I am an up-beat, optimistic person & as I say, "I take a licking and keep on ticking."

Nevertheless, I feel very blessed in my life, I had 24 years of working in the "helping professions" and it has made me feel good that my whole career I have helped others. I've been married to my "prince" for 18 years; he is a very handsome, a body-builder, & originally from Lebanon. We are best friends & enjoy doing many things together, and as well sex continues to be as sizzling as ever. I also have two great kids, a 22 year old beautiful daughter who gave us a precious 1st grandchild last month, & who is also interested in writing (historical romances), and a 26 year old son, who graduated recently from the seminary.

What I write?

I write in many different genres. My ebook, Love's Captive, is a futuristic romance. But, I have also had 3 non-fiction (serious & humorous) & 2 fiction (S/F) stories published by The Storyteller & Northern Stars magazines, & the ezine Twilight Times. I have a poem & another non-fiction story to be published next year by The Storyteller. I won 1st place for my first published non-fiction story published in The Storyteller, where I told about my nightmare experience of waking to a respirator after surgery.

I also have stories written or partially completed in horror & fantasy. I guess some people might think I'm "spreading" myself out too thin, but I enjoy all these different genres, just as I have many different interests in life. And, as long as the different genres get accepted for publication, I'll keep on writing in them.

But, I must say, that I have a pretty focused interest as far as writing novels. My only interest to date, is writing in the futuristic romance genre, and also I have some story ideas that are time travel/fantasy & paranormal/SF.

I also have 80% of a non-fiction book written on southern traditions. This one took a lot of research and interviewing southerners, but I really enjoyed it.

I also write a column, Myra's Muse, for the web site, Mystic Visions. The articles are on different aspects of writing, and the site is for writer's of speculative fiction.

When did you first start writing, and what's your writing background been like?

I never tried to write anything until I was 25 and had started college. I was an avid reader starting in puberty & would often hide books behind my school books in class. I had a vague dream about being a writer, simply, I think, because I loved reading so much. But, I was extremely shy and had virtually no self-esteem, therefore no confidence in my abilities.

College gave me the confidence to believe I could do anything I set my mind on. In 1978 or '79, I thought up the story, Love's Captive, which has lots of action & draws some influence from Star Wars which had just come out. I started writing it down by hand (didn't have a type writer then), & probably got written, then stored it away until 1997 when I decided to finally write it. My writing had improved dramatically, so I chunked the hand-written version & started over, but the idea was the same.

Throughout my college years, until about 1985, I wrote several short stories & jotted down many ideas and partially completed ones. I only tried sending in one story at that time to a magazine. I had started a werewolf novel that I was very excited about, but we were constantly moving, & my writing got lost. I told my husband that I refused to write anymore until we bought a computer so I could safely save my stories.

During those years, I & my family, who believed in my talent, discussed that one day I was going to have to "write my novel". At the end of 1995, Simon finally bought us a computer, but I kept coming up with excuses to not write. It was hard enough coming home from a full-time stressful job, cooking dinner & dealing with my teen-aged daughter.

Simon & Chris kept after me, though, until I finally made up my mind to write my novel. My best advice to anyone in the same situation, is to make yourself a schedule & stick to it as best you can; that's the only way Love's Captive got written. At first, I promised myself that'd I'd write 2 a pages a night, but there were times I didn't feel like writing because I was just too tired, & there were others when more than 2 pages flowed through my fingers. So, I revamped my promise, to, I'd write one chapter a week and that really worked well for me. Of course there were lots of rewrites & periods when I was sick, tired, or in the hospital. It took me a year, but subtracting the non-writing periods, it was probably 8 months.

Other writing background? I & another girl got the idea to create the 1st Literary Magazine at the community college which I attended. So, I was co-creator, co-editor, & contributed poems to the Star Gazer, which I am still proud of.

I worked at a college from 1989 to 1991, where I was asked to write brochures & a newsletter for Student Services. Eventually, I wrote 3 psychologically based articles to promote public relations with military students who attended the college, & they were published by the local military newspaper.

I wrote & produced a family informative based newsletter 1992-1995, for the Alzheimer's Day Care which I directed. And, in 1996, I had an editorial accepted by the local newspaper, a commentary on neighborhood juvenile delinquents.

Also, in 1995, I wanted to "stretch" my writer's wings & wrote an autobiographical interview on an environmental engineer, which was accepted by The Vocational Careers encyclopedia. Unfortunately, the engineer withdrew his agreement, & it was never published.

My point being, as you look at the mixed bag of writing I've done over the years - if you get an opportunity to write, even if it's not in "your area", do so. Every bit of writing helps you improve your craft & looks good on your writer resume'.

What jobs have you held, and how have they influenced your writing, if at all?

I was an LPN from 1975-1984, which helped me work my way through college, where I completed a BA in Psychology & a MS in Counseling. After that I worked mainly as a college counselor, but also worked as a social worker, interviewing physically/sexually abused children, director of an Alzheimer's Day Care, & instructor in college for Psychology & Sociology.

My biggest influence is the counseling/psychology area. I understand people - what makes them tick, how they think, act, emote, body language, etc. My nursing helps in a small way, if I need information about illness or health.

How do you think up your myriad of characters?

That can come from several different directions. Sometimes I simply dream up stories, including the characters as I sleep. That makes it really easy. I get up the next day & jot down the synopsis of what I saw, like a video flashing by in my head all night. At times, I dream so much detail, I can "hear" much of the conversations that go on throughout my own movie.

Sometimes I just have a vague notion about a character & will either day dream to fill in the details, or consciously think about the character: how do I want them to look, think, act. When I was trying to "picture" Serena in my mind, I went through magazines & found a face of a model I liked & a body I admired & put them together in my mind.

When considering personality factors of a character, I look to "real" people for inspiration. Do I like the way my friend laughs, how my co-worker is a strong, assertive woman, my daughter's quirky sense of humor? And so on. I must admit, I take much of my heroes' characteristics from my own partner, because to me, he has many of those ideal characteristics we women dream of. He's handsome, sensitive, totally male, a warrior, loves me with every fiber of his being & shows it in small ways every day, can knows three languages (yes, having French whispered in your ear at the appropriate time is very sexy!), etc., etc. He's also not perfect, & this is reflected in characters in different ways - maybe this one has a bad temper or that one is more jealous than he should be.

What books and authors do YOU like to read?

As far as romance, I like Johanna Lindsay, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Dara Joy, & Jude Deveraux to name a few. I really enjoyed Kathleen Morgan's books on the cat people too. My other love is S/F. One of my favorites is Tanith Lee, espeically her Birthgrave trilogy. My 1st love with books, was in S/F, & I was strongly influenced by writers such as Edgar Rice Burroughs & Robert E. Howard. I loved the masculine heroes in these tales; and Conan's world with its dark magic, demons, monsters, & rescue of beautiful damsels thrilling.

I also fell in love with horror later, & like anything with werewolves or vampires. I also love these movies, even the "B" ones & my hubby just walks off shaking his head when I haunt the aisles of the video horror/SF section. My fav authors here, are Stephen King & Dean Koontz. My favorite book of all the categories, is The Stand, by you know who - King.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Write because you love it, because it's something in your blood, an itch that has to be scratched. And, if you really want to get published, don't just stick those stories in drawers and forget about them - get them out, dust them off, edit & rewrite if necessary, & then find somewhere to send them in! I think that every story we write, we improve a little, learn a little more - maybe about ourselves, a particular subject, or writing style.

What is your next book(s), and when is it/they due out?

I am currently working on the 2nd book of the trilogy on Volarn, called Dragon Love. For anyone who may have read Love's Captive, the heroine in this one will be Kasha, the warrior princess and her hero will be Eric, a Green Beret from Earth.

I can't predict about a time line, since it all depends on whether Love's Captive is picked up by a publisher & what their time line for the 2nd book would be. Otherwise, I'd say 6 months to a year to write. Again, this is hard for me to pin down; I also have a proposal for a non-fiction book on southern traditions sent out, and if a publisher is interested, I will be mainly concentrating on it until it is finished.

What attracts you to the paranormal?

I started out reading S/F & fantasy, so I guess it's a natural progression in my reading to tie the two together. When I 1st thought of Love's Captive, I tried to write it mainly from a S/F perspective- back then, they didn't have the co-mingling. Either you wrote straight S/F or romance. I was never really satisfied with this, because I wanted romance in my story too. So, several years ago when the futuristics started appearing, I was thrilled; maybe that's why I finally got serious about writing my book, now I had a true avenue to follow.

I also grew up loving to watch the old "B" horror movies with my brothers, late at night. I especially loved the vampire, werewolf, & Frankenstein movies.

I love reading historical romances too, especially Viking or medieval ones. But, I have no interest in writing them. I just love creating my own world, one that no one else has before.

How much luck have you had in getting published? How long did it take your first book to be published?

Well, I choose ebook publishing because I wanted to get attention to my book, which I feel it has, since I've received 7 good reviews. Before that, I had been sending out letters to agents, I thought this would be the best route to go - but with no luck. So, 2 months ago, I hitched up my guts & sent out the 1st 3 chapters to Dorchester, ImaJinn & Berkley. I haven't heard back from them, so I'm taking that as a sign that at least they're reading it!

I don't know if going the ebook route before I tried publishers is good or not; I'm new to all this. But, that's just the way it worked out for me. I had one agent who wrote me that she didn't think publishers were interested in ebook authors. To me, this would be "stupid thinking" - if an ebook author has a book as good as many others out there, they have good reviews, & fans already - it would seem self-defeating behavior for the publishers to ignore them??!!I don't know if this statement is true, but I do know that ImaJinn is open to ebook authors - they say so in their information online. In case you're not familiar with them, they're a new publisher, their first books were due out in October.

It took 2-3 months to get my book ready for the ebook publisher & then for them to get it online.

What is it like being epublished? Do you like the response you've been getting?

That's a hard one, & probably could be answered more thoroughly by someone who has been both epublished and book published. For me, it simply means getting a little check every quarter from the company, seeing my book online, & occasionally discussing it online. The BIGGEST benefit for me besides the wonderful reviews, are the small group of loyal fans I have to date. My most avid supporter's wonderful letters got me going again some months ago when I was feeling discouraged & keeps me going too.

I never expected to "get rich" from ebooks, I did it for the exposure, so for me, it has worked. But, as to whether it will get me to my ultimate goal of getting book published, I'll have to wait a while longer.

I'm not giving up though. If they don't appreciate Love's Captive, I have Dragon Love which I will present to them later. And, if all else fails, I am going to self-publish Love's Captive through print on demand services. I have fans, friends & family who'd like a paper copy in hand to read!!

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