Kerrie Noor is an Australian writer who lives in Scotland and teaches belly dancing. She’s written a series based on that and has recently branched out into science fiction. She agreed to let me quiz her about her books, her writing style, and her process.
You write in diverse genres. Do you think about genre before you start writing? Do you write for different audiences?
Comedy is always the background; for me it seems to be part of my bones. A story starts with a funny scene or dialogue usually from a real-life situation or a cheesy film. There is a reader I have in my head who I write for, she or he is usually listening with a drink at the bar laughing in the right places. I imagine myself telling him or her the story.
What kind of writer are you? Do you insist on daily word counts? Do you write in silence or with music? In the morning or at night?
I write best in the morning. I often go to bed early, wake at five and that’s when the words flow and the problems melt away. I don’t do a daily word count except at the very beginning when I will try to write 1,000-1,500 words a day. I wake up and just write scenes and dialogue until 1,000-1,500 is done once. When I am at 30,000-40,000 words I stop and try to make sense of it all. I can write anywhere. Sometimes, I like to play meditation new age type music (from Youtube) while writing.
What do you do when you get stuck in the writing process?
Sleep on it, do something else, usually clean, walk, write a blog, cry, drink, keep going (don’t really cry). I am used to getting stuck. But the best thing is to wake up early and write, it really is so easy to write first thing. Right now, I am at the end of a novel and I am quite stuck so I have printed it out and will read through it all. Actually, when I think about it, the ending is always the hardest for me. I think the ending I am working on just now is quite a painful piece, which is weird as it is a comedy book.
Can you describe your path to publication? Did you query agents? How long did it take?
I had two agents when I started but nothing came of either. So I gave up and self-published my first book which sat on Smashwords and Amazon. I then spent time trying to promote by becoming a story teller/ stand-up comedian, and did a small show in the Edinburgh festival. None of which helped in any way, but was a lot of fun and I still have exaggerated stories in my head to write. It was only when I started Nick Stevenson’s course I began to understand digital marketing.
Talk a bit about your belly dancing books. How much is based on your life? Will there be more to the series?
More is based on my life than I first realised. I started to teach belly dancing at the end of a bad marriage. I was quite depressed and lonely at the time and terrified of leaving him and being even more lonely. I was also quite chubby and felt bad about my body, etc. Belly dancing changed my life. I was so passionate about it and I wanted other women to feel as I did. Sheryl’s Last Stand came from all those feelings.
The Downfall of a Belly Dancer, is more about living in a small place and how we as women relate to each other, and the loss of an ego. I found when I first discovered belly dancing I became quite full of myself, my ego at times took some knocking and I wanted to write about that and used Nefertiti to express it, I hope with humour.
I have almost finished the third book in the series, Four Takeaways and a Funeral. Nefertiti narrates the story which is all about her pal Mavis. The story is about friendship, sibling rivalry, with a hint of curry…
I have plans for a fourth all about Sheryl again, she wants to become mum.
I have also just published the first in a Sci-Fi comedy series called Rebel Without a Clue. Lots of older women from another planet (Planet Hy Man) behaving badly. It’s all about power, and what we will do to keep it.
And also, being the odd one out in a world you don’t understand even though you have learnt about it.
To learn more about Kerrie Noor, check out her website. The first book in the Belly dancer series is free on Amazon.