Tell us something about yourself?
I was the youngest of four children. My father was a minister and we moved a lot when I was growing up. I got married while a senior in high school. It was an abusive relationship which produced two wonderful children. We divorced. I enrolled in college. I’ve had various jobs, including owning my own business. I wouldn’t say my life has been unstable but it has had much variety. I love reading, traveling, movies, the beach and dancing. I’m a Dale Carnegie Coach, a Stephen Minister and a Personal Life Coach. I volunteer with numerous organizations in my community and I’m a member of several writing groups in NC.
How did you come to write your book?
In 2004 I experienced the death of eight individuals. My brother, my mother-in-law, the mothers of three co-workers, a co-worker, the husband of a co-worker and the nephew of a co-worker. As 2005 began I was paralyzed with grief. I started writing to cope with my pain. Initially I did not plan to write a book but as time went by my writing took on a life of its own.
What do you want readers to take away from your book?
1. There is never a justifiable reason to mistreat someone. I hope my book will motivate others to get involved in eliminating abuse and thinking about how their abusive actions effect the lives of others.
2. Never give up. Many times in life circumstances and people beat us down. We want to quit, to bail out, blame others, or settle. We are responsible for our own destiny and our own happiness. No matter how hard it is, we have to keep trying. From our deepest pain comes our deepest growth.
3. Learn from our mistakes. So many time individuals blame others for their misfortune. We also blame God. We ask why. We look back, over analyze but often never get to the real issue – ourselves. Many times there is a pattern to our mistakes. If you can figure out the pattern you can change the behavior. We can’t go forward until we stop looking back.
You have suffered a lot of trauma in your life. What do you think was the most helpful in getting you through it?
My faith in God and my belief in myself. These were not instantaneous. I became a Christian at a very early age but as an adult I starting trying to figure God out.
I was introduced to positive thinking as a child too but when so many bad things happen you start to doubt yourself.
I complemented these with reading, counseling and connecting with other women who acted as mentors.
What advice do you have to others who are going through difficult times in their lives?
I often recommend writing or keeping a journal. You need to find acceptable ways to deal with your pain.
Join support groups. Whatever your problem is there’s probably a group in your area that addresses that issue.
If you need to talk with someone and can’t afford a counselor, I recommend the Stephen Ministry program. This is a church sponsored program – but you don’t have to be a church member to recieve care. Trained volunteers work with individuals, helping them deal with difficult situations – one hour a week at no charge.
Who is your favorite author? Favorite book?
Nicholas Sparks. All of his books. I grew up on an island in NC and have lived in many of the towns that he writes about.
What are you working on now?
I am four lessons away from completing the creative writing program with Long Ridge Writing Academy. My homework is the only writing I am doing at the moment
except for promoting my book. I’m spending a lot of time responding to questions, writing press releases,doing promotional pieces, etc.
Do you have a “day job,” and if so, how do you find the time to write?
I have been in the mortgage business for the past 17 years and trying to get out of it for the past three. Initially, I started as a loan officer – working with people but I ended up being an underwriter – crunch numbers all day with little human interaction. I’ve had many layoffs in this business, which is when I’ve done the most writing but it’s too inconsistent. I think to become a good writer you have to write on a regular basis. I’ve also traveled in my business – spending months at the time on the road. This gave me a lot of free time. I wrote my book at various Residence Inns.
Do you have a set time for writing? A set place?
I think the time and place varies according to the individual. I’ve read many responses from various writers to this question and don’t think I’ve ever seen the same time or place. You have to find what works for you. In a blog that I did last week, a reader responded to me that she was so happy to hear me say that I did not write every single day. She had young children at home and was struggling to find writing time every – was feeling guilty when she missed a day. One should never feel guilty about writing. Doing it daily might be impossible, but at least try to do it regularly.
What is the most helpful writing advice you’ve gotten?
If I had to sum it up in one sentence it would probably be to learn all that I could from other writers.
Where can readers get your book?
1. Writers can purchase an autographed copy with PayPal from my web site: http://margaretnortonlifecoach.com
2. Can be ordered directly from Tate Publishing: http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-61663-265-6
3. Available at the following locations: Jewell Day Spa, Greensboro NC; Cox Christian Book Store, Wilmington NC; Fiction Addiction, Greenville SC; Quail Ridge Book Store, Raleigh NC
and Main Street Books, St Charles MO.
4. Available through Amazon
5. Can be ordered from any major book store
Any last words?
My mission is to empower women to reach their fullest potential. I am available as a Personal Life Coach and a speaker. I am also available to book clubs by speaker phone Mon – Thurs from 7 – 10 PM Eastern time. I’m finding that many of the people who read my book are calling or emailing me with questions. I welcome this. Though book clubs typically read fiction books, I think my book would make an excellent selection. The issues that I talk about are difficult but the only way to eliminate abuse or find healing is to talk about the difficult issues.