Lit Snapshot: Sailing Out of Darkness with Normandie Fisher

Today I’m pleased to introduce a new feature to the blog: Lit(erary) Snapshot. My first guest is one of the kindest writers out there. Be it through the Women’s Fiction Association, Writer Unboxed, or one of the many blogs and forums writers flock to, she’s always ready with a gracious comment and encouraging words of wisdom. Her second novel, Sailing Out of Darkness, has recently been released and is receiving lovely reviews. Let’s give a warm welcome to Normandie Fisher. . . {cue applause}

normandie fisher Tell us about yourself: who are you?

I experienced the best of several worlds: a Southern heritage, access to schooling in the DC area (which meant lots of cultural adventures), and several years of sculpture studies in Italy before I returned to finish my degree here. It might have been better for me if I’d used all these opportunities more wisely, but the imperfect and the unwise also add fodder for the artist and the writer.

My life changed radically when I married the love of my life at an age when some would have said I was over the hill and way past my prime. A lifelong sailor, I was delighted to find that Michael also longed to cruise lovely waters, which is what we did from Northern CA to Mexico, spending too few years in the incomparable Sea of Cortez. Sea Venture, our 50′ ketch, is back home in North Carolina now because my mama needed care. Still, it’s gorgeous here, too, and I can write and edit from home as easily as I could on the boat.

My two grown children, son-in-law, and two step-sons are handsome (or gorgeous, as the case may be), talented, and a delight—as is my new grandbaby. I just wish they lived a lot closer to home.

We took Sea Venture north in 2013 to visit some of these young folk. Along the way, I had a delightful time hosting boat party/book signings from Beaufort to NYC. Keep a lookout for our beautiful boat with its clipper bow as we sail into various harbors in 2014.

Tell us about Sailing out of Darkness:

Love conquers all?sailing out of darkness, normandie fisher

Maybe for some people.

When Samantha flies to Italy to gain distance from a disastrous affair with her childhood best friend, the last thing on her mind is romance. But Teo Anderson is nothing like her philandering ex-husband or her sailing buddy, Jack, who, despite his live-in girlfriend, caught her off guard with his flashing black eyes.

Teo has his own scars, both physical and emotional, that he represses by writing mysteries—until one strange and compelling vision comes to life in the person of Sam. Seeking answers, he offers friendship to this obviously hurting woman, a friendship that threatens to upend his fragile peace of mind.

But not even sailing the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean can assuage Sam’s guilt for destroying Jack’s relationship and hurting another woman. Soon the consequences of her behavior escalate, and the fallout threatens them all.

Sailing out of Darkness is the haunting story of mistakes and loss…and the grace that abounds through forgiveness.

 What made you write this particular story?

Over the years, I’ve met a number of women who, overwhelmed by loss and guilt, imagined themselves friendless and condemned. Some chose a final solution. Sam’s story is fictional, but I’m hoping that it will speak to hurting women and to those who know them, to those who might listen to voices crying in the wilderness after following their heart into an unhealthy place.

I also hope readers will have fun with the sailing and the visits to Italy and will come to love Sam and Teo as much as I did.

 What did you learn writing Sailing out of Darkness?

Sailing out of Darkness was, I think, my third completed manuscript, one I worked on over a number of years before my agent sold it in its present form. Because the story was dear to me, I wanted to tell it a certain way, but my husband—who always has my back—read its zillionth iteration and shook his head. “The middle has to go.”

Yikes! I loved that middle. None of my critique partners had even hinted that it should be slashed. I mean, the middle was great! It showed character development! It wasn’t fluff, but solid action! (Can you hear me? Can you see my hands raised, fending off disaster and the grim manuscript reaper?) I wanted folk to understand and sympathize with Sam. She needed that middle.

My husband is one of the smartest people I know, so I’d have to be a fool to ignore him. I took a deep breath, sighed loudly, and hit Delete. Out came chapter after chapter after chapter after chapter. Instead of beginning at the beginning, I began at the end of the middle. The old saying that writers must be willing to kill their darlings? Well, they also have to be willing to put their manuscript on a diet and lose fat that either doesn’t propel the story forward or, as in this case, propels it in the wrong direction.

 What’s your favorite paragraph/line from Sailing out of Darkness?

That’s a difficult question. I probably love the snippets of poems best, such as this from Chapter Twenty-three:

Time has a way of galloping when what we do is fun. It passes slower than a snail’s pace, Leaving a gooey snail’s trail, When what we do is wrong.

Or, from Chapter Two:

Lonely isn’t lonely if one looks from outside in; It’s just the inside out that makes a person feel so thin.

But this sums up my heroine:

…“Stefi was right.”

“What do you mean?”

“She said you’re good at guilt. Honey, you’re not just good, you’re first rate…”

Who will this book appeal to?

Readers who enjoy a bit of romance, a hint of suspense, a dash of the literary, a soupçon of fantasy, some sailing, and, of course, travel to one of my favorite countries, Italy.

What’s next for you?

I’m busy with requested revisions of Heavy Weather, the next of my Beaufort books. Readers of Becalmed will remember Hannah, who now gets her own story, one she shares with an abused mama, two wounded children, and the police lieutenant who arrested the bad guy in Becalmed. Having fun!

How can we keep up with you?

Website  Blog  | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

 

Thanks so much for joining us, Normandie—I can’t wait to pick up my copy of Sailing Out of Darkness!

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Lit Snapshot: Sailing Out of Darkness with Normandie Fisher

  1. Normandie Fischer

    Such lovely words have made my day. Thank you so very much for your introduction. To be thought kind is the highest compliment I could receive. That you would notice says much about you, Kerry Ann. May blessings pour to you in both your writing and your life.

    Reply
  2. Kathryn Craft

    Great interview, ladies! You were brave to take the ax to your novel for its betterment, Normandie—most wouldn’t do it. Of course most husbands wouldn’t tell you to, either. Good for him, and good for you!

    Reply
    1. Normandie Fischer

      Like you, Kathryn, I’m an editor, which means I know perfectly well that other eyes than mine see the things that blind me. So, I too am very glad that ax went to work, as the good trees couldn’t grow very well when stunted by the others.

      Reply

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