A writer like you: Andrea Nourse
Meet Andrea Nourse, an author, blogger, working mom and wife.
She is currently working on a contemporary, women’s fiction novel about a woman who learns her entire life has been a lie. Andrea is an avid reader and is a fan of historical fiction, women’s fiction, thrillers and paranormal/supernatural novels. Her favorite authors include Jennifer Weiner, Katherine Center and Rea Frey. By day, she works in retail marketing for a regional chain.
You’ll love Andrea’s inside look into how ideas become stories, how to overcome comparison and self-doubt, and how to stay motivated.
Let’s dive into the interview.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
For as long as I can remember, I have been a writer. My passion started with poetry and song lyrics and migrated to novels a few years ago. At the ripe-old age of 23, I packed up my life and moved to Nashville to pursue what I thought would be a career as a songwriter. Along the way, I found a passion for marketing and pursued my undergraduate and master’s degrees. During that time, I lost my way a few times and wrote very little, other times, I turned to blogging. In 2009, I was inspired by NaNoWriMo to write my first novel. Since then, I have drafted seven manuscripts and self-published three.
What keeps you from writing, and how do you overcome it?
Over the past few months, my desire to read and write has been renewed. I’ve become an avid consumer of new books, seeking out authors and genres that are outside of my norm in an effort to become a better writer and to expand my world view. In this process I’ve also found myself struggling with comparison – seeing the work and success of others and comparing my own writing and success to theirs. This has been the biggest struggle that I’ve had to overcome. As a creative, self-doubt can be a killer of motivation and growth. In order to overcome and move beyond this, I’ve worked to read more and write even more. The more I read and the more I practice, the better I become. My confidence grows with every word I write.
What are your current writing goals, and how do you plan to achieve them?
My goal as a writer is to tell stories that inspire a reaction from the reader – laughter, tears, happiness, a sense of belonging – and to write characters that are relatable. Often, my stories center on women at a crossroads in life and must make tough decisions while learning who they are and what they want out of life. I connect with strong female characters and that is who I strive to write.
Where do you get your book ideas?
They come from all kinds of places. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don’t.
Life is But a Dream started as a scene. I imagined this girl, much like myself, making the biggest presentation of her work life and busting her ass in the process. I pictured her as seemingly having her proverbial shit together, but really on the verge of falling apart.
My second release, Happily Ever Never came to me in a song. The Kelsea Ballerini song “Peter Pan” had been playing on repeat and the line “now it’s happily ever never” stuck with me. I started wondering about the Peter Pan and the girl that had fallen for him. What was their story and how did it go from perfect to tragic?
Lie Baby Lie started as a completely different book. It came to me in form of a conversation. A daughter, now grown and off to college, calls her mother and says, “I found him.” After about 800 outlines, the story evolved and became Reese and Caroline’s story.
Walk Like Her, my current WIP, came to me in pieces. I’ve been trying to write Cassie’s story for almost ten years. It’s had many false starts, but I am happy with the route I took. The title was again inspired by a song, Walk Like Him by Mitchell Tenpenny. The book was already underway when I heard the line, “my Mama says I walk like him,” and the moment I heard it, it sealed Cassie’s fate.
Describe your writing process.
My writing process changes constantly and is usually reflective of how the idea came to me. When I have a scene or conversation as the first piece of inspiration, I’ll often start by writing the first chapter or two. Other times, it is the character that comes to me first, so I will dive into character bios and descriptions. My second step is always a rough outline. I don’t write detailed outlines, but rather an ordered list of scenes and key events. The outline is always a living document, meaning it changes as I write or before I write. I love the structure of an outline, but I also need the freedom and flexibility to change it as the story evolves.
How do you stay motivated?
My motivation and energy to write varies wildly. There are times I am so motivated to write, I will stay up until my daughter wakes for her overnight feeding. Other times, I have to drag myself to the computer and force the words out. And sometimes, the words don’t come. I’ve found that I am most motivated to write when I have a phenomenal idea, have just finished an amazing book or am knee-deep in stress at work.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Jennifer Weiner’s next release, Mrs. Everything, Kristin Hanna’s The Nightingale, and I am listening to John McCain’s Restless Wave. I am an equal opportunity bibliophile and usually have an ebook, a physical book and an audio book (always nonfiction) going. This allows me flexibility is when and what I read. It also enables me to devour more books.
Where can we connect with you?
Ask her your additional questions in the comments below.
My FREE THE WRITER takeaway from Andrea is that the writing process for a given writer doesn’t have to be rigid. While schedules and habits help us achieve goals, I love the idea that we can adapt the process to the ideas and the story. It seems like it would set us up for greater success in the long run.
To free the writer today, let’s allow ourselves to try something outside our typical writing process. Let me know what you discover.