Q & A with Joy Norstrom author of Out of Play @norstrom_joy

Release date: October 27, 2016

Publisher: Crooked Cat

Genre: Chick Lit


Gillian Campbell is out of patience. 

Her husband is choosing his hobby over her. And the hobby in question? Live Action Role-Play, or ‘larp’. Larp involves dressing up as a character (be it medieval knight, banshee or centaur) and participating in imaginary battles for entire weekends. 

Gillian is not impressed. She seeks professional advice and is surprised when her therapist encourages her to try larp. Who knows? It may make you smile. It may make you laugh. It may even improve your sex life. How terrible could it be?

The advice seems super sketch to Gillian, but she decides to don a costume and give it a go. If larp doesn’t work a marital miracle, Gillian will be able to walk away knowing she tried absolutely everything before giving up.

Will going on her own role-play adventure heal Gillian’s marriage, or will the game shed light on everything that is wrong? 

Hey everyone, I hope your weekend is off to a fantastic start! I have an interview with Joy Norstrom to share today.

Q & A

Hello Amy! Thank you for hosting me on your Saturday Shout Out. I’m celebrating the one year anniversary of my book baby, Out of Play, and it seems a great time to think about my writing journey. What questions do you have for me?


Q: What’s a typical writing day for you look like? Describe your perfect writing environment.


A: My typical writing day is a few stolen hours when the kids are in bed or in swim practice or watching a movie. I think that’s a similar reality for writers who are trying to balance day jobs and young families with their creative processes.


The big exception are Mondays—my favourite day of the week! I don’t work on Mondays, the kids are at school and so that leaves just me and my lap top…and twitter and facebook and insta. Lol, there are still a lot of distractions but at least it’s quiet. Silence is definitely my preferred writing state. I know. I don’t sound fun at all, do I?


I also enjoy a warm beverage or two when I write. Coffee with cream in the morning. Bengal Spice tea in the afternoon. I’m also inspired by nature and like to write by a window with a view.


Q: How did you get started writing? Was it something you’ve always loved?


A: I’ve always been a storyteller. That’s probably a nice way to say ‘chatty.’ I grew up in a house of readers and most of us happened to be oral storytellers too (picture a group of chatty readers and you’ve got it). I was on my second maternity leave and my mom suggested I should write a children’s book. I was very quick to dismiss the idea. I didn’t think it was possible to get published and I doubted whether anyone would be interested in what I might come up with. And yet the seed was planted. I wasn’t able to shake the idea and I spent most of my thirties working on my writing craft.


What I love about storytelling is seeing an emotional reaction and I think that happens when readers (or listeners) feel a connection with the main character. How great is it to know you’ve helped people to feel something powerful? My two favourite reactions are laughter or empathy. Don’t you agree that life is better when there’s humour and a connection to other people’s lived experience?


Q: If writing wasn’t your career what would you be doing?


A: Writing is somewhere on the spectrum between ‘hobby’ and ‘career’ for me. It requires more time, energy and skill than an average pastime, and yet it’s not quite an occupation either. I work part-time as a registered social worker in community development. I actually love my job because I am passionate about social inclusion and get to have an integral role in building a more just society. Storytelling is also a powerful tool for building empathy and understanding, and so I find splitting my time between these two roles is a great way to keep my creative and grounded.


Q: What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your work?


A: When I receive a review where the reader says they both laughed and cried, I know I was able to reach my goal of writing a story that matters.


Q: Who are your favorite writers/inspirations?


A: I’ve been deeply inspired by two Canadian authors:


Miriam Toews. Can anyone not recommend Miriam Toews? Her voice is beautiful. She writes a great mix of humour and heartbreak and I basically think she’s amazing. The Flying Troutmans is one of my favourite books. It’s one of those books you keep sneaking back into your room to read, because you’ve got to find out how it ends.


Susin Nielsen. If you haven’t heard of her you should look her up. She writes younger YA but doesn’t shy away from tough topics. My ten year old likes her books and so do I. That’s like a (mumble, thirty, mumble) year audience span so quite impressive that Susin can engage such a wide span in audiences. My favourite Susin Nielsen book is The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen but perhaps a better title for a younger reader would be Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mother.


Both of these authors successfully weave humour and tragedy into their stories. I find it inspiring because it’s what I want to do with my own writing.


Q. Anything you can tell us about upcoming projects?


A. My current project is about a single mom who lives in a small sawmill town. Her son doesn’t fit into the fairly rigid gender norms in their community. With little income (and few choices) she crosses paths with a group of older women who want her to teach them about dating in the twenty-first century.  


I’m currently interviewing parents with children who identify outside mainstream gender norms as a way to better understand my character. If you’re reading this and are interested in sharing your experience with me, I would love to hear from you.  


Q: Preferred method for readers to contact you?


A: It’s great to chat on social media and I can also be contacted via my website.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/norstrom_joy

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joynorstrom/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.norstromauthor

Website: http://www.joynorstrom.ca


2 thoughts on “Q & A with Joy Norstrom author of Out of Play @norstrom_joy

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