Welcome, Norma Gail Holtman & Guests
Norma Gail Holtman writes contemporary Christian romance and romantic suspense under the pen name Norma Gail. Her books feature strong women whose faith enables them to triumph over difficult circumstances. Her own mother-in-law was discipled by Christian fiction.
Norma was born and reared in New Mexico. She earned a BSN degree (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) and is married with two grown children. In addition to fiction, she has written devotionals and led Bible studies and currently writes devotionals on her blog and her church website.
Norma is offering a giveaway, Within Golden Bands, in either print or Kindle, so be sure to comment below. You’ll encourage Norma and me both, and you could add a new novel to your library.
Norma Gail: The Story of Her Heart
The story of my heart took a while to write. I grew up with a book in my hands. My mom often chased me outside to play. Otherwise, I would have sat in my dad’s big chair with a book all day. It wasn’t unusual for me to make up a story, talk the other kids into playing the parts, and keep it going for days. My parents constantly said, “Take your nose out of that book.”
My mother’s large extended family gathered at my grandparent’s house in Albuquerque’s North Valley every Sunday afternoon. Those experiences gave rise to my fascination with family history research and old family photos, part of the story of my heart. Whenever the out-of-town family came, they stayed with my grandparents. I spent many happy Sundays listening to older family members recount tales of long ago. Named after two childless aunts, I always went by Norma Gail, thus my pen name.
My best friends in school also loved to write. We critiqued each other’s stories and poems over lunch. Needless to say, we weren’t the most popular group in school but we had a lot of fun.
Norma Gail Holtman: Choosing a Career
The idea of a history or literature major went by the wayside early on. I didn’t want to grade papers or deal with unruly students. However, I loved anything medical, and decided to be a nurse when I was quite young.
I accepted Christ in the fourth grade and recommitted my life as a high school senior, after attending Young Life meetings. Throughout my college years at the University of New Mexico, Campus Crusade for Christ helped mature my faith. All the boys I dated were from church. In fact, I met my husband through my first boyfriend. Also active in Campus Crusade, the Friday night meetings constituted most of our dates.
Norma Gail Holtman: The Story of Her Heart Buds
Not only was I named for two women who never had children, I struggled with infertility. After four years, we adopted our son, and twenty-one months later, our daughter. Another part of the story of my heart. I didn’t write while pursuing my nursing career or when my children were young.
However, when my father was struck and killed by lightning, my desire to write was renewed. My kids, the oldest grandchildren, were in elementary school and I decided to write a biography for the grandchildren who would never know him. Also, I began to write poetry again.
Throughout my children’s growing up years, I served as a Discussion Leader in Bible Study Fellowship. For this reason, the pastor asked me to begin the first women’s Bible studies in our small church. I led Bible studies for over 21 years, another piece of the story of my heart. Eventually, I began to write weekly devotionals for our church website and started my own devotional blog.
Norma Gail, The Story of Her Heart Blossoms
As a result, I decided to see if I had what it took to become a traditionally published author. When I broke my right foot and landed in a wheelchair, writing filled hours of boredom. Soon, I spent my evenings on my laptop while my husband and son watched TV. My husband and I took a thirtieth anniversary trip to Scotland. I dreamed about a man in a kilt playing his bagpipes on a hillside surrounded by sheep. For this reason, I decided to set my novel in Scotland.
Land of My Dreams
I attended my first writer’s conference in 2011. One author who critiqued my book spent extra time explaining what was needed to make my book publishable. After my second writer’s conference, I received a contract for Land of My Dreams, a Christian romance published in 2014.
Within Golden Bands
However, it was to take six years before my second book, Within Golden Bands, was published. In hindsight, I experienced a bad case of nerves about being good enough. The editor who accepted my first book gave a lot of input on the second but no longer made the decisions. I wasn’t satisfied with what I wrote because I tried to please someone else. The book was rejected twice and I almost gave up.
Eventually, I returned to my original title and went back to the drawing board. As I wrote from my heart, the story came alive and I loved it. In 2019, someone who knew about Land of My Dreams offered to publish Within Golden Bands. I am now a hybrid author working on the third book in my A Home for My Heart series. Unlike most romances set in Scotland, these are contemporary, rather than historical. With the exception of the college, sheep farm, and churches, even the restaurants can be visited today.
Within Golden Bands is not my story but it is the story of my heart. It’s a tale of a newly married couple whose desires for a family are destroyed by a devastating miscarriage. At the same time, their lives are threatened by a ruthless villain, and a long-kept family secret comes to light. Neither can foresee the heartbreak and danger that awaits.
Norma Gail’s Themes
I don’t write light romance. As a Bible study leader, I met Christians who didn’t understand how to base life decisions on scripture. My mother-in-law, a Dutch immigrant, was discipled by the Christian fiction she read. I enjoy reading fiction with deep spiritual truths, so I write deep fiction. Even though romance is a major theme, I write about strong women whose faith enables them to triumph over difficult circumstances.
While the first book is romance, the second is romantic suspense. My children are adopted. I experienced infertility. It was natural to write from the perspective of a woman who struggled with infertility. However, adoption is also a spiritual concept. God adopts us into His family when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Norma Gail’s Links
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Lord, please bless each word Norma Gail writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake