In Common by Norma Watkins: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Monday, February 13, 2023

I'm excited to announce the launch of our next blog tour for In Common by Norma Watkins. This book is perfect for people who love family sagas and books about women struggling for power in a world that disdains them. Continue on to read more about this captivating book as well as an interview with the author, Norma Watkins. You'll also have the chance to win a copy for yourself too!

First, here's more about In Common:

Lillian Creekmore grows up at her family's popular rural spa. She successfully runs an entire hotel, yet longs for a husband. Then she meets Will Hughes.

Velma Vernon accepts life on a small, struggling farm until a boy she barely tolerates proposes marriage. To accept means duplicating her parents' hard life. Alone, she leaves for the city and triumphs, not as a wife, but by being the best at her job. Velma is content until the most beautiful man she has ever seen walks into her office.

This moving and darkly humorous novel follows the intertwined lives of women willing to surrender everything to a man.

Publisher: Black Rose Writing
ISBN-10: 1684339235
ISBN-13: 978-1684339235
Print Pages: 595 Pages

Purchase a copy of In Common by visiting Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Make sure you also add In Common to your Goodreads reading list.

About the Author, Norma Watkins

Raised in the South during the civil rights struggles, Norma Watkins is the author of In Common, and two memoirs: The Last Resort, Taking the Mississippi Cure (2011), which won a gold medal for best nonfiction published in the South by an independent press; and That Woman from Mississippi (2017). She lives in northern California with her woodworker husband and three cats.

You can find her online by visiting her website or reading her blog.

---- Interview by Michelle Cornish

WOW: Congratulations on the release of In Common! After writing two memoirs, this is your first novel. What was your experience writing fiction compared to memoir writing?

Norma: After writing two memoirs, letting go of “I” was a huge relief.  I had great fun making myself not only a minor character in In Common, but a ridiculed one, the relative who shows up with whole oats and brown rice, the one who won’t drink, and coughs every time someone tries to enjoy a cigarette. 

WOW: I love that! I guess after writing memoirs, including a character based on yourself comes naturally. Do you have any advice for creating believable characters?

Norma: Believable characters, in my opinion, always contain a piece of ourselves (usually exaggerated), along with bits of others, stories we've heard, and random things we've read. Blended thoroughly. Both the protagonist in a story and their antagonists, want something. Those wants conflict. Working the trouble out in scenes creates the plot. Believable characters come alive in dialogue. When I'm writing dialogue, I try to become the character in word, thought, and action. The more I accomplish this, the more believable the character.

WOW: "Working the trouble out in scenes creates the plot." That's a golden nugget, right there (among others). Thank you for that. What's your process like when writing your books? 

Norma: I don’t recommend my process. I had a writing teacher who advised never going to a psychiatrist (You will talk away your best material) and never outlining (If you know how things turn out, why bother writing?). I follow his advice and write myself down many blind alleys. My books take forever. Someone asked at a reading of my first memoir if I had been influenced by the popular book and movie The Help. I said, “I began writing The Last Resort before the author of The Help was born.”

WOW: In Common is about how much women willingly sacrifice for love (among other things). What sacrifices did you make to be a writer?

Norma: I ran away from what felt like a hopelessly bigoted place. I left husband, children, and the only place I knew to give myself space to write and think freely. 

WOW: Amazing. How incredibly brave of you! You write about the struggles of women, especially in the South, but you also manage to incorporate dark humor. How did you balance these important issues with humor throughout your novel?

Norma: Humor is my sword and shield. Writing about things you’re ashamed of, afraid of, the things that wake you up at night or give you bad dreams is scary. But we need to write about trouble because that’s what readers want. Happiness is boring, but we’re fascinated by trouble. We want to see how the character got through it, how skillfully or clumsily she handled it, and how she came out the other side, if she did. We want to accompany her on a scary journey from the safe distance of the printed page. Make it funny and you can tell us anything. Let the character laugh at herself and we laugh with her, not at her. Humor needs to be honest. It lets us see something about ourselves, about our prejudices, about the silly world we inhabit. That’s the power of it—laughter in the service of truth.   

WOW: Laughter in the service of truth--so powerful, for sure. In the essence of reading more of these truths with your signature sense of humor, can you share what you’re working on next and where readers can keep in touch with you to learn more?

Norma: In the novel In Common, a character named April, hyper-critical and judgmental, gets on everyone’s nerves. The novel I’m working on, Old Testament Eyes, is April’s book. April is bipolar, a diagnosis she has difficulty dealing with. After her father suffers a stroke, she comes up with a brilliant idea. She will leave her unhappy marriage, move in with her father, and heal them both. Chaos ensues.  

Happy to hear from readers online at watkins.norma[at]gmail[dot]com. You can follow me on my blog:

WOW: Thanks so much, Norma! It's been a pleasure learning more about your work and your process. The team at WOW! wishes you much success!

In Common by Norma Watkins Blog Tour

---- Blog Tour Calendar

February 13th @ The Muffin
Join us as we celebrate the blog tour launch of In Common by Norma Watkins. You'll have the chance to read an interview with the author and win a copy of the book.

February 15th @ Michelle Cornish's blog
Visit Michelle’s blog to read about good food as reward and vengeance by Norma Watkins.

February 18th @ A Storybook World
Join Deirdra as she features In Common and shares a guest post from Norma Watkins about writing truths about people who might be hurt by them.

February 20th @ Lisa Buske's blog
Stop by Lisa’s blog to read a guest post by Norma about civil rights and growing up in the South during Jim Crow.

February 22nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog
Join us today for author Anthony Avina’s review of In Common.

February 24th @ Fiona Ingram’s author blog
Stop by Fiona’s blog to read a guest post by Norma Watkins featuring a look at how women were treated in the South pre-feminism.

February 25th @ The Book Diva's Reads
Visit Vivian's blog for a feature of In Common by Norma Watkins. You'll have the chance to read an excerpt too!

February 27th @ Mindy McGinnis’s blog
Stop by Mindy’s blog to read a guest post about bad sex.

February 28th @ Seaside Book Nook
Join Jilleen for a spotlight of an excerpt of In Common by Norma Watkins.

March 1st @ The Mommies Reviews
Join Glenda as she reviews In Common and shares a guest post from the author about sharing the hard stuff.

March 2nd @ The Frugalista Mom
Join us for a guest post from Norma Watkins on how you are unique and irreplaceable.

March 4th @ World of My Imagination
Stop by Nicole's blog where Norma Watkins is a guest for "Three Things on a Saturday Night."

March 5th @ A Wonderful World of Words
Visit Joy's blog for a feature of In Common by Norma Watkins.

March 6th @ Life According to Jamie
Join us as Jamie reviews In Common

March 8th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog
Revisit author Anthony Avina’s blog to read "What are Women Willing to Sacrifice for Freedom?" by Norma Watkins.

March 9th @ The Knotty Needle
Stop by for Judy’s review of In Common.

March 10th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews blog
Join Lisa for an interview with Norma Watkins.

March 11th @ Reading in the Wildwood Reviews
Join us today for Megan’s review of In Common.

March 12th @ Jill Sheets’s blog
Stop by Jill’s blog to read her interview with Norma Watkins

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Enter to win a copy of the novel, In Common by Norma Watkins. Fill out the Rafflecopter form by February 26th at 11:59 pm CT for a chance to win. We will choose a winner randomly the next day and follow up via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Angela Mackintosh said...

Great interview, Michelle and Norma!

Norma, I love your advice on believable characters, and dark humor is the best kind. :) I usually write short creative nonfiction/memoir but felt compelled to write a short fiction last week, and I'm loving the freedom. Your book sounds riveting and I'm looking forward to reading it. Good luck on your tour! :)

bn100 said...

nice interview

R Struthers said...

A novel empowering women is so needed in todays society. Celebrating our intelligence, our ability and success.

Andrea said...

Sounds like an interesting read.

409cope said...

This sounds like such a great book!

kywave said...

Putting fact within fiction is often a winning combo

Heather Swanson said...

A must read for my winter reading list.

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