shining the spotlight on short story collections
About the author:
Daniela I. Norris, a former diplomat turned political writer – and with age and wisdom – inspirational writer and speaker, lost her twenty-year-old brother Michael in a drowning accident in May 2010. While feeling as much shock and grief as everyone else around her, she also felt something different. She felt that her brother was not really gone. He was physically gone, but he was still around. That was when she embarked on a journey of learning and exploration, her very own skeptic’s journey to mediumship. She lives near Geneva, Switzerland. Collecting Feathers: tales from The Other Side is her fourth book.
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Collecting Feathers started some ten years back, while I was writing different kinds of short stories – with no intention of writing ‘spiritual’ or ‘inspirational’ fiction. After I’ve published my non-fiction book On Dragonfly Wings: a skeptic’s journey to mediumship I was asked whether I had any spiritual fiction – and to my great surprise, when I went back to look at stories I’ve written years ago, I found that they did have a ‘spiritual’ and ‘inspirational’ element. Or at least an element of contact with ‘the other side’!
Some of the stories are more recent, and together with the older short stories they make what is now Collecting Feathers: tales from The Other Side.
Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
I think that when one enjoys reading and writing short stories, as I do, there’s always a collection in mind. I didn’t know what kind of collection this was going to be, but in retrospect, it all makes perfect sense.
How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?
That was not an easy decision, and the order got shuffled around several times until the stories landed where they are today. There is usually some kind of ‘natural order’ to a collection of short stories, but it isn’t always easy to find and there is often need for some experimentation to see what reads well and what doesn’t.
What does the word “story” mean to you?
The first thing that comes to mind is ‘beginning, middle and end’ but when I think about it again, for me it is the message in the end of a story that counts most. If there’s a message that lingers, then there was a story to tell!
Do you have a “reader” in mind when you write stories?
These days I write for people who are interested in spirituality and in contact with ‘the other side’, and for those who are ‘sitting on the fence’ about the whole thing, as I did only a few short years ago. It is sometimes easier to speak to people about spiritual and inspirational themes through fiction, and this is what I enjoy doing these days.
Is there anything you’d like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?
Sure! What is the message – if any – that stayed with you after turning the last page?
How does it feel knowing that people are buying your books?
It’s as if I have some friends that I haven’t yet met – people who share my inner thoughts and also some of my journey. I usually don’t get to meet them – these readers, these unknown friends – unless I get some feedback from them.
I do get to meet many amazing people through my writing, and when I do meet them, there is often an immediate connection because they ‘get’ what I do. I guess that the people who don’t ‘get me’ and my writing are not the ones who show up for readings, who contact me or who leave written reviews!
What are you working on now?
I am working on a reincarnation themed novel, based on some past-life regressions I’ve had myself. Can’t say much more about it as even I am not sure yet where it is going, but it certainly feels as if it is going somewhere.
What are the last three short story collections you read?
Scorpion Moons by Helen Noble, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This by Robin Black and The Collected Stories of Isaac Babel.