Research—not just for school papers…

My second novel, The Spanish Acquisition is now available from Crimson Romance, and so as a public service I am outlining for all aspiring writers the process required in penning such a marvelous opus. First off, I cannot stress too emphatically the importance of detailed research. Often people assume that if you are writing fiction in the present time, research is not required.


In a way, research may be more necessary in contemporary fiction as every reader will be personally acquainted with the lore, costumes and mores of your chosen period. Try putting a Justin Bieber quote into the nineties or a Duran Duran song into 2012 and you’ll know just what I’m talking about. But some research can be a matter of checking your memory bank for personal experiences. In my new novel, the heroine, Lily, is a sculptor living in Brooklyn and attending The Arts Students League in Manhattan. Coincidently, I have relatives living in Brooklyn and attending that art school. I tried welding and clay sculpture there myself but, although it was enjoyable, I never developed any artistic ability.

So where, you’re asking, does my much vaunted research come in? Well, I’m a gonna tell you. In my many years in the dating/cohabiting and everything in between stages, I have never actually dated a tall, dark stranger—or at least not a man with dark curly hair and brown eyes. How could I possibly write a romance with such an exotic creature? I needed to rectify this conundrum.

An advertisement in the Georgia Straight, the newspaper popular in the hip West End of Vancouver, yielded many responses most of which I either did not understand or—if photographs were included—shocked the bejeesus out of me. Some of those position and body parts looked painful, if not highly implausible. And although I was quickly alerted to the many varieties of tall, dark and curly, I didn’t feel the respondents particularly helpful.

I switched to an on-line dating service. There I was introduced to another assortment of men my age. One of the things that struck me immediately with this group, is that older men seemed more interested in talking and less in helping with my, er, physical research. After a certain age, the female body part most attractive to men becomes the ear. Could I listen to one more diatribe about the ex-wife, the mother and how everyone at work was out to get him? It also becomes more difficult to find men with curly dark hair, or even hair, for research purposes.

So I set my target on the younger demographic of my heroic types. Holy doodle! What was I doing wrong in my younger years? It turns out there are a lot of brown haired, brown eyed men just dying to help out a diligent writer. In fact, there were so many, I almost didn’t have time to write my book.  It was a tough slog, but for the sake of my many readers, I persevered. And if I don’t get a Pulitzer for this book, then I don’t know what those judges are thinking.

In closing, regardless of whether or not The Spanish Acquisition garners rave reviews, I know that it is a far better book for my unselfish and thorough research. And that is a satisfying feeling for any writer. Hmm, maybe my next romance should be about George Clooney…


Available in e-books everywhere:  (for


When a multibillionaire business mogul from Barcelona meets a struggling art student from New York in the Dominican Republic, sparks fly. But can they overcome their differences and an odd case of mistaken identity?

On vacation in the Dominican Republic, Lily Scott meets the man of her dreams, and then some.  She’s astounded when he seems equally attracted to her. But after a whirlwind affair, she is devastated when he abruptly insults her and leaves.

Carlos adores Lily, the sweet, unassuming artist he meets on vacation, but then when his personal assistant informs him that she’s suing his company, he exacts revenge and then tries to move on. But can he?

To read more about Nora Snowdon and her other books, visit:



There’s a New Gang in Town — Nora Snowdon blog

In case anyone in the northern hemisphere hasn’t heard, I turned fifty-two this year. Whoo-hoo! Hurrah! And all that stuff. One can get a little bored with aging as it never really let’s up. But being in your fifties brings with it a whole new concept. Aging as a means to blend in with the scenery.

Now originally I was perturbed to find over the last ten years (it probably started earlier, but I’m never too quick on the introspection stuff) that I disappeared. Literally. It wasn’t like Claude Raines where only my clothes delineated my presence. No, instead I found in circumstances where before there would be obvious sounds and movements indicating when I entered or left an area, now there was simply a dearth of reactions. No whistles, catcalls or even casual head-turns heralded my previously celebrated walk past construction sites or Italian Cafés.

When I was younger I used to hate the attention I got just for being female. I didn’t dress provocatively, wear much make-up, and in the mid-seventies often forgot to even brush my hair, much to my mother’s chagrin. As a feminist, it irked me that I was viewed first and foremost in sexual terms. And, to be honest, I still hold those views. I still dislike being ogled by eighty-year old men with bad eyesight. (I’m assuming the ones possessing the 20/20 vision are still ogling twenty-year olds. Such is the incredibly obtuse optimism of the male species…)

I’ve discovered though, that with invisibility comes freedom. I can wear bright red lipstick and shiny clothes without worrying I look promiscuous. (no longer considered, as apparently us older ladies don’t “do” that sex thing.) Ditto with the new stiletto heels I tottered on precariously to a party recently. I’m just happily slipping into that eccentric older aunt character once so beloved on family sitcoms.

But there is also an evil side of fifty plus of which I had been previously unaware. For some reason there’s a group of women over fifty who want to take our newfound invisibility cloak and turn it into a secret army. You know what I’m talking about. You see them everywhere. The legion of faceless women sporting extravagant red hats, mulling through any large group of people. It’s a force that’s gaining power with every birthday. These women must be planning some nefarious plot to take over the world. Otherwise why would they submit to hiding their own personalities to blend into one homogenous group of similarly attired females?

My own plan is to keep an eye on this cavalcade of crimson, and if at any point they seem poised to annihilate or subjugate all others, I’ll don a red hat. But until then, I’ll stick with my own ways of celebrating my yearly deterioration. Another drink, perhaps?

Nora Snowdon is a Romance Writer, Collagist, and Aspiring Crazy Cat Lady. To read more about Nora, please visit

Her book Arsonists Anonymous, a paranormal romance from Crimson Romance is available now where all fine e-books are sold.

Her second book from Crimson Romance, The Spanish Acquisition will be available Dec 10, 2012

It’s a Mystery – post by Nora Snowdon

As a writer I’m often asked where I get my story ideas from. And the answer is simple, heck if I know. Often I’ll be driving along, hear a song and think, right, if they were so perfect together then why did they break up? And I’ll fill in the blanks. So I guess in that instance my characters are inspired by other writers’ imaginary characters—well, unless I was listening to Taylor Swift. Who knows, maybe one of my books is loosely based on John Mayer or Jake Gylenhall?

One book I started with a funeral for Steve the fish. I had no other plot, characters or concept but liked the funeral as an opening hook. That story became about a psychic and a fraud squad cop. Then eventually I cut the opening scene because it no longer fit the story. Someday another story may start that way but only time will tell.

I love opening a book and having no idea where it will go both when I’m reading and writing. I know of people who check the last pages before buying novels to make sure they’ll like the ending. That is totally incomprehensible to me. Even though with romance novels you are supposed to get a happy ending, there’s always a chance something could go wrong. (maybe the writer didn’t get the happily-ever-after memo.) For me, knowing the ending makes the trip a waste of time.

So where do my story ideas come from? All I can say is, It’s a mystery, it’s a mystery, it’s a mystery.

Nora Snowdon Bio:

Living in New York and Toronto, Nora Snowdon was a jerk of all trades—one week hawking toys at major toy conventions, the next in a high end jewelry store pandering to the rich. She worked in the financial market, environmental protection biz, gambling dens, food service industry and sold shoes. During these years she also either appeared in or directed over twenty five plays.

Then Nora moved to the wet coast, took up health foods (dark chocolate and red wine) and became a Writer of Elegant Smut. Her ambition is to become a crazy cat lady and wine hoarder, not necessarily in that order. Visit Nora’s website at

Her novel Arsonists Anonymous is available now where all fine e-books are sold. Her second release from Crimson Romance is The Spanish Acquisition and will be available Dec 10, 2012