Receiving Nora’s Blessing

ava-Book Cover-color-high res~ By Ava Miles

So, hi, I’m Ava Miles, and it’s great to be hosted by the new Contemporary Romance Chapter Blog. I’m a new writer, and just had my first book debut in July. When I talked to Melissa about what everyone might want me to blog about, she suggested, “Why don’t you talk about receiving Nora’s blessing for your first book?”

Well, heck ya, I can do that. My first book, NORA ROBERTS LAND, came out of a true event in my sister’s life. Her ex-husband told her that he blamed their divorce on her reading Nora Roberts. Like really? We were all shocked by this, but then a story came through for me. My story is about a newly divorced journalist who returns to her hometown to debunk her ex-husband’s notion that Nora Roberts novels ruined their marriage. She intends to write an article about her attempts to find Nora Roberts Land, what her mom calls happily ever after.

When I had this story idea crystallize, I simply knew I needed Nora’s permission. And here’s where being a part of RWA helped. I’m a member of our local chapter called the Washington Romance Writers. Nora is a member too, but I had never personally met her other than to go to one of her rare workshops and go, wow! But I realized I had just met one of her best friends through another chapter mate. Well, I did what my mother had raised me to do. I contacted this person and asked for her advice in how to approach Nora. She kindly responded by saying she’d love to meet me and talk about it. I knew I was likely on the path of passing the crazy test. Well, this writer came to my house for dinner, and I passed the test. I was not some crazy person. I was a serious writer and one who respected Nora.

From there, Nora’s blessing came through. I was in the Republic of Congo for my old career of rebuilding warzones. The generator had been patchy, and the Internet even worse, but somehow I got the message. Blessing Received. And I pretty much danced and cried a little in my hotel room.

Then I sat down to write the book. On most days, I did what I knew needed to be done with no thought of having Nora’s name associated with my book. On a few days though, the enormity of it hit. When it did, I prayed that what I wrote could live up to what Nora was all about. I wasn’t Nora, and wasn’t trying to be. But I am a serious professional and someone who loves a good story.

So that’s what I focused on. I wrote the book. I rewrote it. And then had the “it is done” moment. In a James Earl Jones voice. I wish.  🙂 That is until my editor saw it. Just kidding. But you get my point.

Even when we’re lucky enough to have that kind of wind behind our backs, we still have to write the best darn book we can.

What inspires you to write the best book you can, and if you could have any famous writer’s blessing for your book, who would you choose?

Ava Miles burst onto the contemporary romance scene after receiving Nora Roberts’ blessing for her use of Ms. Roberts’ name in her debut novel, NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off The Dare Valley Series and brought praise from reviewers and readers alike. Much to Ava’s delight, BlogCritics says “It [NORA ROBERTS LAND] captures the best of…a Nora Roberts novel,” while USA Today’s Happily Ever After blog praises the series noting its “wonderful, idyllic setting… [and] great characters.” Ava continued The Dare Valley Series in FRENCH ROAST, which Tome Tender says “raised the entertainment bar again.” Now, Ava releases the third book in the series, THE GRAND OPENING, with her recognized wit and charm, creating happy endings with humor and heart. A descendant of generations of journalists, Ava—a writer since childhood—now lives in her own porch-swinging-friendly community with an old-fashioned Main Street lined with small businesses. Much like Dare Valley.

You can connect with Ava at:    

7 thoughts on “Receiving Nora’s Blessing”

  1. Congratulations, thank you for sharing the WOW moment when it all came together, and many are now able to enjoy your stories. Keep on dancing and writing, it works good together!

  2. Great story, Ava! My first contact with RWA was in 2007 when I e-mailed the then President of the CT chapter, Kristan Higgins. She was just beginning her climb to the “top” and I had no idea who she was, but she was incredibly responsive to my many questions, emailed me back at 7 a.m, and graciously invited me to attend the next meeting. I credit her for me joining the group and I’ve never been sorry. She has been an amazing supporter and was one of the few traditionally published authors who didn’t give me a hard time when I decided to go rogue and indie publish back in 2011. She is as sweet as she is lovely and I am grateful beyond words to call her friend. RWA has introduced me to an entire family of writer pals who I wouldn’t trade for the world!

  3. Congrats on the release of Nora Roberts Land, Ava! My first book, Fallen Star, came out in June and I know without a shred of doubt I wouldn’t be where I am without the wonderful people I’ve met and learned from in RWA. I don’t know if it’s weird or not, but my inspiration comes from my characters. I feel like they have a story to be told and are depending on me to tell it. Best wishes on continued success!

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