Welcome this week’s written interview star…. Philip Nork. Please see the end for his information.. Welcome Philip!
1) Who are you? (tell us a bit about you personally)
My name is Philip Nork. Your readers can call me Phil, all my friends do. I live in Henderson, Nevada just about 10 miles from the Las Vegas strip. I grew up in Wheaton, Illinois where I went to school with the Belushi brothers, Jim and John, and loved to act. While they went on to stardom in acting, I decided to write instead.
2) How old where you when you first started writing?
I have always had a pen or pencil in my hands. My first grade teacher saw the ‘talent’ first. I grew up in a small town, so all the rest of my teachers had high expectations.
3) What made you fall in love with writing?
My parents were divorced, back in the 1960’s that wasn’t the norm. I used reading, writing and listening to music to escape from my real life.
4) How long have you been writing?
For as long as I can remember.
5) What was the first piece you ever wrote?
Being as old as I am, I can’t remember that. I am sure it had something to do with Mother’s Day and writing a poem for her.
1) What is your favorite genre?
I love to read ‘real’ situations. I’m not into werewolves, zombies or shape-shifters. I want to see how we all can get along and reality based books give me that opportunity.
2) Who are your favorite authors? Brief Explanation of why.
Growing up I enjoyed John Steinbeck. His stories were real enough and gave me insight into what others were going through. Nowadays I only read Indie authors trying to find the ‘next big thing.’
3) What is your favorite book by another author?
I don’t think I have a favorite. I find good things in every book I read. I also find bad things, but try to learn from them. I really enjoy Indie authors and support them.
4) What’s your favorite character archetype of literature?
The normal person who learns a lesson by what they do or don’t do. I believe that lessons are all around you, you just have to find them. George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life comes to mind.
5) What is your favorite theme or element in writing?
That we are all connected in one way or another and that we are all special. All of my writings have a common theme of divorce and the effects it has on people, especially the children.
1) What do you think makes good writing?
A basic understanding of how sentences are formed. I write simple, not a lot of flowery words and it makes the story flow better. I hate when writers throw in adjectives that make no sense just to sound important or to not use the same words over and over. No one really talks that way, so why write that way? The stories and characters must be real—talk real, act real and remind you of someone you know.
2) Where do you get most of your ideas?
My stories are the stories of my life. I take pieces of memories from my past, or that of a friend, and weave in fiction as a way to hold it all together. Most of my ideas come to me in dreams. I keep a small notebook near me all the time to write them down.
3) What room is your favorite to write in?
At home I have an office where I turn on some 1970’s music—Rod Stewart, Air Supply and the occasional disco classic, and do my thing. I am on the road a lot on business, so a hotel room works just as well for me.
4) What is your favorite place for thinking?
While taking a shower and also when driving. Thoughts just pop in and out in both places.
5) Do you base your characters on people you know?
In most cases, yes they are people I met along the way. They are disguised and have different names and may even do things that the real person would never do, but they are based on them.
Favorites and General questions –
1) Tell us briefly about your book(s)
I have seven published books. They all center on divorce and how a child of divorce reacts to it. Even my newest release—a romance—has a divorced author in it and how he is trying to start fresh.
2) What is your favorite thing you’ve written?
I think my book Life Is a Balance is that thing. It shares the story of a boy of divorce and how it changes his thought process throughout his life. Even though that life wasn’t perfect, when he dies the God he worships accepts him for who he is. It has won the prestigious Gold Standard of Literary Excellence from The Princeton Review.
3) Who is your favorite character(s) in any of your works?
Since most of them are based on my life, people would guess the main character. However, I like the supporting characters. They all taught the main character something in all of my works. I believe you have to accept what others have in store for you in order to grow and learn.
4) What scene in your writing has made you laugh the hardest or cry the most?
In Legends of the Lake I write about my great-grandparents and a special cottage they owned. The ending always gets to me (and according to the reviews to the readers also.)
5) Is there anything you purposely include or eliminate in your writing?
I don’t want to hurt anyone so I change the characters—sometimes their gender or how they’d act in a certain situation—in order to protect the innocent. I don’t want to get too personal.
Finally the best questionnaire… ever… by Bernard Pivot
1) What is your favorite word?
This is going sound bad, but I use the word Fuck a lot. It just rolls off my tongue so easily. To me words are just words.
2) What is your least favorite word?
I promise. I hate when a person promises anything because no one can do that. We as humans always fail.
3) What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Memories of the past bring me back and I always feel better.
4) What turns you off?
When someone lies to you.
5) What is your favorite curse word?
Obviously that would be Fuck once again.
6) What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of the summer rain hitting the windows. I love that smell too.
7) What sound or noise do you hate?
Static when the cable goes out.
8) What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I always wanted to be a professional dancer like Fred Astaire or an actor.
9) What profession would you not like to do?
Anything to do with blood. I can’t stand the sight of it.
10) If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
As the God I chose says in my book, Life Is a Balance, “The main priorities of your time on earth, which you have mastered, were learning and sharing. You have done both very well. They will come in handy in the next phase you will enter. Remember there are no such things as endings, just new beginnings. Are you ready to enter and learn what true happiness is all about?”
Philip Nork was born in Chicago, Illinois and is the oldest of three children. His early years were devastating as he endured the divorce of his parents, the death of his beloved great-grandmother, and the resulting feelings of isolation and loneliness. While these events took their toll, they also shaped the man he grew up to be.
Phil had a different perspective than his friends and his experiences were totally unique. As his young male friends were busy playing baseball, defending their turf, and hitting on girls, his time was spent reading, listening to music, writing his feelings down in his journal and trying to understand the differences in people and to figure out how “we can all get along.”
Phil lives in Nevada with his wife and their son. He mixes work with his love of writing. He spent the first 25 years of his working life in the restaurant industry. He is now an Area Manager for CDS, a marketing and sales firm which specializes in working with the vendors of Costco Wholesale Warehouses.