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Carla Norton
Carla Norton is a novelist, journalist, and true crime writer.
Carla Norton is a novelist, journalist, and true crime writer.


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I'm thrilled to announce that WHAT DOESN'T KILL HER has won the 2016 Nancy Pearl Award for Best Book in Genre Fiction, presented by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and has also won the President’s Book Award Gold Medal for Suspense/Thriller Fiction, awarded by the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. My thanks are bi-coastal!

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Few Americans glancing at the calendar today will even consider that on Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 a.m. Hiroshima suffered the single most terrifying attack in history: The detonation of an atomic bomb. I'm sharing a few thoughts on the subject in today's post, "Awful Inspiration: War on the Page."

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It’s controversial, and some of you are going to be mad, but at the risk of offending sensibilities I feel compelled to take a stand on that age-old debate: dogs or cats?

Now, I love them both—don’t get me wrong—but when it comes to storytelling, dogs make worthier subjects. Forgive me cat lovers. This isn’t to say that cats aren’t fascinating in real life. Cats are softer, and I might even argue that kittens are cuter than puppies. But on the page, dogs rule.

Readers, come on, you’re with me, right? All kids love stories about dogs like Lassie, and we never really outgrow our affection for dogs as characters. Consider classic novels like Call of the Wild, by Jack London, and contemporary bestsellers like Suspect, by Robert Crais. Who didn’t love Marley and Me? And what about The Art of Racing in the Rain?

Can you imagine those stories with cats instead of dogs? No, I thought not.

The truth is that we can relate to dogs more, partly because they convey emotion in ways that cats cannot. Dogs smile. You know it’s true. Sure, some of you will accuse me of anthropomorphizing, but who hasn’t looked into a dog’s eyes and seen joy, or compassion, or pain?

**for more, please visit
Thank you!

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Sometimes I finish a book aching to talk about it. You know what I mean: The story has burrowed under your skin, the ideas keep ticking in your head, and you just can’t let it go.

At times like these, rather than latch onto strangers on the street or corner them in elevators, it’s nice to belong to a book club.
To read the rest of this post, please click the "blog" tab on my website,, or go to: Thank you!

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Most of us love the fact that books can take us out of our ordinary lives and transport us to distant lands. But how does an author create a story that can do that?

Many novelists root their stories in places they’ve once lived. Barbara Kingsolver, for instance, spent part of her childhood in the Congo, which lends verisimilitude to her terrific novel, The Poisonwood Bible. And while The Stockholm Octavo is set in the 18th Century, the novel was doubtless inspired by the nine years author Karen Engelmann lived in Sweden.

“Write what you know,” writers are told. But what if you’ve lived only in one place, and you find your hometown of minimal literary interest? Living in the Southwest may not inspire dreams of becoming the next Tony Hillerman. And while Jane Smiley set A Thousand Acres in Iowa, your novel might demand a quite different setting.

So, if something lies far beyond your experience, you’ve got to put some extra effort into creating scenes.
...This month's post can be read in full at

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Years ago, I wrote a true account of an astonishing crime that gave me nightmares: Twenty-year-old Colleen Stan was kidnapped at knifepoint, locked in a coffin-sized box, and held captive for over seven years. She was subjected to unthinkable deprivation and abuse.

She finally escaped, but at her kidnapper’s trial, the defense attorney startled everyone by portraying this captor/captive “relationship” as consensual. Indeed, the victim had failed to seize multiple opportunities to escape. Why?

You’re probably thinking “Stockholm syndrome,” but the term was so poorly understood in those days that journalists actually wagered over whether this sadistic kidnapper would be set free. Luckily, the jury also heard the testimony of expert witnesses who explained Stockholm syndrome as existing on a spectrum of mental coercion, or “brainwashing.”

Thus began my lifelong obsession with a niche of forensic psychology that is essentially the flip side of profiling, looking not at perpetrators, but victims....      [To read more, please follow the link to Strand Magazine.]

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I'm sharing a few writing tips today via (For instance, Hemingway advised: "Write drunk; edit sober.") Your thoughts?

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My latest post, "To Russia Without Love," was inspired by recent news and a Bouchercon panel discussion on spies. 

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Hello Everyone,

As you may know, I blog monthly for, and you can find my latest here:

You can also find the link by clicking the "Blog" tab at

Now, I've got pack. I'm heading up to c-c-cold Vermont!
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