Elizabeth Chats With…Daniela Norris
My guest this month is a former diplomat and political writer, turned inspirational author and speaker. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UK charity Children of Peace and the recipient of the John C Laurence grant from the Society of Authors. But she’s also a friend and long-time fellow Swanwicker. I’m delighted to be chatting today with Daniela Norris.
Hello Daniela and welcome. We usually start with a question about childhood, but for a change, I’m going to begin by asking you about this picture. You told me it’s the one that best represents you. Why?
I like this picture because of the colours, because it helps me focus on the work I still need to complete (the sequel for the novel I am holding) and because I was having a good hair day!
Not a lot of people know…
…that I am an introvert in disguise. I believe that in my past lives I’ve had some pretty solitary existences, in monasteries and in the desert, and one of my missions in this life is to learn to spend more time in company. I suppose this is one of the reasons I’ve chosen to have three children and two dogs!
If you could change one law, what would it be?
I would actually change many laws if I could, but if I could introduce one law, it would be the law of ‘minding your own business’. There are so many people who like to tell others how to live and what to believe, who to love and what to hate. I think it should be illegal to judge others and tell them how they should be living their lives, as long as they don’t hurt others in their actions and beliefs.
Watch a film, go to the theatre, read a book or talk to friends — which would you prefer?
That’s an easy one – read a book. Words fascinate me, they always have. By reading a book I feel that I don’t only learn something new, but I also spend time with fictional characters. Some of them become very good friends by the end of the book. Maybe it’s a writer’s quirk, but I always felt that way about characters in books, both when I read about them and when I write about them.
Where is your favourite place on earth — and why?
Very hard to choose one place as I have many favourite places, and I love to travel. But I’ll choose one I’ve never been to yet – at least not in this life – and it is Nepal. I can hardly wait to go there. I feel as if I know it, although I’ve never physically visited it.
How do you relax?
My favourite forms of relaxation are reading and writing. If I can take a day (or more!) and go somewhere with a good book and my laptop, I know I’ll come back a nicer person, with more patience for my family and friends.
If you could change one thing about yourself or your life so far, what would it be?
I would spend less time trying to change what can’t be changed. I know the theory (we all do, probably) but it is not always easy to accept the things that are a given, and to differentiate between them and the things that can be improved on with a bit of a struggle. I am working on Acceptance, and this does not mean accepting any old crap life throws your way. It does mean being able to tell when to walk away from something and when to stay and try to change it.
If you could meet one person from history, who would it be — and why?
I would love to meet Plato and have a good chat over a glass of wine. I’ve got quite a few questions for him, he seems to have known so many things about how the world works, even though he lived over 2300 years ago.
What would you have printed on the front of your T-shirt?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (I am not a religious person at all, but this happens to come from the Gospel of Matthew, the first book of the New Testament, originally written in Greek sometime between AD 80-90).
What do you write about?
There is no easy answer to this question, so I’ll use one word to answer it: everything.
I am interested in how the world around me works, how people work, what makes them tick. I want to know what happens after death, and what happened before we were born. I am interested in science, literature, politics, history, art, travel and one sport: the Olympic sport of Fencing.
So far, I’ve written three novels, three books of non-fiction and a collection of short stories. My latest novel, titled Premonitions, was out in early 2019. I am now working on finalizing its sequel, Precognitions, out in 2021. Another book of non-fiction, co-authored with Jon Salfield, GB’s national sabre coach, will be out later this month. It is titled From Last to First: a parent’s guide to fencing success.
Daniela, thank you for finding the time to drop by today. Readers, you can find out more about Daniela, her writing and her books on her website. And you can find details of that new book for fencing parents by clicking here.