Join Dr. Michael J. Norman, author of the Christian/inspirational non-fiction book, Unbridled Grace (Dog Ear Publishing, LLC), as he virtually tours the blogosphere February 6th – 29th on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
About Unbridled Grace
Answering a two-line classified ad in the newspaper had life-changing consequences for a trustingly naive doctor fresh out of school, just starting his career and life as a new father. In a nightmarish true story that could occur to any of us, he innocently takes a part-time chiropractic job from employers who were later found to be a Russian-organized crime ring involved in money laundering, insurance fraud and other crimes. Despite his cooperation in a federal government investigation, the author soon finds himself surrounded by deception on all sides. As his cooperation is turned cruelly against him, Michael endures a federal indictment and an early-morning raid upon his home where he was arrested at gunpoint by six FBI agents in front of his five-year-old daughter. He’s left with two choices: plead guilty to crimes he didn’t commit, receive probation and avoid prison time; or fight the injustice and risk going to prison for at least 10 years. The first means cooperating with the government and lying to put people in prison who may be innocent; the second means doing the impossible and taking on the government.
Unbridled Grace is the true story of how one man rises from the forces of evil through his renewed faith in Christ and takes the reader on a journey to redemption through the bold use of our power of choice for God. Along the way, Michael meets a dynamic Catholic parish priest who gives him the courage to forge a path through this crisis and a hard-working attorney who joins him in this monumental battle. Will their efforts be enough to free the author and his family from this nightmare? It is at this time that a series of seemingly miraculous occurrences begin and the reader is shown what courage, faith and the power of heartfelt prayer can bring to all of our lives when all else appears hopeless.
Q: Give us an example of a typical writing day.
I plan ahead and devote certain times for writing. For Unbridled Grace, I chose Fridays during the summer of 2010, starting about noon and going non-stop until midnight or later. Fridays are my day off from practice and I wrote in the peace and quiet of my empty (chiropractic) office. I wrote on top of my adjusting table with my notes spread all over the floor. As I wrote, my back was facing my wall of windows as the natural light poured in over my work (until the sun went down). Also, I had a crucifix and a statue of the Blessed Mother looking down on me as I wrote. Interestingly, during this period, I was also fasting each Friday as I wrote. Although not my intention, this assisted my writing tremendously in discernment, focus and inspiration.
Q: Do you write on a computer or with pen/pencil and paper?
I prefer to handwrite my entire book (several times) and then transfer later to my laptop. My fingers ache during my marathon writing sessions and are usually colored with blue ink. (Blue PaperMate Profile pens are the only way I go!)
Q: Do you work from an outline?
Yes. It all starts with a theme page. In front of me at all times while I write, is a poster displaying the themes I wish to convey within my book. I list the primary theme at the top (large letters) and flowing out from that are all subsequent sub-themes, statements of purpose, power words, etc. I also like to frequently look at the skeleton of the book outline to keep the big picture in mind. Also nearby, I have a short definition of my target, ideal reader who I am writing for. But it all starts with the theme page. I try to allow this theme page to be a prevailing current that courses through every page of the book.
Q: Worst rejection you’ve ever received?
Unbridled Grace is the true story of our family’s six year legal ordeal. Written for the Christian market, it is a riveting and dramatic account of unimaginable crisis, but interwoven with an inspiring testimony to God that will build your faith and give you the courage to face the challenges of life. This is why a certain rejection was very difficult to accept graciously, especially when I got it on more than one occasion.
From the beginning, the publishing world frequently told me to choose “mission or market” but not both because that is not possible. It was strongly suggested that I bring this story to market as a strictly secular account with all the “winning” elements; an incredible true story, individual accomplishment and triumph over adversity. I just couldn’t do it. Without Christ and what truly helped me, this story could no longer be considered true. In the end, I would have cheated both; the secular market as well as the Christian market.
Q: Time Frame: From start to finish
On again, off again for about 10 years. Unbridled Grace was largely the result of the journal writing I did throughout our ordeal. This was truly the book that insisted on being written. I tried desperately to box the manuscript up and pack away in my closet on several occasions (for several years at a time) and “move on” with our lives. It didn’t work. I kept stumbling back over it and “re-discovering” it.
I cannot recommend enough, the value and importance of journal writing for all of us, not just authors.
Q: Advice for the audience, first time authors, those choosing the writing life.
Like the Nike commercial…Just Do It! That inner voice and inspiration prodding you to write your book is there for a reason. Listen and follow it. If your book helps just one person, it is well worth it.
Dr. Michael J. Norman has owned a family health center offering chiropractic care and wellness programs since 1992. Since 2003, he has served as a staff doctor at a non-profit center offering health care and life services to the indigent and un-insured of his community. In addition to his practice, Dr. Norman enjoys writing, speaking, mission outreach and completing graduate studies in Theology. He lives with his family near Dallas, Texas.