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Norman and his wife Susan were driving through the South of France, he at the wheel, Susan doing what she loves best when traveling: reading aloud the history contained in good travel guides. On that day they learned a lot about the troubadours and about the Cathars and the crusade to exterminate these peaceable people.
Somewhere between Carcassonne and Toulouse they noticed a road sign, “Route Entre Deux Mers” – Road Between Two Seas – and a metaphor took shape in Norman’s mind about a land between the dark Atlantic and the bright Mediterranean where, through the ages, people expressed the darkest and the brightest recesses of the human soul. It is a place some still call Occitania.
That night, he scribbled out an outline of a James Michener type epic stretching from the days of the prehistoric cave paintings all the way to the French Resistance in World War II.
That brainstorm on the road has evolved in the past twenty years to 25 stories in 8 volumes called the Paratge Saga, the first published volume of which is Francesca Allegri.
He began to explore other stories he wanted to write that were unrelated to the ongoing Paratge Saga project. In 2002, MacAdam/Cage, brought out his novel Sea Room. This book went on to win the prestigious Massachusetts Book Award.
He followed it with Island of First Light, also published by MacAdam/Cage, a novel that has become a readers’ group favorite. These books have been followed by the recent releases of The Sea Around Them and Iniquity by Trobador Publishing.
Norman continues to work on the next volume in the Paratge Sage: Songs of the Dove: A Quartet, as well as several other projects all of which he hopes to publish in 2013.