Interview with Norton S. Beckerman

What prompted you to write a novel?
I didn't science start out to write a novel. It just happened to work out that way. I'm a science writer, teacher and speaker on the brain and brain function. I have an informational website regarding brain function. "VIRUS" started out as a serial story that I intended to put up on my website ( ) to attract visitors.

I'm a romantic and storyteller by nature. I loved it when my grandfather and father told me stories that they were making up as they went along. I've always admired that ability. I thought writing "VIRUS" for my website would be a hoot for me and entertaining to my visitors. In 2011 I joined a writer's group. When you join a writer's group you're expected to write and read while they listen and critique. It didn't take long before they started telling me that they liked the premise of my story, but I was writing it like a science writer. I needed to learn how to write fiction. Science writing is a reiteration and interpretation of facts. Writing fiction involves creating a plausible, exciting and absorbing story. Just like the stories my grandfather and father told me when I was a small boy. When you write fiction you write for the reader. It all started out innocently enough. I was enjoying telling the story. The more I wrote the more the group encouraged me to write. Eventually, they suggested turning my work into a novel. Along the way I was honing my abilities as a fiction writer and loving it. Seven years and six manuscripts later "VIRUS, a science fiction novel was born".
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Chicago, but I don't think the location had anything to do with my writing. My writing was significantly influenced by grandfather and father who were great storytellers. It was influenced my my mother and father who were avid readers. They gave me an appreciation for books. And the fact that their influence prompted be to become an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction. Those are the things that influenced who I am and my writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I never intended to write a novel. It just worked out that way. I started writing something for my website which is all about how the brain works . Since a lot of the material I was going to use for the story was based on the evolution of the human brain, and therefore somewhat theoretical, I decided to surround it with a story. Ultimately, the majority of the science was pushed into the background and the surrounding story became prominent. That resulted in "VIRUS, a science fiction thriller".
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I 'm a writer and researcher. Marketing isn't my thing. So, I decided to go through a publisher, I looked into how publisher's work and concluded that I would have to do most of the marketing myself anyway. Plus, it was my understanding that if your book didn't cover your advance you would have to pay it back. Plus I would lose control. I've published a non-fiction work as an indie author so I decided to go that route again. Only this time, I'm working at it.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's to early to tell. I'm just starting. I never knew Smashwords even existed until I began exploring marketing channels for "VIRUS". Being on Smashwords gives me much more exposure. More exposure equals more sales.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating the story. My characters come alive and I chronicle their activities. They exist in a different reality. Telling their story is exciting, fulfilling and provides a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. I'm a storyteller and I want the world to read my story.
What do your fans mean to you?
I just published my first novel, so I don't have fans. Having said that I don't consider my reader's fans even if they really enjoy my stories. My readers are my audience and my critics. When you write or tell a story you're giving something to the reader or listener. If, in the eyes of your reader, your story is good you've given them something. Once you've given them something the essence of your story will stay with them and become part of who they are. In my opinion that's what story telling is all about.
Published 2018-03-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

VIRUS, A Science Fiction Thriller
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 79,020. Language: English. Published: March 17, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Rachel Cummings, the young Chair of a university biology department is confronted with a problem that modern science says can't exist. But it does exist, and may be deadly. She needs answers. Rachel recruits Barry Protoc to help her find the truth. What they find puts them in the middle of an unbelievable nightmare. Unless they do something hundred, thousands, possibly millions will die.