Voicings: Nora Gaskin

untilproven.frontcover“I like to let the characters have their say, even with a plot line that involves murder and mayhem.” So says Nora Gaskin, author of Until Proven and Time of Death. In these books Gaskin explores the story of two young North Carolina women killed in their homes forty years apart. Until Proven is a fictional account of the incidents and Time of Death is a true account of the actual trial, giving readers a rare opportunity to step into the writer’s shoes as she envisions, enlarges, and recreates those horrible happenings.

Gaskin also operates a publishing company, Lystra Literary Services, where she assists writers in independently bringing their books to market, marrying the best of traditional and self-publishing models. She uses her experience as an author and publisher to help writers ensure their works are developed to their full, professional potential.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Gaskin recently to learn about her books and get her thoughtful take on writing and publishing.

Drop by Lystra Literary Services to find out where you can get Gaskin’s books and learn more about their publishing and writing services.


Voicings is a series of interviews conducted by writer Tyler Johnson featuring writers, musicians, artists, and thinkers in their own words.

The Idea of a Garden

My beans are up, raising their sleepy genius heads out of the cracked soil. Before it was a garden this little plot was my driveway. I take pride in coming up with the idea to make better use of it. It wasn’t until the conversion from driveway to garden was complete that it started to dawn on me that I wasn’t the sole creator here. That it was a shared idea. Inevitable, even.


The Idea of a Garden

It was the weeds, of course, that had never given up
on the top of my driveway, never yielding
to the sun baking those pea-sized gray coals all summer.
Why not, I thought. It’s the only sunny spot.

So I rented a tractor to scrape off the gravel and clay,
laid out a winding path and built dry stacked walls of stone.
I spied a lizard between them, already basking.

The first plants I brought home were a surprise:
the worms had already risen in the new topsoil.
One day I found a baby snake
creeping through the stepping stones.

The morning glory has sprawled across the whole back fence.
I am at war with the most excited mole I have ever known.
All day the wren snatches, gathers, flits,
and the catbird chides me from above.

It is as if we all
had the same idea.


from the collection Dancing the Haw