Helen Nora Wilson Low lived from 16 June 1886 to 1 May 1930. She was a novelist and Hollywood screenwriter who often wrote under the name Lorna Moon. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Usually known as Nora Low, she was born in Strichen in Aberdeenshire where her parents ran a temperance hotel. She was educated at the local school and read widely. In 1907, aged 21, Nora ran away with and married William Hebditch, a commercial traveller from Yorkshire who had stayed at her parents' hotel. William and Nora subsequently emigrated to Alberta, Canada. After having a child, she left him for Walter Moon, coincidentally also from Yorkshire, and they moved to Minneapolis in the USA, where she worked as a journalist.
When the opportunity to write scripts for films arose, Nora went to Hollywood, leaving behind Walter Moon and their child. In 1927 she made her name with the script for the film "Mr Wu", becoming one of the top three Hollywood screenwriters of the era. She also became the mistress of William de Mille. They had a son together, who was adopted by William's brother, Cecil B. DeMille, after Nora was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
Meanwhile, as "Lorna Moon", Nora had for some years been writing short stories, published in 1926 as a collection called Doorways in Drumorty, and she published a novel, Dark Star, in 1929. Her fiction, in stark contrast to her screenwriting, drew on her early life in Strichen and painted a picture of the farming and fishing communities of northern Aberdeenshire during her childhood. She died of tuberculosis in a sanatorium in New Mexico in 1930. In 1998 her son, Richard de Mille, published a book about her entitled My Secret Mother Lorna Moon.
This biography draws on research first published in "The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women".