Today I would like to welcome author Heather Hildenbrand to my blog! Heather has graciously agreed to be interviewed for the Indie month blast I am holding along with the NEVER TOO OLD FOR YA BOOKS group on Goodreads.
Here's some information about our esteemed author:
Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. She now lives in coastal VA, a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with her husband and two adorable children. She works from home, part time, as a property manager and when she's not furiously pounding at the keyboard, or staring off into space whilst plotting a new story, she's helping her husband with DIY projects in their home (he woodworks - she paints) or she's lying on the beach, soaking in those delicious, pre-cancerous rays.
Heather loves Mexican food, hates socks with sandals, and if her house was on fire, the one thing she'd grab is her DVR player.
You can find out more about her and her books at www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com
Heather is a co-founder of Accendo Press, a publishing group she operates with fellow authors: Angeline Kace and Jennifer Sommersby. Accendo (a-CH-endo), A Latin word, means “to kindle, illuminate, inflame, or set fire.” This is something Accendo strives to do inside a reader’s imagination with every title released. For a complete list of titles and author bios, visit www.accendopress.com.
And this is Heather's totally awesome Dirty Bloods series:
You may also know these beauties:
And this is Heather's DreamKiller series:
She's quite an accomplished author!
So, do you want to know what she told us? Well then let's get on with the interview. Heather, take it away:
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? For me, the answer to this happened backwards, because I already was a writer before I even realized what'd happened. I'd started messing around with a story idea, to entertain me and my kids. It was supposed to be a short story, nothing more. A "one and done" sort of thing. But then I just kept it going and at about 80,000 words I realized, "wow, this is a book!" and then, when I finished, I realized that I was hooked on this writing thing, which made me scratch my head and go, "huh, I'm a writer, now." So, backwards.2. How long does it take you to write a book? About 3 months. Revisions are also about 3 months, though, so altogether, we'll say 5-6.3. What do you think makes a great story? Empathy for your characters. Otherwise you (the reader) just don't give a crap about what's happening. (And I don't blame you.)4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing? Get the kids off to school. Write. Don't stop until the bus turns the corner on the way home.5. How do you balance family and writing? I try to write when my kids are at school and to break when they get home, so I can pay attention to them for a bit. Summer's harder. We made a schedule in June that hangs in the living room and tells them when it's "working time" and when it's "fun time." They like that.6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? Oh my gosh, my brain won't stop telling me things! Gah! Seriously, I usually get an idea--or the begginings of one--and then research it until it's a complete story idea. I'd actually love to do one on cloning but I'd have to research it enough to know what I'm talking about. What if you fell in love with someone who wasn't a real person? or what if you lived half your life before you found out YOU weren't a real person? -- Something like that.7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? it's effing hard!8. How many books have you written? Which is your favourite? Five complete novels and some short stories. My favorite... Hmm... that's tough. They each mean different things to me. I love Whisper but it's so completely different from Dirty Blood. it's almost poetic in the writing style and it's open and emotional. I love that. But Dirty Blood has the hot guys I can't get enough of. The action. The romance. The gritty. I can't decide. it's a tie. Blood Bond (book 3) coming out 8/31 might just be number one, though. It has elements of both mentioned above.9. Are your characters based on anyone you know? um, Yes. But I can't tell you who or I'd get sued.10. Do you have a favourite place you love to write? My couch. My dining room table. (It's a really fantastic table). Just wherever I'm comfortable and it's quiet. But almost always, I write at home. I don't do Starbucks unless I'm there to get my fix.11. How hard is is to get published? Really freaking hard. Like drop-an-f-bomb hard. Even if you write the most kick ass book the world has read in decades, it still doesn't guarantee you'll get noticed out of the slush pile of queries and drafts. Ever. And if you decide to self-publish, you better take it seriously, and invest some money. Do it right. Treat it like a business. Even then, you could still fail. There's something to be said for a little bit of luck. But most writers are masochistic enough that they'll put themselves out there again and again, despite the blow to their egos, because they have this built-in, almost irrational, desire to share their words with others. In short, we're crazy.12. What do your family and friends think about your books? Umm Idk. i feel weird asking them. It's like asking your family at Thanksgiving if these pants make me look fat. Some are undoubtedly faking a reaction of some kind, I just can't tell who or what or why. It's awkward. Plus, none of them are big readers. My mom read Across The Galaxy and loved it. My husband reads all my books on kindle or paperback after they come out because he can't read at the computer. it makes him fall asleep. Imagine how that made me feel about my story the first time it happened! We're not talking about that one. The ones who've read them seem to love them. I think I'm the awkward one about it.
13. What do you like to do when you are not writing? Read!!!! I hate that I get so behind on reading when I'm working. So i try to take break sbetween books and catch up. Right now, I'm reading Chelsea Fine's Awry. I love her guts. And she knows how to create hotties. Tristan! Gah! *melts into a puddle* Oh and I also hang with my fam. In the summer, we go to the pool and the back A LOT. And I'm addicted to my DVR since it means I can skip commercials. I love TV. Vamp Diaries, OF COURSE! Damon's bedroom eyes are God's finest work. And now I'm going to start back up watching 90210 since I heard Sarah Jessica (chick from Secret Circle, whom I MET IN PERSON LAST WEEK) is going to be on there this fall. Good times.
14. Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they? write. then, write. then, write. also. write. You can read books on craft and story and plotting and stuff but unless you're putting in the word count, it won't matter. the hardest part is finishing that first book. I know so many writers who have a dozen unfinished projects in a drawer somewhere so finish the first one and it gets easier. Just keep writing!15. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? I was never really sure. I couldn't decide on one thing long enough. A teacher. A librarian. A lawyer. <--- that last one because I liked to argue. but I think the fact that I couldn't settle on something was because I'm such a daydreamer. Being a writer is perfect because, through my characters, I can be each one of those things.16. What are your favourite books and which authors inspire you? The Hobbit by J.R.R.. Tolkien was the first. I started writing as soon as I finished it, at age 14. It sparked my imagination and taught me books can be imaginative and fun and still real enough to mean something. Other favorites are the Twilight Series (say what you will but that series also evoked an emotional response in me) and This is Graceann's Book, by PL Whitney. It isn't a YA or even paranormal. But it's amazing. Through and through. Oh, and The Hunger Games. Brilliant writing. Authors that inspire me: Jennifer Sommersby - her Sleight was the best book I read in 2011. It's not currently available because it's making it's way through a publishing contract and will hopefully be available sometimes in 2013 in bookstores! woot woot! And Angeline Kace. Not only as a writer, but as a person, she inspires me to do better and believe in myself and our mantra : enjoy the journey! Lastly, Cassandra Clare. I want to be like her when I grow up.
18. What are you working on now? Formatting and getting Blood Bond out the door. The tour will last the entire month of September so I'll be busy with that and getting caught up on reading. ;)17. For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published? Don't give up. Do keep going. Write, write, write.
Heather, thank you so much for stopping by and letting us into your world! It's been great having you here!