Today is a first on my blog, a real live author interview! She is a busy lady named Heather Burch and her first book, Halflings, was just released into stores this month! I started reading the book last week and am devouring it.
If you haven’t heard of Heather, and would like a review, please follow the linky link:
Now on with the show . . . *Stay tuned afterwards for details about a first page critique contest to celebrate my now 200+ followers, yay!*
JA: Heather, you should be very proud of all you’ve accomplished. Thanks for taking time out to visit my blog amid all the craziness of your book release!
HB: Thank you for inviting me!
JA: It’s my pleasure! Tell us a little about Halflings & how did you come up with the idea?
In Halflings, Nikki Youngblood is being hunted by men and demons. She turns to three half-human, half-angel young men for protection, but when two of her rescuers fall for Nikki, it puts more than their lives on the line. Their eternal souls hang in the balance.
I’ve always been intrigued by the words in Genesis “The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair and took them as wives.” For years I wondered about it because it didn’t seem to be about human men. Then, I found out some scholars believe it means fallen angels. That thought rolled around in my head for fifteen years or so. I knew I wanted to someday explore a book with angels…I just wasn’t sure when or how. Then, the idea for Halflings came. I also knew I wanted to write something that was one part X-Men and one part Cinderella. Halflings was the perfect combination. There were no angel books on the shelves when I first started writing it, but boy did they appear during the process! I was afraid that I’d missed the timing—Halflings was done for a year before I signed with a literary agent—but when Jennifer Schober signed me, she had an offer in the first six weeks of representation. Now, I can see the timing was perfect.
JA: Wow, that’s AWESOME! *running off to jot down the name Jennifer Schober to query later with angel project* What has your writing journey been like from the moment you realized you wanted to be a writer until the moment you had a published book?
HB: Long. I started my first novel at age seventeen. Never finished it. Started another. Then, life happened and I didn’t have much time to write. In 2008, I left my career and stayed home to write full-time. I wrote two books a year and Halflings was my fifth completed novel. It’s the first to sell. I’ve heard from other authors that it often takes about five or six completed books to sell.
JA: I’ve also heard that, which makes sense, since it often takes 4-5 years to complete college and learn your chosen profession. I think writing should be no different. I cringe when I reread my first manuscript. If you could give us inspiring authors any advice, what would it be?
HB: Don’t give up. What if I’d stopped after book four? You must write and write, then write some more! Get involved in an organization like RWA. Great instruction and general camaraderie. Be part of the community and let others read your work. Hone your craft. And don’t spend a lifetime on one book. If you knew right now that book five was a guaranteed sell, you’d write one through four! Stay the course and let others come along side you for support.
JA: Amen, sista! Shout out to all my blog buddies & RWA friends for helping me in more ways than you’ll ever know*dabbing eyes with Kleenex* Is there anything you know now that you wish you could’ve told yourself before you went through the publishing process?
HB: Getting a contract in hand takes a lot longer than I ever expected and I kept thinking the publisher would back out. I didn’t realize that once the offer is made, the literary agent and the publisher do a back and forth dance about rights, numbers, marketing, a bazillion things. Each amendment to that contract takes time. I was a nervous wreck until I had the papers in my hand. Next time, I will be less stressed.
JA: Hmmmm, good to know! Finally, tell us something, anything, fun about yourself, related or unrelated to writing:)
HB: Well, I love theme parks. On December 10th we did a VIP tour of Disney with an awesome tour guide from Create-a-Dream. We hit all four Disney parks and got to ride every roller coaster there. It was the most amazing day ever. I’ll never forget it!
JA: What fun! I also LOVE theme parks:) Now who’d like help with their first page to make sure it’s worthy of grabbing an agent/publisher/reader’s attention? *hand shoots up in the air* Wellllll, Heather Burch has agreed to help. This is how it’ll work: If you’d like to participate, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org & post the first page of your manuscript on YOUR blog. I will compile a list of the participating blogs and post them here. That way, everyone can hop around and post constructive feedback on each others first page. I will randomly draw five names to receive a personal critique from Heather Burch, whose debut YA, Halflings, was just released to stores everywhere this month, so please give her a shout out on your blog! I’ll announce the winners on my blog next Wednesday and then contact you with instructions. Also, I will personally visit everyone’s blog to comment and will keep a tally on who is leaving the most helpful comments for others:) That person’s reward will be a mailed copy of Heather Burch’s book *can I get a woot, woot* I’ll announce that winner on my regular blog next Wednesday also.
Okay, nuff said. Until next time . . .