Research Writer Interview With Heather
Working Full-Time Since Graduation
I arranged to meet Heather at a local coffee and teashop at seven o'clock on Tuesday evening. The twenty-eight year old blonde from rural Tennessee arrived right on time with a friendly smile on her face. She carefully hooked her handbag on the back of the chair across from me and sat down. Her small town charm and slight southern accent became apparent when she politely asked for a small cup of chamomile tea. She also mentioned that this was her first interview so she was slightly nervous. I agreed not to ask anything too personal.
Is it true that you've declined all of your previous interviews?
[laughs] No, this is actually the first time anyone has ever asked to interview me.
I hear you chose not to go to college after you graduated high school. Would you elaborate on that?
Well, that's not exactly true. My parents separated when I was young, and I lived with my mother and older brother. My mother supported us on a very low income, so there was not enough money for me to go to college right away. I started working full time immediately after I graduated high school, and set a personal goal to go back to school once I had saved some money. Currently I am taking some online accredited courses and I plan to transfer to a local university within the next several months.
Have you always wanted to become an academic writer?
I have been passionate about reading and writing since I was a very young girl. I am a daydreamer and always have stories and ideas for stories floating around in my head. I sometimes have a difficult time expressing my thoughts when I speak, but when I put pen to paper, the words flow much easier. I also love studying and learning about new things. If I learn or experience something interesting, I want to write about it. I want the words to come alive for the reader so they feel they are experiencing the same thing. I want my reader to be able to temporarily erase the problems that they are facing in their daily life. I'd like for them to step into a world far away from theirs, into the life of one of my characters.
Do you have any trouble with procrastination?
Yes, sometimes I have mental blocks. I think all writers do at times. Writing a fiction novel around actual events in history has to be believable. I have to live within my characters, to see things, do things and live as they would. It sometimes takes a lot of determination to keep writing, but it is very fulfilling when those thoughts and ideas flow on essay or research paper.
Your first fiction novel is set in medieval Scotland. Some publishers would say that historical fiction is a risky genre. What inspired you to write about this period and how did you get started?
Since I was a young girl, I've been fascinated with medieval Europe, castles, knights and royalty. Several years ago, I had a dream come true when I vacationed in Scotland. After visiting a few towns and villages in that beautiful country, I had a great idea for a novel. So I decided to research the medieval period and the plague in Scotland, and it went from there.
You wrote a part of history that is not often written about. You must have done a lot of research. Was it difficult to begin?
Not really. There actually is a lot of fiction and non-fiction written about the actual time period, and medieval historical fiction is my favorite genre to read. I had to do a lot of research about the plague but I found it all very interesting. The most difficult part was narrowing down what I could or could not fit into the story.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
It is difficult to narrow it down. I would have to choose Diana Gabaldon and Morgan Llewelyn for historical fiction. My favorite mystery or suspense authors would probably be Dean Koontz and James Patterson. And Tom Sawyer is my favorite book from childhood, so I must also list Mark Twain among my favorites.
Do you have any advice for other writers just starting out?
Read as much as you can and learn from it. Learn from the good as well as the bad. And don't quit writing. Rejection can only be detrimental if you let it stop you from doing what you love. Learn from your mistakes and keep writing. Live your dream!
Random writer: /2/writer-jim