Sunday, January 20, 2013
Today I Welcome Author Heather Burch
I write paranormal young adult novels for Zondervan, Harper Collins Publishing. My YA novel Halflings released to critical acclaim in January 2012. Guardian, book two in the Halflings Series released in October 2012. The series has garnered praise from USA Today, VOYA Magazine, Booklist Magazine, Romantic Times and Publishers Weekly. I am an X-Men fan and a hopeless romantic, I wanted to tell a story of extraordinary young people. I lives in Florida where I write full time and have conversations with fictional teenagers. Every. Single. Day.
Please tell me about your novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it?
The Halflings Series is the story of Nikki Youngblood, a seventeen-year-old girl who is rescued in the woods by three hotties. The three are Mace, Raven and Vine, the Halflings. And they’re one part angel, one part trouble. Nikki is linked to a madman and is being hunted by both humans and demons. What’s a girl to do? When Nikki’s parents are gunned down, the Halflings know they must protect her at all costs. With an uber-rich uncle—who is flying pretty high on the freak flag—and a whole lot of uncertainty about the world she’s always known, Nikki has to learn to flow in this new world of angels and demons.
My two sons were a huge inspiration for Mace and Raven. They are total opposites and best friends. I loved diving into the dynamic between them. When the idea for Halflings hit me, I couldn’t get away from it. It was keeping me up at night. I knew I HAD to write this story. I’m so glad I did!
What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write?
I tend to love anything with a lot of action and adventure. Suspense is great too, but I don’t like to be scared, so with suspense, it depends on why it’s suspenseful. I also love a great romance. Huh, I guess that’s why I usually try to blend all of those into my stories.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
Singular bits of criticism, like in a review, you can’t take to heart. Maybe a person has had a really bad day and they’re taking it all out on you. But when I see a criticism repeated in a few review, then I really look at it. As an author, you have to be really careful of “changing” to suit what others want. If you have 15 people, you will have 15 varying opinions. You simply can’t please everyone. And you will drive yourself mad trying.
The biggest compliment was from a fourteen-year-old girl who had only read one book in her whole life. She read Halflings in one day, then read Guardian the following day. That was an amazing compliment—my writing touched her and helped her tap into the reader inside.
When you sit down to write, do you do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or do you use a computer? Do you prefer one way or the other?
I miss my pen and paper. Now it’s all by the computer—which is great—but I miss the intimacy of pen in hand. The reason I do everything by computer now, is simply for efficiency. Less time involved.
Compared to when you first started writing, have you notice any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?
Oh boy! And honestly, I think any author should. There are so many nuances to writing that you don’t know as a reader. You have to learn those things by doing them. My voice has become stronger. But in essence, it is very similar. Just better. More solid and more categorically mine. I also use a different writing style for different books. I’m working on a epic love story right now and the voice is totally different than the one I use in Halflings. (I hope people will still love me.)
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
Something that sucks me right in. I can really get into anything if it’s well written and I can hear the author’s voice.
What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?
There are so many things about being an author that make me feel like the luckiest person on the planet. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a ton of work too. But I love the work. The best is signing books for people. When I was on book tour and went around the country meeting people … wow. It was just amazing. That also brings me to the hardest part. Being away from my family while I travel. My husband and two boys are totally self-sufficient when I’m gone, but I miss them. Terribly.
When you walk into a book store, where do you head to first? Why?
I always go straight to the YA department and see if Halflings and Guardian are on the shelf. That is, if I don’t stop at the coffee shop first. Two times when my series was on bestseller lists, I didn’t know until I spotted them in bookstores. Eeeep! Like Christmas!
Did you get to quit your day job and become an author or do you still have a day job and writing is something you do for fun? If you still have a day job, what is it?
When I finished writing my first book, my husband sat me down and said, “You’ve spent your life helping build other people’s kingdoms. It’s time for you to follow your dream and build your kingdom.” We agreed that I would quit my job and stay home and write. It was a huge commitment, took 40,000.00 a year out of our budget. We became a one car family. That sacrifice made me EXTREMELY motivated to write. I treated it like a day job. I wrote every day, 8-10 hours a day. It took two or three years before I sold my first book.
What is your favorite junk food vice?
Oh, I love chocolate. No, you don’t understand, I mean I REALLY love chocolate. Dark chocolate. From where I’m sitting now, I can see three different dark chocolate stashes around the room.
On a typical weekend, what can we find you doing? Who are you with?
Two Saturdays a month I am at writer’s groups. When I’m not, I’m with my husband and boys. We are doing the hiking, camping thing a little bit right now and it’s super fun! We also love theme parks. Since we are just a couple hours from Disney, Univeral Studios and Busch Gardens, we tend to spend quite a few weekends a year at one of the parks.
What genre are you most looking forward to exploring during your writing career? Why?
Two, actually. YA, of course. I love writing in this genre. Also, as I said, I love a soul-mate epic love story. These are the types of books I love to read, so it’s what I think about most story-wise.
Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason?
Guardian, book two in the series is out now and I dedicated it to … The women in my life. My mom—because she always told me to reach high and do my best. My mother-in-law who really encouraged me to write. And my sister-in-law who is my best friend and also a writer.
Hardcover (288 pages)
After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret---and the wings that come with. A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys' powers, as well as her role in a scientist's dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.
Hardcover (320 pages)
Vigilance. The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care. Mace, steadfast and deeply in love, wants to protect Nikki at all costs, while Raven's loyalty to Nikki finds him advocating for her independence and battling his own darker inclinations. At the same time, Nikki finds it harder and harder to choose between the two heavenly beings she may never have. Dangers intensify, and tensions between Mace and Raven flare as the purpose of their mission becomes clear. Can their defenses hold up to master manipulator Damon Vessler and the powerful secret he holds regarding Nikki's heritage? Can anyone protect Nikki from her true purpose and destiny?
Hardcover (304 pages)
Praise for the series: 'Sure to appeal to fans of both star-crossed lovers and Stephenie Meyer.' -- Booklist 'A well-written, thoroughly thought-out, and utterly addicting read.' -- USA Today Sometimes the Truth Comes with a Price Nikki knew Damon Vessler would not let his prized creation go easily---she simply never imagined the lengths he'd go to get her back into his clutches, and turn Nikki's heart toward darkness. A Seeker at her heels, trained on her blood, Nikki flees with Raven alongside her for protection, while Mace and the other Halflings fight the battle that has erupted on earth. But even as the two boys she loves fight for her, she knows the battle will be hers to win. Determined to uncover the secrets of her past, and exactly how she fits into Vessler's twisted plans, Nikki sets off on her own, and soon discovers facing hellacious beasts is nothing compared to the decision she will need to make. One that could change not only the war, and her relationship with Mace and Raven, but her future with the Throne.
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