Today I'm happy to welcome Heather Beck to Melissa's Midnight Musings! Read on to discover a little more about Heather, and her work, and enter to win 2 of her books!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you have any unusual talents or hobbies?
My name is Heather Beck, and I’m an Author/Screenwriter who has been writing professionally since the age of sixteen. My first book was published when I was nineteen years old. Since then I have written several more books. I recently received an Honors Bachelor of Arts from university where I specialized in English and studied an array of disciplines. Currently, I’m working on two young adult novels and have six anthologies slated for publication. As a screenwriter, I have multiple television shows and movies in development. My short films include Young Eyes, The Rarity and Too Sensible For Love. Besides writing, my greatest passion is the outdoors. I’m an award-winning fisherwoman and a regular hiker. My hobbies include swimming, playing badminton and volunteering with non-profit organizations. My unusual talent is teaching chipmunks to do cute tricks!
When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always known that I wanted to be a writer. Specifically, I made this realization when I was in grade two. I loved to read, and creating my own worlds, characters and plots was something I very much enjoyed. From elementary school all the way to university, I took as many English courses as possible. I’ve learned so much by studying literature and its technical aspects, such as literary devices, etc. I have an innate desire to write; it’s such a natural activity for me, and I love it so much. I truly believe I will be doing this for the rest of my life.
Where did the inspiration for your latest titles, Whispers in the Shadows and Vocations come from?
Whispers In The Shadows was created from my love of paranormal romances and fantasy worlds where anything can happen. I have strived to write fast-paced and well-developed plots with unexpected twists and multifaceted characters. It’s definitely an escapist book inspired by imagination and boundless possibilities.
As for Vocations, it was inspired by my love of unique teen dramas. I wanted to create relatable characters who were facing issues we all have to deal with, such as graduating from high school and transitioning to post-secondary education or entering the workforce. It also deals with friendships and relationships. In some ways, Vocations was inspired by my own experiences.
You write across a variety of genres, including MG, YA and adult, which genre do you enjoy writing the most?
That’s a tough question because I do write many genres for several age groups. I’m probably best known for writing scary stories for kids such as The Horror Diaries series. I’ve been writing these creepy, imaginative and suspenseful stories for ten years now and am flabbergasted by the positive response from readers and television producers (it’s in development for a TV series). I also write a lot of contemporary coming-of-age stories for young adults. Lately, I’ve been making my young adult books more literary in an attempt to push the boundaries of genre expectation. This is best exemplified by my work in the Syren Signature Series. Additionally, I write paranormal romances for adults. These stories, found in the Legends Unleashed series, are concerned with emotional and physical emancipation – essentially transcending the ordinary to find a beautiful life. The protagonist is always a strong woman who finds romance with an extraordinary man. So, to finally answer your question, I can’t choose just one favourite genre!
Who is your favorite author?
My favorite authors are Tennessee Williams and Jack London. I’ve read all of Williams’ plays and am amazed by his ability to be so blatant, accurate and compassionate about the human condition. He really gets to the core of what it means to be human, and he does so in a beautiful and entertaining way. In my own writing, I strive to achieve Williams’ signature feat. Regarding London, I am impressed by his depiction of the struggle between man and nature. This is a theme that has always interested me, probably due to my love of nature. London has helped to shape my goal of writing a great wilderness adventure.
Do you have writing routine? A special pen, a certain type of music, time limits?
I don’t have a writing routine unless there’s a deadline I must meet. In that case, I can work up to 14 hours a day, stopping only to eat and exercise. I prefer to work under less stressful circumstances, though. My favorite writing spots are outdoors, usually in my backyard, at my cottage, or near water, such as a beach, lake or even a pool. Nature has always been a huge inspiration for my writing.
Do you enjoy edits/rewrites, or not?
I completely acknowledge the necessity of editing and re-writing. Unfortunately, the editing process can be very tedious and even daunting at times. This is especially true when I am working on several projects at once and I have deadlines to meet. In the end, though, the extra effort is always worth it. It’s amazing to work with an editor or even a producer who not only understands and respects my vision, but also adds their own suggestions that ultimately benefit the project. It’s rare to find such an editor or producer, but when you do, the results are terrific.
Which character was your favorite to write and why?
My favorite characters I’ve created are Forrester and Ariel from my TV series, Harbor Boys. Forrester is undoubtedly flawed but strives very hard to overcome the less than stellar circumstances he was born into. He is strong, both physically and mentally, ruggedly handsome and possesses a rational foresight that aids him when he’s inevitably put into difficult situations. I admire these traits and find Forrester to be an extremely multifaceted and interesting character to develop and write. Since he’s an avid outdoorsman, his hobbies include hiking and fishing – he’s definitely a manly man! As for Ariel, she’s a very strong character who knows what she wants and won’t settle for anything else. This attitude extends to everything in her life, so she’s an extremely passionate person. Additionally, I liken Ariel to a siren because she is a natural beauty who has a seductive essence. Forrester and Ariel are lovers whose relationship is constantly being tested by external forces, such as other people and difficult situations. As I continue to develop Ariel throughout the series, I want to show a side of her which isn’t so pretty. Then I want to uncover the truth of how that came to be. Also, I want Forrester to become less shielded with his feelings.
How do you come up with your character names?
I absolutely love naming characters. I think it’s one of the most fun aspects of writing fictional stories. In fact, sometimes it’s my vision of a character’s name that shapes the story. For example, in my film, The Rarity, the name of the lead character, Jillian Ford, just came into my mind and from that name I envisioned a mysterious, seductive teenage girl who harbors a ton of supernatural secrets. Then the plot was moulded around her traits. Most of the time, naming a character is very easy. I have a long list of names I really love and I’ll choose one that best suits the character. However, even if I love a certain name, it won’t always fit a character. When that happens, I keep combining first and last names until I get one that works. I take naming very seriously and believe it can really affect a reader’s view of the character.
Please tell us a little bit about your journey to publication.
I actually began writing my first novel for a writer’s craft course I was taking in high school. Although I’d always wanted to be a writer, I wasn’t planning on having this school project turn into my first novel; I just loved the idea and kept working on it even after the class was finished. While writing, I did thorough research on the publishing industry by going to related events, networking and reading books on the subject. I then sent out query letters and was extremely fortunate to land a contract with a small, but traditional, publishing company on my third query. Since then I’ve worked with eight different publishers and have been lucky to learn every aspect necessary to successfully run a small publishing company. From this experience, along with the help of a business advisor, I have started my own publishing companies, which include Treasure Cove Books, Syren Books and Diamond Dust Books. I absolutely love having full creative control, and since I’ve always felt like an entrepreneur, this has worked out very well for me.
What is the hardest part of being a writer?
The hardest part of being a writer is finding the time to execute all my ideas into books and screenplays. While writing, I like to be wholly engrossed in my work. However, having other commitments can sometimes make that a difficult thing to do. My ultimate goal is to be a full-time screenwriter and write books in my spare time.
Are there any common themes that run throughout your books that you feel are particularly important to write about?
Since I write a variety of genres for different age groups, I have several motives for writing. With The Horror Diaries, I want to promote imagination and exploration of the world around us, whether it be in your own backyard/neighborhood or even a different country. It’s about the love of adventure and excitement. For my teen readers, with such books as Vocations and the Syren Signature Series, I strive to be insightful about the human condition. It’s about discovering who you are and what you want to be in that moment. I always encourage originality and compassion. Finally, with my adult books, such as What Legends Are Made Of and Whispers In The Shadows, I want to express how important it is to keep dreaming and reaching for the stars. It’s about really engaging in life and never settling. Overall, if I had to choose just one message to share with my readers, it would be summed up nicely in this little quote, “Never cease to amaze”.
Are you working on any new projects?
My next project is Supernatural, the fourth book in The Horror Diaries series. It will be released in June. After this title, there are three more books in The Horror Diaries series, so I’m busy editing all those stories! I am also working on Frostbitten, a young adult werewolf romance that I outlined years ago. Luckily, now seems like a perfect time for that genre. On the screenwriting side, I have a short being filmed early this year, and I’m also working with a production company on a paranormal TV show.
Quick Fire round:
Coke or Pepsi? Neither. Milk and water are my liquid staples.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate.
Rainy winter days or blazing hot summer days? Definitely blazing hot summer days.
Hard Copy or e-book? I prefer paperbacks, but PDFs are fun, too.
Favorite book? Call of the Wild by Jack London.
What's a quote that inspires you? Dream big and defy all odds.
Whispers in the Shadows
Fall in love, if you dare…
Inside these pages are jilted ghosts who seek revenge, a sexy tour guide with deadly secrets, cunning mermen who emerge from the ocean, a magical forest where love truly can last for eternity, and a new breed of men who are too good to be true.
Filled with chills, twists and boundless passion, Whispers In The Shadows explores the beauty of love along with its darker side.
A coming-of-age story that deals with the trials and tribulations of being in the late teens, Vocations describes the lives of three friends, Jeannie, Lila, and Pamela, and the events which draw them closer and pull them apart. Whether dealing with boys, friendships, or difficult decisions, Vocations takes an in-depth and honest look at the confusion one feels at this time in their life.
Heather has also written several short films. Check out clips from a few of them by checking out the link to her Writer's Reel below:
Heather's Writer's Reel
Heather has very generously offered up PDF copies of Vocations and Whispers in the Shadows to one lucky reader!
This giveaway is open Internationally
The giveaway will run until January 26 2013 at Midnight PST
Melissa's Midnight Musings will NOT be notifying the winners of this giveaway first. I will choose the winner via rafflecopter and then pass the winners' email to Heather Beck who will then contact the winner regarding the sending of their prizes.
Enter to win below!
Enter to win below!