Monday, January 31, 2011

Author Interview: Tamara Hart Heiner

I love spotlighting debut authors. It's so fun for me, and I love getting them out there so people know about them and their books! :) I am SO happy I'm able to have Tamara Hart Heiner here today to spotlight her debut novel, Perilous! Well, she's not really here, but I was lucky to get an interview with her. She is seriously so cute!
Jaci Rivera has plans for her sophomore year: go to regionals with the track team, make the honor roll, and eat too much pizza with her best friends, Callie and Sara. Her biggest concern is Amanda, the pushy girl who moved in a few months ago.
What she doesn't plan for is catching a robber red-handed, or being kidnapped. The desperate thief drags her and her friends 2,000 miles across the Canadian border. They escape from his lair, only to find that he has spies and agents watching their path home, waiting to intercept them and take them back.
Then Jaci finds something out about her family. Something which irrevocably connects her to their kidnapper, and makes her question their chances of escape.

Doesn't it sound awesome? The cover is pretty cool as well. Now, onto the interview questions! :)

1. Could you tell us a little about yourself? Family, childhood, etc.
Sure, one thing I love is to talk about myself! I live in Arkansas, where I grew up. I absolutely love it here and encourage everyone to come visit. You can stay at my place. I attempted my first novel in 3rd grade and it fell horribly flat. I kept trying one every year until I finally finished one!

2. Tell us a little about your book, which I've heard is fantastic by the way. ;)
Oh, Perilous! Perilous is something of an enigma for me. Getting it published was a landmark achievement, since it was the first novel I ever finished. I was 15. The published version is a bit different from the original. Some things I'm not happy with and other things I can definitely see that I was a bit young and inexperienced when I wrote it, but I will never regret getting it published. It's not perfect, but it's a fun read, and it was fun to write. I hope you like it! (I will say, it's very very YA. I've not had a single teen not love it, but a lot ofadults roll their eyes!)

3. What inspired the idea for *Perilous*?
That is such a good question.I've pondered that myself. I do believe I was inspired by the Chowchilla kidnapping. I saw the TV movie around the time I started my book. It was never a cohesive thought of, "Hmm. I'll novelize that." I just wrote what came to mind.

4. How was the road to publishing for you?
Long! My first submission when I was 15 was rejected with a request to resubmit. This was way before email, so I edited and mailed it off again. I never heard another word for them, and I put my publishing dreams on the shelf for a good ten years. Then I decided to try again, reworked the novel, and went through a few years of submissions. I went with a small press because I was more interested in getting my foot in the door than having a bestseller. WiDo Publishing saw some merit in my amateurish novel, and offered me a contract 4 weeks after my submission.

5. What can we look forward to from you in the future?
First of all, I'm working on the sequel to Perilous. These books are my hobby books, however. I have a paranormal called Inevitable that I'm writing, as well as a fairy tale series that I have the first book written of. I've matured as a writer and know a lot more about it than I did even three years ago. I hope that my books will continue to get better and better, and appeal to all audiences.

6. How do you juggle raising your family and writing/editing etc.?
Not very well. I've started putting the kiddos to bed earlier! I also spend less time on my blog and commenting than I used to. Trying to write/edit/market/review/blog/comment and everything can be very taxing! I try to take advantage of every moment when my kids are sleeping and I am not.

7. Do you get your ideas from crazy dreams? Or daydream while you're trying to get your kids taken care of throughout the day? :)
I don't think I've ever written a book from a dream. I do daydream in the car. I think I get some of my best ideas in the car.

8. Could you share one piece of advice you wish you'd known before getting accepted for publication?
Make your peace with your novel. Once you sign a contract, it's not yours anymore. Realize that and see yourself as more of an editor than an author when you do revisions.

9. Any advice for aspiring writers? (Like me!)
Research! And I don't just mean your novel (though that too!). Decide your goal for your novel(bestseller? experience? ego?), get opinions from other authors about different publishing companies, and don't let anything stop you.

10. Favorite book or books?
A Rustle in the Grass and Enchantment.

11. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Is this rhetorical? Chocolate!

12. Dream vacation?
Italy. Probably Tuscany.

Thank you SO much Tamara! It was so fun to get to know you better! :)

To buy Perilous, click here.
To visit Tamara's website, click here.