As you know, my goal is to provide an interview or review every Friday. Today I welcome indie author Heidi Burke, I invite you to read along as I ask Heidi several questions about her work.
Heidi, when did you start writing and what inspired you?
Heidi: I’m going to give the lame “writing before I could pick up a pen” answer, because I started telling stories very young. I was always frustrated at how hard it was to get friends to act out my imaginary scenarios, so I just started writing them instead. I also had elaborate set ups for my stuffed animals, with family trees and politics, my first attempts at world building, I guess.
Michael: I’ve never looked at the scenes I created with the stuffed animals of my childhood from that perspective before.
Now, you’ve authored several books, can you give a brief run down of their titles?
Heidi: Firstly there is Beggar Magic it’s a YA Fantasy with Steampunk influence.
Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon is a middle grade fantasy in the spirit of The Reluctant Dragon, but with a cat for a hero.
The Dragon and the Scholar Saga: (four books) Dragon’s Curse, Dragon’s Debt, Dragon’s Rival, and Dragon’s Bride
This is a four part series. It’s my fantasy/romance, which is to say it’s a fairy tale.
Michael: Well, fairy tales are, in a manner of speaking, where all fantasy begins. Moving along now:
Is writing something you’ve always wanted to do?
Heidi: Pretty much. When I was younger and got my first email address, I’d write short stories and send them to all my friends. I loved it. There was just something so amazing about sharing the worlds and tales I wrote. To me it has always been about the readers, about finding someone who enjoys my work to share it with.
Michael: I know it’s a special feeling when someone enjoys the world you created as much as you do.
Tell me, what was your favorite novel and who was your favorite author growing up?
Heidi: Lord of the Rings, it still counts as ONE! I read Tolkien’s series three times growing up, plus the Silmarillion and most of the Unfinished Tales.
Michael: I’m not even going to get into the argument about if it’s one book or many 3!
Why did you choose to write fantasy over a different genre?
Heidi: I like the flexibility, and I like to explore worlds that don’t exist. I also like to write the stories I want to read. Fantasy gives the biggest, “yes, but what IF?” potential of the genres. You are only bound by your imagination and your writing ability.
As a writer do you ever face fear of any kind? How do you overcome it?
Heidi: I’m terrified of spiders . . . oh wait . . . that’s probably not what you meant. The only thing that really scares me is anytime I have to make a financial investment in my books. We’re a single income family, and I try to keep my writing in the black, only investing what I know I can make back, but there’s always a little bit of apprehension when I pay for ads or artwork. What if it doesn’t come back this time? We have bills. Can I truly justify this expense? It takes a little bit of faith every time.
Michael: I’m sure there are many others out there that face those same questions. It can be quite challenging.
Can you pick one of your books and provide the reader with a brief summary? Just one!
Heidi: Beggar Magic: For this book I was really inspired by the Myst gaming franchise. I just love the mix of mysticism and technology used in those worlds. The story explores the friendship between two girls of different backgrounds. They bond over their love for the world’s magic system, the Strains, which manifest in sound. However, when “dead spots” start eating away at the magic, leaving only silence in their wake, the girls have to band together to protect the Strains from a devious plot.
Michael: It’s interesting to contemplate gaming influencing writing in this way. I might have to explore that further in another blog post.
For now, do you have a favorite character from one of your books? If so, who and why?
Heidi: In Beggar Magic there is a secondary character named Vickers who is sensible but a little bit awkward, and he’s a lot like my husband was when I first fell in love with him (in high school). He’s not good with people but when there’s a crisis, he’s someone you can count on, and I find that charming.
What’s one word of advice you want to give someone aspiring to be an author?
Heidi: Don’t over think it. If you feel that is the story you want to tell, don’t worry if it is marketable or if it has been done before. Markets change and pretty much everything has been done before (and if it hasn’t, there is probably a good reason), but if you want to read the story you are writing, chances are there are other people out there who do as well.
Michael: I like that alot, “if you want to read the story you are writing, chances are there are other people out there who do as well.” So true, and my own philosophy as well!
My last question for now, if any readers want to connect with you further, where can they find you on social media?
Heidi: My website is http://www.hlburkeauthor.com. I have a contact form and a sign up link for my monthly newsletter.
I’m also very active on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/hlburkewriter
I’m on twitter under the handle @typativemamacat.
Michael: Thank you for the interview. I’m sure my readers appreciate hearing from you, and I certainly do. Maybe we can hear from you again after the release of your next novel.