Meow! Today my guest is author Heather Blake (aka Webber)
Heather Blake (who also writes as Heather Webber) is the author of more than twenty novels and has been twice nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Novel. She's a total homebody who loves being close to her family, reading, watching cooking competition TV shows, drinking too much coffee, crocheting, and baking. Heather grew up in a suburb of Boston, but currently she lives in the Cincinnati area.
- Welcome Heather! Tell us a little about your background
I grew up wanting to be a medical examiner like the character on one of my favorite TV shows, Quincy M.E. That didn’t quite pan out, so I transferred my love of mysteries to writing. My first book was published in 2002 (writing as Heather Webber), and I’ve been writing ever since. My 24th book will be out in October. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we have three kids, a daughter-in-law, and a new grandbaby, who melts my heart.
- Tell us about your latest release, SOME LIKE IT WITCHY.
In Some Like It Witchy, witch Darcy Merriweather finds that her ability to grant wishes isn’t helping all that much in figuring out who killed a local real estate agent. The idea for the story came to me as my husband and I house-hunted a couple of years ago. You just never know what you’ll find when poking around other people’s houses.
- You also write the “Magic Potion” series. Tell us how that came about.
What’s better than one witchy series? Two! Seriously, though, more than a decade ago I came across a Native American natural medicine book at a roadside attraction in Georgia. It “spoke” to me, and I bought it, knowing someday I’d use the subject of herbal remedies in a book. Fast forward to 2011. I’d just turned in book two of the Wish series (a series that hadn’t even debuted at that point), and was having a typical writer panic moment of what if the Wish series fails? So, I decided to come up with a back-up proposal and happened across that book I’d bought so long ago. The idea for a healing witch took shape and wouldn’t let go. Fortunately my editor believed enough in me to take on the series as well.
- How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I truly don’t have a good answer to this one. I somehow just know who they are, but occasionally I do borrow characteristics from people around me.
- How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I do a bit of both. I use a story arc graphic to plot the main story and subplots, then wing the writing for the first half of the book. Once I reach the middle of the story, I outline chapters to the end.
- Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
Change is difficult for me, and having been with five publishers during my career has definitely been challenging—but never dull. The readers are definitely who keep me inspired and motivated.
- Do you have a “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
I’ve been with my agency for more than twelve years now, but getting there wasn’t easy. I have a whole file folder of rejection letters that can attest to that. I’ll occasionally leaf through the old letters (it was only snail mail queries back in those days) and am amazed that I didn’t give up. And that’s what this business is all about. Not giving up.
- What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I just finished the third book in the Potion series, and am working on the sixth Wish book. After this, I’m not sure…maybe a vacation.
- What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
I’m not a very structured writer. I tend to write when the mood strikes. Or when a deadline is looming. I almost always write in the morning and early afternoon. Writing is definitely a full-time job. Two, really, if one counts promotion time (and I do!).
- If you could take only three books with you for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?
Definitely a thesaurus, a dictionary, and probably a Janet Evanovich or Lisa Lutz book (don’t make me choose!).
- What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Two bits of advice: Do not give up & study the craft of writing.
- What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
This is a very open-ended question, isn’t it? J In terms of writing…believing I could write a book without any kind of formal training.
- What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
Being a writer of witches, everyone thinks I love Halloween. It’s actually my least favorite holiday. Shocking, I know. I am, however, fascinated by Samhain.
- What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
Q: Who most influenced me to become a writer? A: My husband planted the seed and he has been with my every step of the way helping my dream grow.
- Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Cat
Beach or Pool? Beach
Steak or salad? Salad
Favorite Drink? Tossup between coffee and Dr Pepper
Favorite Book? Oh, tough one. I just can’t choose.
Favorite TV Series? Gilmore Girls
Favorite Movie? Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Favorite Actor: Don’t have one
Favorite Actress: Don’t have one of these either
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? I don’t drink alcohol, but I’d say pina colada because I love coconut
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Hmm. I’ll go with Jane Austen.
If I had just one wish, it would be for my kids to always be happy and healthy
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be no one. I love my life.
List all the places readers can find you
Pepe, the mouse familiar in the Wishcraft series, is a master tailor who wholeheartedly approves of his likeness (he has a bit of an ego) on this sewing kit. The kit is up for grabs to one lucky commenter.
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!