Tag Archives: fantasy

Author Interview: Tiger Hebert

When I asked Author Tiger Hebert to describe his writing, he replied, “I write dark, epic fantasy that dares to hope.”  Don’t we need more hope in the world?  I think so!  Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Tiger HebertHello, my name is Tiger Hebert. I am a Christian, husband, father of three children, and a veteran. I have a BA in Communications, and I work in the Quality and Training fields. I was born and raised in Maine, but I now live in North Carolina with my family. I love the outdoors and I am passionate about football, food, family, and faith.

When and why did you begin writing?

When I was a kid, I guess I had a knack for creative writing. The teachers really encouraged it, but I never did anything with it outside of school assignments. As I went through middles school and high school, I started getting into a variety of gaming ranging from Magic TCG to Hero Quest to Diablo. This really piqued my interest in writing fantasy, and I knew that one day I wanted to write something, but I never did anything about it.

Several years later, when I was in the military I began writing poetry and lyrics as an outlet. I didn’t really think I’d do much of anything with it until a friend told me that it was actually good. I dabbled in that type of writing for a few years, but never took the plunge into attempting fiction. Until one day, right around Christmas of 2011, I couldn’t wait anymore. So I created a blog for my “dragon” story, and I just began writing. I didn’t outline, plot, or worldbuild. I just started writing. After a few weeks, I realized I had something, and I needed to take it more seriously. That pet project turned out to be my first published novel, Dragon’s Fire.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

After I had written my sixth or seventh chapter of Dragon’s Fire, I was kind of blown away at how quickly it was coming together. The early reader feedback on those raw, and unedited chapters was incredible, and it gave me the encouragement I needed to finish the project. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but I felt that it was actually something that I could, and should do.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I am currently working on The Halls of the Fallen King. It is my third book and is the next book in the series. I am hoping to finish up the 2nd draft and get it to beta readers sometime in May. The book follows our heroes from Dragon’s Fire, into the subterranean ruins of mysteriously abandoned dwarven ruins.

No one truly knows how or why an entire civilization just disappeared, but as waves of magical energy continue to radiate out from the ruins, it’s time to investigate.

What inspired you to write this book?

When I wrote Dragon’s Fire, I thought it would be a standalone tale, and it does stand on its own two feet quite well. However, there was so much more in the world to explore, including a much large story arc.

Then as I wrote Dragon’s Fire, I just really fell in love with the dwarfs and their culture, and I wanted to explore it further. The idea of diving deep, literally, underground into a mysterious dwarven kingdom sounded too fun to pass up.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m sure I do, and maybe someone else can articulate it better than me. I don’t have any fancy ten dollar words to describe their style. I generally say that I write dark, epic fantasy that dares to hope. I really strive to provide vivid imagery to really help the reader immerse themselves. I also work hard to maintain a healthy balance when it comes to the pacing because I’m not a huge fan of books that are slow.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The Halls of the Fallen King sort of fell into my lap if you will. It was a line from Dragon’s Fire describing the forgotten kingdom in a tiny dose of foreshadowing. Which interestingly enough, happened without me being the wiser. The line itself is based on the speculation of the Dwarven King’s fate and that connection to his kingdom’s sudden abandonment (or so it seems). Did the king die, did he go mad?

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I can’t say too much, but one of the themes that deal with a combination of guilt, sorrow, and depression.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Tolkien and CS Lewis are huge to me. I was exposed to the splendor of Middle-Earth as a child, and the wonder never left me. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are timeless classics that never have never lost their luster to me. Ironically, I didn’t become familiar with CS Lewis’ works until I was an adult, despite them being children’s tales. Now, even as an adult, I can really appreciate the stories and all the messages they convey.

Among our contemporaries, I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson and Steven Erikson. There are a great number of things that each of them does quite well. They are both fantastic world builders. They touch on everything from history to religion to art to society. The depth that they bring to their fictional worlds is unparalleled in my opinion.

I also have an immense respect for Brandon Sanderson’s work ethic. His product is off the charts. I would love to churn out books at the same rate he does, while still maintaining such a high standard of quality.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

No, and perhaps that is silly of me. I find that I try to learn from a wide variety of other writers. I have found value from reading articles and blogs of bestselling, traditional authors. I’ve found value in learning from other self-published authors who have carved out a nice little spot for themselves, but I’ve also found tremendous value in learning from other people who have not yet had success. I think learning from each other’s experiences is invaluable.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

(This cover is not yet finished released, but it should be in the next couple weeks)
Stefan Celic did the cover art for The Halls of the Fallen King. I started looking for a new cover artist well over a year ago, and a few people mention working with Stefan. The style of their covers was slightly different from what I was looking for, but when I looked through his portfolio, I saw that he had a diverse array of skill and style.

So I put out some feelers, seeing if he felt he could pull off the vision I had. He was not only confident he could, but he actually sounded excited to take on the project. My progress on the book hit a few snags so everything was delayed, so we never moved forward. Fast forward to this year, I reached out to him again to see if he was still interested. He was, so once his schedule opened up, I commissioned him.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write now, and write often. I think those are the two things that the best and most successful authors have in common. They don’t wait for “someday” to write that book, they just get started. Then they develop good writing habits, to make consistent progress.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you! Thank you for your time and your patience. It will be rewarded.

hall of the fallen kingTiger Hebert
Whitsett, NC

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The Halls of the Fallen King

Cover Artist: Stefan Celic
Publisher: Brightblade Press

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Author Interview: Michelle E Lowe

It is always a pleasure to feature local authors on my blog. I ran into Author Michelle E Lowe at WonderCon and thought she had a beautiful booth. Naturally, I had to invite her for an interview. Please welcome this steampunk author extraordinaire to No Wasted Ink.

Author Michelle E LoweMy name is Michelle E. Lowe. I’m Georgia born native who has spent most my life near the Atlanta area before pulling up stakes and moving clear across the country with husband, Ben, and our two daughters. History piques my interests, especially European history. I’m a big nerd at heart. I love reading science-fiction and fantasy stories, and I enjoy old B horror films. I also get a kick out of playing classic Atari video games and I oil paint as a hobby.

I’m a daydreamer and animal lover. I have a very old kitty named October, and one very demanding guinea pig. I took up writing as a serious career choice twenty years ago, learning a lot and sharpening my skills along the way.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve written small stuff throughout my life. Short stories, poems, things like that. When I was nineteen and in college for graphic design, I was alone, grieving in my dorm room. I’d just lost my older brother, Jimmy, in a motorcycle accident. To occupy my mind, I decided to write out this story that had been playing around inside my head for a while, and once I started, I couldn’t stop! I swear, it happened in a snap. As hokey as it sounds, in a split second I’d found my calling. I like to think Jimmy was telling me something.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I received my first positive review for my book, The Warning. Writing a book and putting it out there is a huge accomplishment. And while we go through the process of writing and publishing, we don’t know whether all our hard work will be well received by readers or not. We don’t even know if we know what we’re doing! Then something happens. Someone you’ve never met has not only read your book but has posted a glowing review. After I began receiving positive reviews for my books, it got me thinking that, hey, maybe I do know what I’m doing.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Legacy-The Reunion is the second installment to my steampunk/fantasy series. It basically picks up where the first book leaves off, but with a completely different storyline. In this story, Pierce Landcross discovers that his long-lost parents are imprisoned in Newgate Prison and goes in to rescue them. He soon finds out that there has been an inheritance left to the family and when Pierce goes to the lawyer to collect it, he discovers that in order to claim the fortune, he must first follow a series of clue throughout the Netherlands to its location. Pierce is also accompanied by a beautiful and clever young woman, Taisia Kuzentsov, and together they seek out the loot. Their quest isn’t without risk. A dangerous bounty hunter who has his eye on the inheritance and on the price on Landcross’s head is tailing them, waiting for the right time to act.

What inspired you to write this book?

The Legacy series as a whole was something I wanted to get into because steampunk seemed like a creative and exciting genre to write. What truly inspired me, though, was the characters. I had a whole host of characters in my head and I had no real place to put them until I decided to make a go at steampunk writing.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I like a story that keeps moving, so I write in a fast-paced manner that keeps readers engaged and entertained. I like my writing style to be meaningful and even thoughtful, but also fun and enticing.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Legacy has to do with characters and how they’re related to one another, even one character who has lived a former life. Legacy-The Reunion pretty much means a reunion of characters.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There is a certain message that is woven into these books. In elementary school, my class once played this game where a teacher told one student a short story in secret and then that student had to whisper it in the ear of another student and then that student would whisper it, and so on. When the last student was asked to recite the story told to them, it was a completely different tale then what the teacher said. As a story goes on they begin taking on other versions, which in most cases is harmless, but for others, it can be deadly.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

Not really, no. I wish I lived an adventurous life like my characters, but alas, I’m merely a storyteller, locked in a dark room all day. 😉

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I do read a lot. It’s hard for me to say who is has influenced me more, considering that I read different books from different authors. I’m a great admirer of Neil Gaiman’s style of writing. I’ve been a fan of his since I was a teenager, reading his Sandman graphic novel series. I also enjoy Anne Rice’s work and her beautiful ways of describing her characters and the world in which they live in. Chris Wooding’s work is something I’m very fond of. His world-building skills are something I’m truly jealous of. That man knows how to write fun and exciting stories made for television, and who also has a great knack at bringing the reader right into the world he has created.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Catherine Rudy. You may know her, but I would choose her as a mentor because she was my mentor. She runs a nonprofit online writer’s workshop class called Wolf Pirate that I was fortunate to find many years ago. She allowed me into her program and helped me learn how to write! Before, I was just telling a story, but she taught me the rules of writing and because of her and Wolf Pirate, I’m the writer that I am today.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

With the first Legacy book, my publisher designed it. Now that I’m moving forward as an independent writer, I’m doing it all on my own. For the second, Legacy-The Reunion, I did the artwork. I was nervous about doing so, for I read how frowned upon it is for writers to make their own covers, but it actually turned out pretty well I think.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I once read that you can make anything by writing. And it’s true! Writing opens minds, introduces new perspectives, and brings people into worlds they never knew existed. Writing is an art form that is beautiful, tragic, complex, stunning and horrifying. My best advice for writers is to develop a thick skin. Take constructive criticism with a grain of salt and learn from what others tell you. Trust me, you’ll grow as an author that way. And read! Read! Read! Read! When a writer is reading, it’s different from non-writers. We’re not just reading, we’re studying! We’re finding out new ways to describe things, broadening our vocabulary, and learning how these other authors thread their stories together. Whatever genre you write, reading will help significantly when you put your own pen to paper. Don’t concern yourself about getting that first rough draft just right, either. First drafts are meant to be free spirits and very ugly ones too. You only need to get your story out of your head and onto paper or in a Word document. Worry about making it look pretty later during editing. And don’t rush. It’s so easy nowadays to toss out stories for the whole world to see. Yet the ease to publish shouldn’t mean that the art of writing needs to be forgotten or ignored. It doesn’t matter how good the story is, if readers are distracted by poor writing and grammar flaws, you’ll lose them quick!

All in all, read more, write with passion, but edit with care and devotion toward the craft, and learn from others. Most of all, write what you love.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you! Thanks for taking the chance on a little ol’ unknown writer like me when you decided to read my books.

Legacy the reunion front book coverMichelle E. Lowe
Lake Forest, CA

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Publisher: Nordland Publishing 

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Author Interview: Jeffrey L Kohanek

From a young age, Author Jeffrey L Kohanek felt driven by an internal desire to create. With an early love for heroes with superpowers, he found his childhood-self creating his own comic books. When he finally decided to write his own epic fantasy series, it was with the desire to instill that same sense of wonder in his readers. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Jeffery L KohanekMy name is Jeffrey L. Kohanek. I grew up in frigid Minnesota and moved to sunny Southern California fourteen years ago, where I currently live. I am married, and I have two children who are both in college. Among my favorite activities are: hiking, traveling, reading, spending time with my family, and playing the occasional video game.

When and why did you begin writing?

Like many others, I took the responsible route in college and graduated with an engineering degree rather than one in creative writing, although I loved it. When my children neared the end of their high school careers, I found time in my schedule that had previously been filled with their activities. That was when I decided to resurrect my passion for creative writing. Four years later, I have four published novels with two more releasing this year. I love being an author, and I intend to keep writing for many years.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I guess the moment came when I was offered a contract for my first book. It was published by a mid-sized press, and I have since reclaimed the rights and self-published the same book. However, the validation that someone else saw value in my writing flipped a switch inside my head and made it all seem so much more real.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I currently have four books published, all set in the fantasy world of Issalia. A Warden’s Purpose, the first book of a new series set in the same world. Set seventeen years after a major war that destroyed half of the continent, the story is told through the eyes of a brother and sister. Here is a synopsis:

Two schools: One of magic and science, the other about military excellence.
A dangerous undercurrent flows within both…dark and deadly.

Everson is brilliant, ingenious, and broken. Cursed with a disability, he dreams of nothing more than being useful. Quinn is bold, defiant, and will do anything to protect her brother. When Everson is accepted to an academy of magic and engineering, Quinn enters a school of combat in order to join him in Fallbrandt. However, things within the fabled institutions are not what they seem. Beneath a mantra of good intentions and the objective of a better future, conspiracies lurk.

Quinn finds herself embroiled in a struggle she doesn’t understand, one that has dire consequences as her training shifts from difficult to deadly. Her relentless determination and will to survive might be enough if she only knew whom she could trust.

Within the other school, Everson learns about a dangerous power known as Chaos. Unable to wield this magic, he instead focuses his efforts of melding Chaos with science, dreaming of inventions that would shape the future. Perceptive, imaginative, and curious, his endeavors lead him to a revelation that could change the world…and then he discovers the truth.

What inspired you to write this book?

When I finished the Runes of Issalia trilogy, I felt that there were many more stories within the world I had created and characters that I had yet to explore. Everson and Quinn drive the story. I feel like they demanded it be told and I was merely a conduit to making that happen.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My prose tends more toward action and emotion, with tight worldbuilding and a limited narrative rather than trying to astound the reader with poetic verse. This keeps the pacing up and has worked well for me.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

A Warden’s Purpose is the first book in the Wardens of Issalia series. The title itself came through the book and was not set until I was almost finished with the first draft. In the end, the people who are recruited to be a Warden must have a purpose that drives them, something that makes them who they are while also suiting the overarching needs of the Wardens.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Inclusion. Many of my books feature inclusion or prejudice as an overarching theme. In this case, Everson’s disability may limit him physically, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a whole person or that he cannot be useful.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

I always include some personal experiences in my stories, but Everson’s tale is fully original, as is Quinn’s.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

In the early years, David Eddings and Raymond E. Feist were significant influences on me. More recently, Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss are two who authors whom I admire.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I would love to have Brandon Sanderson as a mentor. His BYU 318R courses on Youtube show how well he can break down a story in an analytical way and his support would be very helpful.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

J. Caleb designed my cover. I chose him because I am attracted to his style. He did a wonderful job taking my guidance and bringing images of Everson and Quinn to life.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I have three bits of advice to other writers:

1. Write. The more you do it, the better you get.
2. Editors are important and you MUST have someone qualified edit your work and make it the best it can be.
3. Lastly, share your writing. Authors are often afraid to do so, fearing that their work isn’t good enough. Don’t worry about that. If you’ve written a book, get it in front of other people for them to experience and to provide feedback. Not everyone will love it, but that’s fine.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I love, love, love my readers. I enjoy hearing your feedback and I read every review about my books. The positive reviews give me an emotional boost and feed my muse. The critical ones help make me a better writer. Also, don’t be afraid to email me.

A Wardens Purpose eCoverJeffrey L. Kohanek
Huntington Beach, CA

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Cover Artist: J. Caleb
Publisher: Fallbrandt Press

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Author Interview: Jordi Burton

Author Jordi Burton started writing when she was ten-years-old and hasn’t stopped since!  Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Jodi BurtonMy name is Jordi Burton. I recently graduated from the University of Florida this past December with a degree in English and a minor in history. I am a major sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast. I love anything Marvel or DC—I can’t decide between the two—and my dad instilled a love of Star Trek in me at a young age. I believe in love at first sight, thanks to my beautiful Boston Terrier, and I am a long-suffering Dolphins fan.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was ten-years-old. I had been playing a pretend game in my pool and was telling my mom all about it when she suggested I write it down. It had never occurred to me before that I could simply write a book. I sat down and started writing that afternoon, and I haven’t really stopped since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer my senior year of college. I had published my first novel the previous summer and was working on releasing my second. I found that when people would ask me what my plans were for my future, or what I wanted to do, I told them I was focusing on writing, or that I wanted to be a writer. That was when I truly accepted I was a writer. Before that, I was just a student that liked to write.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My current book is called Call Me Anastasia. It follows the story of sixteen-year-old princess Anastasia Piliar. She is half-god-half-angel, and her people, the Nadmilise, are the ancient ancestors of the human race. In her world, there are ten dimensions known as realms, and each realm houses a race of mythical beings, such as werewolves or vampires. Each realm also has the culture of a part of history. Anastasia’s realm is based on the Renaissance, the werewolves’ on traditional Hindu culture, and the vampires’ in Victorian England.

At the start of the novel, Anastasia witnesses her grandparents’ murder at the hand of the Shadows, an equally as ancient race of monstrous beasts. In the first chapter, Anastasia returns to her home realm after living in hiding amongst humans for ten years. She must find a way to protect her people from the Shadows—who have once again set their sights on her homeland—and learn to become a part of the life she left behind.

What inspired you to write this book?

My inspiration for Call Me Anastasia came from the City of Bones novels by Cassandra Claire. In the novels, there is a homeland for Claire’s heroes where no technology exists. It is a kind of Renaissance land in the modern-day world. I wondered what it would be like to live in such a place, to have modern ideals in such a historical setting. Thus, Anastasia’s realm was born. The rest of the story took place around the setting.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My writing style tends to be descriptive. I’m often told my novels read like screenplays in that everything can be visualized as though it were a movie. I also tend to write female protagonists for my novels, and I lean towards male protagonists for my short stories.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

After I finished writing Call Me Anastasia, I was having a talk with my dad. I couldn’t figure out what to title the book—I always title things after they’ve been written so that I have a feel of the work as a whole. He asked me if there was any word or phrase that was repeated throughout the novel, something that seemed to encapsulate Anastasia as a character, or her world. It was then that Call me Anastasia went from a line of dialogue to the title of my novel. It showcases Anastasia’s approachability, as she prefers to be referred to by her name rather than her proper title, as well as her upbringing. She chooses to be personable with her people, a trait that I felt aptly summarized the main point of the novel.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t believe there are any overt messages in the novel, but I definitely had certain intentions when I sat down to write. I knew I wanted a female protagonist that was strong and had high self-esteem. As a young reader, I had difficulty connecting with female protagonists because most of them were self-deprecating. I wanted to have a protagonist young readers could look up to. I also wanted to stray from other YA tropes, such as the love triangle, the female protagonist needing to rely on male characters to accomplish her goal, and the idea of the Chosen One. Other than that, I hope my readers take away Anastasia’s connection to her family and her people, as well as her strength.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

In the novel—without giving too much away—Anastasia suffers from a kind of illness, where she struggles with severe stomach pains and headaches. At the time when I was writing Call Me Anastasia, I was dealing with health issues. I took the physical illness I was dealing with and used it to make Anastasia’s struggles realistic. I also fashioned Anastasia’s parents after my own parents. I even used things they had told me over the years as advice Anastasia’s parents give to her.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

The authors that have most influenced my life would be Christopher Paolini and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I started reading Naylor’s Boys vs Girls series when I was in middle school, and have since read all eight novels three times. I loved how she took a real life event—the conflict between the Hatfords and the Malloys—and turned it into an engrossing set of middle-grade novels.

Chrmiddle-gradelini inspires me because he started writing his debut novel, Eragon when he was fifteen-years-old. He self-published through his family’s publishing company and put together his own 130-stop book tour. He created his own language he uses throughout his four Eragon novels when he was only a teenager. His incredible talent, and his young age encouraged me to pursue my dream of writing. Whenever writing was tough, or I wasn’t being taken seriously because of my age, I just thought of Paolini and persevered.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

I would consider S. Usher Evans a mentor in many ways. I met her at a comic convention, right around the time I was working on releasing Call Me Anastasia. She gave me advice, as well as her personal email address, and answered any and every question I threw her way. She helped me decide to pursue writing full-time and walked me through many aspects of self-publishing. Not to mention, her novels were captivating to read.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I designed the cover of my book, but Aaron Lambert is the artist that brought my concept to life. I was at a comic convention—the same one where I met S. Usher Evans—and came across some incredible drawings of The Flash and the T.A.R.D.I.S. from Doctor Who. After purchasing both, I fell into conversation with Aaron and realized that he would be the perfect person to create my cover. I have used him for the second novel in the Anastasia Series, and plan to use him for all the others. I am inspired by his work.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice would other writers would have to be, as cliché as it is, to keep writing. Even if you hate what you’ve put down on paper, it’s better than staring at a blank computer screen or page. Sometimes, you just have to get over that first bump in the road, or those roadblocks along the way, to really get your word flow going.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

To my readers: I do what I do for you. I love to tell stories—I always have—but I would be talking to myself in an empty room if you weren’t there to listen. I am grateful for all of your support, and I can’t wait to share more with you.

Book Cover Call Me AnastasiaJordi Burton
Plantation, FL

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Cover Artist: Aaron Lambert

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Author Interview: Karin De Havin

Karin De Havin writes Young Adult fantasies as well as Paranormal stories from her timber frame lodge home in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with a pair of tuxedo cats that help her write by jumping on keyboards, and her pianist husband who wears a tuxedo while he tinkers with the keyboard too. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Karin De Havin and I am an author, designer, and artist. I split my time between designing and putting pen to paper or rather fingers to the keyboard. I’ve always been creative and have expanded my mediums from paint, to fabric, to words.

When and why did you begin writing?

I had been working in the grueling fashion industry as a designer and needed a break. I took a creative writing course in college and have always enjoyed writing short stories but never had a chance to follow through on my passion for writing. So after over a decade in the fashion business working for several companies, I decided to go freelance so I could finally have the spare time to begin my first novel.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

After I sold several short stories and a few magazine articles. I thought if people are willing to pay for my stories then maybe I’m a writer after all.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I’m almost done with the final book in my heaven fantasy series, The Katran Legacy. I will be sad to say good-bye to my characters after spending several years together, but I’m enjoying giving them the ending they deserve.

What inspired you to write this book?

It’s a bit of a strange inspiration story. I was at a funeral of a friend of my husbands. It was very sad, as he was only thirty-five years old when he died from cancer and had so much life to live. But I was amazed at how his friends weren’t upset and were able to celebrate his life. They took turns telling stories about all the crazy adventures he had in his life as an extreme sports enthusiast. His friends said in his last days he was at peace with dying. He’d lived a full life and had no regrets. There were several high school age kids at the funeral and I thought what if one of them died? The conversations would be totally different because they haven’t had a chance to live their life yet. Then I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful when they arrived in heaven they were given an opportunity to earn a second chance at life? That’s what started the idea for Nine Lives, the first book in the series.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I would say I’m a very character driven writer. I come up with story ideas all the time, but before I can flesh them out, I need to visualize the key characters first. I have to hear their voices and see their faces before I can put the story to the page.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The story in the fourth book is about discovering a new path for the characters now that they have won back their lives. They will never be the same after what they experienced in heaven. Some of them reconsider going to college while others are certain they want to strike out on their own. I also picked the title because Heavenly Discovery worked well with the previous book, Heavenly Returns.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes. Just when you think all hope is lost you have the power to turn things around. But things are never easy, so you need to hard work, have a little luck, and the help and support of good friends.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

I think all writers base their books on experiences even though they may be writing fantasy fiction. I’ve never died and gone to heaven, but I’ve been given second chances in my life and I learned not to waste them.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I love all types of authors so I have a broad base of influences. Authors I admire are Jane Austen, Kurt Vonnegut, Tolkien, J.K. Rawlings, and George R R Martin. What drew me to their writing were their amazing characters and their world-building abilities. You might be thinking Jane Austen had world-building abilities? Yes, she did. She was a master of capturing the life she experienced in the Regency era. Her descriptions are so vivid readers for decades have traveled back in time through her books. My love of her books inspired my Victorian genie time travel series, Jin In Time.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I actually am lucky enough to have two writers I admire as mentors. My first mentor and I were represented by the same literary agency. Our agent matched up as critique partners. After being traditional published my mentor left the agency and went indie. She was quite successful so I followed her two years later. I had only been traditionally published so she’s been a lifesaver learning the ins and outs of the indie publishing world. The second is a new mentor who is a New York Times bestseller who is helping me grow my writing even more. I’m so excited to be working with her.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Kellie at Book Cover by Design did the cover. She has done many of my mentor’s covers and which are truly amazing. It was a no-brainer to use her too. As an artist, I can appreciate all the hard work Kellie puts into her covers and her wonderful sense of color and composition.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

You need to study the craft and be passionate about your stories. Telling a good story is an art. It’s a very tough business. I’ve found it to be even harder to learn than the fashion business, which is notoriously difficult. You need to believe in yourself and never give up.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you so much for reading my stories and believing in my characters. I really appreciate your enthusiasm for my series and your willingness to jump right into the crazy worlds I create. You’re the best!

Karin De Havin
Pacific Northwest

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