Interview: Heather Long, Author Prime Evil
To Kick off our week of SuperNaturals who’ll be attending our New Year’s Eve Zombie Style Bash, I have a very special Chriatmas Interview with Heather Long, author of the newly released novel, Prime Evil, the pre-quel novella It Happens (which is available FREE right now & I highly recommend it!) and the Histroical Paranormal novel, Remembering Ashby. Heather is also well know for her fantastic blog with a paranormal bent, The Daily Dose!
At the end of the interview there is a question and answer about Heather’s love of Christmas (hence, her being here today) will be information about a giveaway brought to you by Heather, once you get to the end you will have an insight into how Heather feels about Christmas and receive information about how to enter our giveaway. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as these two Heather’s did putting it together!
Let’s give a Huge Book Obsessed, Welcome to Heather Long!
Since I got such a great reception to the slightly off, ‘get to know the author as a real person’ questions I asked in my first interview I have decided to ask each interview guest the same or similar first few questions. I discovered that one of the most important things to readers is to know that authors are real people too, not just our bookish version of Rock Stars & celebrities.
BookObsessedGrl: Welcome to Book Obsessed, Heather! I appreciate your willingness to play along and give everyone a chance to get to know you as a person and author.
HV: Thanks for having me Heather! Love chatting with you on Twitter and stopping by to see what gems you’ve discovered for the rest of us.
BookObsessedGrl: What is your favorite color?
BookObsessedGrl: What is your favorite type of music?
HV: Soundtracks and classical music (particularly piano concertos) I am a total sucker for soundtracks. Beyond those, I’d have to say neo-classical and Celtic are tied for a strong second.
BookObsessedGrl: Many authors talk about the music they listen to while they write. Do you listen to music while you write?
HV: Absolutely. Music is such a great mood setter for me, some songs will transport me right to the mindset I need to be in – those are the songs I use particularly when I am revisiting a storyline, a world or a character.
BookObsessedGrl: What did you start out listening to when you first started writing Prime Evil, and how did it differ from what you listened to while writing Remembering Ashby (if at all)?
HV: The difference between the books is really the difference between night and day. Melanie and Chance are two very different heroines, different settings, different time periods and very different music. For Remembering Ashby it was Celtic Music, particularly drum pieces – a lot of drumming happens in that story – and it’s the drumbeats that I used to help maintain a certain cadence. So the stronger the drums, the more I liked the music. This translates forward to The Forgotten, which is the sequel, relies heavily on the music of the first as well on Lorena McKennitt and Enya.
By contrast, Prime Evil has a much more modern tone and feel. There’s African Celt Sound System, Enigma, Depeche Mode and Anjulie. The sounds are a little more earthy (if you’ll pardon the pun) and deeper. The chase scenes and more intense scenes relied on my long time fave John Williams and his Wagnerian character pieces.
BookObsessedGrl: Did you create a playlist before hand or just pick what you felt like listening to at the time?
HV: A little bit of both. I knew some of the music that put me in the mood, but both grew during the writing process.
BookObsessedGrl: Did your music choices evolve throughout the writing process?
HV: Absolutely, particularly if I heard something while in the midst of writing like “Running Up that Hill” by Placebo really caught my attention during one of the final draft moments on Prime Evil and is the song I heard in my head during one of the more pivotal scenes in the book.
BookObsessedGrl: Did the music you were listening to at any given time inspire or effect how certain scenes developed?
HV: Bonny Portmore by Lorena McKennitt literally launches me right into the mindset I need to be in to write The Black Mountains, the Isle of Avalon and the magic of Ashby – so yes, there are some songs that really do affect me.
BookObsessedGrl: Can you tell us a few songs you listened to while writing Prime Evil?
HV: Let’s see what’s on the playlist here:
· Running Up That Hill by Placebo
· Wild Child by Enya
· Inion (Daughter) Afro Celt Sound System
· One Day More from Les Miserables
· Duel of the Fates by John Williams
· Boom by Anjulie
· Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron & Wine
· Halo by Haley James Scott
· Save Yourself by Sense Field
· Love Thieves by Depeche Mode
BookObsessedGrl: What type of scene does each of the songs correspond to?
HV: A wide variety really, for example “Save Yourself” by Sense Field is the music I hear when Jack and Chance are alone and talking whereas Duel of the Fates was what I heard near the climax of the book.
BookObsessedGrl: Did you discover any new music or bands/singers while writing or editing?
BookObsessedGrl: Did you always want to be a writer or were there just stories swimming around in your head that you had to get out?
HV: Always. I’ve been writing since I was a child. I wrote stories, fairy tales, romantic tales – everything. I was the kid that loved essay questions and research papers because it was an excuse to write. I remember getting a Commodore 64 when I was younger too and a printer – so that I could write all I wanted one Christmas.
BookObsessedGrl: The heroine in Prime Evil is Chance Monroe, a Hedge Witch – can you explain to everyone exactly what a Hedge Witch is?
HV: In my mindset – a witch is someone who works with natural magic whereas a wizard works with high magic. A hedge witch works with the powers of the Earth itself and in Chance’s case that means a strong connection to the land, she draws her personal power from it, she works with disturbances in it and she communes with the creatures associated with the Earth. Now the flip side is that she doesn’t do well with high magics: alchemy, symbology, creating spells from nothing and creating potions etc.
BookObsessedGrl: What inspired you to write a novel with a Hedge Witch as the heroine?
HV: Chance evolved from a number of different ideas, but the inspiration came directly from the profound experience of seeing an area of greenbelt stripped away – all the trees were razed to the ground and the land churned up. It had been an area thick with forest one day, a beautiful place to visit and see year round – a natural seasonal preserve and then it was gone. It felt like a physical blow to the stomach, I remember pulling the car over and just gaping. That’s when Chance formed fully as I realized how agonizing that would be to someone deeply connected to the land.
BookObsessedGrl: Chance is a very strong woman and from the very first page of the story, she has a very strong and defined voice. Can you tell us a little bit about Chance the person, beyond being a Hedge Witch – that is if the two can be separated at all?
HV: Chance is a strong, dynamic woman who was raised by a very strong dynamic woman (her grandmother). Chance’s parents died when she was a child, but not before she knew them and formed strong memories of them. Her grandmother raised her to pursue her dreams, but to temper her impulses. Chance went to college to study psychology and actually planned to go into forensic psychology as a career – but after the attack by Randall Oakes, she drew back from the concept of pursuing that type of career. She worked as her grandmother’s apprentice for years and she devoted herself to that after she recovered – in part to heal herself. When her grandmother died, Chance accepted the burden that her grandmother carried. That is a very pivotal moment, which readers will learn more about in book two.
BookObsessedGrl: What motivates Chance the most?
HV: Her passion for balance is a driving force, but so is her connection to the earth. She believes firmly in leaving the world better than she found it. She also believes that everything must be in balance.
BookObsessedGrl: What are the similarities (if any) and differences between you and Chance?
HV: I like to leave the world better than I found it, but I don’t have quite her nonchalance about working in the fields. Although, for years I had a black thumb – couldn’t grow anything. In the last decade since I created Chance – I’ve nurtured several rose bushes and gardens into full flourish. So I guess I learned a lot from her.
BookObsessedGrl: If you were able to have one aspect of Chance’s personality or powers what would you choose?
HV: I’d love her ability to nurture, to touch the Earth and connect within it – -to see what had come before, what is wrong and sometimes how to fix it.
BookObsessedGrl: Chance’s best friend is also a witch, but a very different kind. What are the differences and similarities between them? What makes them such a great pair?
HV: Sydney comes from a very large family of witches, just as Chance does. But the difference is that Sydney is far more psychically enhanced than Chance is. She “sees” – futures, visions and she works with astrology, crystals and other forms of channeling. Chance is far earthier while Sydney is guided more by spiritual forces. Chance would describe Sydney as having one foot planted here and one foot planted somewhere else. Chance keeps Sydney grounded in the here and now while Sydney gives Chance whimsy – they balance each other very well.
BookObsessedGrl: Chance’s ex-boyfriend Jack re-enters her life at about the same time as the serial killer who had left her for dead years ago. Who is Jack? What do you like and dislike about his character? Is he a good match for Chance or…?
HV: Jack is a great friend. He’s the guy who opens the door for women because it’s the thing to do. He doesn’t wait to be asked for help, he volunteers and does it. He’s a devoted guy and he was a really loving husband to his wife (Nancy). Chance and Jack enjoy each other, but he’s never been quite comfortable with her supernatural aspects. That – hesitancy and doubt – it is part of the reason they never developed beyond the playful flirtations, casual fun and good times. The loss of Nancy and Chance’s grandmother forged that casual friendship into a strong bond between them. Prime Evil opens Jack’s eyes some – but they still have a way to go. I love his fierce loyalty, but there are times when he’s pigheaded and I want to smack him in the head.
BookObsessedGrl: Where did the idea of a serial killer come from? Why a serial killer in an Urban Fantasy novel about a witches?
HV: Why not? A serial killer is a physical manifestation of chaotic evil – whether they are organized or disorganized – they are terrifying.
BookObsessedGrl: You are a big proponent of Wildlife and Natural Conservation efforts, even donating $0.25 of each download purchase of Prime Evil to The World Wildlife Fund. Why write an Urban Fantasy instead of a straight Fantasy novel, given your opposition to Urban Sprawl?
HV: I love Urban Fantasy. I love magic in our world. I think it’s important to remember that particularly in a world so reliant on technology that there is a deeper magic in our existence connecting us to one another – and it’s not the Internet.
BookObsessedGrl: Living in Miami myself I have grown up watching the tropical habitat around me disappear in an effort to build more homes and ugly strip malls. It has had a profound effect on me, and makes me sad. How do you feel when you see the lands being cleared for more housing developments and how would this type of stripping of the land effect a Hedge Witch, who is connected to the earth itself?
HV: That is definitely something I touch on in Prime Evil and you will see more of in book two.
BookObsessedGrl: Tell us about your writing practices or methods? What is your work-space like?
HV: Chaos on wheels – actually I have a very cluttered office where everyone and their brother deposits the items they don’t know what to do with. I have books stacked two deep on the bookshelves, artwork on the walls and a window that lets in natural light when I need it, but can be covered when I want that dark cave feeling. I love sitting down here to write, particularly in the dark early hours of the morning before anyone else is awake.
I write every morning whether it’s 20 minutes or 2 hours, I write daily. Some days it’s drafting, some days it’s editing and some days it’s just random scenes that come to me that I want to document on paper. I have a habit of finishing a draft and putting it away for a month or two before going back. This way I am fresh and can fix errors in story – I also only concentrate on the main plot in the first draft, adding secondary plots during the second draft.
BookObsessedGrl: How old were you when you started reading?
HV: I think I read my first book at three. The first books I remember reading to myself was a book on Greek Mythology – it was a child’s version, but the Olympians left a lasting impression.
BookObsessedGrl: What types of book did you read most in your youth/teen years?
HV: I read everything – I loved high fantasy Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I loved anything with a paranormal character and I was a total sucker for mysteries. As a teenager, I drove my mother mad with the books I would buy – I’d hit the bookstore weekly and then call her with the total I needed to spend – I averaged $75 a week give or take and this is when paperbacks were 2.99. Whenever she complained, I pointed out that at least I was addicted to books and not drugs. Of course, I loved libraries too – but I was forever reading and re-reading.
BookObsessedGrl: How would you like to see the universe Chance inhabits develop? How many novels, other heroes or heroines within the same universe, etc…?
HV: I see at least two more Chance novels – the second is already in the early stages. I would love to develop Sydney more as well. As for the rest – we will have to wait and see!
BookObsessedGrl: Last but not least, since today is Christmas Day can you tell us why you love Christmas so much and what your favorite thing about the season is?
HV: The holiday season is about the promise of man – for a humanist it’s about seeing mankind in our best light whether we are celebrating faith, family or friendship. This year, for example, you drive around the neighborhoods and rather than seeing one or two homes that are decked out to the nines in some theme, everyone has their lights out – clear lights, colored lights, blinking lights, lights that dance – and sprinkled amongst them are presents, nativities, reindeer, Santa Claus, fire places, snowmen and more – it’s a time to laugh and to smile – to find that little bit of human warmth and brightness to carry you through the dark, cold days of winter.
I love everything about this time of year –from donating time, effort and money to those who do not have enough to seeing the wonder in a child’s eyes. I love decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the Yule log and keeping vigil through the long dark night of the Solstice to celebrate the Yule on the following day.
What’s not to love?
Thanks for the fun interview!
Thank you so much for being here today Heather!!! I am honored to have you here on Christmas Day. I love Prime Evil and doing this interview has been insightful, as well as great fun!
Enter To Win A Heather Long Prize Pack:
(1) E-Book Copy of Prime Evil
(1) Daily Dose Book Bag (Which can be seen by Clicking Here)
Just comment anytime between now and 12/31/09 and answer this question:
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Click on the links in the first paragraph to find links with synopsis of each novel/novella and where you can buy the – plus an additional link to Heather’s blog, The Daily Dose.
On last, unrelated note: