As promised, I managed to wrangle Heather Hummel (You may remember Heather from yesterday’s review of Write From the Heart) into coming on my blog again today! I know, right? And she was even gracious enough to answer a few questions about her book and writing and stuff like that. So welcome her again–Heather Hummel.
Amie: So, Heather, tell us, where did the story idea for Write From the Heart come from and how did it come about?
Heather: I hear from a lot of people that they want to “quit their day job” to become a writer. I chose to do it on my 40th birthday…walking away from my gig as a high school teacher. Samantha in Write from the Heart is a fictional character who shows readers just how powerful the use of words be they spoken or thoughts can be, and that changing our “mantras” from negative to positive can change our lives. In addition, because I’m an avid journal writer, I wanted to create a character who proactively changed her life through the use of journal writing, and making her a novelist who quit her day job as an office manager made her relatable to a lot of readers who wanted to do the same thing. Now, I’m not suggesting people do this! This is fiction, after all. But, I am a strong believer in the power of words and believe that how we use them has a great impact on the outcome of our lives.
Amie: So true! One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book?
Heather: The message delivered in Write from the Heart is focused on the power of thoughts. I have had readers be inspired to go out and buy their own “Positive Journal” like Samantha did…and that’s exactly the “walk away” I wanted…that they walk, run, drive, skateboard even, to the nearest store and buy a positive journal of their own.
Amie: It certainly worked for me. I got mine today! (no lie) Who did your edits and how many reads did you have before you said, “it’s time.”?
Heather: Each book was different. For my first book deal, Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw-Hill, 2008), I worked closely with the editor at McGraw-Hill. That was a wonderful experience. We were on the same page, pun intended, about everything. For my first novel, Whispers from the Heart, that was run through a writing group. I gained a lot of feedback and edits from several vantage points and readers. When it came to Write from the Heart, I used and editor friend of mine.
I know “it’s time” when I let out a big sigh, sit back in my chair, pat my dogs’ heads, and feel a huge sense of relief!
Amie: Abso-lutely! How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
Heather: The Journals from the Heart series was inspired by a publisher who coached me on creating series. For Whispers from the Heart, because it dealt with issues such as teen suicide and emotional abuse, I felt that these were subjects often “whispered” about behind closed doors, and alternatively, I wanted to bring them forth in this novel as sensitive subjects that needed to be explored. Write from the Heart was a natural title for Samantha’s journey as a budding novelist who counts on the power of the pen and journal writing to get through challenging times. The forthcoming Wisdom from the Heart, rounding out the series, introduces Jamie, who gains wisdom in her teens when she learns she’s adopted. It alternates between her being 14 and 40, a time when wisdom is on her side.
Amie: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Heather: I love answering this question because my answer is never what people expect to hear. I tend to follow the lead of George Martin, the Beatles producer, who discourages artists from entering the field of music. When asked why he would discourage aspiring musicians, he simply responds, “Because if you can be discouraged, you should be discouraged.” Those words say a lot. We all have obstacles to overcome, but only those who persevere will make it and what that means in terms of a threshold is different for each individual. So, I discourage them from being a writer…because if they can be, they should be. After that, it’s all research, instinct and great writing.
Amie: I know for me there’s no choice at all. I write because I *have* to. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Heather: I’ve never experienced writer’s block…mostly because I usually have one or two of my own books as works in progress, and a client or two as well. I don’t have time for writer’s block! And with a variety of projects to work on, I always have something to say and write. For me, cycling and photography are my muses, and they help contribute to the creative flow. I’ve had many ideas for books, chapters, and characters come to mind while I’m pedaling down the road. In fact, my book GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe is about all of the license plates that I’d see on my bike rides. Naturally, it was on a bike ride that I thought I needed to record them and put them into a book. Most of the best ideas come when you’re not facing the blank screen!
Amie: So true! What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Heather: The perfect toolbox for every writer would have: passion, patience, persistence, and a dose of pride.
Thank you so much for having me as a guest!
And thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us. For those of you who missed yesterday’s post (go back and read it. I mean seriously! :) ) Here’s Heather’s Bio–
Heather Hummel is a “Photonovelist” who blends her love for photography with her award-winning career as an author. Her published works include:
Journals from the Heart Series:
Whispers from the Heart (2011)
Write from the Heart (2011)
GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe (2011)
Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw-Hill, 2008),
Messages of Hope and Healing ( Sunpiper Media, 2006)
Blue Ridge Anthology (Cedar Creek, 2007) with David Baldacci and Rita Mae Brown
2009 Mature Media Awards, Merit Award
2009 New York Book Festival, Honorable Mention
Heather’s books have appeared in newspapers such as: Publishers Weekly, USA Today and the Washington Post; and in magazines that include: Health, Body & Soul, First, and Spry Living, a combined circulation of nearly 15 million. A graduate with High Distinction from the University of Virginia, Heather holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree with concentrations in English and Secondary Education. She is currently earning a Ph.D. in Metaphysical Sciences.
Visit Heather’s website at http://www.heatherhummel.net/
Like Heather’s Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/heatherhummelfanpage
Follow Heather on Twitter @HeatherHummel
Thanks again for stopping by. Don’t forget to leave a comment on Heather’s Blog Tour page at Chicklit Plus to be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card. For details–
To catch Heather on other stops on her blog tour–
Lots of <3–Amie