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Interview: Heather Long, Author of Prime Evil

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I recently had the honor of reading and reviewing Prime Evil, by Heather Long and it was fantastic!  If you want to read my thoughts, (click here) to check out my review.  Heather is such a fantastic author and person and for those who have not taken the time nor had the chance to check her and her work out, you must do so!  Until then, please enjoy our little chat and get to know a bit more about the lovely lady who has a magical talent of weaving enchanting and engrossing worlds that will transfix the reader from beginning to end..

Thank you so much, Heather, for taking the time to answer a few questions for and our readers and myself!  I want to start out by saying how much I loved your novel Prime Evil.  It was such a delicious combination of paranormal, suspense, mystery and romance!

Thank you!  I am always tickled when I hear that people enjoyed a story, particularly when it’s a story that I wrote!

First of all, could you tell us a bit about Prime Evil? What is the story about, who are the characters, etc.

Prime Evil is an urban fantasy with suspenseful and romantic elements.  Chance Monroe is a woman in her late 20s who survived an attack from a serial killer eight years before. She’s also a hedge witch, bonded to the land with the ability to call on the energy of the Earth and to repair it.  The return of the serial killer Randall Oakes prompts Chance’s ex-lover Jack Parker (an FBI agent) and the FBI to step in to protect her.  The novel explores the relationships Chance has with Jack, her best friend Sydney, landlady Betty and the Earth from which she draws her power.

Do you have a favorite excerpt from Prime Evil?  Could you share that with us, please?

Do I have to choose one? I’ll have to think about this. I love the whole book (but then I’m biased!).

What do you want readers to take away from reading Prime Evil?

Well, primarily I’d like them to go away with a smile on their face and the satisfaction of finishing a great story.  When I read, I don’t necessarily look for a lesson or a moral, I am looking to be entertained and engrossed. If readers go away say “yes, I enjoyed that” then I am happy.

What was the most fun about writing Prime Evil?

Writing Chance was a treat, truthfully. She’s got a great voice, and she’s such a smartass. Half of her dialogue didn’t even make it down on the page because it wasn’t necessarily apropos to the story.

What was the hardest part about writing Prime Evil?

One of the more difficult challenges was remembering that I was one hundred percent in Chance’s head, so if the other person didn’t convey their thoughts, feelings and emotions through verbal and non-verbal cues, I had no way to let people know what was happening. So it was tricky in places to remind myself not to fall into omniscient – even when I knew what Jack was thinking or feeling

What kind of research did you do for Prime Evil? I find the concepts that you bring into the story with the talents of a hedge witch amazing!

I did research on serial killers including profiling them. I also did some research on agents and how they might work a case, however any liberties I took with the FBI are 100% me.  As for the setting, I lived in that region for years, so it was a walk down memory lane.

Was it easy to switch genre writing?  Prime Evil seems very different than other works that you have done and I am so amazed at your talent to do so.

Thank you! I actually wrote Prime Evil first.  The first draft of Prime Evil was finished in July of 2001.  While it’s seen many other versions including a re-imagining, Chance remains essentially the same. So no, it wasn’t hard to switch. I love immersing myself in both worlds.

Could you please tell us about your writing process, Heather?

My writing process is ever evolving. The biggest part of the process is to stop talking about writing and just to do it. I try not to over think drafts – that’s why we have editing.

Do you ever put yourself within your characters?

Every character comes from some part of my experience and imagination, so yes.

Do you have any particular habits that you take part in while writing? By that I mean certain music you like to listen to, foods you like to eat, environment that helps you write better, etc.

Mochas. I am seriously addicted to mochas.  On the worst of the writing days, a mocha can help me get back into that creative, relaxed place. Otherwise, I prefer to listen to music while writing – usually songs that make me think of the characters or story.

Where do you get your ideas and inspirations?

Everywhere. Literally, everywhere. I’ve had an idea come to me while driving the car and I see a billboard.  Usually the ideas are borne of some stimulus that elicits a visceral and emotional response – a laugh, a sigh or a thrill – something that moves me.

How did you decide you wanted to be a writer?  Was there any authors or books that made you think "Wow, that's what I want to do – craft stories of my own for others to read"?

I really don’t think there was a moment where I made that decision. I’d been writing my stories in some fashion for as long as I can remember. I know I made the decision to go for published author seriously after my daughter was born, but that was more a commitment to making a living off of what I already loved.

What made you take that leap from "wanting" to be a writer, as opposed to "becoming" a writer?  Many (myself included, lol) talk of being a writer and dip our toes in, but it seems there is often a sort of "push" to bring one over that wall.

When my daughter was an infant, I went back to college to finish a degree. One of my instructors wanted to know why I wasn’t publishing with the papers I was submitting. So on her advice, I started submitting my articles to online and print magazines. Within a year, I was freelancing – that was the same year I wrote the first draft of Prime Evil.

How do you come up with the names of your characters? It almost seems as though, as an author, you have the continuous fun of naming children!

And the gray hairs to prove it! Actually, most of my characters show up with names as the idea of them comes to life. If I ever struggle to name someone, I start writing the scene and see if they just introduce themselves.  Worst case, I look for a name that “sounds” like them and go with it until the real name presents itself.  Jack Parker was Jack Park for every incarnation of the book save the last – I finally added that second syllable and it worked much better for me.

Were you an avid reader as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite books?

I read anything that wasn’t nailed down.  I read all of Nancy Drew, all of Trixie Belden and a number Christopher Pike books that would eventually lead to the Goosebump series we see now.  By the time I was in middle school, I was reading Harlequin Romances (my grandmother’s) and pure fantasy with everything from Mercedes Lackey to Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and more.  I literally couldn’t read enough.

If you had to summarize your life and give it a book title, what would that title be?

Pride and Paranoia and Zombies OH MY!

What are you working on right now?  Could you give us a taste/teaser (aka excerpt) from your current WIP?

Hmm – right this moment I am working on Seismos, the next Chance Monroe Adventure.

What are you reading right now?

Actually, I just finished Sizzle by Julie Garwood, and I won’t be reading anything else until I am done with the current draft I am working on. I don’t tend to read when I am writing.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Wow – a lot. In print books I’d say Patricia Briggs and Jim Butcher are two of my absolute favorites with Kim Harrison, Julie Garwood, J.D. Robb, Carrie Vaughn and more bringing up the rear. In eBooks, my favorites include Nikki Duncan, Kellyann Zuzulo, Lisa Pietsch, Debra Kayn, Cat Johnson and Buffy Christopher.

If you could have lunch and chat with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

And you wonder where the zombie came from in the story of my life… Honestly, I think I’d love to sit down with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the man who dreamed up both Sherlock Holmes and The Lost World.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next five years?

New York Times publishing contract and a knock it out of the park best seller, baby!

Is there anything that you would like to add, Heather?  That you would like readers to know about you or your writing?

I would encourage your readers to try Prime Evil whether you read urban fantasy, suspense or both! Primarily, it’s a fun novel and secondly, a portion of all the proceeds goes to the World Wildlife Foundation. I plan to make every Chance novel donate to a fund that restores or preserves our Earth in some way.

Where can readers get in touch with you?  Twitter, Blog, Facebook, etc?

 Twitter

 Blog – Daily Dose

 Facebook

 myspace

 Website – Heather Long

 

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