A Bang Fine Read: Interview with Rachel Heffington

Thursday, February 20, 2014

As a follow-up to the revealing of her splendid cover, Miss Rachel Heffington agreed to do an interview with yours truly on the topic of Fly Away Home, along with several other fun stuffs around the web. (Check your dashboard. Posts are jumping up like popcorn!) The book itself is now available on Amazon, ready to be read and reviewed on Goodreads--and loved, of course. For those of you who follow me on Goodreads (and for those of you who don't: join the ranks!), a review is coming soon. But in the meantime, I present authoress Rachel Heffington...

1. What song best describes/most inspired Fly Away Home for you?
Without a doubt “Beyond the Sea”. Especially Matt Belsante’s version which is quite quite perfect. (Note from Bree: for those of you who haven't heard the song, you can listen to it here.)

2. Are any of Fly Away Home's characters pulled directly from your life (and people you know)? If so, who?
I am much like Callie Harper in my thought process. Really. I can’t decide if every man on earth will now be petrified of me or not, but it’s true. Callie’s different than I am in many ways but I gifted (cursed?) her with my random, free spirit. No one else is really directly from life any more than my characters usually are. Everybody oozes in somewhere or other. :)

3. What audience do you hope to reach with this book?
16-30 year olds. I am sure other ages would enjoy the story but it will probably most affect young people who are figuring out life, love, careers, etc.

4. As your debut novel, was there anything in particular that was difficult about publishing Fly Away Home?
There is a whole lot of work involved in the publicity side that I hadn’t really thought of. If you hope to have a successful book release, you need to spend quite some time preparing for it. Guest posts and interviews take time as well as contacting people to ask for guest-posts and interviews. Also, formatting was its own particular outer circle of Hell.

5. Who is your favorite character from Fly Away Home? Who is most like you?
Ahemahemahemahem. Wade Barnett. But also Jerry Atwood. He is my particular darling. And like I said, Callie is quite a lot like me in places.

6. What is your favorite snack while you write?
Hmmm...I don’t usually eat while I write because it impedes me getting along at a very fast rate when I can’t type. But chocolate. Always chocolate. Only...that’s not a snack. That being said, probably popcorn popped in olive oil and sea-salt with a few slices of the sharpest cheddar cheese.

7. What is your writing process, and which stage is most exciting to you?
My writing process begins (always) with characters. Then I decide a plot for them if they haven’t already come to me with one, and then I begin to hammer it out. I try for one thousand words a day and generally make it past that. About the twenty-thousand word mark I begin to freak out and so I very quietly tap out my one thousand words at a time and creep past the panic until the story loves me again. When I’ve finished, I subject the work to at least one round of editing (usually two) before I send it to my beta-readers. I assemble their criticism and make more changes, then read through the story on the computer and make others. I then print out a hard copy and read it aloud to myself to catch other mistakes before applying those edits and doing one more look-over and calling it good. When I got my proof copy of Fly Away Home, I read through it once more and got the last mistakes I could find. Let us hope it is (relatively) free of errors, though I’m certain you could find a couple in any book.

8. So you're self-publishing, I hear! What ultimately decided this for you?
Stubbornness. Love of independence. A realization that I write what I want and don’t like be dictated to by what the establishments consider “popular”.

9. If you could choose one quote (not from the book itself) to describe Fly Away Home, what would it be?
“Sit by and let the world slip; we shall ne’er be younger.” -William Shakespeare
This quote perfectly encapsulates the relationship between Wade Barnett and Calida Harper. She’s frantic, fleeing, wild, he’s gentle, sober, steady. She craves violent excitement and he wants to hold her hand and show her hidden things.

10. I know you've got several books in your head and on paper; could you give us a sneak peek into your next project?
Right! Well, currently I’m working on a 1930’s-era mystery (Anon, Sir, Anon) and working with Rooglewood Press to revise/edit The Windy Side of Care for Five Glass Slippers. (The latter is a collection of five Cinderella stories chosen to be published by Rooglewood Press in June of this year.) Afterward, who knows? I have several stories in my head, as you say. I am thinking of rewriting The Scarlet Gypsy Song; been craving a return to children’s literature!

Note from Rachel: Thanks a million for having me here, Bree! And to the readers: thanks for reading. You are welcome at The Inkpen Authoress at any time. :)

Note from Bree: Go read Fly Away Home. It is, in Rachel's own words, a bang fine read, and perfect to curl up with to combat post-Valentine's dulldroms and February lulls. (You've surely got leftover chocolate to accompany you, right?)

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