Heather Elizabeth King is a novelist who lives in Central Virginia and writes paranormal mysteries, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She’s been a story teller since she can remember. Some of her favorite recollections are of telling stories to her girlfriends at slumber parties when she was a pre-teen.
Heather is a recipient of numerous book review awards, including:
• The Gold Star Award from Just Erotic Romance Reviews
• A Recommended Read from Fallen Angel Reviews
• The Joyfully Recommended Award from Joyfully Reviewed
• A CAPA Award nomination from The Romance Studio.
She is also a graduate of the Writer’s Digest class, Focus on the Novel. Her years of learning everything she can about writing fiction and the publishing industry have made Heather a confident speaker. She has been a panelist at the Romantic Times Convention and has given presentations at various paranormal conventions.
When not penning fiction, Heather works as a technical writer in corporate America. As an author she is a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and Sisters in Crime, and as a technical writer she is a member of STC (The Society of Technical Communication).
Her claim to fame is playing the ghost of Christmas future in a local production of, A Christmas Carole. While she didn’t actually get to speak, she got to glower and look menacing.
Visit Heather online at her website www.HeatherElizabethKing.com, on Facebook at, www.facebook.com/heatherelizabethking or https://www.facebook.com/heathereliza…. Email her at Heather@heatherelizabethking.com.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
Thank you for having me! I’ve always told stories. I used to tell my friends stories at slumber parties. The stories were always ones I’d made up. I’d act them out, too. When I was somewhere between 12 and 14 I wrote a sequel to the Goonies. Spoiler alert: I may have been a bit of a nerd.
I didn’t realize that I could have a career as a storyteller until I was around 22. I’d just inhaled three Patricia Cornwell books and had the epiphany that I would love to spend my life telling stories like those. And maybe, if Patricia Cornwell could do it, so could I. It was another ten years or so before I was published.
I love telling stories the most. I love creating characters that are two dimensional, then experiencing the moment when those characters become real to me. When they seem to live and breathe and talk to me when I’m not writing. I love all of those things.
What frustrates me most is having to spend so much time not writing and spending so much time working to sell my books. Selling books takes a lot of work and a lot of time. It’s a completely separate part of being an author and it’s nearly as important as writing. It’s taken me a long time to figure out how to sell books and how to sell copies every day.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I write urban fantasy, horror, and paranormal romance. All of my fiction is dark and has some level of scares in it. The paranormal romance only has dark elements. Those stories are about love, for the most part. The horror is 100% scary! My books are available at all of the online retailers: Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books, and Barnes and Noble. Readers can always visit me online at www.heatherelizabethking.com.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
The entire world around me. There’s inspiration everywhere, if you look. You’ve just got to open your eyes and see it, then ask yourself, what if. What if this happened or what if that happened. That’s how every book starts for me.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
I do have a schedule, but I never seem to meet my WIP completion deadlines. I outline. I can’t write properly without one. I’d waste countless days writing myself into a corner and then trying to figure out how to write myself out of that corner!
It depends on the genre. Mysteries take the longest. A first draft can take two months to complete. Romance is much easier for me since I don’t have to place red herrings and create a murder (or two) that readers will have a hard time figuring out. Horror takes about the same amount of time as a mystery since at the heart of every horror story I write is a mystery of some sort. I’m currently working on my Bridgeport Series books. That was my focus for 2020 and I’m looking to publish two more books in the series this year, putting the series at five books.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
Interview with the Vampire. I don’t have one favorite, there are a few who I enjoy. Some of the well-known authors are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, JK Rowling, Barbara Michaels, and Liane Moriarty. A few of the Indie/hybrid authors are Darcy Coates, Iain Rob Wright, and Amy Cross. Right now, I’m reading two books. Dean Koontz’s “Twilight Eyes” and Iain Rob Wright’s “Sam”. “Sam” is pretty scary!
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
Figuring out how to actually sell books! Solving that puzzle has been the biggest mystery of my life. I hope to be writing some larger stories, mainstream horror, for one. There are a few stories I’ve had simmering in the back of my mind, but I felt too intimidated to write them. I didn’t think my writing chops were there yet. Now, I finally feel like I’m ready.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
Rejection hurts. There’s no way to get around that. Whether it’s a bad review on Amazon or a rejection from a potential agent, rejection hurts and it sucks, but you learn to process it. I let myself feel the pain of it, I let myself feel bad, then I pick myself up and go on. Have my pity party, then get up and move forward. You’ve gotta shake that stuff off if you want to have a career as an author, otherwise it will destroy your faith in yourself and your confidence as a writer.
Have a plan. Decide what it is you want to do as an author. Do you want to be a full-time author who lives off your income? Do you want to win awards? Maybe you want to publish lots of books. You have to know what it is you want to accomplish before you have any hope of accomplishing it. Also, educate yourself. Understand the ins and outs of the industry. Authors are creative creatures, but the publishing industry is a business. It’s important to understand that. You can’t always have your creative cap on. Sometimes, you have to put on that business cap.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
The hardest part for me was realizing there was a business side I had to educate myself on! Initially, all I wanted to do was write. I’ve had a massive learning curve when it comes to understanding the business side of things, but I’ve enjoyed the learning process. Sometimes it’s a challenge, because I also have a full-time job. I’m up at around 5:30 and I typically put in a long day. As I’ve learned more about marketing and promotion, I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t. That has gone a long way to help me use my time wisely.
Consistency is the biggest challenge for me and lots of authors. It’s difficult to consistently be on social media or blogging when you feel like nobody is listening. And when we all start out, nobody is listening! Lol But it’s consistency that wins the race in the end. You’ll find your audience and they’ll want to listen.
Figure out what you enjoy, what works, and do more of that on a regular basis. That seems to be key for me.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
If I read it, I edit it, so I don’t read it unless I’m planning to do some kind of edit and re-release. It’s so frustrating to see things I, as a more seasoned writer, could have done better, yet not be able to fix them.
10) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
No. You never know what could happen. Readers want a good story. I don’t think it matters what age the person who writes that story is.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
As a reader, books provide an escape from the real world. The nasty politics, personal heartbreak, discontent with family and/or friends. Books allow me to go anywhere and be anything. That’s why I read. As an author, the greatest gift I can give back is to give readers that same escape that I love so much myself. I believe that in this life, the greatest gift we can give each other is joy. If we can pass on a little joy, we’ve done a great thing. I write, in part, to pass on some of the joy that I’ve experienced as a reader.