HA: Hey Mary! Thanks for inviting me over to your cyberspace home. :)
MRP: You know you’re always welcome. ; ) Let’s get started: What first brought you to the world of Avenir Eclectia and got you interested in the project?
HA: I ran across it while browsing the Splashdown Books sites. I thought it sounded like a cool Christian version of the Star Wars universe set-up, where authors all worked together to create a really cool world. Plus, I have a tendency to be wordy, and when I saw that the preferred wordcount was below 400 words, I thought it would be cool to challenge myself.
MRP: What do you consider your unique 'trademark' as a writer, and how does that come through in your Avenir Eclectia stories?
HA: I'd say my unique trademark is bringing characters out of a dark past and into an at least semi-hopeful future. Even if I don't always showcase my beliefs, I always try to bring characters to a place of hope at the end of the story arc. A lot of that comes through Pieter's past as a smuggler/his future as a flight teacher, and the orphans' future in being able to have good jobs. With Reeder, it's in his fear of the supernatural forces that his brother is a part of, and how eventually overcomes that fear.
MRP: I've had so much fun watching you explore the unique way a smuggler and a group of orphans relate to each other. Can you tell us a bit about that (your inspiration, goals, etc.)?
HA: My inspiration for Pieter was, basically, I've always wanted to write a character that is a former smuggler. Cara was inspired by the other orphans I saw in the stories. I didn't intend for them to last for longer than two or three stories, but as I figured out more about them, their story kept expanding.
I really didn't have specific goals in mind as I started writing them. I have noticed, though, that Pieter especially has expanded as a character. He goes from bored, spoiled rich kid to infamous smuggler to flight school teacher. Teaching was the last thing he ever thought he would be doing, yet he finds the most satisfaction from it. (Of course, his story doesn't end with becoming a teacher...but if I said anything more, it would be a spoiler. Can't have that!) ;) So I think my goal with him is illustrating how satisfying a simple life can be.
MRP: What do you see as the biggest advantage of a multi-author project like Avenir Eclectia?
HA: The inspiration. I always joke that I should've worked for Pixar, because the team that works on a story together always meets every morning to bat ideas around. I work the best when I get a chance to brainstorm with other creative types, and I always come away from an AE story or discussion inspired to write, whether it be for Avenir Eclectia or on one of my own projects.
MRP: The biggest disadvantage or challenge?
HA: The continuity. It's like the old saying, "Too many cooks spoil the stew." Not that I'm saying that there could be too many people involved in Avenir Eclectia. But sometimes, with multiple people writing about the same locations, it can get a little off-kilter since everyone kind of has their own perspective on things. But so far I think everyone has done a really good job at working together to keep stuff consistent.
MRP: Do you have a favorite memory or experience from the Avenir Eclectia project so far?
HA: I really, really loved reading everything that Walt Staples wrote. He had a great wit and a talent that I envied. He was one of my favorite Avenir Eclectia authors and I really miss him.
Besides that, my next favorite memory would be seeing my first fiction piece published, and seeing the first book in print with my name on the cover.
MRP: Seeing my name on the cover was a big thrill for me too, and getting to share that exciting first with a close friend just made it that much cooler!
Can you give us any kind of hint at where your story/character arc is going from here?
HA: Pieter, Cara, Cog, and Clock will be involved with some of the creepy-crawly happenings on Avenir. Reeder, my messenger in Zirconia, actually has a lot of his story plot to go, and his story will be tied into some of the demonic-plot storylines.
MRP: Thanks again for joining us, Heather! It's always fun talking to another author, especially one who shares interest in a project I've been blessed to be a part of. ; )
HA: Thanks for having me Mary!
Well, that about wraps up the Avenir Eclectia interviews for me. It makes me kind of sad. But, work on the shared project continues with some exciting plans for the future, and of course, the first volume is available in print on Amazon at an amazing price. So if you haven't read it by now, you've got no excuse. : P
Have a great weekend, everybody!