Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Author interview with Heidi R. Kling

I'm lucky enough to have the talented Heidi R. Kling joining me on the blog today to answer a few questions. Heidi has a new book out called WHERE I FOUND YOU.  Check out the cover! Isn't it pretty?


Heidi was kind enough to be interviewed about her book and her life, so here are her answers to my questions.

If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?

I’d probably swap places with Sienna in Aceh, because that experience is so rich and vivid and painful, it defined her. I’d also swap with Paige in Jackson Hole Wyoming with Jake in the cabin. :)

In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre?

WHERE I FOUND YOU is unique because it takes place after a natural disaster in Indonesia. I don’t think I’ve heard of another YA novel that takes place in Indonesia. We’re tackling culture shock, coming-of-age, first love and the aftermath of a devastating disaster all in the same novel. Another thing that makes it unique is the tone. While it deals with heavy material, it’s light in tone, which makes it accessible to everyone and a wide swath of ages, which is my goal.

What part of the story was the most fun to write? The most challenging?

I loved “aging up” Sienna. She was originally 15 in the novel Sea, and now in WHERE I FOUND YOU she is 17. There’s a new maturity there, and her age allowed me to deepen her relationship and her feelings for Deni.

Which of your characters is most like you?


Sienna. I don’t think I’m like Vera at all. My friends who read Sea said they can hear my voice in her narrative. We are a lot alike. I can’t deny that!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

Fly. Hands down. I would fly around. Mostly at night. Mostly over the sea.

Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you.

After spending 16 years in Palo Alto, we bought a house in a tiny town on the coast! Not unlike Sienna’s town.

What other interests do you have outside of writing?

Hanging out with my friends, family, kids. Watching TV. Hiking. Riding my beach cruiser on the coastal trail. Cooking. Eating. Living. My motto is: don’t write instead of live. If I’m spending more time in a fictional world than my real world, I shake things up. I’m fortunate to have a very full and fun life. I keep my calendar packed and am always on the lookout for the next fun thing to do.

Do you have a nervous habit when writing? A guilty pleasure when writing? (example: chew a pen to death or have a stack of Hershey’s kisses while you write)

I used to pound frozen dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s, but we don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby anymore so I have to suffer in silence.

:D Thanks for having me!

About the Book:


Where I Found You (Sea #1) by Heidi R. Kling

Genre: YA Contemporary

Published by Entangled Teen

Published on December 4th, 2017

Goodreads

After her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean, seventeen-year-old Sienna Jones gave up everything she loved about living in California. No more surfing. No more swimming. No more ocean, period. Playing it safe, hiding from the world, is the best call.

Until her dad throws down the challenge of a lifetime: spend the summer with his humanitarian team in Indonesia, working with orphans who lost everything in a massive tsunami.

The day they arrive, Sienna meets a mysterious boy named Deni, whose dark, intense eyes make her heart race. Their stolen nights force her to open up and live in a way she thought she couldn’t anymore. When she’s with Deni, she remembers the girl she used to be…and starts to feel like the woman he sees in her.

A woman he wants for his own.

Gulp.

But when Deni’s past comes looking for him, Sienna’s faced with losing another person she loves. She can’t do it. Not again.

Fortunately, this time, she has a plan.

About the Author:
Heidi R. Kling writes about normal girls in fantastic situations. PAINT MY BODY RED, a romantic thriller about a girl fleeing secrets from home launches November 2 with EntangledTeen, followed by several more novels on various Entangled imprints. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the New School, but has been writing books, plays and screenplays since she could practically hold a pencil.

Her first novel, SEA (Putnam), was a Gateway Readers Award Finalist & Northern California Book of the Year nominee, was a Summer 2010 Indie Next Pick and a Goodreads “Mover and Shaker”.

Website

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Weekly Goals 11-12-17

With the year winding down, I'm not actually setting myself any writing goals this week.  STUMPED releases on Friday, and I am planning to use whatever scraps of spare time I can find to work on doing publicity for that.  I really want this book to sell well because I love it so much.

I'm not sure exactly how much I'll be able to achieve because this week is stupidly busy already, with both kids having end-of-year events as well as the usual work pressure.  I have an enourmous amount of work to get through this week and less time than usual because of all these school comittments that will mean I have to leave early.

Arrgggh!  And I haven't done Christmas shopping yet....

What are your goals this week?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 8-12-17



This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

It's Friday!

It's been another crazy week, so I'm looking forward to a weekend, even if it does look like it's going to be a busy one.

I got ARCs of STUMPED this week, so I've been busy getting those out to reviewers.  If you are interested in reading and reviewing, just let me know and I can send you a file.

It is th end of the school year and both my sons are finishing at their respective schools so we have a flurry of end-of-year activity with prize-givings and leavers' dinners.  Last night my older son won an award for being the best library leader in his school.  He's definitely my son...

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Insecure Writers Group


I can't believe it has taken me until now to join this group, but better late than never huh?  I guess I was hoping I'd become a member of the elite 'secure writer's group', but somehow I doubt that one has many members...

This month's question is about looking back on 2017 and all the successes and failures, and what you'd do differently if you could backtrack.

Interesting question.

2017 has been an interesting year for me in terms of my writing career.  My agent and I parted ways early in the year which left me feeling a little at sea in terms of where to go next.  While I loved working with an agent in many ways, I didn't really feel like diving back into the query trenches again immediately.

A lot of things going on in my life had left me feeling very under-confident about myself and my abilities and that didn't feel like the right place to be coming from when querying.  Plus, I had just been approached by someone wanting me to ghostwrite an autobiography and that felt like something diffferent and exciting to try out.

I spent about six months working on that project, but because the subject and I lived in different cities, it was difficult to get together to talk and for me to gather the material necessary.  Plus she was living in quite challenging circumstances and struggling to get her life back on track.  So while we haven't entirely abandoned the project, we have put it on hold until next year sometime.

I don't regret the time I spent on that project, but I can't help thinking about all the other work I could have done in that time.  I have books in need of revision and other books clamouring in my head to be written, so spending six months not-really-working on this one feels like time that could have been better spent.

But I can't really complain.  I found a new publisher for An Unstill Life, and finally got the opportunity to hold a physical book I wrote in my own two hands, and to see it on the shelf at the public library.  And after a lot of years of working on it, Stumped is finally about to make its way into the world.

What would you do differently if you had the chance for a 2017 do-over?

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Books I've Read: Before the Devil Breaks You



This is the third book in the Diviners series and I enjoyed it much more than the second book in the series, but not as much as the first.  I had expected this to be the final book in the series, so I was surprised when I got to the last 50 or so pages and realised there wasn't enough book left to tie everything up.

Now I have to wait a couple more years to find out how it all turns out...  I hate that!

In fact, this is why I don't usually read series until the whole series has already been published.

I had to fight my way into the beginning of this one because it had been so long since I'd finished the second book, and there are a lot of characters in these books, all with their own unique gifts and powers.  But once I settled in and remembered who was who and who could do what, I fell back into the world Libba Bray has created and let these characters carry me along for the ride.

I adore the setting of this series, especially the 1920s slang that gives the whole thing an authentic flavour. New York in the  jazz era is such an exciting time with the bootleg booze, the trendy Harlem nightclubs, gangsters and dandies.  These books make the most of the period and include mixed-race relationships, homosexuality and strong, powerful women all within the constraints of that period's society.

I don't want to give too much away, but the book follows on from the second one, and the mysteries are beginning to unravel.  The dangerous King of Crows is identified and how he came to be there is revealed.  The secrets behind Project Buffalo begin to come to light and it isn't pretty for those involved.

I enjoyed it once I got into it, but I did feel that some parts were a little too long.  I will also be interested to see how Mabel's adventures play into the larger story because while I really enjoyed her journey through this book, her story seemed very separate to the stories of the other diviners.

But I'm sure it will all come together in the next book...

I reccommend this one, but you will need to read the other two books before diving into this.

In case you're interested, here's the blurb:

New York City.
1927.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming...

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They're more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward's Island, far from the city's bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten--ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they've ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation--a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Weekly Goals 4-12-17

I managed to not write anything last week, despite promising I would continue to work on my NaNo book.

I ended up getting my final round of edits from my publisher, plus my cover, so rather than writing, I spent time making publicity plans and looking for potential reviewers for STUMPED.

This week willl be more of the same.  I hope I might squeeze some words in too, but given it's the end of the year for the kids, and we have parent teacher nights, prize-givings and all that palavar to deal with as well, I'm not going to beat myself up too much if I don't write.

I also have a huge project to finish at work before the 19th, so I may be doing a few late nights to get through that as well.

I hate it when I don't have the brain space or the energy to write, but I also know I don't do good writing when I feel that way, so pushing it now is a waste of time.  I'd just end up deleting everything I wrote anyway when I got to revising.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things 1-12-17



This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

Friday!  And can you believe it's the 1st of December already?  Where has the year gone?

I've had an insane week at work, and it looks like the next three will be just as insane.  All I can say is, roll on Christmas break...  But I am celebrating getting our Annual Report out.  It's one of my biggest projects every year and it's always a wondeful day when the printed copies arrive and we get them out the door to the various government departments that require it.

This week I'm celebrating getting my cover art for Stumped. I'm really excited to get this book out into the world and getting cover art is always the first step.  I should have ARCs next week, so if you're keen to read it and review, just let me know!

I didn't win NaNo...  Not that I really expected to.  I finished the month with just under 32K written, two novels started and one that I realized I began way too early.  But that's okay. I wrote something and I can probably salvage something from both those ideas.

Next year though.

My younger son is going tramping this weekend with the Scouts, so I'm looking forward to a quiet, relaxing couple of days.  My vacuum cleaner broke last weekend, but my partner managed to fix it during the week, so I will have some serious cleaning to do.  With two cats, the house needs to be vacuumed every week.

What are you celebrating this week?