11-21-2011: Never to be forgotten! Today is the day that Ian Somerhalder responded to me on facebook! Hey, that may not be a big deal for you, but for me.. HUGE. *swoon*
Conversation copied from FB:
ME: Finally! After an hour of searching facebook, I find the REAL you. Hi Ian!
Ian Somerhalder: Thank you.Nice to meet you
ME: My pleasure! Thank you for taking the time to notice. :)
Ian Somerhalder: you're welcome
Ian Somerhalder: I try not to disappoint my fans!
ME: Well, you're doing a wonderful job. :) It's nice (and a bit scary) to talk to someone like you!
ME: lol... (I'm secretly freaking out cuz I got to talk to Ian! *sigh*)
Ian Somerhalder: Thank you Theresa!
ME: lol... you're welcome! Just do me a favor and don't knock when you invade my dreams tonight. The husband probably wouldn't like that. hehe!
Ian Somerhalder: well I will not:)
ME: Perfect! Thanks. LOL
Interview: Heather McCollum, author of Highlander Heart
by Heather McCollum
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance
Length: 55 pages
Release Date: December 2012
Alec Munro, chieftain of the Munros, has captured the Englishman who swindled his father. Set on retribution, he’s caught off-guard by the thief’s beautiful daughter, a lass whose beauty and spirit leave him questioning the value of revenge.
Rachel Brindle has a secret: she can heal people with her magic. While journeying with her father and sister into the Highlands, she becomes a prize sought between two warring clans. She must use her cunning and her healing magic to prevent the same slaughter that started the blood feud a century ago. But when her secret is exposed, will it condemn her in the eyes of the barbarian who has capture not only her family, but also her heart?
Interview with Heather McCollum:
Thank you so much for having me at Fade Into Fantasy today! Here are some answers to your fun questions.
Describe your book in a tweet (140 characters or less).
My HIGHLAND HEARTS series takes place in 16th Scotland and the English court of Henry VIII. So far the series includes the full-length CAPTURED HEART and its prequel short novella, HIGHLAND HEART. This tweet describes the series.
“Rugged Highlanders in low slung kilts & feisty lasses full of spirit – wrapped up in adventure, romance, & white magic! Oh my!”
How much research went into your book?
I write stories in many different time periods from the 10th century up to present day, so thorough research is a requirement. To make history real enough to play in it with my characters, I have to unearth the details of everyday life in that time period. Did they have toilets? What did they have for entertainment, nourishment, and comfort? Some details are fairly easy to discover through books like Everyday Life in Renaissance England by Kathy Lynn Emerson. Others are antidotal or practically non-existent like trying to truly figure out what menstruating women did without tampons. FYI: there’s speculation from Elizabeth I’s household accounts of rags and something that could have been a belt to hold them in place since they didn’t wear underwear back then.
The challenge lies in first making certain you accurately depict details and events that are recorded in the history books and then making certain that you can’t find true details about something you are making up. This is very important when you bring factual historical figures or events into your story. The figures must act true to their personalities, and outcomes of events must be real to give your story credibility as in – it could have happened. But within those confines, there is usually a lot of room to play. And that’s where the fun starts!
Theresa: Wow! I can only imagine the fun tidbits of information you dig up, Heather. If I tried to research history like that, I’d probably get so interested in how they did things that I would forget what I was looking for in the first place. LOL
If you could no longer write, what career would you choose instead?
I love birthday parties, kid’s theme parties. I’m rather known in my circle of moms as the creative genius behind parties like “Life-sized Candyland” and “Storm trooper training camp.” Just last weekend I created a unicorn/fairy tea party for my Kindergartener with wings for everyone! I love the magic in themed parties, especially for kids. I would definitely put them together full time if I wasn’t in love with writing magical novels.
Theresa: This is fabulous! I always wanted to have parties like these when I was young, but it just wasn’t in my mom’s genes (which means she didn’t pass them on to me, either LOL).
Does writing come naturally to you, or did you have to work harder in order to get that story in your head down on paper?
I’ve always had a knack for writing creative stories. I am an only child and my family moved a lot when I was young, so I didn’t have many friends. I spent my time making up stories and eventually they found their way to paper.
I find that if something is difficult to write or my characters seem to be digging in their heels, it’s probably for a good reason like poor character motivation. When I let up on the reins a bit and let my hopefully well formed characters start acting on their own, writing becomes much easier. It boils down to trust really. If I trust myself to come up with an awesome book and relax, it does come naturally.
Theresa: Great news for some of the struggling writers out there. Remember, people…TRUST yourself to write the story that’s in you!
How long did it take you to write your book?
It takes me about six months to write a 400 page historical romance. I’ve done it in four months but that was really pushing it.
Theresa: I’m curious…how many of the six months are spent on research and planning vs the actual writing?
Do you follow a writing schedule, or just write whenever you get the chance?
I set time aside mid morning into the afternoon to work, after the kids leave for school and the dog has been walked. But life usually messes up my schedule. Take today for instance. I had planned to work out with a friend and write the rest of the day. Instead my 14 yo started throwing up and my 6 yo needed to go to the doctor for a reoccurring stomach ache. Then the dog started freaking out because of her ear infection and I had to run out for medicines and Sprite for the throwing-up child. Oh, and then disinfect everything, make pudding, and find something to occupy the 6 yo. I’m just now starting to write and I’m sure I’ll be interrupted every five minutes.
So I end up writing after dinner also to catch up. When I’m near a deadline I hideout at Starbuck’s to write for long, uninterrupted times.
Theresa: I can’t seem to accomplish anything when all of the boys (four teenagers) are home, so I understand the crazy days! I’m finding that late at night works great, but then I’m tired the next day. (Just because I stay up late doesn’t mean that I get to sleep in, unfortunately. LOL) And so sorry about the sick one!
Aside from family occurrences, what event or accomplishment would you consider to be the highlight of your life thus far?
Umm…family occurrences – does that mean giving birth?? So apart from that I’d have to say getting ovarian cancer two years ago. OK, you’re thinking “she read that question wrong”: ) Cancer is not usually considered a highlight.
Fighting cancer was terrorizing, the thought of being snatched away from my three young kids and husband. It was painful, fifteen months of chemo and six more months of excruciating neuropathy.
But…it was the most amazing thing to happen to me. I’ve never before seen so much love poured out from people. I learned that I have astonishing inner strength. I met strong and inspiring warriors and held the hand of a dying friend who was so full of faith she practically glowed. In these past two years I’ve changed, I’ve grown, I’ve learned what it really means to live.
My prognosis is good and despite the pain and fear, as long as I don’t die early from this terrible disease, beating cancer has been the best thing to ever happen to me.
Theresa: *nodding head* Congratulations on winning! My dad fought and won his battle with lung cancer a few years ago and is fighting prostate cancer now, so I know some of what you’re talking about. Even when watching it and not living it, it gives a person an entirely new respect and appreciation for life.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received in your life?
Right after I was diagnosed, when I was still terrified, my pastor said to me – “Heather, a lot of things are happening to you that you have no control over. The only thing you do have control over is how you’re going to react. What type of woman do you want to be while facing this?”
I took that advice to heart and decided to become a warrior, which meant that I would be as positive and aggressively tough as I could. So far the outcome has been wonderful.
Theresa: Great advice! The way you look at an obstacle can definitely make a huge difference.
What thought or sentiment would you like to have copied and put into one million fortune cookies?
“Your life is already wonderful. Pay attention to what’s going on around you right now and you’re more likely to notice.”
Is there anything you’re working on now?
I’ve just completed the second book in the HIGHLAND HEARTS series. It follows Ewan Brody as he travels down to Henry VIII’s English court and runs into the most complicated lass who’s ever lived. There are dark twists and court intrigue and of course delicious romance.
My fourth book of THE DRAGONFLY CHRONICLES series is in edits right now and I have a YA paranormal romance coming out in 2014. I’m also journaling about my recovery from cancer over this year in hopes to make that into a survival story.
Theresa: Ohhhh…can’t wait to read that YA PNR!
- Coffee or tea? Tea, chai latte is my favorite. I make it from scratch with cardamom pods, vanilla bean, fresh cinnamon and star anise.
- Paper book or ebook? Hard question. Paper for the tub, e-book for convenience.
- Summer or winter? Winter definitely. Summer is a scorcher where I live, everything rather dead or droopy.
- Werewolves or vampires? Vampire as long as he sparkles ; )
- Morning person or night owl? More of a morning person but not too early.
- Pantser or plotter? Both.
- Pepsi or Coke? Neither. I like seltzer and juice.
- Dogs or cats? Dogs. I’ve got a rescued golden retriever named Sophie.
- Drink – Chai latte or hot chocolate.
- Food – Pie, pretty much any pie.
- Movie – Pride & Prejudice
- TV show – The Middle or Big Bang
- Book – The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
- Late night snack – multi grain cheerios and milk
- Writing tools – spell check, I’m a terrible speller
- Sport – hockey, thank goodness they are back on the ice!
- Vacation destination – Maine coast or Scotland
- Music – Rock/pop
- Place to read – on my back porch couch when it is the perfect temperature
- Place to write – on my back porch couch when it is the perfect temperature : )
- Way to relax – spa day at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC
Thanks so much for being here today, Heather!