Thursday, March 6, 2014

Interview with Heather Marie

Guys, it's March! Which means that the clocks are springing forward and the cold weather is about to crawl back to where it belongs--Ohio or Ontario or some other godforsaken, miserably cold, north-ish place that begins and ends with an O. Also, March means that we are one step closer to the summer, when Heather Marie's GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME hits the shelves.


The thing about Heather is that she's so adorably sweet that there's probably a butterfly fluttering around her all day long. And the other thing about Heather is that when she sits down to write, that very same butterfly probably skitters off to the corner of the room, shivering and cowering and covering his eyeballs with his antennas. 

Yeah. She writes some creepy stuff. 

Case in point:

To seventeen-year-old Aiden Ortiz, letting the dead walk through his body to reach the other side comes with the territory. Being a Gateway isn’t an easy job, but someone’s gotta send Bleeders where they belong. Heaven. Salvation. Call it whatever you want. Dead is dead. But when his search for Koren Banks––the girl who went mysteriously missing seven months ago––leaves him with more questions than answers, he finds himself involved in something far more sinister and beyond his control. 

With the threat of the Dark Priest's resurrection, and his plan to summon his demon brothers from hell, Aiden is left to discover his identity before the Dark Priest's curse infecting his blood consumes him, and before the world as he knows it succumbs to the darkness of hell on earth.

So recently I picked Heather's brain about her stories, her road to publishing, her inspiration for GATEWAY, and her characters. And you're going to love what she had to say:

What drew you into the young adult genre?

I've always felt like a big kid myself, so it seemed fitting for me to write for teens. Initially, what drew me into the genre, was the idea of first love. It's such a sweet experience that happens to all of us, and I love reading about characters experiencing it for the first time. With that being said, when I really started getting into YA, I was searching out anything paranormal. Vampires, ghosts, werewolves, you name it. This may or may not have started after the Twilight phase, as it did with everyone. Though, to be honest, my favorite part about Young Adult literature is that the pacing is always very on par. I have a short attention span, so it's hard for me to read adult books without losing interest fairly quickly. 

As for writing YA, I feel more connected with the characters due to their age. My teen years were important to me, and I experienced so much, which is what I keep in mind as I write. I want to show people, especially teens, through my books that there's so much to learn and enjoy in within those teen stages in life. But, of course, I throw in some crazy supernatural to make it a bit more interesting, but the idea is still there. Our choices as human beings are incredibly important and I tend to demonstrate this through my characters. 

Was there ever a time that you considered giving up on your aspiration to write?

Oh, most certainly! Who hasn't? I went through a really hard time after I left my agent. It always seems like the a**backward thing to do, but it was right for me at the time. And when I continued to get rejections with my next manuscript, I was starting to worry that my writing career had ended before it even began. That seems really dramatic, but I was in such a dark place, I didn't know how to feel exactly. I'm really glad that I moved forward and forced myself to keep writing. I'm so incredibly happy with my publisher Curiosity Quills Press, and beyond thankful to Alisa Gus for signing GATEWAY. 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Believe that things will get better, because they will. Be strong. And brave. One day you'll be able to leave all those things, and people, behind that are weighing you down. None of it will matter, because you're so much better than that. 

And go to college, for goodness sakes! Man, I wish I would have gone with my gut and followed my writing dream way sooner. But, hey, it's okay now! 

What inspired you to write THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME? 

Ghost Adventures. Well, not that show exactly, but my love for the supernatural is what started it all. But I'm pretty sure the idea came to me while I was having a GA marathon. I'm a huge believer in ghosts having had my own experiences, so a lot of what I write is based on the supernatural. I just find it fascinating. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your hero/heroine?

Oh, Aiden. He is such a genuine guy. The biggest part of Aiden is the gift he was born with that has become such a burden. Having the dead following you in order to pass on is extremely annoying, but strangely satisfying. He loves helping others and doing what he can, but in the end, he just wants to be normal. This dream to be like everyone else crashes and burns when his gift becomes more of a curse than anything else. When his life begins to change in a big way, he struggles with his beliefs and where exactly he fits in this world. It's something every kid goes through, and he wants so badly to be good, but much like life, there's just too much temptation. 

I really love Aiden as a character, and I feel bad every time I have to complicate his little world. What can I say? I'm such a meanie.


Heather Marie writes YA supernatural horror, but sometimes dabbles with dark contemporary. She lives in Northern California with her husband and spends most of her time reading through a horde of library books. Her debut, THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME, is forthcoming from Curiosity Quills Press on August 25th, 2014.  

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