I'm thrilled to host author Heather McCorkle in a celebration of her newest young adult fantasy, To Ride a Puca.
Heather isn't just talented - she's a true advocate for literacy. When she isn't working on her own stories, Heather is championing debut authors and fostering new writers. Just my kind of gal.
Please join me in welcoming the wonderful Heather McCorkle as she talks about druids, Pucas and all things writerly.
Give us the one-sentence pitch for To Ride a Puca.
With the druids’ final battle upon them, can Neala convince her people to stand and fight, or will she lose the land of her birth just when she’s found her place in it?
Druids? I like druids! Sounds fabulous.
Why is this book special to you?
This book is special to me for many reasons. I’ve always been fascinated by stories about druids, and being Irish/American, the land of my ancestors~and more importantly, why they left~has always fascinated me as well. When I started doing research and uncovered the sad history of the druids in Ireland I knew I had to write about it.
2. Who is the main character? What is your favourite trait about that character?
The main character is Neala O’Carroll. My favorite thing about her has to be how she always speaks her mind, often when she shouldn’t. ;)
3. Which of your fictional characters is most like you?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one. Neala and I definitely have a lot in common, though she is her own person for sure. So to speak.
4. Which character is easiest to write? Most difficult?
The easiest for me to write was Dubh because on some level I just knew who he was, as though he came fully formed to me. The hardest was Tyr because I felt awful about some of the things I put him through. Someday I may have to make it up to him and write his own book for him. We shall see!
5. What writing craft rule would you never break?
I’m afraid I’ve probably broken them all at some point. Rules are made to be broken after all.
6. Describe your most creative atmosphere? Are you the type of writer that can "write anywhere?" Besides your computer / pen / notebook, what's your must-have item for writing?
A desk beside a window with a scenic nature view and music appropriate to whatever book I’m writing at the time playing. But I almost never get that so I can write anywhere, and I do. I carry a notebook with me wherever I go so it’s probably my must-have item.
7. Do you believe in writer's block? How do you overcome it?
I don’t, but it believes in me. ;) The good news is, I know exactly how to overcome it. For some weird reason a shower almost always works. When that doesn’t I call up a friend who knows the story well and brainstorm with them, or I do research if I can’t reach anyone. A lot of my inspiration comes from research.
8. When you finish a manuscript, who is your first reader? Do you have a critique group? If yes, what are some key rules for a successful partnership?
That would have to be my other half, sort of. I read it aloud as part of my editing process and he listens and tells me when something sounds strange of doesn’t make sense. I have a wonderful critique group and beta readers who help after that stage. The key rules are respectful, constructive criticism only, and we always do for others what they do for us.
9. Who would you credit for encouraging you to write?
My wonderfully supportive husband, my critique partners, and my beta readers.
10. What advice would you give young writers?
Go to college, take writing courses, attend writing workshops, writer’s retreats. Always strive to improve and learn to edit your work well.
11. Name three things on your writerly bucket list.
I’d love to sell a million books, even if it’s all of my books combined. I’d love to see To Ride A Puca break into the top 10 sellers on Amazon and/or B&N. And, I’d love to write all the books that are occupying my head right now.
12. You're very active! How do your extracurricular activities play into your writing?
They’re a huge part of it and always make it into my books somehow. My extracurricular activities enrich my writing and give it more of a sense of realism. I consider all that I do research for future novels!
13. How much research do you before you write? How do you approach this research?
That depends on the book, but usually a lot. Research inspires me, sometimes introducing entire new chapters that I hadn’t planned on. I love to research online and then verify with library research or by buying books on the subjects I need to learn about most.
14. And because some believe 13 is unlucky...anything I didn't ask but you wish I would have?
Thirteen is my lucky number. ;)
Great answers, Heather!
Heather is an author of young adult fantasy, in all it's many sub-genres. Entertaining readers, helping other writers, and supporting fabulous debut authors are her passions. When not writing or surfing her favorite social networking sites, Heather can be found on the slopes, the hiking trails, or on horseback. As a native Oregonian, she enjoys the outdoors nearly as much as the worlds she create on the pages.
Dawn Dalton is the brainy yet sassy author of (mostly) creepy young adult and middle grade fiction. When she isn't writing about monsters, Dawn can be found at spooky crossroads with her family and three bullmastiff hounds. You know, just skulking around. She is represented by Agent Awesome, Mandy Hubbard D4EO Literary.