Today, my guest is fantasy author, Kelley Heckart. She's here talking about her latest book, Beltaine's Song.
1) Tell me a little about your book. Beltaine’s Song is the second book in my Dark Goddess trilogy. The trilogy revolves around an Irish clan and the goddess that wants vengeance on them for betraying her. I had a theme in Beltaine’s Song—while spring brought new life and happiness, spring also was the time when clans battled, thus bringing a hint of sadness. There is a lot of love and loss in this second book
2) What gave you the idea for this particular story? When I wrote the first book, Cat’s Curse, I was only planning on writing a single story, but while researching that book I came up with an idea for a trilogy. I drew on a Celtic myth about Samhain and Beltaine and how one goddess ruled in fall/winter (from Samhain to Beltaine and another goddess ruled in spring/summer (Beltaine to Samhain). In Beltaine’s Song, I focus on the goddess that ruled from Beltaine to Samhain.
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? Right now I am a full-time writer. I write in the morning from about 9 am to 12 noon, take a lunch break and then write from 1 or 2pm to 6pm. My Muse rules my time so I always keep a notebook and pen with me so I can jot down ideas.
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? I didn’t know that I wanted to be a writer until late in life. My first choice was to be a musician and I thought I would never give that up, but due to health issues my life plans changed. Writing was something that I was able to do to help me deal with those unexpected changes. I decided that I loved working by myself and I loved to write stories, creating characters and plots.
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing? I want readers to get enjoyment from my stories.
6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why? I write Celtic historical romances with paranormal/fantasy elements. It’s a little strange that I write romance because I grew up reading horror, fantasy and thrillers more than romance novels. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander inspired me to write romances that crossed into other genres.
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it? Writing is really hard work. In fact, I don’t think I ever worked harder in my life. The toughest part of writing for me is getting focused on the story and being motivated to write. Once I get started I’m okay—it’s getting started that can be tough. Sometimes I need a little push—listening to music helps to motivate me to write. I like music that sets the mood for battles and supernatural beings. My favorite bands are Evanescence, Seether, Flyleaf, Nighwish, Apocalyptica, Sirenia and Blackmore’s Night.
8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it. Yes, my Dark Goddess trilogy is based on a real Irish king/warlord named Aedan mac Gabrain. He ruled Dal Riata (southwest Scotland) in the sixth century and was known as a formidable warrior. A lot of the events/battles that happen in my trilogy were recorded in ancient Irish/Welsh texts.
9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different? My female characters in this trilogy are either goddesses or warriors. I wish I could be a goddess. LOL I probably identify more with the warrior women because they are bold and speak out against things they disagree with. For example, my heroine is the queen and she tries to help women that are abused by fathers and/or husbands. She also defies the Christian monks by sticking to her pagan beliefs. I can relate to that because I have always been a bit of a rebel and not afraid to do things that are different from the norm.
10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story? I did tons of research for this trilogy. I had to read books like Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, the Annals of Ulster and the Annals of Tigernach and Adomnan's Life of St. Columba. There were other historical texts that I had to read, but I can’t think of the titles right now. Lucky for me I love to do research and I am fascinated with Dark Age time periods.
11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not? I do have some violent battle scenes and a death scene in Beltaine’s Song. It didn’t bother me to write these scenes. I think it is more difficult for me to write sex scenes—any kind of sex scene. I find myself giggling at what I write. Not sure why. I would say that my sex scenes are more sensual than explicit, mainly because I feel more comfortable writing that way and because sensual scenes seem to match my other prose.
12) What about your book makes it special? I think what makes Beltaine’s Song (and my other books) special is that they are different then other romances. I don’t follow the romance formula that most romances follow. I like to add twists to my plot and some of my main characters are a little different than average romance heroes and heroines.
13) What is your marketing plan? My marketing plan is that I am all over the Internet. I have a website, blog, pages on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, myspace, etc. I belong to various romance/writing related Yahoo groups and participate in discussions. I’m a featured member at The Romance Studio and participate in special promotions. I belong to a couple of blogs that I post to every month. I just joined a free reads blog (Truly, Madly Deeply Romance Authors) with other authors to help promote our work by posting free short stories.
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work? To learn more about my books and me: http://www.kelleyheckart.com/
http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/ Check out my long hair hotties!
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
1. Write, write and write.
2. Read books in the genre you are interested in writing.
3. Only write if you really love to write because you won’t make much money doing it.
4. Write from the heart.
5. And most important: never give up.
Brief blurb for Beltaine’s Song:
For each of them, spring's song has a different meaning.
Aedan and Domelch must battle earthly foes—enemy kings and traitorous allies. For the first time, the arrival of spring heralds the sound of a harsh battle horn as their foes close in. Through all this turmoil, can their love survive?
For their son, Gartnait, spring brings with it the promise of new love and the thrilling sound of the battle horn, putting those he cares about in danger.