Friday, June 29, 2012

Interview with Gwendolyn Heasley

After reading and reviewing A Long Way From Home by Gwendolyn Heasley, I am excited to share an interview I had with her. Without any further ado . . .

1. What do you find yourself rambling about?

Celebrity. While I do somewhat follow celebrity gossip, I’m most interested in how fame changes people and why so many of us are obsessed with celebrities.  I wrote my master’s thesis on the subject and it’s still something that I’m always thinking and rambling about. Also, I miss the Oprah show and occasionally I must lament about that. Oprah, I miss you.

2. You have written two books that are both in the "women's fiction or chick lit" genre, would you ever consider writing in another genre?

I would love to write a nonfiction book at some point in my life. Or work at a newspaper or magazine.  I loved studying journalism and use a lot of what I learned about it in my fiction writing.

I would love the challenge of practicing journalism at some point, especially since I’ve never worked in the field and it’s always been a dream of mine. But I think I would still want to write about women and/or teens because that’s what I’m the most passionate about.
3. What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
       I like the first draft even though it’s so rough and rugged. I think there’s something special about putting it all down on paper for the first time even if it all ends up changing in the end. Plus, I feel the most free then. I’m less worried about details, so it’s more fun!

4. Before becoming a published author, did you have any speed bumps along the way?  If so, how did you overcome them?
 Yes. I got out of school during the height of recession and couldn’t find a job in the journalism field. I felt a bit defeated.  WHERE I BELONG is a recessionary tale and was inspired by that transitional phase in my life.  I learned that you might not have the job you want but you can always write. Foremost, I wrote WHERE I BELONG for myself. I never thought it’d be published.
I’m pleased that it was published, but even more than that, I’m just glad I wrote it because it was cathartic. I think you can have a great writing experience regardless of whether you get published or not. There are just some stories that we must tell and WHERE I BELONG was one of those for me.

5. When looking at your female leads, do you put a piece of your own personality into the characters?
I don’t. My characters are always more extreme than I am. Kitsy, from A LONG WAY FROM YOU, is way more brave and kind than I’ll ever be. Corrinne, from WHERE I BELONG, is more confident and sophisticated than I’ll ever be.  I might share some qualities with both of them, but they are always the extreme version of me. I love writing from their perspective because they do stuff that I would be too scared to do, especially when I was a teenager. Both of my heroines are risk takers, so they are delights to write about.
6. What is next on your plate?
      I’m writing my third book with HarperTeen. At this point, I’m not sure what it’ll be about, but I know that it will not be related to WHERE I BELONG or A LONG WAY FROM YOU. It’s a bit intimidating to step away from my characters who I adore, but I’m excited for a new challenge.

THANK YOU for having me on your awesome blog! 

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