*Originally posted on Infinite House of Books http://www.house-of-books.com
IB: What initially got you interested in writing?
KMH: In my previous career, I wrote technical documents, training materials, and grants. Before that, I wrote really bad poetry and short stories. I’ve always been fascinated with what makes people do the things they do, and how they react in unthinkable situations. Getting some life experience under my belt helped me gain the courage to really dive into writing fiction.
IB: How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?
KMH: I started writing the Order of the Sinistra Dei series in the late 90s, but life happened. When I made the decision to homeschool my youngest child, my friends harassed me to finally finish the book. I wrote the first draft of Feast of the Epiphany in three weeks, rewrote it, spent some time learning the craft, and rewrote it again. After all of this, I still didn’t know if I had what it took to be an author. I submitted the novel to Awesome Indies for a manuscript review and received a 4 and a 5-star rating.
I wrote a second book, The Spirit Tree, and won a contract with Kindle Press via a Kindle Scout campaign. The feedback from professionals and reader reviews overwhelmed me. I’m still not sure I’ve decided to be an author, but I plan to keep writing books until I figure it out.
IB: What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
KMH: I couldn’t have answered this question a month ago, other than to say I hoped people enjoyed the story. That changed when I received a letter from a woman who lives near me. She asked if we were related, or if I knew her. She explained that the family in “The Spirit Tree” and “Twelve Spirits of Christmas” hit so close to home for her, she was certain I knew them.
I didn’t recognize her name, but I called my mom to make sure. The woman was a stranger to me, but something in my story rang true for her. The weight of her words grounded me. For the first time, I understood the potential of my stories to touch people. My hope is that people will identify with my characters, and perhaps, feel connected. Realizing that we aren’t alone in our experiences, that someone else has gone through the same thing, is liberating.
IB: What do you find most rewarding about writing?
KMH: The most rewarding part of writing is the free therapy. Digging into a character, problem, or storyline is cathartic for me. I can take painful things that have happened to me and rewrite the endings. I can take people who tick me off (you know how you are) and kill them in creatively brutal ways. I’m in control.
IB: What do you find most challenging about writing?
KMH: The biggest challenge is the uncertainty of it all. I pour my heart and soul into my books in hopes of creating something people enjoy. Releasing them is like sending your children off into the world. You pray they will be accepted, loved, and will thrive. To go from having total control in the creation to blind faith in a relatively short amount of time is difficult for control freaks, like myself.
IB: What advice would you give to people want to enter the field?
KMH: Surround yourself with professionals and successful authors who are willing to tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Believe them when they say your early work stinks. They speak the truth. Forget what your friends and family tell you. Granny isn’t going to tell you that you suck. This is the woman who gushed over your preschool crayon drawings. Be professional, set your ego aside, and learn the craft. Almost every new author thinks they can break the rules or justify bad writing as voice. Likewise, most indie authors sell less than 100 books and give up. If you want to be a successful author, put in the time to learn to write a solid story.