Every so often the world is lucky enough to come across a story (or two)
that we fall in love with. This series of interviews is about the authors who write them.
Today, I’m very lucky to be interviewing Andrea Heltsley.
Thank you so much for agreeing to spill your guts and inner most thoughts about writing with me.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Absolutely! I was always writing stories up until my first manuscript at age 16. When I graduated High school, my aptitude test told me that being an author was a good career path for me. Since I also had a high aptitude for science, I got my Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Eventually, a few years ago, I decided to make the jump from Science to English.
Which authors inspire you?
I grew up reading a lot. During my teen years I had a huge obsession with Christopher Pike and L.J. Smith. It was then I knew I would always favor paranormal romance.
Nathaniel Hawthorne and his short story Young Goodman Brown that I researched for my college English class gave me a push to keep writing in my spare time.
Once I was out in the working world, the few authors that gave me a little push to write my own stories were Rachel Vincent, Kim Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, Sophie Kinsella and Richelle Mead and finally Stephanie Meyers.
Now my inspiration to be the best author I can comes from other indie authors I adore. I love Shelly Crane, Addison Moore, Alyssa Rose Ivy, Molly McAdams, Ednah Walters, Sophie Davis and Jennifer L. Armentrout the most.
I’d love for you to fill us in on what books you have written!
I am the author of the teen paranormal romance series Dancing, (Dancing with Deception (0.5) Dancing with Death (1), Dancing with Demons (2) and more in the series coming soon.) I’ve also written my first new adult romantic comedy, Distance. I’ve also written the new adult novel Dreawalker, Dissolve and Devour.
What genre are your books?
I write paranormal romance mostly but venture into contemporary a little. My target audience is new adult and upper young adult.
What drew you to writing this genre?
I’ve always been drawn to the paranormal. I love paranormal romance books and naturally steer towards it.
What is your latest book about?
I am writing the sequel to Dissolve, the final book as well, Detour. It’s an awesome paranormal romance filled with action and unexpected twists. I think I like it better than Dissolve as I’m finishing it up for publication this summer!
What inspired you to write it?
I wrote Dissolve and it was my first release. The story just came to me and I was able to write it easier than I expected. I finally got back to that duo-logy and began to work on Detour.
What actor/actress do you see playing your lead character if it were turned into a movie?
That’s a tough one. This series is one of the few that I didn’t make after famous people as models. They are all unique in their own way. I don’t actually think I could place them.
What was your favorite thing to research while writing your latest book?
Genetic manipulation. I love science and worked quite a bit on genetic modification in my past jobs. It was a blast adding those elements into the story.
How much, if any, of your latest book is realistic? What were the challenges in bringing this story to life?
There isn’t much realism in this paranormal book. The relationships that are forged are really the only thing that would really happen. This is such a fantastical story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?
Never stop fighting no matter what road blocks you come across.
What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
I went out on a limb and wrote the new adult romantic comedy, Distance. It was out of my element and I second guessed myself a lot and had some awesome people help me write through some of the tough spots.
While you were writing, which character did you connect with the most?
I’m a sucker for Cora, yet Noah and Nessa have a lot to contribute too.
Did you learn anything from your latest story?
There is no limit to your imagination. If you can think it, you can create it.
Who designed your covers?
I’ve used many different cover artists. I’ve used covers that have spoken to me. I have worked with Phatpuppy Art, Mae I Designs, Once Upon A Time Covers and Eden Crane Design. They have all been great to work with!
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
YES! What’s inside definitely matters, but you need that perfect cover to get them to look further.
Do you outline or are you a pantser?
I’m mostly a pantser. I’ve done the outline method and it actually slowed the process down. As I get further into my story, I write down key events that need to happen so I don’t get too far off track. My characters usually take the driver’s seat.
Have you ever experienced “writer’s block”, and if yes, how did you get through it?
All the time! I love to read, so I do that to step out of the story most of the time.
How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
There is actually a funny story to that. I wrote Dissolve and then Dreamwalker came next. The names were completely coincidental. When my third book fit with the title Dancing with Death: I just went with it. So far, I’ve written all my books with the title starting with the letter D.
How about your characters—how did/do you name them?
It’s totally random. Maybe it is a name I like at that point in time. Other times it’s cool names I hear from books, TV, movies, the Internet, etc.
What are your current projects?
Ha! I’m trying to work on all the sequels to the books I’ve already put out. It’s taxing. That next book in the series is always harder to write than the first. I am finishing up Detour (sequel to Dissolve), writing a novella in my Dancing series, and beyond that, once these are finished, I will see what series I want to work on. I’m pretty in the moment.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I’m a full-time writer. I have recently started doing some other work in the publishing industry, but writing is my priority.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Unfortunately, I don’t get the option to write whenever I feel the urge. My family makes me work in a much more structured timeline.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I work Monday through Friday late morning to dinnertime. The weekends are dedicated to family.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
When I’m strictly just writing, yes. I always aim for 3,000 words a day. Other days I’m doing the business side of things or other projects in the works.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I just got a new iMac and love it!!!! I’ve tried to write via Surface Pro, but the screen just isn’t that big. I’ve tried dictation, but I don’t like too many mistakes going through the rough draft. I edit as I go for the first run through.
Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?
Everyone has a story or two, but most of mine have resulted into learning lessons.
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
Trailers for books are a cool idea and a great way to reach a wider audience through YouTube and such. However, they can be costly and it may need to become a later investment. It’s expensive to publish a book if you are doing it right.
Did you format your own book?
I’ve formatted a few of mine but find that a professional formatter does a much better job.
If formatted by someone else, how did you select them and what was your experience?
Word of mouth in the indie world is a huge part of the selection. I was lucky enough to find my formatter the first time and have used her ever since. She rocks.
Do you have any advice for other authors?
Get a quality cover, hire a really good editor and go the extra mile to hire a proofreader as well. Then hire a formatter if you aren’t adept at the process.
Do you have a special message or anything specific you want to say to your readers?
Becoming a writer has been a huge learning experience for me. I want to thank them for sticking by me and reading the stories I have to tell.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write.
What is your favorite quote?
“Sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”- Alice in Wonderland
What is your favorite positive saying?
The voices are back. Excellent. (It just makes me smile.)
What is your favorite book and why?
Alice in Wonderland. I love it. It’s highly creative and has so much detailed imagery.
The movie adaptation of Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton is definitely up there. It was one of the most amazing adaptations I’ve yet to see. I’ve just found out that there will be a sequel ‘Through the Looking Glass’ scheduled to come out next year with same cast, just without Tim Burton. Boo on Tim Burton, but YAY on the movie!!!!
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
Hopefully, a NYT or USA Today best-selling author!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Never stop writing. Also hire an editor!
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Shakira. She’s my favorite singer and I admire her for all she does. Taylor Swift would be a close second. They are great motivators and always work hard to get where they are.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
There is apparently a theme here. Alice in Wonderland!
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Digital. All Digital. Publishers will slowly disappear and it will be all Indie, all the time.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Heltsley/e/B007RFLR4E
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Thank you M.R. Polish for taking the time to interview me!!!
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