Annie’s Book Stop is happy to host author Heather Graham on our Author Spotlight blog! Besides being on the covers of so many books that fly out of here, Heather is also one of our friends from the Northeast Writers Conference (Necon).
From her online bio: New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Heather Graham, majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. Her first book was with Dell, and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult and Christmas family fare. She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty languages. She has been honored with awards from Walden Books, B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, Romantic Times and more. Heather has also become the proud recipient of the Silver Bullet from Thriller Writers. Heather has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed, or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, Mystery Book Club, People and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including Today, Entertainment Tonight and local television.
What kind of research goes into your writing? What is your favorite research story?
I absolutely love history—and all the whacky people stories that one learns about through history. I’m working on a book now about St. Francisville, Louisiana and “The Day the War Stopped.” It has to do with a Union naval commander who died while shelling the area—and yet, because he was a Mason, his closest officers went under a flag of truce to meet up with other Masons, and that Union commander is still buried in the Grace Episcopal Church cemetery. I love little bits of humanity.
Also, human weirdness! I have used a true Key West story—about a guy who fell in love with a much younger woman (dying of tuberculosis) and then dug her up after she died, married the corpse—and lived with his Elena for seven years before being caught. It was hailed across the country as a great love story. Oh, and he was deemed sane. Gotta love Key West!
What was the inspiration for your recent releases? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
This year’s Krewe of Hunters books (The Silenced, The Forgotten, and The Hidden) take place in towns and cities I love. The first—political conspiracy and a serial killer. The second, zombies in Miami. And the third, one of the most gorgeous areas on earth—Estes Park, Colorado. Places are often my inspiration—and the true events that were touching, horrible, a true show of the best of humanity—or the all-out weird!
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
I grew up reading anything I could get my hands on—fiction, horror, gothic romance, history—and I love all kinds of books from sci-fi to suspense to romance to non-fiction. I believe I have a slight mix of genres going—and I’m eternally grateful that in today’s publishing world, it’s something that’s being done more and more. Hey, LOL, I’ve always hated labels!
Publishing has changed. Now, there are the traditional New York publishers, small press, e-pub, and indie. All are legitimate. First, however, you need a great story—and you need to write it and write it well.
My biggest piece of advice to those who want to self-pub is this. Remember the word is publish. That doesn’t mean finishing a story at midnight (okay, there may be some perfect geniuses out there!) and throwing it up on Amazon the next morning. Publishing is line editing for the strongest story, continuity, and any confusion—a good editor can make a good story great. And copy-editing—mistakes, continuity, and, often, facts that just aren’t—facts!
It means good cover copy to entice a reader. It means a great cover and marketing and publicity. Some people can wear all hats—most of us cannot. Join a writing group—a good, established one—where you can meet others who share their experiences with editors, artists, etc. Where they often have conferences where they bring in editors and agents. Don’t just think about publishing a book—you’re a writer and you probably want to write all your life. Think career and a future—not just getting a book out. Okay—LOL.
Then get a book out! Write, write, write—whatever your schedule, even whatever little time you may have to commit, be disciplined about it. And never forget to read—almost every successful writer I know became a writer for the love of reading. Lose that love . . . and you just may lose your way!
How important has the New England setting been to your writing?
I love New England. I have a son, daughter-in-law, and new grandson in Connecticut. My husband’s parents were Italians who settled in Massachusetts—with many, many of their countrymen! I love Wright’s Chicken Farm in R.I. where we’ve had dozens of family events. The Revolutionary history is mesmerizing; Salem—with the lessons I hope we continue to learn about prejudice, greed, and fear—is an amazing place where you can have a great time while learning so much. Derek and Zhenia were married at Hammond Castle in Gloucester. Gorgeous! LOL. What’s not to love?
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million . . . and other bookstores. LOL—when a book first comes out, Walmart, Target, and so on, and truly hopefully, your local drug and grocery stores.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
Facebook—trying to get better about other venues, but mostly personal page. Be prepared for a lot of baby pics—and of course, grown kids, pets, and so on!
Thank you very much for joining us, Heather! 🙂
For those of you who want to read some of Heather’s awesome books, we have plenty of them, so come out and see!