Welcome to my blog interview with novelist, Heather Hildenbrand, author of the Dirty Blood & Imitation series. I recently discovered her when I was given review copies of Imitation and Deviation. I had a blast reading them and was thankful to be able to interview her. She is witty and funny and her books are definitely worth checking out.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like the silence. No music or white noise for me. I can write that way if I have to but most of the time, I like the quiet. I guess the voices in my head are that loud.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Probably not. I’ve done such a variety. But I really like present tense, first person POV. It feels more edge-of-your-seat. I do that in my Imitation series and it amps up the tension and suspense that way. Really fun!
How did you come up with the title?
For Dirty Blood, I wanted something that got your attention, something almost violent. I don’t know, it just came to me. I think it suggests action and intrigue—at least enough to hook someone’s interest.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
For Dirty Blood, it’s that family isn’t just who you’re born related to. It’s more about the people you connect and bond with along the way. The people who are there for you when you need someone to have your back. Half of my “family” in my life have been made up of those kinds of people. I think it’s important to learn to look for those kinds of relationships in life and hang on.
How much of the book is realistic?
HAHA Werewolves are totally real….right?
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I totally go out and stake evil wolves every night after my kids go to bed. So…yeah.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I wrote Dirty Blood and Broken Blood (first and last, how poetic) in a month each. The ones in between took a little longer but with this, I was in the zone and determined.
What books have most influenced your life most?
The Hobbit definitely solidified my love for fantasy. Shatter Me by Tehereh Mafi inspired my writing style for Imitation. Twilight definitely re-ignited my love for reading (and writing) so that one probably most inspired Dirty Blood.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Warren Murphy, a close friend and brilliant author. I have him to thank for showing me The Way to self-publishing. I owe him a lot for that!
What book are you reading now?
C.L. Stone’s Academy series (I think that’s the name of it)—that book got me out of a reading funk!! So original and fresh. After book 1, I have no idea where it’s going and I love being stumped this way!
What are your current projects?
Right now, I’m writing Generation (book 3 in the Imitation series due out in October) and then I’ll go back to a secret YA project I’ve been working on sort of on the side. I’ll be shopping it to publishers in a couple of months so stay tuned for info about that one!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest (or first) book?
I try not to think like that. I mean, we’ll always find things we want to fix because (hopefully) we’re always improving with each book. I like to think it was my best work at the time and then try not to second-guess beyond that. Otherwise, I’d drive myself crazy. I don’t read reviews either (unless I’ve specifically contacted that reviewer and asked them to read) for the same reason. I can’t go looking for reasons to doubt myself. Otherwise, I’d never write another book!
Who designed the covers?
The Dirty Blood series began with SM Reine (author of the Seasons of the Moon series). She stepped away from cover design and then Robin at Robin Ludwig Designs took over. Both did an amazing job!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Book 5 was definitely hardest. For one, I wrote it in a short amount of time. And two, there was so much pressure!! It was hard to wrap up knowing some people might not agree with Tara’s final choices (mostly #TeamAlex people) and then making sure I wrapped up all the loose ends. Last books in a series are hardest for me!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read all the time. Write—even when you don’t feel like it. Accept that there are peaks and valleys. Don’t give up during the valleys. Don’t take the peaks for granted.
That is great advice. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you!!! You guys rock my socks. No question.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Yes, but I’ve come to learn it’s really nothing more than being underprepared. When I don’t know my story well enough or I’m stuck on a plot, that’s when I get blocked. If I stick to an outline or plan my story out properly, I’m almost never blocked.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Yes. I have learned to use them even though most of us creative types cringe at the thought. I like writing but I also like making money and I can make more and be productive when I stick to an outline and get ‘er done.
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Hahaha. Yep. And then usually the next day or week I love it again. It’s a cyclical thing.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing (or obviously killing werewolves)?
Motorcycles!! I love riding motorcycles and I live half the year in Guam with my husband. We do a lot of hiking and snorkeling too when I’m there so that’s fun.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Matt Lanter for LINC!!! I want to start a campaign. Anyone who wants to head that up, feel free. We need a petition or something.
I can totally see that! What is your favorite motivational phrase or positive saying?
Enjoy the Journey
Maktub (It is written…) I have this one tattooed on my arm. It’s from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. Read that book, it will change your life.
THIS OR THAT—The Speed Round
Which do you prefer – Reading or writing? That’s an impossible question.
Like eating or sleeping… I need both to survive!
Writing during the night or writing during the day? Day
Writing from home or someplace else? Home
Reading a ebook or print? Print
Buy books online or buy in a bookstore? Tie.
Weather: Hot or Cold? HOT
Music or Silence? SILENCE!
Classic Fairy tales or Fairy tale retellings? Classics but the ORIGINALS not the Disney version
(Tinkerbell cussed like a sailor, you know).
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
The Beach or The Mountains? Mountains
The World being taken over my zombies or sexy blood sucking vampires? DUH, sparkly killers of course!
Facebook or twitter? FB
Being able to fly or being able to go invisible? FLY!
City or Country? Country
Pen or Pencil? BIC pens. Blue.
Polk-a-dots or Stripes? Dots
Pancakes or Waffles? Waffles.
Books or Movies? BOOKS!
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Elbows the size of pumpkins or knees the size of watermelons? Feet like a hobbit.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?