BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

NORA'S INTERVIEW WITH KRISTEN HEITZMANN


1.What was your favorite scene from “Edge of Recall”? What was the most fun to write? What was your most difficult scene to write?

I’m not sure I could pick out favorite scenes, but Smith was a kick to write, his being British so much fun, especially in his interaction with Tessa. He’s a bit fastidious and has this sort of horrified fascination with her that drives him crazy. He’s constantly afraid of offending her, yet can’t help ribbing and rubbing her wrong. I loved writing the two Brits, Smith and Bair, creating a villain unlike any other, and the pointed repartee between the leads.
The hardest part was making Tessa sympathetic. People like strong female leads, and she was outwardly anything but. What I hoped readers would realize was the deep strength and endurance it took to navigate her broken life.


2.You mentioned in your book about Labyrinth? How did you do your research for explaining that in the book? It was fascinating, do people really have a career making these? How do they study for that?


I read all I could on labyrinths, the philosophies behind them, the lore, the designs, the mathematics. You could have built one with all the facts I piled in the first draft. I also walked a couple, but I must admit, I’m way too impatient for that exercise. There are people who specialize in building labyrinths, but that idea was my daughter Jessie’s. She made Smith and Tessa architects with Tessa’s fascination with labyrinths.

3. I loved how you had Tessa Young deal with her emotions and dreams. It was very powerful. Where did you draw on in your research for this book?

Tessa was a more unstable character than I have written in the past. In developing her, I wanted a somewhat unreliable narrator who was not even certain of her own mind, someone trying very hard to succeed within her limitations, damaged and yet tenacious. I used the labyrinth as a motif to show a character searching for God and yet at the same time limiting him. I had recently gone through a rough time and found trusting God difficult. Making Tessa process her reluctance to be in relationship with the Father who had not answered her prayers as she had wanted forced me to see the distance I had put in my own relationship.


4.Is being an author everything you thought it would be? If not, what has been surprising to you?

I never really thought about being an author, I just am. The stories in my head demand release, and I’m invited to participate. A perfectionist by nature, the difficulty of the craft does not surprise me, the joy and exhileration of creating the characters and scenes has always been there, but I might not have anticipated the exhaustion, the difficulty of navigating two worlds at once populated with real and imaginary people, and the emotional recovery required at the completion of each novel.


5. In your book “Free Fall” what did you do to get your research for that book? It was so real and believable. I loved your insight. What was your inspiration for that book?

Freefall was so painful to research. I had to do it on Kawaii. J I spent two weeks immersed in the island with my husband, climbing down waterfalls, choosing the town of Hanalei, doing many of the things my characters did. I also devoured local dialect and writing sources and spent so much energy getting pidgin in my head, I talked that way for months. But then, I’m still speaking with a British accent now!



6.What are you working on now? Can you tell us something about it?

My next book Rules of Contact is coming out for the general market in the summer 09. It is a darkly redemptive thriller with intense moral relevance and a poignant love story. Five years ago, the story came to me in a dream, but I didn’t see how I could write it, so I tried to put it out of my head. The next night I dreamed it again—I never repeat dream!—and that time the second half of the plot came clear. I decided to jot it down just in case and couldn’t stop. During the one week I had between contracted books, I wrote two hundred pages. Since then, doors have miraculously been opened, pathways laid in ways I could never have imagined. I’m in throes of final revisions, and if the interference that has occurred these last weeks is any indication, the Lord must truly have plans for it!

7.What was your favorite book as a child? Why?

Can’t name only one. Heidi. Island of the Blue Dolphins. Anything Aurthurian. Narnia. I know Tolkien by heart, even the Elvish. I suppose I loved the heroic aspects of people called to things they wouldn’t choose, but rising to it.

8.Did you have a say in picking out the cover for either of your books? Was that a fun experience for you, why? If not, explain. This one really fit the book. It’s also eye catching.

I have quite a bit of say on the cover. I wanted the gated labyrinth represented and chose the model from a selection. I thought she could get the right spooky expression, and she did. I love what the artist did with the edge of shadow across the center.

9.Can you describe for me a moment in your life that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God was real? Not just a story you read in a book?

I never thought of God as a story. I have always had an awareness of him. Though it was not always that important, I have never doubted his presence.

10. Some writers plot out their books out step by step and others say that they write by the seat of their pants! Can you describe your writing style for us?

I never plan or outline my stories. I want to be surprised by what the characters do and say, by what happens to them. I start with an opening scene and put in someone I want to get to know. I always write the scene I’m in, not scattered scenes. Even if I know an upcoming scene, I don’t write it until I get there so that I experience the same buildup the reader will, and because someone in the story might surprise me along the way.

I probably spend 9 to 1 the amount of time crafting as creating, the same approach I take to art. I noticed as a kid that my sister drew a line in one long shape while I sketched the same shape with a hundred tiny strokes, bringing the curve around just so. As my art developed, I no longer drew lines much at all; I drew light and shadow. A face was made up of myriad shapes and shades of contrast and color that formed a meticulously realistic rendering. I would start with one eye, the shape of the upper eyelid, iris, shine and shadow of the pupil, lower lid shading to the nose-side of the socket, up across the eyebrow; jump the bridge of the nose to the other eye positioned according to the first, the darker area of the cheek bringing me down to the nostrils, the mouth. I never outlined the face and filled in the features; I reached the edge of the face from the features fully fleshed out and reaching to it.

All that is to say I write with hundreds of tiny strokes, and as one scene developes it determines the tones of another scene, while a third might require a deeper shading of the first. I will always go back and shade that scene before moving on. It’s how I see the story. I think in layers.


Top Things you have wanted to ask Kristen but were afraid to; so I did!!


1.If you drink at Star bucks what is your favorite drink? Caramel frappacino

2. Did you have a favorite board game you liked to play as a kid? If so, why? Do you play it now with your kids? Chinese checkers, but mostly with our kids we played my husband’s favorite Sorry!

2. Beach or Mountains? Why? If both, Why? What draws you to either one?
Well, I live in the Rocky mountains. Sitting on my front porch with my laptop five minutes ago, looking out at the scrub oak and the place I’m going to build a granite retaining wall and waterfall, I heard a sound to my right. Eight feet away a doe strolled up, thinking my flower bed a salad bar, and behind her came three tiny, spotted fawns.

I love the ocean, the scent and sound of the surf, the sea life, the coastal lifestyle. But when it comes to it, yeah, I need the mountains at my back.

3.What is the neatest place you have ever visited and why? What made it so neat, special, memorable for you?

Hawaii. How wild so much of it still is.

4.If you had all the time in the world (and just as much money) to do anything you wanted to do; what would you do?


See Ireland-Scotland-Wales, Italy, and new Zealand. My dreams for the world are bigger than time and money so I leave them to prayer.

5.Lord of the Rings or Star Wars? Why?

Lord of the Rings forever. It’s more organic.

6. Have you ever jumped out of an airplane? If not would you ever want to? Why? If you don’t want to jump out of a plane is there another crazy thing you have always wanted to do? Given that you are physically fit to perform the task what would you like to do? Why?

Never wanted to; never will. I hate falling.

7.What is your favorite Genre to read when you just want to escape into a book? Why?

Relational novels, romantic suspense, sagas or drama, even chick-lit to recharge my emotional batteries.


8. If you had 24 hours to hang out with anyone dead or alive in the history of the world, what two people would you pick and why?

Of course there could be no comparison to hanging with Jesus. I imagine that’s why you said two! I think Abraham Lincoln’s would be an amazing brain to pick.

9. Have you ever been on or would you like to go on a mission trip? If you have been where did you go? If you haven’t where would you like to go and what would you like to do?

That’s not my calling. I evengelize through my stories.

10. What is your favorite type of cookie? Why? If you eat Oreo cookies how do you do it? (do you dunk)? What type of Oreo cookie is your favorite?
Dunk. Original. But they’re not my fav. Snickerdoodles . . .

Thank you Kristen for letting the ladies in my book club and others get to know you better. I appreciate you hanging out with us. Anything else you would like to say or comment on?

Many blessings your way!!!

Nora

1 comment:

  1. Cannot wait to read "Edge of Recall". I love labyrinths and corn mazes or just any kind of maze!!!! So I know I will love this book and of course, her comments have just wet my appetite more!

    Gail:)

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