Valerie: Today I'm lucky enough that I get to interview author Heather Ostler, who's already published one book, with the second in the series coming out this summer. You can learn more about her and her project on her blog. Heather, tell me about your first novel The Shapeshifter’s Secret. What inspired that story?
Heather: The Shapeshifter’s Secret is a coming of age novel about a 16-year-old girl who finds out she’s a werecat shapeshifter. I love big cats. Tigers, lions, panthers, and jaguars are just mesmerizing to me, and I liked the idea of someone being able to shapeshift into one of these powerful and dangerous animals. From there I began thinking about a character that would go to school in order to learn the art of shapeshifting.
Valerie: You have another novel coming out this summer. Tell me about that one.
Heather: It’s Julia’s second year at Lockham castle, and just when she thinks she’s beginning to grasp her new life, she’s confronted by a group of sirens. The Sirens reveal life-changing information, and Julia must decide who she can trust, and where her fate truly lies.
Valerie: I understand you have a Launch party in June. Who is invited to these launch parties? Is everyone invited, like it’s open to the public? Or are these exclusive events for the elite to rub shoulders and socialize with one another?
Heather: Yes, the launch party will be on June 15th at the American Fork Deseret Book. Everyone is invited! We want everyone to come party with us and celebrate the launch of The Siren’s Secret. I like to have prizes, giveaways, and treats so everyone has a good time.
Valerie: Awesome! Hear that everybody? Mark your calendars for a party on June 15th with author Heather Ostler for the launch of her book The Siren's Secret. Next question Heather, did you always want to be a writer and what made you want to become a writer?
Heather: I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was in Jr. High. I saw the positive impact books had on my life, and I wanted to create that same influence for good.
Valerie: Why do you write? Out of all the possibilities of what you could do in the world, why this?
Heather: Writing makes me happy. My mind never stops creating new characters and stories, and if I don’t write, then I’ll never get to share these characters I’ve grown to love. I’ll listen to a song or see a photograph, and my mind races with possibilities for new stories.
Valerie: Who are some of your favorite authors/what kind of books do you like to read?
Heather: I love fantasy with all my heart, but I’m also a sucker for happy, lighthearted middle grade novels. Some of my favorites include Ella Enchanted, Harry Potter, The Series of Unfortunate Events, and anything from C.S. Lewis.
Valerie: What’s the best part about being a writer?
Heather: Being able to share my stories makes me incredibly happy, and receiving positive feedback is the best feeling in the world.
Valerie: What’s the worst part about being a writer?
Heather: Editing! I really appreciate editors because there are enough grammar and punctuation rules to make my head spin.
Valerie: So you have a shapeshifting book, and you have a siren book. What’s next? What are you working on now?
Heather: The Siren’s Secret is the sequel, which comes out this summer. I’ve just barely begun working on the third and final book in the series.
Valerie: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Heather: Read a lot, write a lot, do your research, and be persistent. Beyond that you can check out my “Advice to Writers” tab on my blog.
Valerie: Did you always believe you could achieve your dreams? a. If yes, why?
Heather: I always knew I would be an author because I was so passionate about writing. However, there were many times when I became discouraged. What helped me was knowing that every successful author goes through a certain amount of rejection. I think when you get your first rejection letter you should celebrate, you’ve begun the journey to publication!
Valerie: Most of the blurbs about you talk about you having a “rambunctiously entertaining family.” Can you expound upon this for us? Tell us about them. Come on we want some stories.
Heather: Haha. I have a lot of siblings, and sometimes we weren’t very well behaved. We would play pranks all the time. One time we threw a life-size doll off the side of our house and yelled to my aunt that a child had jumped off the roof. She didn’t think it was very funny…
Many times we dressed up like cowboys or superheroes and would go to stores trying to stay in character, but would burst out laughing anyway.
One time we put a mannequin head on the front of our car where the old hood ornament used to be. The mannequin’s head was creepy with huge eyes. We would drive really slowly behind people in parking lots. When they finally turned around, there would be a creepy mannequin head right behind them!
Valerie: I saw that at LTUE you participated in a podcast about writer’s block and different aspects of writing romance. When will that podcast be available and where can we find it?
Heather: It will be posted on Foreverwriters.com, and should be up within the next month.
Valerie: I’ve notice on your blog that you seem to do a lot of traveling. I’ve seen pictures from Hawaii and New Zealand. How have you managed to travel so much (Vacation? Inspiration? Priority? Adventure?)? Where else have you been, and where do you want to go next? What would be your ultimate destination if money was no object?
Heather: Oohh, I’m big on adventure, so let’s go with that. Some of the coolest places we’ve been to are Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Hawaii, Belize, Cozumel, and Orlando (Yeah, Harry Potter world was pretty incredible). New places and experiences really inspire me, and a lot of my novels have parts based off of our traveling adventures. I would really like to make it to Asia and Africa someday!
Valerie: I read that you have two pugs. Tell me about them.
Heather: I have a girl pug named Mille, and a boy pug named Ruffus. Both are adopted and have very distinct personalities. They’re a lot of fun, and they like to sit next to me while I write :-)
Valerie: Do you love all animals or just dogs?
Heather: I’m a big animal person and have always wanted to start an animal shelter. We always had a lot of pets growing up and it taught me to love animals.
Valerie: If you weren’t a writer, what else would you want to be?
Heather: A Ballerina. Don’t be fooled by the pink tights and tutus, ballerinas are tough! I’ve been on a couple of different ballet companies, and though pointe shoes are extremely painful, it was worth it. I love dancing.
Valerie: That's awesome. I want to see pictures. Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Heather: I love reading, traveling, dancing, and acting. I also like making friends with awesome people like Valerie ;-)
Valerie: Thanks, Heather, for taking the time to let me interview you. Good luck with your launch of the Siren's Secret this summer :)