Hello and welcome to Vivaciously, Vivian's feature interview with the wonderful (and Canadian!) author and screenwriter Heather Beck! -applause- She's the author of books including "Whispers in the Shadows" and "Haunted". In this interview, Heather shares the inside perspective of juggling writing both novels and screenplays and dishes on her latest book. Check out her awesome answers in the interview below!
Welcome to Vivaciously, Vivian Heather! How are you?
Hi, Vivian! I’m doing great. Thanks so much for having me on your amazing blog.
Q: A lot of your books seem to have a deliciously intriguing dark side, from your new book to some of your others. Is there a special something that brought you to explore that particular tone?
A: My fascination with paranormal tales began in childhood from a cause unknown even to myself. It’s just a genre I’ve always been drawn to because it explores new worlds bound only by the limits of one’s imagination. As someone with a lot of imagination, writing these stories is a true joy as well as a great outlet for my creativity. Regarding the dark tone of my work, that probably stems from my love of a good scary story. I’m not into violence or gore though, so my work is more about suspense, creepy characters and fantastical mythology. I could discuss how these fictional monsters are a representation of our fears externalized so we can defeat them, but in the end it’s simply the most fun genre to read or write.
Read more after the jump!
Q: What are some things that motivate your flow of creativity or thought when you're writing?
A: I wish I could offer a more concrete answer to what inspires me to write, but honestly, writing is something that is so natural for me. New storylines, settings and characters are always coming to me, and when I am executing these ideas, the words flow freely from my pen. I definitely believe it’s an innate ability that gets better with practice. If I had to pinpoint an external force that inspires me, it would have to be nature. I always get my best ideas when hiking or being near water and beautiful scenery.
Q: Are there any unknown points of difference or even similarity you've discovered between screenwriting and writing a novel?
A: Both novels and screenplays must have a solid story, well-developed characters and great dialogue, but that’s where the similarities end. With novels, a writer can be much more descriptive and delve deep into character’s thoughts. However, with screenwriting, you must “show, not tell” so a writer has many more limitations. Also, formatting is very different; scripts definitely have a stricter format to follow. Although novels and screenplays differ greatly, I enjoy them both equally.
Q: Your latest book, "Whispers in The Shadows", sounds like a great blend of many elements from ghosts to mermen! Did it require a lot of research on your part to write about topics like this and were there any other things that inspired you to write about these?
A: A positive aspect of writing in the paranormal genre is that a writer uses their imagination more than their research skills. I didn’t conduct much research for Whispers In The Shadows; rather, it was inspired by my love and basic knowledge of various mythical creatures like ghosts, mermen, mummies, cyborgs and warlocks. I enjoy giving my mythical creatures traits or powers they aren’t usually associated with. That way, I’m adding a new dimension to their “species” or sometimes even completely re-writing them! This is when not conducting in-depth research comes in handy – my imagination isn’t influenced by what I’ve read. Additionally, my main aspiration for Whispers In The Shadows was to create fun, sexy stories that feature strong female protagonists who transcend their ordinary lives to find extraordinary worlds. It’s definitely an escapist series.
Q: You're a screenwriter and author of books for a variety of age ranges! That's so cool! But it sounds like something to keep one really busy. Any tricks on how you juggle the workload or organize it all?
A: It’s definitely difficult to have such a heavy workload. I’ve been writing for just over ten years now and, throughout that time, I’ve also had to focus on high school, university, work and volunteering. I often wonder how many more books and films I could create if writing was my only occupation. Then again, I can’t deny that these varied experiences have helped to shape my writing. Regardless, I think there are two key elements to handling so many tasks successfully, and they include time management and dedication. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had excellent time management skills. I achieve this by being extremely organized and efficient. The simplest way to do this is by making a “to-do” list and prioritizing your tasks. Also, never be wasteful of your time. I believe daily happiness is finding a true equilibrium of work and fun. As for dedication, it’s all about discovering your passion. If you love what you do, it won’t feel like work – for the most part!
Thanks so much for sharing your answers with us, Heather!
Thanks for reading!