Thursday, June 10, 2010

Interview with Author Heidi R. Kling

Today's interview is with Heidi R. Kling, about her debut novel for young adults, Sea, available from
Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother's accidental disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen year old California girl Sienna "Sea" Jones reluctantly travels with her father's volunteer team to six months post-tsunami Indonesia. During her stay at the orphanage, she meets scarred and soulful Deni who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.

She knows they can't be together, so why can't she stay away from him? And what about her old-best-friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why is her psychiatrist father so secretive about her mother's plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to the truth. And Sea's real adventure begins.

Welcome Heidi! Tell us a little about yourself as a writer – do you outline, or wing it? Do you write daily, or in snatches?

I have two little kids so I write in snatches. More like marathons. If I'm on a first draft I try to write at least one whole day of the weekend and in the evenings.

When – and why – did you begin writing?

I've written since I was a little kid. Stories, songs, poems. I wrote a screenplay/novel in high school and got both my BA and MFA in creative writing.

Tell us about your publishing journey. What did it take to get Sea on bookshelves?

It was a lot of work. Three years to write then I got an agent and we sold rather quickly. But then two years of revision. It's been LONG. But worth it.

What was your process writing this book? What did you have trouble with,
and what inspired you?

The story inspired me from beginning till end and still does. I'm hopelessly in love with my characters so spending time with them was always a joy. I had trouble with 'killing my darlings' so they say. I tend to go off on tangents that I think are rather interesting, but may not be the best thing for a YA novel. So cutting stuff I like was the hardest part.

I’m going to be honest and say how completely in love I am with Sea’s cover art. Do you think it has made a difference for your novel?

HAHA, I totally love it too! Putnam's art department did an amazing job with the art. My editor was so awesome and asked for my input and also gave me three different images to lend my opinion of. To answer your question, I think a good cover ALWAYS helps a book get attention.

What’s one thing I wouldn’t know about Sea by reading the blurb?

SEA has a lot of layers and the blurb just gives the very basic premise. You'll have to read to find out.:)

Here on Headdesk, I have a minor obsession with the rules of writing. Is there any particular rule you write by?

Write what you love. If you don't love your story and your characters why would anyone else?

If knew you a teenager who aspired to be a novelist, what would you say to them?

If I knew a teenager who aspired to write? I'd say write. Write a TON. Read a TON. Hang out in bookstores and libraries. Attend author signings. Then study literature and writing in college. The best way to pursue writing is to surround yourself with writers and immerse yourself in that world.

How have you grown as a writer, and how do you hope to see yourself grow in the future?

Great question. Well, I take myself much for seriously now. I think claiming oneself as a 'writer' is like, "I'm going to be a rock star" people are like YEAH RIGHT what have your written? Now it's like, "Well, I have a book coming out in June." Selling made me feel legit. Writers tend to be an insecure bunch, and this has made me more secure. I'm still a bundle of nerves, but a more secure bundle of nerves. :)

Mmm. Agreed. So what’s next for Heidi Kling?

I wrote a fantasy novel about magic. It takes place in a SEA-like beach town and is a lot of fun. We're in negotiations now.

Can't wait. Thanks for coming Heidi, and best of luck!

Thanks so much for having me!

Heidi R. Kling was born and raised in California. She decided she wanted to be a writer after playing the part of Clarisse in Fahrenheit 451 for a high school play. She attended the University of California, wrote and directed for her own children's theatre, and then went on to pursue an MFA in in the Writing For Children program at the New School in New York. Heidi lives in California with her husband and son. To learn more about Heidi and her writing, check out her website or her blog.

1 comment:

Nomes said...

another fab interview :)

5 years until published! That's so impressive.

And, I totally judge books by their cover. Haha. Well, at least, they call out to me - and then i check out the blurb, etc :)

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