First, a bit about the author:
Heather Beck is a Canadian author and screenwriter who began writing professionally at the age of sixteen. Her first book was published when she was only nineteen years old. Since then she has written several well-reviewed books.And now for the questions...
Heather recently received an Honors Bachelor of Arts from university where she specialized in English and studied an array of disciplines. Currently, she is working on two young adult novels and has six anthologies slated for publication. As a screenwriter, Heather has multiple television shows and movies in development. Her short films include Young Eyes, The Rarity and Too Sensible For Love.
Besides writing, Heather's greatest passion is the outdoors. She is an award-winning fisherwoman and a regular hiker. Her hobbies include swimming, playing badminton and volunteering with non-profit organizations.
Many of your books center around the paranormal. What is it about this genre that inspires you as a writer?
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. I write books with slightly darker tones because I love 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 write.
You've written both YA/YA-friendly and adult books. How challenging is it for you to move between writing YA and writing adult fiction? Do you have a preference?
I don’t find the transition hard at all. Basically, I treat both audiences the same. The only difference with my adult books is that the characters are slightly older and they usually have a full-time job. I even use the same genres and themes. If I had to choose which audience I prefer writing for, I’d actually pick middle graders. I’ve had the most success writing for that age group, and I even hear from adult readers who enjoy these books! Also, I feel like I can use more fantastical characters, plots and settings in middle grade literature. There’s a higher level of tolerance for imagination, whereas a more mature audience may just view such material as unrealistic.
Are there any common themes that you think extend across several of your YA novels?
Forbidden or very complicated love is a theme readers will often find in my young adult books. I definitely believe in true love, so my romances are high-stake and intense. These relationships face many obstacles, but the couple can overcome almost anything because of their deep love, connection, and need for each other. Emancipation, both physical and emotional, is another theme that runs throughout many of my works. It’s about reaching for one’s dreams and transcending the mundane to find a beautiful life; basically, it’s about living life to the fullest. Additionally, an aspect that remains consistent throughout my young adult books is core character traits. My main characters, and often the secondary characters, too, are multi-faceted, realistic, unique, and flawed. A lot of my stories were written because of a particular character, and therefore their development is a top priority for me.
You're Canadian (yay!). Is there another Canadian YA author you can recommend for my readers?
This sounds absolutely awful, but I haven’t really had a chance to read recreationally for a very long time. As a fan of the Pretty Little Liars television show, I just had to read Ali’s Pretty Little Lies, and that was the first book I’ve read for enjoyment in over ten years! This isn’t by choice, but rather due to my work commitments. I have projects lined up for the next five years, and I am working insanely hard to get everything finished.
If one of your novels could be adapted (by someone else!) into film, which book would you pick, and who would you choose to adapt it?
I think my book series, The Horror Diaries, would make an excellent television show. I don’t have a favourite screenwriter, so I’d be happy working with almost any experienced teleplay writer. My only requirements are that the writer respects the plots and characters I’ve created. They must also keep the show aimed towards a middle grade audience. Since I want to maintain the essence of The Horror Diaries, the small screen adaptation must still be fun, creepy, suspenseful and, above all else, imaginative.
Thanks very much for these thoughtful responses to my questions, Heather! You can find out more about Heather and her work at her website and by watching her writer's reel.
Heather has generously offered up a giveaway! One winner will receive PDF copies of the following 3 YA novels:
-The Hammock (http://www.amazon.com/The-Hammock/dp/B003R0LO9G/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1282433089&sr=1-4)
- Entrants must be 13 years or older
- One entry per person
- Winner will be selected randomly
- Giveaway ends March 18 at 11:59 PM EST
To be entered in the giveaway, please leave a comment with your e-mail address!