MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR RJ HEATON!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Stephanie Heaton, but I write under the pen name RJ Heaton. My fans know me as RJ. I like to write different genres. I have a clean romance series and a not so clean romance (two out of three) book series out. I am currently writing a paranormal fantasy and working on a drama thriller.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I began writing after my third daughter was born but never did anything with it. Years later, I read Fifty shades of Grey, and was inspired to start writing Never Again, book one in the Fate Intertwined series.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I like a good story. My imagination is extremely creative, and I wanted to see how it would go putting it in word form. I thought romance would be a good way to start the imagination juices flowing. Now I am seeing just how far I can push the limits.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
My second series started as a dream about a friend and I had to write it down. There are some medical issues with the main character in the book , and although I have a extensive knowledge in the medical field, I needed to look up the effects of brain injuries, and how it affected maneuverability in the extremities.
Can you tell me about your Series?
Never Again is not for the feint of heart. This is a very descriptive story line. Treva Stone needs a vacation and travels to see her brother in San Diego. During her brief vacation she meets an insatiable, super stud, and their relationship gets hot and heavy … fast. The problem is, she lives 1200 plus miles away and dark secrets of her past start resurfacing.
Never Again is book one in the Fate Intertwined series.
What Brings Tomorrow is my second series, books one through three.
Nikki Cooper is an average mom of three with a husband of twenty years, until one fateful night it all changes. Her life gets thrown into a whirlwind when her twenty years of marriage turns out to be a joke, and her and her dear friend are in a terrible car accident, leaving her to learn how to relive her life all over again.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Oh, tricky question. I think book two or three in What Brings Tomorrow would be my favorite … until my newest release makes its debut.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
Like I said before What Brings Tomorrow came to me as a dream. Never
Again just came from life experiences, and my then new found love of reading erotica.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Indeed. The hard part now is telling the characters goodbye.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I try to write every day. I have a day job, so if I’m not home too late I will try to type on my computer for a couple of hours. Typically, I like to write in a notebook first, so in the morning when I have my first cup of coffee I will jot a few notes down. Night time is when my brain starts to really create. When I go to bed, after my day, my thoughts wander and I will grab my notebook and write my heart out. It may be a few doodles here and there. Then when I’m off work the next day, I will type up the nonsense I scribbled and start making some semblance of my garble. Summer time I write so much more. Sitting by the pool in the hot sun I will fill out pages and pages in my notebook.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I hate to say I actually have multiples, but I need to focus and get one done at a time. First up, The Fade is my next book. It is my paranormal fantasy YA. I also just completed a children’s book called, The Dragon with one violet eye. I also have a book called the Terminal list, and a book called, How to build and write your novel. And The Nine kingdoms.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
To me the name can bring them to life. I often think a lot about the names I’m giving my characters.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere! My kids, friends, people watching, reading, dreams and life experiences.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Fantasy, I guess, but I am writing that now, so I suppose I am experimenting.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Finding the time, and support to write.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think they are great if they give a good description. I would love to have one. I am just technically challenged.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Seeing my children grow and become adults. The rest is just extra.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
I have complete control of how I want my story to go. If I want the house clean it will be clean, if I want a happy ending it will be. And then when other people start enjoying my stories and tell me how much they enjoy them.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In my world, 2 books a year (at least) in 10 years = 20 more books and traveling around the USA and maybe other countries doing book signings and fairs.
Have you always liked to write?
Write yes, read no. That’s a new one in the last 10 years.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Just do it. Believe in yourself. Pick up a pencil and write, you can never have tomorrow back and if you sit and say you’ll get to it tomorrow, before too long tomorrows turn into never.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I have been a hairdresser for 23 years, and I started medical school. Writing has detoured me, but if I didn’t enjoy this I would love to be an orthopedic doctor.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I never respond to reviews. Unless someone sends me a personal message, email etcetera to tell me what they thought of my books. If someone leaves me a bad review, its okay. I know that I can not write to please everyone out there. I am writing for me first. And any review at least lets me know that my stories are being read, as well as letting me know how I can write better the next time. If I get a lot of reviews saying the middle is slow than the middle is most likely slow, and I need to fix it. The criticism is only helpful to strengthen myself as a writer.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Editing, and marketing.
What are you working on now?
The Fade, and my nonfiction how to build and write your novel.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
My nonfiction is a fill in the blank do it yourself book. It will give a whole new aspect to help authors writing their books.
The Fade: Going to bed was beginning to be the worst part of my days; even more excruciating than dealing with the Royal hierarch-asses of Estes Park high school. Terrified of the possibilities of darkness creeping into my subconscious as I sleep, with all my strength I try to force myself to stay awake; Reading, cleaning, homework anything to try to keep my eyes open and alert. The nightmares had begun right after my sixteenth birthday and have progressively gotten worse. Maybe all of the stress of graduation and knowing this will be my last summer before I’m off to college, is wearing at me more than I thought.
I splash warm water on my face rinsing my cleanser away. I inevitably would succumb to exhaustion and crawl into the bed that I had once cherished, but now despise. I try to ignore the dread that snakes through my veins pushing back the happy thoughts that tonight… tonight will be different. Tonight, I would fall into a deep uneventful slumber.
I peeked up at the mirror and noticed my reflection. Dark purple plumes shadowed the under-half of my unique emerald eyes. The endless nights of torment were beginning to take their toll.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I let the words and ideas manifest how they need to manifest. My mind is all over the place, and sometimes the ideas fit into one story line better than another.
Where did your love of books come from?
My first series I read was Harry Potter. The way she brought an entire world to life for me got me hooked.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I will always love Harry Potter. But I also love, Sarah J Maas, Amy Bartol who started out self-publishing and now is writing with book contracts. Sylvia Day, and so, so many more.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
I love Ramp/ Shad Libman. I love his attitude. But I really love Pyper Hall from my new book The Fade.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Most of the time I am energized. I do have my days that I am sluggish and wonder what the heck I am doing.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Time and the space to do it. I am most creative at night, but I don’t want to stay up all night writing when I have to work in the morning, or when I am annoying my husband when he is trying to sleep.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I want to write a good story period. I think shock factor is what keeps people reading more.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Rebecca Weeks is a great Author! I love her tidbits she gives me and the positive feedback. Bill Miller, Jessica Stewart, James Patrick, Sam Hunt, Matt Sanburn … the list goes on. The writing community is very supportive!
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Oh Lord help us!
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview