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Monday, May 17, 2010

INTERVIEW: Heather Beck

Aurora is pleased to welcome Heather Beck, author of What Legends Are Made Of. She's been writing professionally since she was sixteen and had her first book published when she was nineteen. Since then, she's written seven well-reviewed book and she's still just twenty-four.

I asked Heather what she would be doing if she weren't a writer.

"Writing is a large part of my life but I’ve never depended on it as my career," she explained. "I recently graduated from the University of Toronto where I earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts, English specialist. I would love to do my Masters in English and, after that, a Ph.D."

She shared some exciting news with me.

"I’m proud to announce that I’ll be launching my publishing company, Treasure Cove Books, this summer of 2010. I have five middle reader books slated for publication with a tentative release schedule of one book per year. My company will also have a young adult and adult imprint."

In addition to writing books, she's also a screenwriter. Her short film, Young Eyes, had a theatrical premiere a few months ago. She also has three television shows in development and she's currently writing the pilot script and treatment for a fourth show. She has two feature films in development as well.

"One goal I’d really like to pursue is my own make-up and perfume line," she told me. "I’d also love to host my own fishing show where I travel to different lakes and oceans. I suppose these are more pipedreams than ambitions but one never knows."

I asked Heather to tell us what she's currently working on.

"I am nearing the completion of editing for my scary story series. They are the spin-offs of the bestselling Ten Journeys Through The Unknown and include: Haunted, The Sands Of Time, Shivers, Twisted Tales Of Terror, and When Darkness Falls. I really love these stories because they are fun, fast-paced and unpredictable. Currently, the TV adaptation of this series is in development."

As a screenwriter, Heather has been able to, in addition to writing original features and television shows, adapt her own books. One of the TV shows she has in development is based on her scary stories for kids. The other TV show she's working on is from her adult paranormal romances. One of her feature films, as well, is based on her young adult novel.

"I did the casting for the project that’s already reached that stage," she said. "When choosing the actors, I looked for similarities between my character and the actor. While experience is great, I also respect training. The deciding factor was the auditions and the callback performances. I definitely find it more exciting to discover new talent than to book a big name."

Heather shared with us a little about the stories included in Haunted, her latest anthology of scary stories for kids which will be released this summer. Below are the descriptions of the stories which are included in this unique collection.

Ghost Park

Chase discovers an old playground in the woods that’s home to a group of pale children who say very odd things and take an unnatural interest in her.

A Haunting Past

Truce’s class trip to an old native reserve turns deadly when Bear, an infamous chief who died two hundred years ago, blames him for the tribe’s extinction.

The Manor Upon The Rocks

Grey, damp, and surrounded by jagged rocks, Calla Lily’s new home isn’t only unpleasant, it’s also haunted by the world’s most evil boy.

A Medieval Nightmare

When Ellie and Brandon get trapped in a medieval museum that’s a bit too real, they fall under a spell and become pivotal players in a ghostly regime.

A Watery Grave

A camping trip becomes a heart-pounding race for survival when Justine meets a ghost who’s determined to change her fate by trading bodies with a living entity.

A new anthology of paranormal romances, Whispers in the Shadows, has been slated for publication. Heather will begin working with the editor on this shortly.

"These tales include: jilted ghosts who seek revenge, a sexy Egyptian tour guide with a deadly secret, cunning mermen who emerge from the ocean, a mystical forest where love truly can last for eternity, and a colony of perfect men who exceed reality."

Her works-in-progress include Last Werewolf Standing, which is a paranormal romance that includes three stories chronicling several generations of a werewolf clan, as well as Siren Island and Fairy Dust, both paranormal young adult novels.

"Which of your books are you most proud of and why?" I asked her.

"My goal as a writer is to always improve upon my craft. Thus, my answer to this question will frequently change. As of right now, I’m very proud of What Legends Are Made Of. I believe it is a high quality product and, quite honestly, I’ve been blown away by the rave reviews."

Most of Heather's YA writing is autobiography masquerading as fiction, she admitted.

"I’ve had many unique experiences in my life so far and always incorporate them into my work. Some of the situations I write about are obviously not based on my life. Rather, they are issues I deem important to address, analyze, and attempt to resolve."

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