Thursday

Kindle Author Interview: Heather C. Hudak

Heather C. Hudak, author of Breathless, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Breathless?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: Breathless is the first book in a young adult, paranormal series that centers around Lia Jameson, a high-school senior who is on the cusp of popularity, and Chaseyn Lear, a mysterious newcomer who is all good looks and charm.

For weeks, unnerving dreams have been keeping 17-year-old Lia up at night. After she meets Chaseyn, Lia realizes he is—literally—the man of her dreams. Chaseyn’s unrelenting charms quickly win over the teenage girl; however, a visit from her grandmother, Etta Vanderwold, soon raises Lia’s suspicion that Chaseyn may be too good to be true. Etta reveals that Lia is the target of an angry vampire, Alexei, who is determined to make her his undead bride. The eccentric old woman is convinced that Alexei is using an alias—Chaseyn—to cozy up to her granddaughter. Chaseyn must find a way to convince Lia he is the man of her dreams, while battling Alexei in a series of action-packed scenes.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in reading, and writing, the vampire genre. From Stoker to Rice and Harris to Gray, I truly enjoy all types of vampire fiction. I wanted to create a character that conformed to many of the traditional vampire characteristics but appealed to a modern audience. While I appreciate the creativity of other authors who have created their own view of vampire lore, I wanted to maintain the tried and true elements. Keeping that in mind, I created Chaseyn. He is uncharacteristically beautiful, and he exudes confidence. At the same time, he is exceptionally respectful of Lia and their relationship.

For Lia, I wanted to be sure that she exhibited the same confidence and self-assuredness of Chaseyn. Lia is pretty, and smart, and sassy, but she tends to intentionally slip just shy of her full potential. She could be the "it" girl, but she doesn't want, or need, to be. She doesn't have much money, but it doesn't hold her back. Lia knows what is important to her and she sets her sights on it—no more, no less. She's respectable and strong-willed—a solid role model for young girls.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: Fans of Twilight, Evernight, Vampire Diaries, and all other YA vampire romances will definitely enjoy Breathless. This may include women of all ages—young and old alike.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: I have been writing professionally for many years, but mostly as a job. However, at the end of the day, writing is something I want to do more than something I have to do.

I started out as a reporter for weekly newspapers and magazines. After a few years, I began working as an editor for an educational publisher. Eventually, I worked my way up to managing editor. In that role, I developed and wrote dozens of education children's books for schools and libraries. I edited, quite literally, thousands of titles.

For years, I have been writing novels on the side. In fact, my first work of fiction was put on display in the school library when I was in the third grade. However, it was only recently that I completed a novel to the point of publication. That novel was Breathless.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: There is a constant montage of ideas running through my head. A song can inspire a love scene, a real-life conversation can inspire a chapter, and so on. For me the struggle is taking just one idea and following it through from beginning to end. I often write 20,000 words before stopping in favor of a new idea.

With Breathless, I positioned myself to finish the book before I put my fingers on the keyboard. I thought through various scenarios for the beginning, middle, and end, and then I started writing—a minimum of 1,000 words per day. And, it didn't matter to me the order in which I wrote. If I had a great idea for the end of the book, I wrote it down and found a way to connect it to the plot later.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: I love Michale Ondaatje, Fannie Flagg, Shakespeare, Thornton Wilder, and Harper Lee to name a few.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: I recently read Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston and wished I had written it myself. Her use of imagery and poetic language is stunning. There is a true talent beneath her writing. You sense that she has crafted every word, and it's a treat to read her work.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: I haven't done a great deal in the way of promotion, as my book is fairly newly released. I post on different forums and encourage discussions with my readers. Already, I have received excellent support and sales are really taking off.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: For a long time, I resented the ebook market. Working in publishing, it was taking away from my livelihood. However, when I finally caved and bought a Kindle, I knew the tides were turning. It's definitely the wave of the future, and Kindle ebook sales are proof of that.

After several rejection letters, not because the work wasn't viable but because the market wasn't, I realized that the best way to generate interest in my first novel was to make it available as an ebook. I can control the price and receive immediate feedback from the market.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: Just because you have written a book doesn't mean that it is automatically meant to be read by others. Be sure that you have a well-written, properly edited piece of work for which you have garnered feedback from peers. Quality is one of the most important aspects of writing.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather C. Hudak has worked as a professional writer for more than a decade. She began her career as a journalist with a small northern newspaper, before working as a movie critic for an entertainment magazine. When she arrived at work one day and the doors were locked, she started a new chapter in children's book publishing. For eight years, Heather developed and wrote dozens of books, and she edited hundreds more for the educational market. Now, she is turning a new page in her writing career. Her first full-length, young adult novel, Breathless, is now available for ebook readers. Wanderlust, a second title in the Breathless series, is currently in development. Heather will be publishing her first chick lit novel, A New Life, this spring. When Heather is not writing, she enjoys traveling to new and exotic places, as well as camping in the mountains. With her husband, Heather rescues animals that would not otherwise find a loving home. Hershey, the one-eyed, blind, epileptic, snaggle-toothed cat, and Turtle, a sternumless Siamese, are just a few members of their menagerie.

Read her blog.

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