I am so excited that author Heather Day Gilbert agreed to be interviewed here at Random Ramblings. She is one of those authors I’ve heard about in the publishing world for quite some time, yet I had never read one of her novels until recently. When I read God’s Daughter, I was blown away by what a talented writer Heather is and I couldn’t wait to share her books with you. Her newest novel, Miranda Warning, just released and I’m downloading it today. I hope you will too. Here’s more about Heather:
Me: How long have you been writing?
Heather: I’ve loved words and reading since I was about four years old. When I was about twelve, I felt I wanted to be a writer. But I didn’t write my first full book until I was in my thirties and my kiddos were no longer toddlers. I had to squeeze in writing at the end of the day (for NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month), but once that first novel was complete, I knew I wanted to write another one.
Me: What is God’s Daughter about?
Heather: God’s Daughter is a fictional recreation of two of the Icelandic sagas…so it’s very historical fiction, based around a real Christian Viking woman who sailed to North America with her husband.
I enjoyed fleshing out the saga accounts of the Vikings’ encounters with the Native Americans. Outside all the physical sickness and danger going on, I wanted to delve into the danger inside Gudrid’s own heart (Gudrid is my main character, and she was historically the first European woman to give birth in North America). So we see the (sometimes TOO-subtle) ways love manifests itself in her marriage.
Me: Who are your favorite authors?
Heather: I have quite a long list, but I would say Thomas Hardy and George Eliot are two faves, as well as Agatha Christie. I have many modern authors I love, like Sarah Jio, but I would also say I love anything my critique partner, Becky Doughty, writes (Elderberry Croft and Waters Fall are her novels to date). As far as children’s books, I’m currently working through Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series and I enjoy his flair for action and natural dialogue.
Me: What or who inspires your novels?
Heather: I think it’s different each time. For the Vikings of the New World Saga, I wanted to understand Viking history more, since I’m supposed to be related to Eirik the Red. And Gudrid kept showing up in the saga accounts and I realized her story needed to be told.
For my mysteries, I wanted to write something that was set in my home state, West Virginia. I wanted to bring modern WV to life for readers—the highs and the lows. And, in my mind, there is no better place to set creepy, sometimes paranormal mysteries. At some point in my series, the Mothman legend will show up, since my heroine lives near Point Pleasant.
Me: What made you decide to go Indie? Are you happy about it?
Heather: God truly pushed me to this path, after years spent chasing a traditional publishing contract. It wasn’t for lack of trying, as I had three books out with three different agents. Even though it was torture waiting those six years, I see now that God always had a different plan in mind for my writing. I am a very independent writer and don’t like to fit the mold. I also like to push myself to the limit and that often meant pushing my agents too hard (this is my opinion, but I don’t know if they perceived it that way…). I never knew if my books should be designated ABA or CBA, as I would consider myself a crossover writer. As an indie, I still have to make these calls, but it’s always on my terms (and after much prayer and outside input from readers and friends!).
I love being able to communicate with my readers about what they are looking for in blurbs, series titles, etc. I love being able to monitor how different marketing techniques impact my sales. I love being able to publish when I’m ready and not a moment too late.
Short answer long—I love it, but it is a tremendous amount of work. I outsource very little, so the bulk of editing, formatting, marketing, etc, falls on me. It’s a full-time job.
Heather: Thanks for letting me visit today, Tina!
Me: You are such an inspiration to authors, including me. I’m so happy for you and I appreciate how willing you are to share about your journey. I can’t wait to start reading Miranda Warning.
Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Seventeen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as eleven years spent homeschooling. Heather regularly posts on Novel Rocket about self-publishing.
You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert–Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Her Viking novel, God’s Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller. You can find it on Amazon and Audible.com. Her Appalachian mystery, Miranda Warning, released June 20th.