I would like to introduce "The Mesmerizing Heather Sunseri" as our "Author of the Month" for the month of April. Here is the personal interview that we were blessed with.
Heather Sunseri: Thank you so much for having me today!
Candie and Michelle: You're welcome. We are thrilled to be featuring you this month. Have you always known you wanted to be a writer? Did anything happen to push you in that direction?
Heather Sunseri: No! Actually, I never even considered that writing for a living was a thing that was possible. I was a reluctant reader growing up and didn’t develop a love for reading until I was an adult looking for an escape. Then, during a time when I was devouring any and all books I could get my hands on, I started writing and never stopped.
Candie and Michelle: We are so glad you did. How has life changed since your career has taken off?
Heather Sunseri: I’m so much happier. Not because “my career took off” but because I’m working so hard at something I love deeply.
Candie and Michelle: We understand and are glad you are happy. .Is it hard to juggle having a family and being a writer at the same time? How do you do it?
Heather Sunseri: I think it’s always difficult to juggle family responsibilities. Add any job to the mix, and the difficulty rises. My kids always come first. But this is a career, so I “go to work” after the kids go to school, and I fit writing in wherever and whenever I can by writing in the pickup lines, at soccer practice, at night after the kids are in bed, and my favorite time to write: 5am in the morning before anyone is up.
Candie and Michelle: I agree. Time in the morning before my son gets up is a wonderful time to write. Who has been your biggest supporter in your career so far?
Heather Sunseri: My husband, for sure! He has never stopped believing. He pushes me to be a better me, encourages me when the “I suck” feelings creep in, and he designs the best covers a girl could ask for.
Candie and Michelle: So glad you have that support system. That is cool that he designs your covers. What was the hardest part in getting your writing career started?
Heather Sunseri: For me it was finding the time to write seriously while still working a day job. I think it’s difficult to build momentum without more content, but it’s difficult to get more content when you’re spread thinly across many responsibilities.
And even now that I’m writing full time, I still don’t feel like I have enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.
Candie and Michelle: I understand completely. For those who haven’t read your books yet how would you describe your writing style?
Heather Sunseri: Someone recently described my stories as “science gone sideways,” and it sort of stuck. I tend to lean toward medical plots, but first and foremost, I write smart, strong characters who must overcome a minefield of obstacles to come together romantically.
Candie and Michelle: I love that about your characters. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Heather Sunseri: I’m a slow writer. I think very methodically with my plots as I write, and that tends to slow me down.
Candie and Michelle: Me and you both. :) What is something you do to overcome writer’s block?
Heather Sunseri: I don’t really believe in writer’s block. I can always write, but I know when I’m writing pure crap. When that happens, I go for a walk, take a hot bath or shower, or take a break and read something outside my genre. My best plot ideas and breakthroughs happen in the shower.
Candie and Michelle: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Heather Sunseri: I believe strongly that every writer should have other writers to talk to and bounce ideas off of. I’m a member of a group of writers that are simply brilliant. These ladies (and a couple of husbands who are involved with the publishing process) are my support group and mentors in everything relating to publishing. I don’t make any big decisions without running it by this group.
Candie and Michelle: It's great to have that support system. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Heather Sunseri: I’m still trying to write that book.
But I would love to have written Fire by Kristin Cashore. It’s 100% fantasy and outside the genre I write, but Cashore has a way of pulling you into the story world and you don’t question the believability of the world or the characters for one second. I would love to be able to create a complete fantasy world like that. (And, of course, the romance in this story is intense, which is a prerequisite for me.)
Candie and Michelle: We will have to check that book out. Out of all the books you have written so far which has been your favorite one to write?
Heather Sunseri: Probably the one I’m writing right now. I’m actually reworking the first story I ever wrote (the first one I took seriously, anyway).
I’m currently writing Tracked, a spinoff of the Mindspeak trilogy. And the romance in this one is extremely emotional. I love that!
Candie and Michelle: I can't wait to read it. As a whole which character has been your favorite “good guy” to write about? Who has been your favorite villain?
Heather Sunseri: My favorite good guy would have to be Cricket (Christina) from Emerge. She’s had an extremely tough life but is so compassionate when it comes to the needs of others. Though she is a strong character, she has a certain vulnerability that I hope readers will love and root for.
Villain? That’s easy. Dr. Sandra Whitmeyer, the doctor in Mindspeak who was responsible for cloning human beings. She is so unapologetically evil. Disclaimer: Any resemblance of this character to past women I’ve worked for/with is completely coincidental. ;)
That’s a great lead in to my favorite quote: "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. Just change their height and hair color. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better."
~ Anne Lammott
Candie and Michelle: I love that. I'm going to have to remember that quote. Out of all your books do you feel like there is a particular character you relate to the most?
Heather Sunseri: Probably Lexi Matthews of the Mindspeak series. She very badly wants a normal life and to be loved, but she must find a way to accept the destiny that has been handed her—which is anything by normal.
I think we all dream of certain things in life, but at the end of the day, we accept that there are parts of our realities that we must find a way to live with and even embrace.
Candie and Michelle: Great answer and advice. Is there anywhere that you have traveled to that has inspired you to use it one of your upcoming books?
Heather Sunseri: Yes!! As I said above, I’m currently writing Tracked, a companion novel to the Mindspeak series. It’s set in Costa Rica, and much of the rich setting in the novel comes directly from my amazing memories of that beautiful country.
Candie and Michelle: Pictures please. LOL. What book are you reading now?
Heather Sunseri: I just finished Take Me On by Katie McGarry. I adore this author. She writes deeply emotional romances for the young adult audience with fast paced and realistic plots.
Candie and Michelle: We will add that to our book list. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Heather Sunseri: Maggie Sunseri. Though I’m totally biased, my daughter has proven that it doesn’t matter how old you are, what obstacles you think are in you way, or what your experience is, there is always room for a great story that is written and edited well. This fresh new voice on the young adult scene is going to be a favorite among the young adult audience. People can find out more about her at http://maggiesunseri.com
Candie and Michelle: That is awesome that y'all are both writers. We will have to look her up as well. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Heather Sunseri: Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t settle for what comes easy. Embrace the uncomfortable. And never take yourself too seriously; life is supposed to be an adventure.
Candie and Michelle: Great Advice! What advice do you give to other aspiring authors?
Heather Sunseri: Just write. It’s my answer to every obstacle that comes up on this journey. Worried about a social media presence? Just write. Want to squeeze in writing time before, after, or during breaks at a day job? Just write. Don’t know where to start? Just write. A writer’s best friend is lots of good content. Just write!
Oh, and read a ton!
Candie and Michelle: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Heather Sunseri: Readers rock! I write first drafts to escape and entertain myself, but I go through the pain of editing to make sure my stories will entertain readers. Readers are everything to my career, and I love each and every one of them.
Candie and Michelle: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Heather-Sunseri/e/B00B5S83CI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Book Links: http://heathersunseri.com/novels (* American, UK, etc.)
Thank you so much Heather for taking the time to sit down with us. We both feel blessed to be featuring you this month.
-Candie and Michelle