HEIDI’S TOP WRITING TIPS:
1. Do not be over-proud. Do not refuse to listen to advice and critique. It takes years to master the craft. You’ll make lots of mistakes, ones you can’t see, but others can. Humility and an honest desire to improve will serve you best in your career development.
2. Network. Get to know fellow writers and other professionals in the industry. Also, get to know readers. They are your audience. It is for their benefit you are seeking publication.
Heidi Kneale is a West Australian author of moderate repute. She loves Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance, often blending the three in her works. She’s had short stories, articles and books published. A day job fixing computers supports her writing career and educational addictions. When she’s not writing or reading, she enjoys composing and playing music, multitudinous crafts and dabbling in science. She volunteers in her local community.
Heidi blogs at http://romancespinners.blogspot.com
Why do you write? Because I can’t Not Write. These stories, these ideas, these characters come to me. There are tales to tell, worlds to explore. They excite me. I love books that thrill me and I want to share that joy.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’d be a composer. When I need to give my writerly self a break, I abandon my laptop for my piano. Gives the ol’ creative muscles a bit of a stretch. Sometimes writing and composing work together rather well. I’ve done road shows (musicals) and I wrote an opera once at university.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Square pegs and round holes. I’ve reached a certain mastery of the Craft, but that doesn’t guarantee a story will get picked up every time I pitch it to an editor. Am I publishable? Absolutely. But is this particular project suitable to the needs of that particular editor? Most times, no. I have a stack of rejections that say, “Thanks for sending this story. I’m afraid it doesn’t suit our purposes at this time. However, we like your style. Please send more.” So I keep sending stories until they say yes. I have several short story sales where one editor rejects the story, but recommends me to another editor. He was looking for what I was pitching. Story: sold!
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I get to watch some of the best stories unfold. I get to inhabit these worlds I’ve created and spend time with characters I love. If you asked me what my favourite book was, I’d name one of my own.
—the worst? Being at the whim of editors’ tastes. It’s a subjective industry. If sheer competence was all that was required to be published, the world would be full of competent books. Alas, taste and fashion and reader demand drives what gets published.
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? In my apprentice days, I treated the Craft more as a hobby, rather than a serious career. I watched my fellow apprentices get agents and book deals and start building careers. What were they doing differently? It was all about the attitude. Once I changed my attitude, became more professional, things came together for me.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? “How bad do you want it?” I wish someone would have asked me that every single day. My attitude may have changed sooner. (Today, someone does. Every. Single. Day.) In the beginning I was too busy trying to please other people, in my schooling, my future career prospects, everything. I’d gotten into the dreadful habit of putting aside what I wanted for myself and catering to others’ whims. I’d given in to expectations that I should be doing this, or should be doing that, and writing wasn’t as important.
But writing is important. It’s important to me. It’s one of the most important things in my life. Only I can make that call. How bad do I want to be an author? Pretty bad. Twenty books, dozens of articles, hundreds of short stories bad. Stay-up-late-finishing-the-chapter bad. Never-watch-TV-so-I-can-write bad. Scribble-outlines-during-lunch bad. I want it so bad I’ve given up a lot of things. I don’t miss any of it, because I get to write! (Yay!)
What’s the best advice you were ever given? My university writing mentor once said, “Why are you studying science, when you should be a writer?” She couldn’t figure out why I was pursuing something I liked and eschewing something I loved. She was right. I had to follow passion, not pragmatism.
Heidi’s latest book is As Good As Gold, a sweet historical romance with magic (and theft), out from The Wild Rose Press. Find it on Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00I28UYXA
Daywen Athalia wants love–true and lasting. Fearing a future of bitter loneliness, she seeks help from a gypsy woman. The price: a hundred pieces of gold. Daywen’s never had two shillings to rub together in her life. Where’s she going to find a hundred gold pieces? Bel MacEuros made a career of theft from fey creatures. When the cursed gold he rightfully stole from a gnome is taken from him by Daywen, the consequences could bless or break his life. It is not the gnome’s curse or a gypsy’s blessing but another magic, far deeper and more powerful, that will change their lives forever.