5 Minutes With Kat Heckenbach

Another fellow Realmie is here with us today. Kat and I have been online friends for long enough that I really can’t remember when we first “met”. The first time we saw each other in person was at the very first Realm Makers four years ago. She’s a fantastic person who is a bit of a mentor to me, as well as my “conference mom”, as I dubbed her last year.

*Tell us a little bit about yourself/your novel:Author Photo - Kat Heckenbach

I’m a mishmash of interests. My whole childhood was filled with drawing, and I even intended to become an art teacher at one point. But I changed my college major to Biology after I realized I didn’t want to teach full time and I found myself fascinated by my college science classes.

However, I never used my degree in the science field—I used it to get a job running the math program at a local tutoring center. After I had my first child, I quit that job to stay home, and eventually started homeschooling both my son and daughter. While they were still pretty young, the writing bug bit, and here I am: artist, science geek, math nerd, teacher, and now writer. On the lighter side, I’m a Whovian and a Trekkie, and am obsessed with Warehouse 13. Of course I’m an avid reader, mostly of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. My favorite dog breed is boxer, and I’ve owned two (so has one of my characters). I live in Florida, but don’t go to the beach unless I have to. I’d much rather spent my days walking around in the woods, working on art, reading, writing, or hanging out at theme parks.

As for my novel, Legacy Rewound is the third book in my Toch Island Chronicles series. The series started off in Finding Angel as the story of Angel, a 13 year old girl in foster care who discovers the cause of the amnesia she suffered at a young age was being magically transported half-way across the globe when she was attacked by a madman who was after her magic Talent. All of this is quite a shock to her, but in some ways it’s not because she’s always felt “different.”

In the second book, Seeking Unseen, Angel’s friend Melinda takes the stage, discovering her own magic and helping save Toch Island from another madman. In Legacy Rewound, Melinda stars again, now forced to make a decision that could change history after very special magic (the music played by my favorite character, Elven rocker Kalek) has sent her into the past and brought back one of her ancestors—a man who hates magic and may put an end to it if he returns to his own time.

*What’s the funniest/weirdest thing you’ve ever had to research for a story?

You would think, with me being a fantasy, sci-fi, and horror writer, that I’d be researching all kinds of weirdness. But what’s actually strange is that fact that most of my research has been ordinary things. Sheep-shearing (for Finding Angel). How bridges were built around 1900 (for a ghost story I’m working on). What kinds of plants grow in the Midwest (for a paranormal romance set in the Colorado area). I often joke that one of the reasons I love writing fantasy is I can make everything up so I don’t have to research!

*Where do you usually write? Can you show us a picture/describe it?Kat workspace

I have this awesome roll-top desk I bought from a friend of mine. Her husband’s dad is a woodworker, and while he didn’t build it, he did refinish it and it’s beautiful. I love that it has all these little cubbies, and I can roll the top down when we have company, since the desk is in my dining room, which also serves as our homeschool room and my art room, and is open to the living room. I technically write on a laptop, so I could sit anywhere to write, but I love that desk.ear protectors

The main problem is my need for absolute quiet while writing, so I wear the kind of ear protectors you wear while using power tools and stuff—decorated to they don’t look so dorky.

*Do you have a strange quirk or habit while writing or preparing to write?

Well, I mentioned the need for absolute quiet and the ear protectors. I know that’s kind of odd among writers—so many write to music. I’m also odd in that I don’t snack while writing. I’ve been asked several times in interviews what I snack on while writing, and my answer is nothing. A glass of water sits nearby, but that’s it. Another thing about me is I’m old-school. I don’t use any fancy software like Scrivener; I prefer index cards and spiral notebooks for all my story notes and such, and Word for the actual writing. I need to be able to lay everything out on the dining table top and physically move index cards around as I plot. Doing it on-screen is just not the same for me.

*Can you give a hint of where the story is going next? What’s next on your plate?

Legacy Rewound is the last book of the Toch Island Chronicles trilogy, but I’m working on a prequel that tells the backstory of one of the villains from Finding Angel (can’t say who—spoilers!). It won’t be full novel length, though. I’m going to publish it in a collection, along with short stories from that world that are already published in magazines and anthologies, some that have yet to be published, and a couple that have yet to be written. I also very much would like to turn one of those short stories into an illustrated chapter book for kids.

Outside of Toch Island, I am working on a middle grade ghost story, about a girl, Amelia, staying in a small town with her land-developer father. The bridge he wants to tear down in order to build a new one is rumored to be haunted by the man who built it over 100 years ago. Amelia discovers the rumors are true, and finds herself in a battle against her own father to keep the bridge intact. I’m really excited about finishing this project!

Thanks for having me here on your blog!

Glad to have you, Kat! Here’s more about Legacy Rewound:legacy-rewound-fullsize front

Melinda knew Kalek’s music created powerful visions, but it wasn’t supposed to actually send her into the past!

It definitely wasn’t supposed to bring someone back to the present with her. Especially notsomeone tied so tightly to Melinda’s own past, someone to prove, once again, that her family ancestry was made up of psychopaths who should never have existed.

Now it’s her chance to change her lineage– and history– forever.

Kat’s online hangouts: website| Finding Angel website| Facebook| Twitter| Amazon Author Page

Published by H. A. Titus

H. A. Titus is usually found with her nose in a book or spinning story-worlds in her head. Her love affair with fantasy began at age twelve, when her dad handed her The Lord of the Rings after listening to it on tape during a family vacation. Her stories have been published in Digital Dragon Magazine, Residential Aliens Magazine, and four anthologies: Alternative Witness; Avenir Eclectia Volume 1; The Tanist's Wife and Other Stories; and Different Dragons Volume II. In December 2013, her short story "Dragon Dance" won Honorable Mention in a Writers of the Future contest. She lives on the shores of Lake Superior with her meteorologist husband and young son, who do their best to ensure she occasionally emerges into the real world. When she's not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skiing, or hanging out at her online home, hatitus.wordpress.com.

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