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This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Author Interview + Book Giveaway: Heather McCorkle The Secret of Spruce Knoll

What a fabulous Friday! It is an honor and pleasure to introduce you all to a really wonderful person and author, Heather McCorkle and her debut novel, The Secret of Spruce Knoll.

I first found Heather's blog through another writer/blogger friend *smiles* I love the writing community! Since then, I have followed her blog (I L-O-V-E her Friday Feature Creature!) I went from reading one of her pitches for The Secret of Spruce Knoll to celebrating that her book was to be published!! I am so proud of her and would love for you all to get to know her! 

Oh, and did I mention there is a BOOK GIVEAWAY too!?! That's right, one lucky person will receive a SIGNED copy of The Secret of Spruce Knoll!!! Trust me, you WANT a copy of this book, along with a cozy blanket and hot tea or cocoa or coffee if that is your thing :D you will need the caffeine to stay awake until the end ;)

Book Blurb:
It’s hard enough being a teenager under normal circumstances; imagine being orphaned, sent to live with an unfamiliar aunt—and learning that there really is magic in the world. Following the tragic death of her parents, Eren Donovan moves to Spruce Knoll to live with her aunt. Little does Eren know the entire town of Spruce Knoll is filled with “channelers”—a magical group of people who immigrated to the small Colorado town when they were driven out of their own lands.

Channelers are tied to the fate of the world. As the world slowly dies, so do they~and they alone have the power to stop the destruction of Earth. 
Now, Eren learns she not only lives among them, but she is one. When she meets local boy Aiden, who shows her being a channeler isn’t all bad; in fact, it’s kind of cool.

As Eren and Aiden’s relationship blooms, so too does a mystery in Spruce Knoll. The town holds many secrets—and many enemies. It soon becomes apparent that the untimely death of Eren’s parents was no accident and that her life might be in danger, too. Only time will tell if young, inexperienced Eren has the power to protect the people she has come to love. 

And now the moment you have been waiting for, the wonderful author herself!! Thank you for joining us today Heather! :D

So tell us, what inspired you to write The Secret of Spruce Knoll?

 I was watching a special on how deforestation is causing the extinction of several species. It was so sad that I couldn't stop thinking about it, I even dreamed about it that night. When I woke up, Eren was born.
What type of research did you do for your story? Was it difficult to research topics for The Secret of Spruce Knoll? 

All kinds! I love research. Of course I use the internet, a lot, but everything I find on there has to be backed up and verified from another source like a library or history book. For places I haven't been I like to use Google maps that zoom in on the area with satellites, it is awesome. It was challenging to research Spruce Knoll because of the four different cultures, but so fun and inspiring!
Has researching for your novel ever gotten you into any funny situations? 

Oh my gosh yes! I ask some of the strangest questions of the most random people at the most random times, or sometimes I just wonder them aloud. We were in a restaurant one time and I asked, "Do you think if I trapped him in a cave and left him there he'd die of starvation or exposure first?" The waitress walked up just as I was saying it and you should have seen the look on her face! Poor girl. 

In TSSK, there are only four cultures that live in Spruce Knoll. Are there other channelers from different cultures in other parts of the world? 

You'll find out in book three! ;-)
Have any of your characters demanded more page space than you originally planned? 

Definitely! Fane stole the scene the moment he came onto the page. Readers will see a lot more of him in book two. 

What was your favorite chapter to write? 

*Spoiler alert!* That's a tough one to answer because I love these characters so much and each scene was special in some way to me. But I'd have to go with the scene at the party, when the fight breaks out and Aiden and Fane come to help Eren.
Is there a specific character you’d like to go back to and further develop? 

*Spoiler alert* Alin, Eren's uncle, didn't get much page time and I'd love to write more about him.
Can you tell us a bit about what you are working on just now? I'm polishing up the sequel to Spruce Knoll which is scheduled to be out next March!
What is the best part of being a published author? What is the worst? 

The best part is the wonderful people I meet and connect with. When it comes down to it, that's really what it's all about, entertaining people. The worst part is the constant fear of 'how is my book selling? Do people like it?' They don't tell you about that part. ;)
How has writing and publishing changed you? 

I've been writing since I was twelve so I can't imagine how I'd be if I didn't write. Publishing has connected me to more people and has made me a better writer because of it. I know people will be reading my novels now so I strive even harder to make them outstanding.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? How do you deal with it? 

That would have to be hearing that my manuscript was too slow paced and I needed more happening in each chapter. It isn't easy to hear that when you think you're done. But it was the best advice I ever received. I got back to work and made every single scene matter to the over all book. It took my writing to a new level.
Is there anything you wish you had known about the publishing industry before you became a published author? 

Many things! I wish I had known that agents and publishers will pass up a great book just because it will compete with another author or novel they already have. That's probably the biggest one.
What is your secret to a good ending? The plot threads and character arcs must all be tied up, but it doesn't hurt to leave room in the pattern for more.
As a writer, who are your main influences? 

There are so many lovely authors I admire! Saundra Mitchell, Judith Graves, Ebony McKenna, Jessica Subject, Krissi Dallas, Kristie Cook, Eisley Jacobs, Denise Grover Swank, Kitty Keswick. I could go on!
What do you do when you are not writing? 

I love the outdoors. Hiking, horseback riding, snowboarding, kayaking, and so much more!
And just for fun: If you had to choose between a walnut, almond or cashew, which would you pick?  

As a nut, I love almost all nuts! LOL! But it would a cashew, no contest! Though I do love almonds. Walnuts, not so much.

Thank you so much Heather for stopping by and sharing with us all about yourself and your book! Well there you have it folks! Heather McCorkle, author of The Secret of Spruce Knoll. If you are interested in knowing more about Heather, her book or where you can get your hands on a copy of The Secret of Spruce Knoll, I highly recommend you hop on over to her blog or visit her author page on Goodreads or Facebook.



Karen Strong said...

Thanks for posting the interview. I love hearing about how writers come up with their books ideas.

Tina Moss said...

Another great interview. And this is probably one of the best truths that more writers need to know - "I wish I had known that agents and publishers will pass up a great book just because it will compete with another author or novel they already have."

Marilyn Yarbrough said...

Very telling interview. Spruce Knoll sounds fascinating. I'll have to add it to my reading list for a cold winter night--which should be here soon.

lindy said...

Isn't it funny how so many brilliant books have come about after dreaming? Great interview, thanks!

Tia Bach said...

Great interview questions. Book sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing this with us. I skipped over and joined Heather's site as well (and enjoyed her Flash Fiction piece).

Laila Knight said...

Hey there fellow Fantasy writer and Campaigner. Happy to meet you. Great interview and peek at what may be an excellent book. I am following you.

Trisha Wolfe said...

Great interview! I think that's so funny about asking questions to people lol I do that, too. And then explain I'm a writer ha!

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

Thanks Tia!!!!

Laila, it's nice to meet you too! I checked out your blog and followed back. Happy Birthday!!! :)

That is so true Lindy. In fact, a lot of my story ideas come from either dreams or when I'm trying to get to sleep!

magan bagan said...

Thanks for the interview and that contest! I definitely can't wait to read this one :)

Janet Johnson said...

Fun interview! It's always interesting to hear how writers come up with their ideas.

And I would choose Almond!

Debbie@ I Heart YA Books said...

Hi Heather, Great interview,I also love cashew lol
Can't wait to read your favorite chapter the fight with Aiden,Fane,and Eren :)Thank you for this awesome giveaway of The Secret of Spruce Knoll :)

Julie said...

I wish I could dream about something and then wake up and write an awesome book! Kudos to yu, Heather :)

Debbie@ I Heart YA Books said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Heather, Hi, Ms. Saba,

Terrific interview. It is so amazing that I am still learning more about you and your book Heather.

Thanks for the invite. I just love to keep up with you and your book.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Congrats Heather! It sounds like a fanatastic read! And thanks for the contest Ms. Saba! Nice to 'meet' you! New follower here:)

Kristi said...

Thanks for the interview!

I love reading about other aspiring authors, their journey to publication, and their new books! I've added Heather's to my "TBR" list on Goodreads! :P

Aik said...

I look forward to reading Heather's book! She's a nice person, and also a good blogger friend.

Heather said...

Just wanted to stop by to say thank you so much for your kind words and support everyone. It means the world to me, truly! I've been dropping in and reading comments, I promise, I just didn't want to clog them up to make it easier for Saba to draw the winner. Anyone who doesn't win, feel free to contact me on my blog and I'll be happy to send you a bit of great swag (i.e., bookmarks, stickers, postcards). <3

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. This really is a wonderful book. I'm so excited at the number of people signing up for the giveaway!!!!!! :D I will announce the winner on Friday!!!

Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators