Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Author Interview: Heather McCollum

**Reposted from the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood Blog**

Ladies and gentlemen, we have another interview victim, er, subject! Today we welcome Heather McCollum, 2009 Golden Heart finalist in the paranormal romance category and author of MAGICK: Book Two of THE DRAGONFLY CHRONICLES!

Available this Friday, October 8th, in digital and print formats from The Wild Rose Press, MAGICK is Heather's second release and the second book in the five-book DRAGONFLY CHRONICLES, following four sisters with paranormal abilities who were scattered and stranded through time for their own protection.

PROPHECY, the first book in the series, released in July and promptly hooked readers on this fabulous world.
“Prophecy is one of the best books I read this year. Your writing skills are so strong, the complex plot, the characterizations, and the settings are seamlessly blended into a terrific story. Not only did you do all the above, you began this series without overwhelming the reader with characters and back story. Count me as a fan.” Susan Ralph (author of BROMPTON MANOR from Avalon Romance).
Now the magic continues with the second book in the series, as the second sister Merewin struggles for her happily-ever-after with the Viking warrior Hauk, who mistrusts the very magic that is so deeply a part of her.

Happy (almost) Release Day and Congratulations, Heather!

Thank you so much for interviewing me today.

What drew you to romance that blended history and magic?

I’m a huge believer in happy endings even if they seem hidden in today’s world of lay-offs, divorce, and materialistic lust. In the romance genre, a happy ending is a guarantee even when it seems that there is no way for two particular people to ever find it. I love creating two characters that must maneuver through the obstacle course I erect to find their happily-ever-after. So writing romance comes naturally to me.

And I’ve always loved history, the cultural and physical limitations, the people with their spirit and incredible will to survive. Historical settings are magical in themselves since they are so foreign from what we live with everyday. So blending magic into them also comes naturally.

In each book of your Dragonfly Chronicles series, you explore a new time and place where another of the four sisters and their powers have been hidden. How do you research each period and place?

Luckily I love diving into history. I usually start researching on the internet, hunting for historical time periods and the political, economical, and social strife boiling up around the people of that time. Because understanding the historical flavor allows me to mold my characters into authentic people who view and interact with the authentic world around them.

Once I determine the exact time period, I find a few reference books such as the WRITER’S GUIDE books or the EVERYDAY LIFE IN . . . type books. They give me details such as how much things cost or if my characters had a toilet to use (which is definitely an important detail in my world).

I also use specific books according to my characters such as CLANS & TARTANS or my GYPSY-ENGLISH DICTIONARY (my heroine is a gypsy in PROPHECY). Words and slang used in different time periods can be found in Richard A. Spears’s book SLANG and EUPHEMISM and on the online etymology web site

There are hundreds of resources for writers. However, if you are a history lover, the trick is to use the resources without getting sucked into them for hours : )

What would you say drives your books? Is it the hero, the heroine, the overarching conflict?

In each book of THE DRAGONFLY CHRONICLES the overall series antagonist, Drakkina, learns a truth about the magical emotion - love. Drakkina is an ancient Wiccan priestess whose body died long ago but whose spirit strives to save our world against a group of thirteen demons. She starts off thinking that love is only a tool to manipulate people. But through each book we see Drakkina’s character arc unfold as she interacts with the hero and heroine and battles with them to find happiness and the truth about love.

If you could pick the actors to play Hauk & Merewin in the movie of Magick, who would you cast?

Actually this is a funny story. I create collages for my books to help me dive more into the world of my characters and into their psyches. I’ll write a few chapters quickly because I can’t wait to start the new project but then I start to slow down because I don’t know my characters as well as I should. So I stop and spend a day or two cutting and gluing pictures of my people and settings onto poster board or in a blank book.

Well I was looking for my Viking, Hauk, and was having a hard time finding him. Not that my pictures have to be exactly what my hero and heroine look like in my head, but certain characteristics need to be there so I can connect with them. So I was sitting with my husband complaining that I needed someone like Brad Pitt but with longish-blondish hair, nice biceps and a certain cocky air about him. My husband grabbed his copy of Men’s Health (which he never reads but I buy for him so I can cut out the pictures) and tossed it to me. “Isn’t that Hauk on the cover,” he said. I looked at the expression on a picture of Sawyer from the LOST TV series and squealed. My husband was so right, Sawyer, with his bad boy complex but genuine heart had the perfect glint in his eye in this rough-looking, casual picture.

Luckily my husband doesn’t mind me squealing over pictures of gorgeous men because he knows it’s only to help me write ; ) One of the perks of being a writer.

What three things do you absolutely need in order to write?

Hmmm . . . the only two things I really need to write are my laptop and my muse. But in a house with three young kids, a hubby that works from home and a crazy 65-pound golden retriever puppy, it can be VERY hard to find my muse. Half the time she’s scared off by shrill screaming and Nerf darts flying through the air. But there are a number of ways I can attract my muse to hang out in my heart for awhile so I can write.

First I must have a hot Chai latte with skim milk. I taste cinnamon and the creativity starts flowing. Talk about being one of Pavlov’s dogs! Chocolate can replace Chai in a pinch if needed.

Second, my music. I create a soundtrack from iTunes for each of my manuscripts that I listen to while I write. I used to only be able to write in complete silence. But complete silence abandoned me the first time my OB said, “it’s a girl.” So over the years I’ve trained myself to write with music blocking out the sweet sounds of home. I started soft with instrumentals, but now I can write with Enya crooning or Eminem ranting in my ears. As long as they aren’t whining about wanting a juice pouch, my muse stays with me.

Thirdly, my pictures. The collages I mentioned before transport me to that other world. I’m a very visual person and like to study the anguish or rapture on my characters’ faces before I can realistically write about them.

I’ve also added in aromatic candles and certain objects that hold significance to my manuscript on occasion, but really my muse only needs those three things.

Which direction is your muse taking you now? What's next in the DRAGONFLY series? I know you have an agent - are your current NY-targeted proposals also stories of magic, history and romance?

Actually there will be five books in THE DRAGONFLY CHRONICLES series. The third book, MASQUERADE, will probably be released in the first quarter of 2011. The third sister is a current day heroine who is transported with the hero to Elizabethan England.

The fourth book is set in Victorian Era Egypt and England. I’ve just started writing this very exciting adventure. The fifth book will involve all the sisters and their soul mates as they help Drakkina battle the coven of thirteen demons threatening the world.

I also have a completed Scottish historical with paranormal elements which is separate from this series. My agent has been shopping CAPTURED HEART (CH) out to the larger NY-based publishing houses. A novella linked to CH, HIGHLAND HEART, will be released as part of an anthology, The MAMMOTH BOOK of SCOTTISH ROMANCE, in January 2011 from Running Press.

Apart from those books, I am currently finishing a current day Young Adult paranormal romance called SIREN’S SONG. Since Jule’s first coo as a baby, she’s captured everyone’s attention with her magical voice. But she’s never encountered the fury she sees in Luke’s face when he hears her song.

It’s just another life for Luke, similar yet different than the last ten lives he’s already endured. Eleven loveless lives due to a curse cast by an insane, dark wizard. Luke must live life after life without love until he finds his soul mate. Her voice will call to him, but as his love grows for his siren so will the darkness in the curse, forcing him to kill the only person he will ever love.

Sounds like you're very busy, Heather! Thank you for giving us a peek into your new release and congratulations!

Thanks again so much for featuring me and MAGICK today!


Fury and guilt assail Hauk, a fierce Viking warrior, after he allows false healers to cure his family to death. When he’s ordered to capture the Great Witch of the Woods in Northumbria, he doesn’t anticipate that his hatred for all things magick would be challenged by a long-legged beauty with willful brown eyes.

Even with her great healing powers, Merewin’s fear of failure nearly cripples her resilient spirit. Strong wills clash as Merewin and Hauk battle their instant attraction. Can Hauk trust a healer with his remaining family and with his heart? Can Merewin conquer her own pride to love this powerful man who possesses an unacknowledged magic of his own? In the end Merewin and Hauk must put their faith in each other and in their love. For love is the only magick that can heal someone’s soul.

Buy MAGICK from Amazon :: Buy MAGICK directly from the Publisher

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