"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
F E Heaton
I’ve been interested in all things preternatural since I was
just a kid. I used to while away days at school and college
dreaming of vampires, werewolves and witches, and used to while
away evenings watching movies about them or reading gothic
horror stories. In 2003, I found myself turning my hand to
writing paranormal romance. In 2005 I had my first novel
e-published under the name Felicity Heaton, and wrote several
romantic suspense stories and historical romances. Now I’m
finally back to writing paranormal romance / dark fantasy
An Interview with F E Heaton
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
F E Heaton: No, it wasn’t something I’d ever considered making a name for myself in. I started out by writing fanfiction, which is quite a common starting point for authors these days. From there, I was cajoled by a friend of mine into trying my hand at original fiction and I haven’t looked back. I love being able to create whole worlds of my own and characters that are a part of me, and have come from my imagination. It’s far more satisfying than I ever could’ve imagined.
PNR: Could you tell us about your writing routine, how do you balance writing and personal time? What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
F E Heaton: I do find it difficult to balance writing and life, but recently I’ve achieved that balance. It’s all a matter of give and take. I’ve realized that I can get most of my writing done during my journey to and from work, and on weekends when my husband is working. It’s given me a lot more time off to spend with my husband, and time to spend on my other projects too. When I’m not writing, I’m more often than not watching anime with my husband, traveling, or playing on my PS2. I work full time, so it’s nice to finally have a balance and some time away from writing and work.
PNR: What is the best part about being a writer? The most frustrating?
F E Heaton: The best part of being a writer is creating these new worlds and exploring them. My imagination is my only limit and I really let it fly. I love to create characters that people can come to feel for, and know, throughout the story, and also characters that people can hate, be infuriated by, annoyed by, laugh with, and cry with. Nothing gives me a sense of achievement and satisfaction like working with my stories and seeing them finished, and having them turn out just the way I had envisaged them to be—sometimes they’re even better than I had expected. The most frustrating part of writing for me is not having enough time to write all of the stories I’ve got floating around my head. I’ve got far too many stories and I always want to be writing something new, but I have to take a step back to edit them and it gets a bit frustrating as I’d rather be writing. I know how important editing is though, so I stick it out.
PNR: Which author(s) is your favorite? And who or what has most influenced your work? Who or what has been your biggest support?
F E Heaton: I don’t really have a favourite paranormal writer. I do love all the books by Terry Pratchett though and I wish I could write like him. He has an amazing imagination and the world he’s built just keeps getting better and better. Another writer with amazing world building is J R R Tolkien. I also love the classic romance authors such as Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell, Emily Bronte and Jane Austen. Of course, I can’t forget Bram Stoker—a hero for feeding my imagination about vampires when I was a child—and Mary Shelley for doing the same about horror in general.
I think every vampire, werewolf and fantasy film I’ve ever watched has greatly influenced me. Especially the vampire ones. I grew up watching Hammer House of Horrors movies and films like The Lost Boys, and I’ve drawn on all of them when creating my vampires and werewolves, etc.
My biggest supporters are Maria, who writes amazing stories and never ceases to support and encourage me, and my husband, without him I probably wouldn’t have the courage to write.
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
F E Heaton: For me, it’s all about the plot and the characters. The storyline has to be in depth and twisting. There’s got to be a few surprises along the way. The darker the better if you can do it. The characters have to be believable or people won’t be able to fall for them and feel for them. Great characters drive a story. Give them a purpose and watch them grow. That’s what I did with Prophecy and Valentine in the Prophecy Trilogy. They’re both very different characters and the challenges they face really make them grow and readers could relate to that. Oh, and never give a character an easy time. No one has an easy time in life and it shouldn’t be any different if you’re a vampire!
PNR: Congratulations on the release of Prophecy: Dark Moon Rising in May 2007 from Alinar Publishing, book three in the Vampires Realm series. Your epic series is very popular with readers and reviewers; could you tell us where the idea came from and a little about your vision for the series?
F E Heaton: Well, this story was originally going to be a standalone. There wasn’t a series when this idea first came to me and it’s one of those times that I thank the stars that I didn’t have time to write the Prophecy story straight away because all the time that it spent lurking at the back of my mind turned it into a much better story, and it spawned a whole series! I don’t know where my ideas come from really. They just come to me. I normally let them sit for a while, but nowhere near as long as this one sat in my mind. I wrote notes down for scenes and things when they came to me, and found myself delving deeper into the world the vampires live in. When I collected all my notes together, I realized that I couldn’t let this world only be explored in one story, albeit a trilogy. I had to write more in this world and when I realized that, I also realized that I had other stories just waiting to be written for the characters involved in this story and others within the series.
My vision for the series is simple. I want to write vampire, werewolf, and vampire hunter stories, where the vampires in question hark back to the good old days of vampires. They’re quite brutal and don’t angst over the fact they’re killing humans. To them, they’re top of the food chain and humans are just their next meal. Of course, there are those who see different, but the majority think like this. I wanted to create quite a dark world. More often than not, we go about life and things run smoothly. It’s quite light and we rarely venture out into the night. I wanted to explore what goes bump in the night and show that side of the world, the side humans don’t see, the things we’re oblivious too. There are things that could affect us and we don’t see it—like Prophecy fighting to save the world for demons and mankind. Mankind doesn’t notice, but the demon population do. My next novel, Midnight, explores the other side, where humans are in direct danger from vampires and it’s down to a vampire hunter and the vampire that’s in love with her, to stop the terrible things happening to people. All of the novels are quite dark, but that’s to be expected when dealing with vampires and other creatures with preternatural abilities.
PNR: For readers who are not familiar with your Vampires Realm series, could you give us an overview?
F E Heaton: Vampires Realm is a dark paranormal and sometimes urban fantasy series that is focused on the vampires of the seven pure bloodlines of Europe. The pure bloodlines of Europe have been around for countless centuries and are spread across the continent. Some even share a city, like the Caelestis and the Aurorea share Prague—although they’ve spent many years in the past shedding blood over it and would prefer they didn’t share. The humans are kept oblivious to the existence of vampires by way of the laws. If a vampire breaks the law, they answer to the Law Keepers, and the penalty is usually death.
These aren’t the only vampires out there. There are those of the weakling bloodline. They’re despised by the pure bloodlines and seen as a pest to be eradicated by the vampire hunters. The vampire hunters spend most of their time killing the weaklings. If a vampire hunter comes up against one of the pure bloodlines, they don’t normally live to tell the tale. The pure bloodlines have superior abilities. It takes a very special human to be able to defeat one. There’s also the pure bloodlines of the other regions, and demons, werewolves, and witches. It’s a dangerous, dark but enthralling world with strong heroes and even stronger heroines.
PNR: Vampires Realm is an epic series; can you tell us about the challenges you face in world building and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series? Do you write your characters to fit the world you have created or vice versa?
F E Heaton: I’ve never done any world building before, so I thought it would be a challenge but so far everything has clicked into place. I love being able to write a story and hint at other stories in it. When I’ve written those stories and people come to read them, I hope they’ll go “ah, I remember that being mentioned in…”. Writing the stories so they all interlock in a way is great fun, and a great challenge. There’s a lot of stories mentioned in the Prophecy Trilogy and hopefully they’ll all come to light over time. The ideas in my mind and the characters generally fit into the world and not the other way around. I see the world as a set of laws and things you can’t change, like the world we live in. There’s diseases you can’t eradicate, dangers you have to face and can’t run away from, and decisions you’ve got to make regardless of your feelings on the matter. The world is the anchor, the thing which is common in all the stories, and it ties them all together. The stories and characters are set in that world and therefore are affected by it.
PNR: Your story blends a number of paranormal abilities and beings, was this challenging?
F E Heaton: Not so much challenging as fun. I like pushing myself and including so many different demon species, threats and abilities made writing this story fun and exciting for me. I liked the magic, the way I’ve written my vampires, and the history that has been slipped into it. It all combines to make everything feel more real, and I hope that comes across to the readers. I’ve had so many people writing me and saying how they could easily see each scene and really felt for the characters, and how they were drawn into the world almost instantly. It’s exactly what I wanted to happen, and it’s wonderful that it has. I never stop challenging myself, and that extends into my stories. I won’t give a character an easy time and I won’t surrender and let them have their own way. If I had, then Prophecy: Dark Moon Rising might have been quite different as Venturi would’ve got his own way!
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
F E Heaton: My writing is driven by both. I used to be very plot driven, or at least thought I was, but these days I would have to say that it’s an equal split. I have to have that twisting, in depth plot there to support the characters that I’ve created. I think I have to have both. I can’t write a story just focused on the characters. A lot of stuff has to happen too.
PNR: Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
F E Heaton: I always write out a bio sheet for my characters. Normally they come to me fully formed and ready to go, some even presenting their names to me. I write down everything I know about them and keep it with my notes. Even stuff that I won’t use in the story. I find it’s good to know them as best as possible before I start writing.
My favourite character to write is a toss up between Valentine and Prophecy, but I’ll go with Prophecy. She’s the main character in the Prophecy Trilogy and writing her was amazing. She starts out so naļve and innocent to the world, but dark at the same time because she’s a vampire. In their world, she’s innocent. As the story kicks off, she has a lot of things thrown at her in one go—revelations about her past, her life and her future. I loved being able to go on that journey of discovery about herself with her, and loved being able to write her progress and see her grow into this powerful, kick ass heroine that is not to be messed with. She’s so powerful, but still retains some glimmer of womanly innocence about her.
The most challenging had to be Venturi, because he comes into the second book, Prophecy: Caelestis & Aurorea and really stirs things up. He was supposed to do only that—make things a bumpy ride for Valentine and Prophecy just when they both think they’re relationship is on an even keel—but instead I wound up feeling for the guy and changing his role a little to would-be lover of Prophecy should she give him the chance. He really does make you feel for him. He became the one on the outside looking in and wishing for his chance with Prophecy when he should’ve been the one stirring up trouble and making readers hate him.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write the love/sex scenes?
F E Heaton: I don’t find it a challenge to write the love scenes that are necessary to the plot. They’re the only kind of love scenes I’ll have in there so they’re a part of the story that needs to be written. When I do write love scenes, I always write graphic ones. I just don’t know how else to write them. Most of my books have a high sensuality level, but it’s not just the sex doing that. It’s more about the unresolved sexual tension between the characters. I love to write UST and the first book of the Prophecy Trilogy, Prophecy: Child of Light, is packed with the stuff, but there’s not one sex scene in it. It’s still very hot though!
PNR: Why do you feel the vampire is such a popular character in books, movies and television?
F E Heaton: According to scientists, women are attracted to vampires because we like to be bitten. I have to agree with that one! I think people are drawn to vampires because they’re usually improved versions of ourselves. They’ve got heightened abilities, always seem to have a very cool and interesting life, and they’re immortal. I think we’d all love to have a life like that—one where we can’t get hurt, and we’re not the norm. There’s a little bit of the outcast in all of us, and vampires have it in spades. Maybe that’s why we’re attracted to them, because they’re everything we’d like to be.
PNR: Paranormal romance is experiencing an incredible surge in popularity, what do you feel accounts for the sudden interest in the genre? What is it about the paranormal genre that captures your imagination?
F E Heaton: I think both paranormal and romance have been incredibly popular genres since time immemorial, and the combination of them has been deadly (excuse the pun!). People crave romance, but they also crave the excitement of a world that could exist if they use their imagination a little. I love paranormal stories because they explore the world from a different angle. There’s darkness there, but there’s excitement and adventure the likes of which we don’t get in our normal lives. We get stories of vampires, and werewolves, and other strange exotic demons. The stories know no bounds and can really push the envelope of peoples imaginations, introducing them to things they never would’ve dreamt of before. Writing paranormal stories is incredibly freeing. You can really use your imagination and let it do its own thing. It’s wonderful to be able to create something truly yours and have people love it too.
PNR: What is your favorite genre to write? Is there any style or genre of book that you would like to try but haven’t yet?
F E Heaton: My favourite genre is definitely paranormal stories that involve vampires. I love writing about werewolves, shape-shifters, witches and vampire hunters too. That’s why Vampires Realm means so much to me. I can combine everything I love to write, and challenge my imagination to come up with stories that go beyond what others are writing.
I like fantasy stories and science fiction. I’d love to be able to finally write a science fiction story. I’ve got the idea and it would be a romance too, but I just don’t have a space in my schedule to write it yet. There are nine Vampires Realm novels waiting to be written, and a few others besides those.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months? A sneak peek perhaps?
F E Heaton: I’m just finishing editing a shape-shifter romance called In Heat, which was written under my Felicity Heaton pen name. It’s a very hot story about a black panther shape shifter and his human mate. The girl in question has been dreaming about him, hot dreams, and when he shows up as flesh and blood, she doesn’t quite know how to react. Double that problem when he finally confesses about his primal side.
Sneak peek, eh? Well…last October I wrote a story called Darkness & Light. It was a short dark fantasy based in a world I created called Tri-Kingdom. It had quite a lot of world building for one short story and people asked whether I’d consider writing more in that world, or with those characters. I really wanted to, and now I’m writing a second story based in the Tri-Kingdom. It’s a completely fantasy world so I get to let my imagination take over completely this time. It’s quite a dark world too, and there are all kinds of creatures, wizards, witches, demons and such living there. It’s going to be great fun to write and there’s already another 2 stories planned.
PNR: Thank you Ms. Heaton, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
F E Heaton: Readers can find me at a multitude of places! (I should curb my blogs, etc!). For more information about Vampires Realm, they can check out the official website – http://www.vampiresrealm.com - where there’s information about the books, the characters, the laws etc. Everything you need to know about the series. For an inside look at the series, read my blog, which I began when I started writing the first Prophecy novel – http://vampiresrealm.blogspot.com
I also have my author website where I talk about all my books, and my works in progress too. http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk
If anyone would like to contact me directly, then you can email me at email@example.com
Oh, and of course, if you’d like to buy the stories, they’re available at http://www.alinarpublishing.com
a.k.a. Felicity Heaton
The Vampires Realm
May 26, 2007
Vampires Realm: Book 3
An enemy with unimaginable power and bloodlines with centuries of hatred bred into them, two things that threaten to tear Prophecy and Valentine apart as they fight for their lives and their future together. Their vain attempt to join their houses into one army drains the last of their strength, leaving them more vulnerable than they've ever been. The tension escalates between the bloodlines, and, more dangerously, between Valentine, Prophecy and Venturi. As everything crumbles around them, defeat seems inevitable.
In one decisive move, their enemy turns the tables against them, taking what is most important to Prophecy and leaving her to fear that the terrifying visions she's been having are coming true. An enemy becomes a friend, guiding her in her time of need, and a friend becomes an enemy. Death, destruction and danger surround her, but the help of an old ally brings her the army she needs and the dark moon brings her the power to fight the legions of Hell.
When the time comes, will Prophecy be able to do what's necessary or will the sacrifice she must make be too painful to go through with? Does she have the strength to stop Hell from being unleashed into the world and save the ones she loves at the same time?
The dramatic conclusion to the Prophecy story, Prophecy: Dark Moon Rising is a gripping tale of love and war that will take hold of you, set your heart racing and not let you go until the very last page.
April 28, 2007
Vampires Realm: Book 2
The final battle draws closer. Prophecy's world becomes darker and more dangerous, pushing her to the limit and testing her strength and her heart, almost breaking her. Old friends turn their backs, leaving her to fight with the help of an unlikely ally and forcing her to call on the devastatingly seductive and powerful Lord Hyperion for assistance.
Struggling to rescue Valentine from the malicious hands of her blood brother, Arkalus and the lord of Aurorea, Kalinor, Prophecy discovers just how powerful she is and how far people will go to stop her from fulfilling her destiny. Lives are lost, battles are won, and the scroll foretelling the prophecy is finally completed, but nothing can prepare them for what lies ahead.
When her visions show her the path that must be taken, will Prophecy be able to do what is necessary? Are Prophecy and Valentine ready to command the power they'd never thought would be theirs? And are they strong enough to fight the evil of their true enemy?
Following on from Prophecy: Child of Light, the tension rises and love grows in Prophecy: Caelestis & Aurorea, a thrilling second part to this story that draws you into a dark, dangerous world of vampires, magic and the war to end all wars.
March 1, 2007
Vampires Realm: Book 1
A girl unlike any other girl, a vampire unlike any other vampire, Prophecy lives life in the dark until the night she breaks the rules. Leaving the family mansion to hunt for the first time, she encounters Valentine, a vampire from her family's enemy and a man who will change her life forever.
Suddenly at the centre of a prophecy, she is kidnapped by Valentine, the man who should have been her executioner, and forced to run with him in order to save herself. Required to work together, the tension between them builds as a dark evil threatens to destroy the world, their families and the Law Keepers attempt hunt them down, and Prophecy discovers that her feelings for Valentine control her new found power.
When the truth about her is revealed, will Prophecy be strong enough? Will they discover a way to save the world from Hell? And will they finally see past the hatred bred into them by their families and surrender to their love?
The first of the Vampires Realm novels being written by five star author F E Heaton, Prophecy: Child of Light, is part one in an epic tale of love and war that is sure to capture your heart and leave you craving more.
F E / Felicity Heaton
Featured in this issue:Interviews with: L. A. Banks Margaret L. Carter Nathalie Gray Chris Marie Green F E Heaton Doreen Orsini Jaden Sinclair
Paraphernalia is a feature of PNR, the official website of firstname.lastname@example.org