"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Though Kelley resides on the earthly realm
with her husband and two dogs, she always has one foot firmly
planted in the otherworldly realm of mystical creatures and magic.
Of Water and Dragons is her first novel and she has two more books
coming soon from Awe-Struck. In addition to writing books, she
also enjoys playing and writing music, and designing crosses out
PNR: How long have you been writing? What inspired you to choose writing as a career?
Kelley H.: I have always been a writer in some form. My first experience with writing was as a songwriter/lyricist. Writing was not my first choice as a career. Music was my first love so I think writing kind of chose me. What happened was I had some health problems and was unable to do anything, but I had to keep my mind busy so I started writing short stories and discovered that I loved doing it.
PNR: Do you have a strict writing schedule? How do you balance your personal and writing time?
Kelley H.: Once I start a writing project, I am driven to finish it and will work day and night. My husband jokes that he doesn’t see me very often so when I finish a book, I take a week or two off before starting a new project.
PNR: Being a newly published author, who or what has been the biggest influence on your work? Who or what has been your biggest support?
Kelley H.: The ancient Celts are a big influence on my work. I have always been fascinated with their culture and mythology. Morgan Llewelyn is an author who writes historical Irish novels and her work has influenced me a lot. So have Ann Rice and Stephen King. My family and my husband support my decision to be a writer. I really owe my husband a lot for supporting me so I can write full-time.
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Kelley H.: I think a good plot with suspense and well-developed characters are key elements of a great story.
PNR: Could you tell us about the publication of your first book, OF WATER AND DRAGONS? Where did the idea for the story come from? How do you develop your story ideas?
Kelley H.: This story was originally a short story. My creative writing teaching encouraged me to turn it into a novel. The original story was a fantasy setting and I decided to set the novel in ancient Britain and Scotland. I was doing some research and discovered that there was a key battle fought between the Roman legions and the Celts around AD 84 in Scotland. I thought it would be the ideal place for a faery woman to meet a Roman soldier. Most of my story ideas come from history books I read. There might be one or two lines of something interesting and I build a story around that. I like to set my stories in ancient times in which very little is known about so I can fill in the blank spaces.
PNR: Your hero and heroine, Ambiorix and Nemu, share a poignant love that has captured the readers’ imagination; could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
Kelley H.: I try to get inside the head of a character and put myself in their place so I know how they would react to a certain situation. Nemu is my favorite character so far. She is interesting and she has flaws just like anyone. The most challenging character is probably Morgaine from my second book, White Rose of Avalon. I didn’t want her to come across to readers as too harsh, but she is sort of the villain of the story. It was challenging to make her likable and tough.
PNR: I found OF WATER AND DRAGONS to have a good balance of character focus and plot conflict. Do you find it difficult the juggle the two elements?
Kelley H.: Not once the story starts to flow. I always start a story off really basic with the main plot and the two main characters. From there, the characters guide me through the story and I build on the main plot and character development. I guess it is like writing a song—you start out with your basic guitar riffs and add lyrics and other instruments to the mix.
PNR: OF WATER AND DRAGONS is a captivating blend of history and Celtic mythology. How do you approach the world building for your mythic world? How much research goes into its development?
Kelley H.: I base my stories on a time in history—usually a time that very little is known about so that I can add to it. Since I am using history, I do put a lot of time into my research. Sometimes I research for months reading different texts or fiction in the genre I want to write about.
PNR: Why do you feel mythology is such a popular theme in the paranormal romance genre? What is it about this genre that captures your imagination? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Kelley H.: I think mythology is popular because that is where our basic understanding of ancient life comes from and there is a lot of territory for a writer to explore. I would like to write a total fantasy novel someday.
PNR: Could you tell readers what your plans are for the Celtic Mythology series? Will we be seeing favorite characters from previous stories?
Kelley H.: I have already finished the second book, RavenWolf, which will be released in 2008 from Awe-Struck. Nemu and Ambiorix will be back as well as some other characters. There are a few surprises in this book that I think readers will enjoy. I am planning a prequel for this series that will take place in ancient Greece, Britain and Ireland.
PNR: Can you tell us about the projects you are currently working on, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Kelley H.: White Rose of Avalon is due for release in November 2007 from Awe-Struck. This novel is a re-telling of the Arthurian romances with a few twists and is set during the fall of Avalon. I have just finished Cat’s Curse, a historical romance with paranormal elements set in sixth century Scotland. This is the first book of my Dark Goddess trilogy. This series is about the Cailleach/Cat Anna, a faery/goddess of Ireland and Scotland, whose destiny is intertwined with the destiny of an Irish clan.
PNR: Thank you, Kelley, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Kelley H.: I can be found online at www.kelleyheckart.com or readers can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have a Yahoo group where readers can be updated on my releases and other book related news http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kelleyheckarts_enchantedgrove/.
Thank you for the interview.
Featured in this issue:
They were destined to meet, but were they destined to be together?
“Of Water and Dragons” takes place on the mystical island of Britannia from the dark enchanted lochs of Scotland to the grand bathhouses of Roman Britain.
The battle of Mons Graupius in AD 84 is one of the most profound battles in history when the Romans, though greatly outnumbered, defeat the Celtic tribes of ancient Scotland and furthered the expansion of the Roman Empire.
Here, in this untamed land the Romans call Caledonia, lives Nemu (Nay-Moo), a half- human, half-water faery woman. Soon after the battle ends, she finds a wounded Roman soldier named Ambiorix. Despite her distrust of humans, she takes him in and heals his wounds. Though they are from different worlds, they are mysteriously drawn to each other, but unforeseen forces keep them apart until their worlds collide in a fury of fire, blood and darkness.
“Of Water and Dragons” weaves together the Roman history and Celtic lore of ancient Britain to create an unforgettable story of love and sacrifice.
White Rose of Avalon is a sensual Celtic fantasy romance focusing on the romances of the Arthurian Legends. With the land falling into Saxon hands, the Christian monks make a pact with Morgaine, Queen of the Faeries. She promises to give them a High King who will unite the Britons against the Saxons if he takes a queen from the faery realm. She hopes this will restore the Goddess faith, bringing Avalon back to its rightful place and not hidden within the mists.
Morgaine’s lover, Lancelot, is sent to guard the future High King, Artorius. The Saxons are driven back by Artorius’ army and his kingdom reigns until he weds Gwenhwyfar. A love potion meant for Artorius and Gwenhwyfar falls into the wrong hands, sending the kingdom into ruins. Gwenhwyfar is the only hope for the future, but betrayal, revenge and forbidden love surround her, threatening to destroy the lives of four people.
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