One of the best things about being an author is the people you meet along the way who are connected to the publishing business. That includes great authors that I didn’t know before my journey began. One of those authors is Wild Rose Press sistah Jeny Heckman. Read her biography below and you’ll know why I now think of her as a sister from another mister! She’s got a new book out from TWRP, THE SEA ARCHER and it’s hoping up the charts! Read a little sumthin’ sumthin’ about it here and then stick around because Jeny recently gave me a great deal of insight into her writing, persona, and thought processes. Like I said: I think we were separated at birth! ( even though I’m oodles older than she is, hee hee!)
When opposites meet, the attraction is undeniable, but Fate has other plans.
THE SEA ARCHER
Raven Hunter, a musical prodigy, flees to the Hawaiian Islands to pick up the pieces after her marriage to her manager collapses. Instead, she experiences extraordinary and unsettling events that are beyond her understanding.
Living in paradise, marine biologist, Finn Taylor has the unconscious but effortless ability to understand the needs of the animals he cares for. His playboy lifestyle is most men’s fantasy. That is, until the night he meets the shy and elusive new island resident. Suddenly his life no longer feels like his own. The attraction is undeniable. However, vastly contrasting lives, peculiar dreams, and an unbelievable proclamation that they could be the direct descendants of Poseidon and Apollo threaten to divide them forever. Will they accept their destiny and begin the quest of a lifetime or will they remain in their comfortable yet separate existence?
“Finn, I understand it sounds crazy, really. I knew nothing about Greek mythology or who any of these people were until she told them to me.”
“And now you think Poseidon… I’m assuming you think I’m some offshoot of Poseidon, right?”
“You have a trident on your back.”
“Because I thought it was cool when I was twenty-years-old.”
“And you’ve never felt anything strange that you can’t explain?”
“And Raven,” he continued, unwilling to entertain those thoughts. “Who I just met, is Apollo? You realize, Apollo was a dude, the boy half of the twins, right?”
“God of music.”
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A little about Jeny
Jeny Heckman, loves romance. She especially loves romance with a paranormal and/or historical twist. Educated as an artist, banker, sales clerk, draftsman, charity fundraiser, jewelry maker, nursing student, hospice volunteer, photographer, mother, and wife, she felt her calling lay elsewhere. While taking care of an ailing loved one, she was inspired to write her first novel entitled, The Catch, about a female Alaskan crab fisherman, and self-publish it. Wanting to try something very different she pitched an idea to a New York agent who told her to run with it. This book is the first of that seven-part endeavor. When not ignoring her family and friends by writing you will find her time exclusively on them and photography. Jeny lives in Stanwood, Washington, with her husband of over twenty-five years.
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A little more about Jeny Heckman:
Where did you get the idea for the title of your book?
The Sea Archer was an easy title to come to. I needed to incorporate Apollo and Poseidon together, so decided to choose from some of the symbols they’re known for. Although Apollo is primarily known for music, he was also an archer that would shoot his arrow across the sky to bring forth the sun. As well as Raven stepping into the natural light, instead of the spotlight, so I chose the archer. And Poseidon, of course, is the ultimate god of the sea and this book is heavily grounded there, taking place primarily on Kauai and the hero being a marine biologist.
Why did you choose this genre?
I love the paranormal romance genre. It’s fun and it’s interesting. I have never written in this genre though and that was a little different. I changed from being a pantser to a plotter but all in all I loved the process. It was really fun implying the “fantasy” world within the real one. Where you get that reasonable doubt that the fantasy may be possible.
What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?
By far, the most difficult thing about writing a book for me is having a head full of ideas and unable to write them down because I’m busy or the day is packed full of other events or people. It’s by far the hardest part. When I write, I don’t really like to stop. I definitely lose track of time. So, invariably I need a lot of undemanding time or I’ve been known to get a little grumpy when I get interrupted.
If writing is your first passion, what is your second?
Writing is absolutely my first passion and then a very close second is photography. Two very creative fields I know. I love capturing moments whether in life or in my mind and showing it to people. To stand in the Scottish Highlands alone but able to show it to people like they’re standing there too, is exciting. Primarily, I shoot portraits and weddings but recently I’ve really gotten into scenery and epic landscapes. I love capturing moments, expressions and small windows of time that reveal more than what you expect.
What’s one thing that your readers would be surprised to learn about you?
Well, I’m not sure they’d be surprised but I am an introvert, as many writers are. What I think is surprising is that many people don’t understand us. They think we’re hermits, and that we don’t like people or are somehow lonely and unhappy all the time. Which is unfortunate because it couldn’t be further from the truth. I gain energy and inspiration from quiet, where others might gain energy and inspiration from others or “busyness” around them. For me, I have to be in the mindset and prepare to be around a lot of people or it stresses me out.
What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?
Um, my life…Friends and family are the only real things that can take me away from my writing but I don’t think I could nor want to give them up.
What’s your favorite books of all time and why? What’s your favorite childhood book?
I have favorite books from every genre so it’s easier to say my favorite authors. David Baldacci, Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Sophie Kinsella, Liane Moriarty, Darynda Jones, Gillian Flynn, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, don Miguel Ruiz, Jane Austen, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins and Diana Gabaldon to name just a few.
What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?
Oh, definitely a mystery! However, I do feel like really good mysteries are hard to write! If you aren’t careful your audience is solving the puzzle before they’re supposed to which can be so frustrating for a reader. I love it when you never see it coming and it was the aunt’s, boyfriend’s, sisters, cousin.
What is your favorite quote?
Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. So, when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up and it will.
(Peggy, injecting herself here: I lovelovelove that movie!!!!!)
If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could have 3 (inanimate) objects, what would they be?
It would have to be a laptop with a huge hard drive, then uninterrupted electricity and Wi-Fi. Spoken like a true writer, right?
Have you written any other books that are not published?
I have! I wrote my first novel which was self-published, entitled, “The Catch.”
Then I wrote another book, entitled, “Civility.” It was a book about a kind of second civil war in America. This was well before the last election but funny enough that was the catalyst in the book for trouble too. I was still trying to decide what to do with it when things started getting really heated in our country and decided I didn’t want to be part of the vitriol tearing everything apart, so shelved it.
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing?
I really like this question. My life has been a very fascinating one. Most people in my life don’t know half of what has happened to me and one day I may write about it. I feel my life has appropriately set me up to write about the topics I write. Empowerment has not come easily, it’s been a very long process but as I get older I do feel stronger, and more empowered than I felt possible. That’s why I wouldn’t trade my life now for my twenties or thirties for anything. It’s also why I like that evolution to happen to my heroes and heroines.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Absolutely. I believe women are pretty powerful beings and yet can sometimes lose their way or get caught up in an inner made up story. I would love for a woman that struggles with some of the same insecurities that Raven does, to find a voice and role model in her. You must be brave in the world, and that you are entirely capable of most things. The same would be said for men. I feel like they don’t always get a fair shake. They are expected to be these strong individuals, the driving force in most things. I would hope a man might read this book and let go of some of those beliefs and feel safe to be just a little bit vulnerable, especially to a woman.
What do you like best about your hero?
Oh Finn, what is there not to like about Finn! He is perfectly flawed, as most men are. I love men, so I love writing about them and Finn is the epitome of male beauty but doesn’t always get that isn’t enough. I like his turmoil in how he handles this tsunami that’s entered his life. Just a side note. When I write, I have to have a visual on my desktop of the character and when I wrote Finn’s scenes, his visual counterpart is Ben Dahlhaus (with the short beard). So, if you are wondering my vision of him, Ben was it. Go look him up now and you’re welcome!
What do you like best about your heroine?
I love…LOVE Raven! She was such a loud voice and presence in my head. I love that we have an idea about what a celebrity might be like. We think we understand their lives, their intellect, their beliefs, when we don’t know them at all and many times they are nothing like the people you fall in love with on the stage or screen. Raven is two separate people and everyone thinks the one on the stage is the real one. However, she is just as insecure as everyone else. She doesn’t know any more or less than anyone else. Her life is primarily the same just with extra wrapping paper. Second side note, Jennifer Anistan was the visual que for Raven. The best thing is Jennifer has played many roles and I was able to get the performer and every day woman characters of Raven from Jennifer too.
How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?
As I explained already about the visual cues I do need that when I am writing and I look at the characters often when writing movement or dialogue. Other visual cues for characters in this book were Pierce Brosnan for Donovan Fortner and Gerard Butler for Wyatt Hunter. The others were models. As for names, I stopped doing that for the most part. In The Catch almost every character was named for someone in my life but it was very hard to tell the person that the name assigned to the character in the book had nothing to do with them personally. If you’ve assigned a loved ones name to a particular asshole in a book, you don’t want that person thinking that’s how you see them. So, I had a lot of explaining to do and decided I wouldn’t be doing that again.
How did your interest in writing originate?
Wow! Well I’ll try and make this concise! I’ve always thought in stories and pictures. My imagination was always very vibrant and I loved to read and enter those “other” worlds. I never thought about writing until I was older and walking one day. My father-in-law was very ill and I was taking a break from caring for him. I had an idea for a story and the character wouldn’t stop talking in my head. When I got home, the kids were in school and I didn’t have anything going on so decided to write it down. At one point, I looked up and four hours had passed! I decided to play it out and in three days had a somewhat fleshed out story. I sat on it for a long time, just being busy with my active family and job. People read it and encouraged me to, “do something with it.” However, it wasn’t until my son (who isn’t a big reader), read it and said he wanted me to publish it. I decided to try and, “The Catch,” was created. I fell in love with the craft and started writing another book which was picked up by The Wild Rose Press and the result is or hopefully will soon be in your hands, The Sea Archer.
Your favorites…( Peggy, interjecting here: This reminds me of my favorite Bravo show, the Actor’s Studio!)
Movie: Pride & Prejudice
Music: I like all genres for different things. I play classical when I write
Place you’ve visited: Scotland
Place you’d like to visit: Greece
TV show from childhood: Fame
TV show from adulthood: The Good Doctor, ER, or Grey’s Anatomy
Dessert: Lemon meringue pie
Sports team: Seattle Seahawks
What would you most like to say to your readers?
I’d like to thank the readers for taking their time to invest in my stories. It requires time to do so and no one appreciates that time more than me so thank you!