Today I am interviewing Heather Hayden, author of Augment.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I’m almost completely a pantser. Other than a few vague ideas and maybe a very light outline that includes a couple relevant scenes, I just sit down and write the story. When it’s done, I’ll begin the editing process, at which point I’ll write out timelines and plotlines and figure out what needs tweaking or fixing. There are a few occasions where I’ve tried to do more heavy outlining before writing, but I’ve found I either get bored or my characters wander off in a completely different direction that renders my plot outline useless. So I think pantser is the best title for me—I love the thrill of discovering my story as I write it.
What has surprised you most about your current work-in-progress?
For starters, I was surprised when the idea popped into my head. I originally planned for Augment to be standalone, but as I was reaching the end of the editing process, an idea for a sequel popped into my head. So now I’m writing Upgrade, and though I had a vague plan for what would take place, the story—especially the characters—took a different direction than I was expecting. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me too much, since that’s what usually ends up happening!
Without spoilers, is there any part you regret writing but is integral to the plot?
Yes. There’s a character that I have gone back and forth about, trying to decide whether to kill or not. That’s always a difficult prospect for me—killing a character, because it’s so final. This tends to happen to my favorite characters in books I read, which makes it even harder. But it’s also one of the ways fiction reflects real life. There aren’t always second chances for bad guys, or happily ever afters for good guys. Sometimes, that’s what the story needs, but it’s still hard. Honestly, I’m still not quite sure if I’m happy with my decision, but ultimately I had to make that choice.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
At the moment, sort of part-time. I say sort of, because I have a job online that is basically part-time, but ranges from being full-time for a few days to being nothing for a few weeks (it depends on the work available.) So my writing has to come second for now—if there’s work available I need to do that first. I look forward to when I’ll be able to write full-time.
Have you written works in collaboration with other writers, and if so: why did you decide to collaborate and did it affect your sales?
I’m currently working on an anthology of fairy tale retellings with some other authors I know from my writing group. They’re really awesome people and I’m looking forward to learning from the experience. We were inspired by other authors who have done collaborations, and it’s my hope that the anthology will help get our names out there for people to discover. *grins and high fives you for being one of those awesome authors*
Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you, Heather, and for calling me awesome. 🙂 *high fives you back*
Though a part-time editor by day, Heather Hayden’s not-so-secret identity is that of a writer—at night she pours heart and soul into science fiction and fantasy novels. In March 2015 she published her first novella, Augment, a YA science fiction story filled with excitement, danger, and the strength of friendship. She immediately began work on its sequel, Upgrade, which continues the adventures of Viki, a girl who loves to run, and her friend Halle, an AI. You can learn more about Heather and her stories through her blog and her Twitter, both of which consist of equal amounts of writerly things and random stuff she’s interested in.