Heather Long

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Heather lives in Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. As a child, she skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.

Q: What is your writing day like?

A: My writing day starts between 4 and 4:30 every morning. I get up, let the dogs out, make coffee and retreat to the garage where I sit with my laptop in the cool silence and write for at least two hours. I pause around 7 to get my daughter off to school and then right back to the laptop until 9. All new words are written in the isolation in the garage, away from the Internet and other distractions. It’s cool in the summer mornings (downright nippy in the winter), but I do most of my new words every day right there. After that, it’s time for any day job work, edits, blogs and day-to-day chores. 


Q: What books most influenced your life?

A: I think every phase of my life has had a book that’s marked itself important. As a child, those were the Harlequins my grandmother read to me, later it was Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Tolkienesque epic Dragonlance Chronicles. By my late teens, Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned called out to me. The varied genres all shared one common theme: powerful, vivid characters that I wanted to know more about.


Q: Why do you write?

A: It sounds trite and clichéd, but I write because I don’t know how to not write. I wrote my first “story” when I was in pre-school. I wrote my first “book” when I was in the fourth grade, a terrifically bad picture book that I still have and was my daughter’s favorite storybook when she was little. But writing is catharsis, escapism, creativity and so much more all rolled into one activity. I write every day, rarely skipping unless very ill or traveling and then I make up for it the next day. If I go longer than a week without writing, I get really, really cranky.


Q: How long does it take you to write a complete novel?

A: Depends on the novel. I can write a novella in three days, but a longer novel may take a month.


Q: What other genres do you write?

A: A friend of mine calls me a schizophrenic writer because I love all genres and I write in so many from paranormal romance to romantic suspense to urban fantasy to erotic romance and contemporary…and I have a paranormal western series as well. That’s not even touching the stack of ‘to be written’ ideas that I keep accumulating.


Q: What is the hardest part of writing a book?

A: The beginning. It’s the most difficult part hands down. I always think I know where a story is starting, but I can write and rewrite the first chapter a couple of times before I find that ‘magic moment.’ Usually by the third chapter, I have it and we’re off to the races. The first chapter is usually the one I revise the most too.


Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

A: Sleep? No, seriously, I actually love to cook. I love experimenting with new recipes. I also enjoy quilting. Then there is my guilty pleasure—the television. I used to watch shows professionally and write reviews (I still actually do that now and again), but I am hopelessly addicted to several great shows that I can’t get enough of including Castle, The Vampire Diaries, Eureka, Haven, Bones and yes, Hart of Dixie…which is cute and funny all at the same time.


Q: What inspires your stories?

A: So much inspires what I write from a song lyric to a drive down the road to a conversation to research on another project. For example, when I lived in Virginia I drove down this tree-lined stretch of road every day. One morning I drove past and the trees were there, four hours later I drove back and the trees were gone. All that was left was this stubbly field of cut off tree trunks. The visual floored me and a character was born. In another instance, it was just the question of what if? So many stories come from a what-if, but they don’t take root until I discover the right character to answer that question.

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