Q & A With Author Heather Hepler

Author Heather Hepler

Today we feature the fifth in our series of Q & As with the featured authors, agents, and editors of our upcoming YA A to Z Conference. It’s the first conference of its kind, dedicated to the craft and business of writing for young adults. If you need more info about the conference, click here. And if you still have to register, just click here! Keep checking back with Scribe for even more Q & As leading up to the conference on April 15 and 16!

What are you reading right now?

Laughing. Well, in addition to the pile of composition papers I’m reading and the stack of review books, I’m reading The Ranger’s Apprentice series, the Pseudonymous Bosch series, and Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart.

When you’re not reading or writing, what do you like to do with your time?

After rereading that question, I had to delete my first answer. “What do I like to do with my time?” I like growing things in my garden. (Please note that I did not say I like to garden. I like to have gardened – meaning I like the fruits of the harvest, not so much the weeding and watering and feeding and…) I run, I bake bread, I skateboard, and I’ve recently started doing Tae Kwan Do.

What’s your favorite opening line of a book?

“When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow…,”

What life lesson did your last book or project teach you?

That trusting others with your heart can be scary and at times painful, but losing hope isn’t an option.

What word do you love? What word do you detest?

I love the word “rad”. I can’t help it. I don’t like the word “clever”. It seems like an insult.

What is a little known fact about yourself?

I have a bizarre obsession with apples.

How do you deal with ups and downs of the publishing business?

That was really hard for me when I first started out. Now, I realize I love writing. If my books sell well or not, that doesn’t change.

How do you balance writing with work and family?

Family comes first, so there’s not much balance I’m afraid. I try to write while my son is in school or early in the morning or late at night, but I just have to be flexible. I’ve actually discovered that’s made me a better writer. Since I can’t always plan on writing time, I have to be ready to write all the time. I have to be able to get into that place in my head quickly, do what I need to do and then get out. There are cereal treat castles and baking soda volcanoes to make. They’re not going to build themselves.

What is your writing routine and where do you write?

Yikes. I just answered most of that. I don’t have a routine. I write whenever I can. I usually write at my kitchen table. I joke that it’s where the magic happens.

Do you outline or just start writing?

I usually just start writing, but I’m working on something right now that I had to outline. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Do you have trusted readers you turn to as you write, and if so, who and what stage?

My son and my dad. They are both completely honest – brutally honest.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I think I always wanted to be one, but I didn’t believe I could until about six years ago.

Cyndi’s Fast Five

1. What are three things in your office/writing space that would surprise someone who popped in?

My 20 pound Manx cat, my Tae Kwan Do uniform that I have hanging to dry, and too many orchids.

2. What book first influenced you as a child?

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

3. What time of day do you write?

Whenever I can.

4. If you could have a beer or coffee with a writer living or dead, who would it be and why?

Jane Austen. I’ve read her books over and over.

5. Beer or coffee?


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