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Today I’m excited to interview Heather McCorkle about TO RIDE A PUCA that was released on May 21, 2012. One of the reasons I’m excited about Heather’s book is that it deals with Druids, which I’ve been interested in but don’t know anything about. And I really liked Neala, a fiercely independent girl in a time where women weren’t very independent, learning about her powers and her place in the world.

Here’s a description for Goodreads:

Invaders are coming to take what isn't theirs, again.

Neala wants to stand and fight for her homeland, but as one of the last druids, she may be standing alone.

Persecuted, hunted down, forced to live in obscurity, the druids have all but given up. Can the determination of a girl who has barely come into her power bring them together? Or, just when she finally finds her place among her kind, will they end up losing a homeland their very magic is tied to?

Hi Heather. Thanks so much for joining us.

1.  Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a writer.

I love fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, pretty much anything out of the ordinary. I’ve been writing since I was twelve. I began writing because I didn’t like the way stories ended.  Silly, I know, but hey, I was twelve! LOL!

2.  Sounds like we have similar reading tastes. For those of us who haven’t read anything else in the Channeler series, tell us about it.

The channeler series is about a half-Mayan, half-Irish teen girl who discovers she has the ability to use energy like a physical force to either heal or fight. She also finds out that her grandfather believes she is a warrior of legend destined to fight in the last battle for the Earth.

3.  One of the things I loved about this book is that it’s about Druids. Please share about your research process and share some of your research links or books that some of us might want to check out.

 Me too! Druids have always fascinated me. The Irish Times was a site I frequented to get immersed in the current culture. Roots Web, Ireland’s History In Maps was priceless to me. And of course there was Google searches backed up by library references and many great books.

4.  Thanks for sharing the links. I'll have to check them out. How did you develop Neala as a character and do you see yourself in her at all?

She came to me fully formed, attitude and all. It was almost like meeting an old friend, one that hounded me to tell her story. I’m not one to put myself in my characters consciously but I have no doubt that little bits of me and my experiences find their way into Neala.

5.  Wow! That must have made writing this a bit easier. World building is really important in your story. What was your world building process like? I’d also like to know why you decided to use the dialect you chose, for example: “Yer a big help as always me friend.”

My process begins with research on how things were at the time and in the location the story takes place. Dress, food, culture, traditions, it’s all based off history and becomes a part of the world. The dialect is taken from bits of the modern dialect and bits of what is known throughout history to have been used in the area.

6.  That's awesome that you stayed true to the times. You chose the independently publishing route. What led you to that decision? What should authors thinking of this option consider and do you have any resources you recommend they check out?

Despite my beta readers pushing me to go big with this one, I decided to publish with my own press. The creative control of going indie is worth the work. Plus, I figured, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t support my own press by publishing with them! Authors who are considering going indie need to approach it carefully, like a business that they are willing to put 110% of themselves into. I highly recommend hiring a freelance editor, a cover designer, and even an interior designer if one isn’t technically talented. Then be ready to market your pants off.

7.  That's great advice to hire people to help make the book polished in the areas you don't have the expertise to do well. Since you’ve published several books, you must have an idea what works and doesn’t work in spreading the word about your books. Share some of your advice on marketing a book.

Marketing is a fickle thing. What works for one may not work for another. That said, having a good, consistent web presence if vital. Find what your good at and do it, be that Facebook, blogging, Twitter, or a mixture of social networks. Establish real friendships, do for others, and never spam.

8.  I've seen how well you use your blogger friend connections to help shout out about your books. I saw in your bio that you also design book covers for Compass Press, the publisher of your books. Tell us about the process of designing covers. Did you design any of your covers?

Designing covers is my second biggest love, next to writing of course. The creative process and challenge of making something original and fantastic is inspiring. I design all of Compass Press’s covers.

9.  That's so cool that you're talented in designing book covers too. What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up the last novel in the channeler series, Rise of a Rector which is due out in September and I’m working on a short story that will be featured in Compass Press’s first anthology alongside some outstanding authors, Winter Wonders, due out this December.

Thanks for all your advice Heather. You can find Heather at her blog, on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook.

Heather has generously offered a copy of TO RIDE A PUCA for a giveaway. All you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on July 14th.  I’ll announce the winner on July 16th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.

If you mention this contest on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, please let me know in the comments and I’ll give you an extra entry.

Here's what's coming up:

On Friday, I have a guest post scheduled with Erin Moulton and a giveaway of TRACING STARS, a summer middle grade tale.

Next Monday, I'm interviewing Carolyn Turgeon and giving away a copy of THE NEXT FULL MOON, a fairy tale retelling of a girl who grows wings.
The following Monday I'm interviewing Laurisa White Reyes and giving away a copy of her amazing book THE ROCK OF IVANHOE.

Wednesday that week Casey has a guest post scheduled with Shannon Wiersbitzky on staying focused and she's giving away THE SUMMER OF HAMMERS AND ANGELS.

The following Monday I'm interviewing Lenny Lee, an amazing middle grader, for my ASK THE EXPERT series and sharing and giving away UNRAVELING and THE SELECTION.

Then Wednesday that week I'm interviewing Leigh Bardugo and giving away a copy of her fantasy SHADOW AND BONE. I've heard such amazing things about her book. I just got my copy and can't wait to read it.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Agent Spotlights on Thursdays.

Hope to see you on Friday!


LTM said...

I've been seeing this book everywhere, and it looks super cool! And with Brave coming out (I know, that's Scottish, but still), I think the idea of a fierce, independent girl w/a funny accent should be popular! :D

Best of luck w/the Channeler series. Good for you, sticking w/your own press! Now I'm thinking of that Spinal Tap song... LOL! j/k <3

Liesel K. Hill said...

This sounds awesome! The time period is especially unique! Thanks for the interview! :D

Donna K. Weaver said...

Great interview. Heather's a lot of fun, and I've been enjoying the Channeler series.

Heather said...

Thanks LTM! That would be awesome if the movie Brave helped feed book sales. Yeah two different countries, but they're not far from each other! LOL!

Heather said...

Thank you Liesel!

Heather said...

Aw, thank you Donna!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Great interview. Heather's book sounds wonderful. Love the title.

Kelly Polark said...

Wonderful interview! And I really don't know a lot about druids either, and what a unique, cool premise for a book series!

Theresa Milstein said...

Nice to see Heather here. She's got a great blogging community behind her.

Heather, I think it's interesting you chose Druids to write about. Your book The Secret of Spruce Knoll had an interesting mixture of cultures. Many writers don't incorporate history and different cultures into their stories.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I bought the book the first day. I cannot recommend it hotly enough. It is a riveting read.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I bought the book the first day. I cannot recommend it hotly enough. It is a riveting read.

Alexandra Wendt said...

Wonderful interview! I love mostly anything in the fantasy/paranormal genre, and the Druids idea is certainly unique and new--great to see a fresh idea! I'll have to check it out.

Stina said...

Heather has a wonderful web presence. I have one of her earlier books, I just haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Looking forward to Lenny's interview. :D

Gina Gao said...

This is a wonderful interview! I really enjoy reading her books. Thanks for sharing.


Heather said...

Thank you Rachna, on both counts!

Heather said...

Thank you Kelly!

Heather said...

Thank you! I love history and it only seemed natural to work it in. :)

Heather said...

You're the best Roland, thanks!

Heather said...

Thanks A.L., I hope you enjoy the read!

Veronika said...

Yaay, I'm so excited about this book! Can't wait to read it! Thank you so much for the interview, it was amazing read!
GFC follower (Veronika) and email subscriber
verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

You're so sweet, thank you Stina!

Heather said...

Thank you Gina, that means a lot! :)

Heather said...

You're enthusiasm is totally inspiring! Thanks Veronika!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Aw, I love Heather! So excited for all her books. She's a great model for how to publish indie.

Barbara Watson said...

Sounds like a blend of so many interesting aspects! Thank you for offering the chance to win a copy.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Good interview. And it sounds like a great book. I love all things Irish, so that's on my TBR list.

Steve MC said...

Never heard of a puca, but this one looks like it'll be a good ride.

And to Natalie, I really like the new look of the fonts.

Heather said...

You're so incredibly sweet! *slips a $50 under the table*

Heather said...

Thank you Barbara!

Heather said...

Thank you Elizabeth! I hope you enjoy it. :)

Heather said...

Thanks Maine!

Reading Mind / The Loyal Book said...

Druids! How cool is that? very original!!!

aliasgirl at libero dot it