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Friday, 27 June 2014

Interview with Smashwords

So. I love talking about myself. Offering reviews on novels I've read doesn't feel right. It's forced, fake, less than honest. So I have decided to nuke the blog, and start fresh. 
Talking about myself comes naturally to me. In the future, I shall use this blog as an outlet. I'll be sharing info about me as an author, my books, and the process of writing. Also, I may share an opinion or two. 
I'm an opinionated sort of girl. 
To make this all nice and easy, for both you and me, I'll write many of my post in Q&A-style. 
Let's start with an interview I did on Smashwords. It's a new feature the site offers, and lets authors answer pre-written questions, or draw up their own. Some of these questions I found on the form, some of them are my own. I'll let you guess which ones. 

Who is this Heather Wielding? Is that even your real name?
Heather Wielding isn't my given name. It is a name I chose for myself as I decided to write in English. The initials, HW, have travelled with me a long time, and I wanted to incorporate them in my new name. Heather was a given: it is my favorite of female names, and I like to identify myself with the strong yet delicate flower it represents. The surname took a bit more thinking. I wanted it strong, powerful, something associated with steel and blade. As I settled with Wielding, I turned the names around, and liked what I saw. Wielding, Heather. The story of my life: alone against the world, armed with a delicate flower.

I am a Finnish fantasy writer, designer and musician. Wife of a talented musician/photographer, lady of the Shadowland Manor, Mother of stories, First to my name.
When did you first start writing?
I learned to read and write at the average age of six. As soon as I found the joy of stories, I started making up my own: most stories I read ended just as I was getting interested, so I had to make sequels for them. At first they were the stories of a little girl, the adventures and mishaps of My Little Ponies, but later, they evolved into something more sinister.

I've written since I learned how to hold a pencil, and finished my first real book when I was twenty-two. Most of my life is spent in books, with words creating beauty, pain, terror and bliss. I sometimes feel I am most alive when I'm writing, most real when I'm breathing in the air of worlds I see with my mind's eye.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing allows me to travel to realms no-one has been to before. In the pages of the stories I write, I can be someone else, experience things I could never do in real life. I've ridden dragons, watched trees grow by my magic, I've been a fairy, a princess, a wizard, a warrior. I have lived a thousand lives through writing, and constantly live new ones. Every word I write is an adventure, a joy on its own.

The greatest joy in writing is being able to live more, to breathe deeper, to see things beyond wildest dreams. To be more than just an eternal kid from the land of midnight sun.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Creation is the essence of my existence. When I'm not writing, I read, cook for Husband and me, stare out the window and knit, daydream, maybe sing a little song. I design clothes as well, and write knitting patterns and sewing tutorials for my small business. Books are never far from my mind, though.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Every day is a gift, and we should learn how to make the best of them. I have decided to live my life for ME and ME alone, and that selfish decision has made me happy. As I have arranged my life so that I can do the things I enjoy, I don't need inspiration to get up. I do that willingly, knowing I get to have fun all day, everyday.

I know it sounds selfish, but I've found that happiness makes me a nicer person. Happy people smile and sing, do nice things for their loved ones, help those less fortunate. I think that the secret of life is to learn to be happy, to appreciate and make most of what we are given. It's a challenge, but once you get there... ahh, the bliss <3
What is your writing process?
I sit, I write, I hunt for typos, I publish. It's very simple and straight-forward. Comes naturally, one might say. I've never forced myself to write, and refuse to do so.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm Finnish, and, obviously, live in Finland. Up here, publishers are quite conservative about books. Only about ten books per publishing house come out yearly, and there's five houses in business. Getting published is very hard work here, and fantasy is regarded as a childrens' genre. Fantasy writers don't get published, full stop.

I write fantasy, so...

Luckily, TV has raised me to speak and write very good English. After realizing the situation for fantasy writers in my home land, I translated my existing books to English, found Smashwords, and published.

Today, I write my books directly in English, and publish them via Smashwords. I could not be happier with my choice: I am free to write whatever I please, and my books are found and read, the way they're supposed to.

Writing into a desk drawer, like we say in Finland, is nice, but stories need to be shared in order for them to live. That's the main reason I went indie: to get my stories read.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't like the word "fan". I'd rather say "faithful reader".

Without readers, there wouldn't be writers. Without writers, there wouldn't be stories. Without stories... I don't want to go there, actually.

Stories are written for the reader. We write so we can see You lose yourself in the story, read wide-eyed, gripping your book like it was the only thing left in existence. We write to take you away into a world of never-there. We write to allow you sights of un-lived realities. We write to create another realm for You, a realm where anything is possible.

Without faithful readers there would be no more tales to tell.
That's what fans mean to me. Life to the wonders I have seen.
Who are your favorite authors?
I'm picky about what I read. Picky and loyal to a fault.

Stephen King was my first true love. The first novel I read by him was Salem's Lot. It was what I like to call "a face-grabber". I opened it, read the first paragraph, and felt like an arm reached from the book, grabbed my face, and wouldn't let go before I'd read the whole thing. After Salem's Lot I read Carrie, and was hooked. Every Christmas and Birthday I'd get a new Stephen King-novel, and I'd read them to shreds. Still love him. Great guy.

Another writer of face-grabbers, my second true love, is George R. R. Martin, whom I like to call Uncle-George. I was working at a Salvation Army flea market one summer. As I was organizing the book shelves, I found a well-battered copy of A Game of Thrones. I took it to the cash register, made the mistake of opening it, and read until someone poked me and said "ahem, time to go home". It was a bit of an embarassing moment, but I regard it as credit for Uncle-George. Dozens of customers must have demanded my attention that afternoon, without me so much as taking my eyes off the book. I admire the way Uncle-George paints a realm of magic and violence with words so eloquent and frail. He is a true master, and I bow to him.

And then, the master of them all. My third true love, to rule above them all.
J.R.R. Tolkien.
Words to describe my admiration toward him escape me. The level of dedication in his work, the perfection of every single word... my soul weeps in awe at the mere sight of his books.

There are many others, of course, who have influenced me, touched my heart, offered me thrills, made me gasp in terror, but listing them all would take far too long. This doesn't make them any less meaningful.
You're a designer as well. How would you describe your clothing line?
I design garments for ladies of the wicked kind. As a Gothic Girl, I draw inspiration from the Victorian era as well as the glitter and glam of the eighties. My personal style is strongly visible in my work: I haven't yet designed a piece of clothing I wouldn't want to wear. This creates a dilemma, as I wouldn't wish to part with any of the items I make.

I've solved this tincy-tiny little problem by turning most of what I make into tutorials and patterns. I don't only design and sew clothes, I offer instructions on making them as well.

Most of my designs are created with recycled and upcycled materials. I care deeply for the environment, and wish to help make our planet a little cleaner, a little less polluted. We live in a world of plenty, but taking advantage of what we already have has become difficult for us. By my sewing tutorials and knit patterns, I strive to encourage upcycling.

In short, I would describe my garments as easy, fun and friendly, with a Gothic twist.

Creation is a gift, a flame I wish to feed. It brings a dab of fantasy into everyday life, turns a dream into reality. Through it, we all get a chance to show who we truly are.