Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Slice of Heaven

Today, I’m fortunate to have a moment to interview Heaven Liegh Eldeen, a fine author and a remarkable person.  Get to know her.  Her story is inspiring and incredible.  I had a chance to interview her, and I’m more than glad I did.  I’ll be reviewing her book The Demon Side in a few days.

You have multiple genres and audiences.  Do you find yourself slipping into YA writing for your more mature projects, or the reverse?  Ever accidentally write an erotic scene into a YA novel and have to rewrite it?

I have a philosophy about something similar to what you’re asking. Don’t put porn in my movies and don’t put movies into my porn. If I’m writing an erotica tale, I try very hard to keep it in that genre. Last thing I want is someone expecting a YA story and getting the full Monty. So when writing my YA novels I tend to stay away from sex completely. That’s not to say there isn’t some hot make out sessions but I like to keep it clean. I have slipped up a few times with making those make out sessions too hot but the editing gods have caught me, luckily.

All that talent and beauty, too!  Heaven's Photo
Tell me your thoughts on the independent publishing movement.

I am all for it! Some of the most amazing authors and stories that I have found have been self-published works. The self-publishing world has come a long way. The bindings, the formats, the stories are everything you’d expect from a large publisher. And for those naysayers, don’t judge a book by its publisher.

Do you write full time or part time, and how do you manage it?

I have the pleasure of being what I like to refer to as being a domestic engineer or more commonly known as a housewife. People assume I have all the time in the world to write but believe me that is not the case. Between daily chores, kissing owies, and a million “Mommy, look at this” and “Hey babe, I can’t find…” it really leaves no room for writing. But, I have a found a method that works for me depending on the time of year.

When school is in, the minute I get home from taking my son to school I sit at the computer and set my timer for one hour. When that beep goes off I get up, stretch, and do the dishes. Then I sit back down, set the timer again. When it goes off, I get up, stretch and vacuum. And that continues throughout the day until it is time to pick up my prince of Bioncles. During summer vacation it’s not so easy. When possible my husband helps out a great deal. The times he can’t, well, let’s just say you have to have great junk food to bribe babysitters with.

I recommend introducing your babysitter to what I like to call ghetto chocolate fondue. Mix up a box of fudge brownie batter. Leave it in the bowl. Grab some marshmallows, strawberries, pretzels, bananas and let the bribing commence. Dip one item into that batter and let them taste it. In no time flat you have a babysitter until that batter is gone. One box usually lasts about three hours. Ha-Ha. It works every time!

Tell us about your latest book.

My young adult paranormal romance The Demon Side centers on Rahovart, a Demon banished to Earth over five hundred years ago. For centuries, he spends his free time feeding himself on the fear he creates by scaring Quantico, Virginia locals. A master of his craft, Rahovart doesn’t think twice when a new family, the Divad’s, move into the Victorian home he dwells in.

With a workaholic father, an alcoholic step-mother and a schizophrenic eighteen year old girl, the dysfunctional family unknowingly offers the perfect arsenal for Rahovart to plan his tricks. That is until he learns their daughter; Etta can not only see and hear Demons, but is already being tormented by Alastor, an incubus. What starts as a turf war between him, Alastor and the Arch Angels, soon becomes a battle deep within Rahovart of good versus evil and more importantly love versus hate.

How did you come up with titles?

I think about an aspect of the story and try to fit it in a title. When one strikes me as good, I repeat it over and over again using different voices to see how well it rolls off the tongue. And when I say different voice I mean every voice from valley girl to Yogi Bear. If it flows no matter what accent or voice I use to say it, it’s a keeper.

You’ve got a bunch of projects in the works.  Does it drive you crazy?  How do you keep up?

I am currently working on five other novels and at times it can be taxing. You have so many stories and characters in your head constantly squawking in your ear it’s hard to concentrate on anything else. But, I treat each one as if I were a hairdresser. I listen to them, then run and tell my husband everything they said.  We gossip about them as if they were real people. It helps keep them all straight and it keeps my mind busy. A busy mind is a happy mind.

Now, focus on one of the upcoming projects and give us a taste.

The Human Side (sequel in my Demon Side series) is currently in senior editing and will be releasing. I can’t tell you enough how excited I am. But I don’t want to give anything away to those who haven’t read The Demon Side. Don’t throw tomatoes at me yet! I do have another young adult paranormal suspense novel, Vineyard House currently in editing that I don’t mind sharing.

When Adesina Gower, an eighteen year old high school outcast thought life couldn’t get any worse than taking care of her Schizophrenic mother and ailing grandparents, she finds herself catapulted into a world of shape-shifting Druids, where no one; including herself, is what they appear to be.

 With the help of some unlikely friends, Adesina Gower or as she likes to be called Desi, soon finds herself being the only person that can save both the Otherworld and Earth from an evil grove of Druids known as The Defectors, who have summoned the god of the Underworld, Arawn, into the body of Desi’s estranged father.

Just as Desi begins to feel she has a handle on her abilities and everything happening around her, a wrench is thrown in the mix when Desi and her friends have to team up with The Seekers, a group of religious zealots created during the crusades for the sole purpose of eradicating Druidry all together, for a battle of the greater good versus evil.

What inspired you to be a writer?

It was a perfect storm of a multitude of events. It seemed all in one day the stars aligned and a writer had been born. My husband loves horror flicks. I absolutely hate watching scary movies. I do okay with the slasher films such as Friday the 13th and Halloween. However, movies that deal with the unseen, ghosts, and entities, flip me out! It doesn’t matter that I know the movies are completely fake and improbable. I can’t help but run through my house, turning on every light, screaming for my husband to hold my hand while I relieved my bladder during a commercial break. Of course, the jokester my husband is, never resisted cracking a few jokes about what a pansy I am or attempts to scare the poo out of me on our way back to our recliners.

Tired of pranks and jokes, I built a self-defense mechanism in my head. I keep my eyes on the television but send my brain into La-La Land. Well, they have scary monster in La-La Land too. Lucky for me, I set the rules for that amusement park.

Short story longer, one evening I snuggle into my hubby as he turns on what is not just a scary movie, but the worse kind of scary movie, one about demons and ghosts attacking you in your sleep. How do you defend against that? You can’t. So, my defenses raise and off goes my brain to stand in line at the tea cups, when suddenly a Demon stands in line behind him.

Being the cordial little guy, my ball of pink spaghetti happens to be, he strikes up a conversation with the mortifying beast. Next thing I know, Rahovart, Etta, John, Alastor, The Arches and Rene are at the snack bar, stuffing their faces with nachos, sucking down lemonade and trading stories back and forth while I sit in the background typing every word that passes between them.

Who is your favorite character in your books? Why?

The four main characters in my novella The Demon Side are all tied as my favorite. Each one represents a different part of me on my journey from the gutter to being a productive member of society. Rahovart the Demon is, well, all of my Demons. Etta is my innocence and strength. John is my fight and stubbornness. And Rene is my ignorance.

Tell us about the hardest challenge you had to overcome in writing?

The hardest challenge has to be not listening to those who said I couldn’t do it. Doubt and fear are easy seeds to plant. But you can’t nurture those even if they may be the easiest to grow.

What advice would you give to a writer just starting out?

Never…ever…never…ever give up! Make and Google your homepages! And remember, the scales of success can only be measured by what you put in them.

Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?

I have so many! I read mostly true crime novels, but dabble in a few other genres as well. If I narrowed the list down, I would have to say my favorites are, Ann Rule, Harold Schechter, Katie Harper, Benjamin Russell, Tina Folsom, Davee Jones, Ashley Robertson, Ciar Cullen, Richelle Mead, Bianca Sommerland and Kelley Armstrong. I can go on and on, but I doubt you want me taking up that much time.

How did you deal with rejection letters?

Oh that’s easy. I throw them away. A rejection letter doesn’t mean I didn’t write a great story. It simply means it wasn’t for them. And every no I get is one step closer to a yes.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

You must hone in on your gossiping skills. I’m not saying start running around talking about everyone in your personal life. But when you have more than one book in your head or a plethora of characters, being a great gossiper makes getting it all down on paper much easier.  Think of your characters as real people and you want to give your readers all dirt on them.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?

No laughing! My husband and I made paper swords, sheet togas, and cardboard wings. We fought around my living room for a few hours to make sure all the movements for a battle scene were right and possible. Of course as luck would have it, our blinds were open and now our neighbors think we’re more than a little off of our rockers.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome interview, Heaven! I can easily visualize the arch angel fight in your living room :-) I'm (im)patiently waiting for The Human Side so I can dive back into to Ra and Etta's story but thankfully you mentioned Vineyard House so I have another one of your masterpieces to look forward to. You're a very talented writer and I'm so happy for your success. xoxo