This is the second time I've had the privilege to interview author Heather Gilbert.
Your first book, God’s Daughter, was a historical novel about Vikings. Your second book, Miranda Warning, is a mystery novel. How hard is it for you to switch between writing different genres? Do you prefer one genre over the other?
Actually, with my mystery, I feel I'm returning to my earlier writing "roots." The first book I completed was a contemporary paranormal novel set in West Virginia, and Miranda Warning is also contemporary, set in West Virginia, with paranormal elements.
God's Daughter required hours of research and was very labor-intensive, as I wanted to be as accurate as possible (tricky when you're writing about AD 1000-ish!). And yet I also wanted to tell a gripping, believable story. So I had to weave together many strands, not to mention sticking primarily to words that I knew were used in Old Norse and staying very close to the Icelandic Saga accounts of the stories.
With this Murder in the Mountains series, I get excited every time I think about writing it. Yes, I love my Vikings, and I feel those stories need to be told. But contemporary fits my writer "voice" a bit better, I believe.
It's not too hard to switch genres for me though, because the first thing I'm looking for in every book is my characters. What are they like, what drives them, and what event is going to or already HAS change their lives forever? I feel like once I know that, I can roll. The mysteries definitely flow faster. But I love all my characters...even the ones who have to die...
Do you set aside a certain amount of time each day that you devote to writing your novels?
I wish! I am working on a better schedule for this year. Otherwise I'm going to burn out completely. As an indie, I spend hours marketing, so I really have to step away from that to actually write. And I homeschool. So my days are pretty full.
What was the most interesting thing you learned while conducting research for this novel?
One thing I enjoyed hearing about was how certain West Virginia towns get their names. Many are corruptions of two words. Tess Spencer, my heroine, lives in fictional "Buckneck," WV. In my second mystery (Trial by Twelve), we'll get more of the background behind that town name. But since I live in this state, the visual effects are very real and often pulled from stuff I've seen or experienced.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love classics like George Eliot or Thomas Hardy, because they draw such rich characters. As far as mysteries, I grew up with Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew (you'll find allusions to Nancy Drew in Miranda Warning), and Agatha Christie. Lately, I found Sue Grafton's alphabet series. It has some unsavory elements/language, but I'm pretty hooked. I like her tough detective, Kinsey Millhone.
Thanks for having me visit today!
Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Seventeen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as eleven years spent homeschooling. Heather regularly posts on Novel Rocket about self-publishing.
You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert--Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Her Viking novel, God's Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller. You can find it on Amazon and Audible.com. Her Appalachian mystery, Miranda Warning, releases June 20th.
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