An Interview with Heidi Vanlandingham

Riding the Storm Cover redo copyWhat genre(s) do you write in and why?  I have two genre loves:  Historical (all eras) and paranormal. I read and write in both.

What is your favorite part of writing? When I’m done with the story and find out I’ve woven subplots throughout without meaning too—and they actually make the story better!

What is your least favorite part of writing?  Editing. I love editing other author’s work and have been called a Grammar Nazi. However, I hate repeating myself when I talk, and editing my stories is sort of like that for me. Rereading the story over and over. Ugghhh!

What is your favorite dessert/food?  Cherry cheesecake, Italian, Mexican, and Chinese.  Basically, I love all food—and especially desserts!

What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict or emotions?  Why?  I guess it’s the deep emotion each character needs. My oldest son is in the autism spectrum and has introduced me and the rest of my family to the darker world of theft, alcohol, and drugs. The last ten years have been so difficult for me, my husband, and my youngest son—almost destroying our family. We are still working our way back to one another. Having such an overload of emotions for so long, it’s been difficult to allow my characters to have those same ‘angsts’.

Was your road to publication fraught with peril or a walk in the park?  Definitely peril. My goal is to be both indie and traditionally published. I’m still trying to submit my stories to several big publishers, but I write out of the box. In other words, I don’t write to their ideal structure. My stories aren’t solely about the love interests, and I always have several subplots running alongside the main plot. I also write cross genre, YA to NA, historical paranormal, and all have a bit of mystery.

Tell us about your hero.  Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.  Bryan MacConnell was introduced in the first book in my Oklahoma series, Trail of Hope. He was a very young soldier and  aided them as they traveled the Trail of Tears. Suffering his own tragedy as a child, he grew up wanting to help others.  This is both a strength and a weakness for him. He always helps others, even when it interferes with his own life and ambitions.

Tell us about your heroine.  Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.  Sophia Floyd was rescued after the death of her parents by a kind family moving west. Once she was old enough, she and her stepbrother joined a wagon train heading back East (those people who couldn’t make a life out West) so she could search for information about her brother who wasn’t with her parents when they were killed. Sophia is loyal to a fault and incredibly brave. She’s also stubborn and expects others to just go along with her plans no matter the danger.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in or do you avoid reading that genre? I definitely read the genre I write in.  Why? Well, for my historical westerns, I never lived in the 1800s, so putting myself into the story, i.e., dialogue and descriptions, is easier when I’m drowning my brain cells in Louis L’Amour. Lol!

Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in?  Oh my, no. I never set out to write historical westerns. I grew up in northwestern Oklahoma, loved horses, but lived in town. I really thought I’d like to write ancient history—medieval, Reformation—anything to do with knights and chivalry. I have a minor in history and LOVE it! I’ve also always loved anything that couldn’t be explained—the ‘what-ifs’ of life and how we’ve evolved throughout time, so writing Paranormal was like breathing. However, even my paranormals have historical elements in them.

Tell us a little about yourself and your latest book.  I’m getting ready to release a paranormal trilogy, which could be considered a New Adult, just in an alternate world. There’s a little bit of everything in these stories: love, adventure, sexy men, girls with attitude, mystery, and, of course, history. I’m also submitting a Celtic paranormal (shapeshifter) to several publishers, so wish me luck with that.

I was born and raised in Oklahoma and married my high school sweetheart (who just thought he could get away). We have two sons–the oldest is in the Autism Spectrum and lives in a group home, the youngest still lives at home and fills my days with great conversations (seriously, he’s so stinkin’  smart) and lots and lots of baseball. 
Along with historical fiction, I also write paranormal with, of course, a bit of history woven in.

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