We have the amazing Heather Reid, author of Pretty Dark Nothing, joining us today for an interview.
Welcome, Heather and thanks for joining us! This is your debut novel, what can you tell us about what your life has been like from getting the offer to getting your book out in the real world?
I have defiantly been riding the emotional roller coaster since selling Pretty Dark Nothing in a two book deal to Month9Books. Between edits, drafting book 2, and promotion, my plate has been excitingly full. I’m busier than ever, but I’m loving every minute of it. Life is all about deadlines and trying to balance work and home. Knowing that your book is out in the world is kind of like running naked through a thorn bush. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more vulnerable in my life, but getting feedback from readers who connect with the book makes it all worthwhile.
It’s been twenty three days since Quinn has slept for more than minutes at a time. Demons have invaded her dreams, stalking her, and whispering of her death. The lack of sleep and crippling fear are ruining her life. Energy drinks and caffeine pills don’t make a dent. When Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. The demons are determined to keep them apart, and Aaron from discovering the secret locked away in his memory. Together, they could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.
Your cover is haunting and beautiful, what did it feel like to see it for the first time?
I cried, and then I cried some more. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel knowing that’s my cover. The designer, Mette Breth Klausen, truly captured the dark and broken atmosphere in the book. I couldn’t imagine anything better.
In Pretty Dark Nothing your MC, Quinn, deals with demons and nightmares. Do you have nightmares yourself?
As a child, I suffered from night terrors and sleep walking. Although I
eventually grew out of the sleep walking, the nightmares never went away. I
would dream of faceless entities and demons on a reoccurring basis. I spent my
pre-teen years trying to rationalize my fear while I spent my nights huddled
under my covers with a book and a flash light afraid to fall asleep for fear of
what would greet me in my dreams. I kept this a secret from my friends and
afraid of what they would think. The dark torture of my imagination lasted
through three years of middle school and finally faded. I still don’t think my
mother knows how terrified I was of falling asleep and I have no idea why the
nightmares stopped, maybe they were my way of coping with the stress of
adolescence. I don’t know. When I reached college, I went through a
particularly bad time in my life, suffered from depression, illness and the
nightmares returned. I wasn’t frightened like I was when I was young; I
recognized them for what they were. We all have inner demons we battle, those
voices that tell us we’re not good enough, taunt us, paralyze us with fear.
That’s when the idea for a novel started to form. I asked myself what would
happen if those negative voices, inner demons weren’t imagined. What would
happen if they were real and they started to manifest outside the dream world?
What if they influenced things around us and what if you were the only one that
could see them? That’s when Quinn and the idea for Pretty Dark Nothing was
born. Quinn and I battled the demons that tortured her together and in the
process, she taught me how to battle my own.
Sometimes as writers we have a desire to protect our MCs. Was it ever hard for you to put Quinn in these frightening situations?
I admit that I put Quinn in a lot of bad situations. Maybe I’m strange, but It wasn’t hard for me. I threw a lot of things at her to see how she would react and she makes a lot of bad decisions because of it.
What qualities make Quinn and Aaron a good team?
They don’t know that they would be a good team. They are both broken and find it hard to trust others. Because of this, they don’t make great decisions when it comes to relating to one another. It’s not until the end of the book that they discover how much they have in common. Without giving anything away, Aaron’s memory is the key to finding out why they are drawn to one another.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read, read, read. Everything you can get your hands on. In you genre, outside your genre, good books, poorly written books, everything. Sometimes you can actually learn more from reading a book that’s not well written than you can from a good one. Learning to spot flaws in other stories can help you spot flaws in your own.
Connect with other writers who understand what you’re going through. You will need their support. Surround yourself with positive people.
Don’t be afraid to fail, just get the words on the page. There are no wrong choices and if you don’t like what you’ve written, you can always delete it and start over. Those words are not wasted. Every word you write is a learning experience, even the ones you delete.
Be patient. Writing is a process and the best way to learn is by doing. Also, finding your voice, your process, is about trial and error. Try different techniques, but don’t be afraid to adapt them and make them your own.
Don’t give up. If you are passionate about writing, if you are willing to work and grow in the craft, if you are ready to listen to constructive criticism and strive to improve, if you can’t imagine doing anything else, then don’t give up on your dream. It might take months or years to get published, but it’s worth it.
Everyone’s journey is different; don’t compare yours to someone else’s and don’t put other people’s choices down. You’re not in competition with anyone but yourself. Keep learning, keep striving and remember those who help you along the way. Don’t get caught up in trends, social networking, or platform building. A writer writes first and foremost. That’s the most important thing, everything else is secondary.
Great advice! Thanks for visiting us today, Heather!
Don't forget to add Pretty Dark Nothing to you TBR list on Goodreads.
You can purchase it on Amazon or B&N.