30 September 2009

19-Year Old Author: Heather Beck

Interview Sept 2009 

"What Legends are Made of" is a collection of four short stories filled with suspense, terror, and romance.  To read more about these and Heather Becks other publications, visit her official site.

PPM:  What steps did you take to getting published?  

Heather Beck:  A writer emerges a long time before the author does. Stemming from my love of reading, my initial path to publication started in grade two. I remember having an unyielding desire to create plots and characters that relate to the reader’s life but also push the boundaries of ordinary. English was always one of my favorite subjects in school and I found myself particularly good at effortlessly writing long pieces of fiction. Many of my teachers encouraged my writing and suggested I seek publication for it. However, it wasn’t until I was sixteen that I began writing with a professional intent. I had formed three intriguing characters and placed them in a tropical paradise that held dark secrets. While I wrote, I began researching the publishing business through books, seminars, and the Internet. I also networked at literary events.
Once I had a completed manuscript which I believed in, I chose a publisher who accepted my genre and, following their guidelines, submitted my material. At first I imagined how sublime it would be to have my work published. Then, after two months of waiting, my excitement turned to disappointment; my work had been rejected. Down, but not severally broken, I submitted to a different publisher. I was rejected, again. Three was my lucky number in this case as I gained interest from a publisher. After a telephone interview (I live in Ontario while the publisher was in British Columbia ) I received a print and e-book contract for The Paradise Chronicles. I now had a taste of being an author and wanted more.

My next two books were scary stories for kids. They are published under the Fable Farm series, Volume 1 and 2. They sold well so I wrote another collection of scary stories titled Ten Journeys Through The Unknown. I have five more books forthcoming in that genre.  My fifth and sixth books, which are paranormal romances, are for an older audience. What Legends Are Made Of found a home with a publisher as did Whispers In The Shadows. Writing coming-of-age literature, both literary (Strawberry Hill) and commercial (Vocations) also proved to be successful.

PPM:  Who inspired you and when did you decide to become an author? 

Heather Beck:  Being an avid reader early in life definitely helped to shape my writing abilities. I admired Jack London since his depiction of man vs. nature was based so much on instincts but also beautifully and carefully crafted. I was also influenced by Tennessee Williams. Like London , he’s honest when it comes to the human condition. Williams, however, uses human-to-human interactions to uncover the core which has become burdened by societal expectations. In my opinion, London and Williams were massively talented writers.   
From my experiences, I’d like to tell aspiring authors that it gets much easier after that first publication in your field. It builds a professional CV and allows for reviews and sometimes awards. I would also recommend a university education as it broadens horizons and, hopefully, leads to a good career. A lot of the time being an author is a labor of love so back-up plans are important. Nevertheless, reach for your dreams and test those odds which imply being a successful author is unlikely. 


  1. Wonderful interview! Brings a little insight into the world of a published author. Thanks!

  2. Thanks Heather, this is wonderful advice.