ideas take life in Words
A blog following the works (and shenanigans) of J.E. Klimov
The Just-Us League put out its first anthology in December 2016. Since then, this passionate group of writers has contributed to five, going on SIX, volumes. Each has its own unique theme: fairy-tale retellings, superheroes/villains, and horror.
Heather Hayden plays an integral role in making this process run like a well-oiled machine, and not only is she extremely organized, she is a talented writer. Today, I have the honor of asking her a few questions on this blog tour for the Just-Us League’s soon-to-be released anthology Secrets in Our Cities.
But before we dive in, I want to announce that this blog is part of the JL Anthology Scavenger Hunt Blog Tour! Instructions and my blog's "clue" is right after the interview, so keep reading till the end!
--------------------Interview with the fabulous Heather Hayden-------------------------
JE: Welcome! Before we talk about your work, tell me HOW do you stay so organized when managing the creation of JL’s anthologies time after time?
Heather: I’m fortunate that I enjoy organizing! My first step is to always set up a timeline and figure out who will be able to help out with what along the way. After that, it’s just a matter of sending gentle reminders about deadlines and checking in on progress. Our writers’ group is amazing in that we’re all very self-motivated people who are always striving to improve. I also coordinate the judges who read through the stories during the revision process. Now that I have five (soon to be six) anthologies under my belt, the process is pretty much second nature.
JE: Out of the five anthologies thus far, three have been fairy-tale themed. How does it feel to write something different? Do you consider paranormal urban fantasy in your wheelhouse?
Heather: Yes, definitely! I love fantasy of all kinds, so writing “What’s in a Name” was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed reading and critting the stories of the other participating authors. I think it’s good to switch up the themes, because it gives everyone the opportunity to participate in a theme they’ll enjoy.
JE: Your story, “What’s in a Name,” revolves around a girl named Lani who discovers a hellhound. What made you pick this as your subject? (vs. vampires, ghosts, werewolves)
Heather: I’ve always been fascinated by the legend of “black dogs.” From hellhounds to church grims, they exist in a lot of fantasy stories, and I wanted to write my own story featuring one. After some musing, I settled on the idea of a teenager rescuing a hellhound from a demon, and the story took off.
JE: I appreciate Lani’s close relationship to her mother, and how you integrated family values into the backbone of the plot. Could you possibly speak more about what inspired you to develop such a beautiful mother/daughter dynamic?
Heather: I knew from the beginning that Lani needed some impetus to take the demon’s wager. At first, I thought I could rely on her love for animals, but given the gravity of the situation, a greater motivation was necessary. I’d already written Lani’s mother as sick, but I decided to develop that relationship more and make her mother’s illness the reason Lani accepts the demon’s offer. Ever since her mother became ill (and her father left), Lani’s seen it as her responsibility to care for her mother. The wager, then, becomes an extension of that, as Lani risks everything to save her mother.
JE: The hellhound had a special means to communicate with Lani. If you could communicate to any animal (real or not), which would it be?
Heather: I’d love to be able to speak to cats. Cats have such incredible personalities—plus, when I do have a cat of my own, it would make things a lot easier if I could explain why they need to get into the carrier or figure out what food (or treats) they like best.
JE: What is the hellhound’s favorite dish? (Name withdrawn to avoid spoilers!)
Heather: He loves hamburgers, sans bun and fixings (basically, grilled meat, haha). Fortunately for him, Lani works part-time at a burger joint!
Thank you for your time today! Don’t forget, this amazing set of ten short stories will be published under Secrets in Our Citieson 10/31/2018! I’ve read them all during the critiquing process, and I must say, I’m blown away by the talent, especially Heather’s “What’s in a Name”!
Don't forget the scavenger hunt info below! (As well as Heather's bio and anthology's blurb)
This blog post is part of the Secrets in Our Cities Scavenger Hunt. You can participate by visiting all of the participating blogs, a list of which can be found in the introduction post on the Just-Us League’s website.
Once you’ve gathered all of the clues, figure out the secret line and submit it. One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Secrets in Our Cities, and three lucky winners will receive ebook copies.
The Scavenger Hunt will be open until midnight EST on November 5th, 2018. The winners will be announced on the Just-Us League’s blog on November 7th, 2018. Your information will only be used to contact you if you win a prize.
This blog contains your FIRST CLUE BELOW!!!
Author Profile: Heather Hayden
"Secrets in Our Cities" blurb: