Author Interview: Heather Grace Stewart


> > How did you become a writer? > I've been writing since I could spell. I discovered poetry first, in grade one, and when my first poem about skating "At the Arena" was published in my school newsletter, I got hooked on the idea that I could express myself and entertain people with my stories. I went to journalism school after university and became a newspaper reporter and then a magazine writer and editor. I was always writing fiction, but was first published as an author of books about our Canadian Prime Ministers in 2004. > > What inspires you to write? > I'm often inspired by events in my own life, or headline news, and then I fictionalize them so they'll appeal to a greater audience. My last three novels were inspired by actual events, and so is the one I'm working on now. I think it's that journalism background that makes me look for a hint of truth, something we all remember happening or could relate to happening, but then I make it and the characters a little larger than life, probably because I also have a background in theatre. I like every scene to be worthy of the stage or screen. > > Tell me about your protagonist. What's your favorite trait and/or > > weakness? > Cat Glamour in Strangely, Incredibly Good has had a rough time realizing her dreams. She wants to start her own business, but she's just gotten out of a relationship with an abusive partner. She wasn't putting herself first. I love how she pulls herself out of the rut that she's in and starts to love herself again. Gene provides some magic, but she's the one who realizes what she really wants, what she needs to wish for so she can get back on the right path. She transforms her life by finally leaving her past behind. > > Do you have a routine you follow when writing? > I never write at night and rarely in the afternoons. I like to start early in the morning, and prefer writing without interruptions. I can end up in a kind of trance if it's really quiet and I often lose track of time. > > If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what > would it be? > Write that first novel earlier! I wish I'd tried writing a longer work earlier in my life. I didn't think I had it in me to put over 50,000 words to paper when I was working as a journalist. I was trained to keep stories concise. I would also tell myself to not stress so much over how everything was going to play out in my career, because everything would happen as it should, in good time. > > > > Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? > Read a lot so you can discover what you love and what you don't like, and write often - every day if you can - so you can find your own voice. Don't throw any work out or delete it and don't listen to too many different opinions on your work. Editors and agents are good people to advise you, but if you show all of your friends and family, they could dissuade you from continuing. You need to believe you've got what it takes to succeed in this industry, or you'll give up too early. And send that manuscript out- life is short! Don't hold onto it too long and over-edit. Know when to let it go. > > > > What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with > you? > I love getting letters from my readers! They can write me at writer@hgrace.com, but I'm often on Instagram and will chat with readers in the comments there or on my Facebook Page.

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