I write paranormal romance. I started out writing straight historical fiction, but I’m intrigued by the thought that tragedy never really leaves a place. Do souls stay behind in places of tragedy, like Gettysburg or Antietam? In 2004, I worked about a day and a half on an archeological dig. We pulled up broken pieces of pottery that could be fit together almost like puzzle pieces: there were dainty green swirls or dark blue designs. They hadn’t been handled by a person in over 150 years. There’s a mystery to it, to who held it or broke it, and the curiosity of what happened at that moment when the pottery broke. There’s so much what-ifs and what-thens with history and the paranormal. To me, they all mesh perfectly!
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
For me, I have a crazy, nonstop schedule: I work full time, I homeschool my kids, and I run/work out. Sometimes I sleep. Finding time to write is the thing I struggle with, so when I do have a free block of time I really have to be able to utilize it to the fullest. I’ve dealt with this by becoming a hard core plotter. I plot my books out completely before I start writing. I always carry notebooks with me so if I get an idea while at work or while brainstorming during a run, I can jot down notes. Never stop writing. With my kids at swim class or karate? Bring my notebook. In the car while my husband is driving us on a trip? Got my notebook. Lunch break at work? Got my notebook.
When and where do you do your writing?
I have a day job and two boys, so my writing time is pretty limited to either very early in the morning, after they’re in bed, or on the weekends. I always write on the living room couch—I think I associate it with work time, as I used to do my homework on the couch. But, like I said above, I’ve always got a notebook with me, so if I’m in the parking lot at the grocery store and something comes to mind, I write it down.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
It’s definitely something you can’t do alone. Or, if you can, you’re awesome and we need to chat. I’ve learned that you need to set a budget, do your research, and know your audience. Build your writing platform before you publish and determine your general audience/niche audiences and you’ll save yourself a ton of time and frustration.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
I’m proud of bringing history alive. Readers have told me they enjoy the historical aspects of my books and have learned things about the town they live in. It’s kind of like a black bean brownie: there’s good stuff in there, but it’s surrounded by a paranormal thriller and spicy romance. History doesn’t have to be boring—and I like being able to bring that alive for readers.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
JK Rowling. I’d be so interested to discuss how she juggled spending time with her kids and writing amazing (and long) books. Her world building is incredible; I’d like to hear how she came up with her world structures and details and where her inspiration came from.
Heather Hambel Curley writes sassy paranormal fiction and historical fiction. She lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons and, when not writing, she works as a disability claims analyst. She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.
Although she’s never seen a ghost in Harpers Ferry--although maybe heard one--she was a volunteer with the National Park Service’s living history department and archeology departments at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The Armory and Arsenals were destroyed during the American Civil War, but guests can still visit many buildings described in her book Haunt. She is also a corseted Civil War reenactor with the Baltimore Light Artillery and has participated in events at many major national parks, such as Gettysburg and Antietam.
Heather also enjoys visiting the Caribbean, running, One Direction, and getting tattoos. You can follow her on Twitter at @Heather_Curley or visit her blog at heatherhambelcurley.com.