Vanessa deHart Interview

Today I'd like to welcome Vanessa deHart to Fallen Angel Reviews. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us today Vanessa.
Thank you for the invite.

Please tell us about your latest book No More Lies.
No More Lies has been a very exciting project for me. It was the first book I ever wrote, although it's the fourth to get published. I learned so much about doing research with this story; the folks I interviewed at the Amputee Society Rehabilitation Institute who talked, and walked, me through all the stages of an amputation were phenomenal. Elora is real because of them. I experienced the greatest learning curve in the writing of this story. I wrote it, but had difficulty finishing it, so I hid it away in a drawer for a few years. I went on to write other novels, got them published, and decided to brush the dust off this one and revisit it once more. I'm really glad I did, for I believe that I've got an exciting and compelling story in store for your readers.

Once the lies run out, all that remains is the truth...

All I can say is this, to find out what happens you've got to read No More Lies.

When did you first start writing? What made you want to become a writer?
I've always loved writing - and reading. I loved writing poetry when I was young, especially that teen-angst drivel. I still dabble in poetry, haikus nowadays, but as for novel writing, that began decades ago. I won't tell you how old I am, but I have been writing for quite some time. As for why. Why does an artist paint? Why does a ballerina dance? Why does a dog have to chew up your favorite pair of slippers?

What satisfies you about your writing?
Reaching out and touching someone. A lady bought one of my books and shared it with a grieving friend. Now this friend had shut herself off after her husband had died, but something in my book seemed to connect with her, you might say it opened up a dialogue for her, and after that, she took up reading again. Knowing that I touched just one person in such a way was very humbling and immensely satisfying to me.

Almost every author at some point or another suffers from writer's block. Have you ever had that problem? How do you deal with it?
For starters, creativity can't be forced. But it can be nurtured. Have you ever tried to herd cats? They will go every which way (including up a tree!) but not in the direction you want them to go. Writing is a lot like that. You can try and guide your "blocked" writer's thoughts in one very specific direction, but unless your goal is to write a technical manual on how to install a dishwasher, which should be written as clearly as possible with very concise directions leaving absolutely no room for creative expression, then you may often end up going somewhere completely different from what and where you thought you had intended to go. That, in a nutshell, is what creative writing is all about. That totally unexpected direction is the secret, the magic, to unleashing your creative inner self.

Following are some pointers I follow (usually) and which I'd love to share with your readers.

    1. Come to the page and write.
    2. Have fun with your writing.
    3. Set yourself small and simple goals.
    4. Reread your own writing and let yourself be inspired.
    5. Get positive feedback.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How much fun writing can be. The very first draft of every story is as much as a surprise to me as it is for the reader. Whenever I sit down to write, I can't wait to find out what's going to happen next.

What can your fans look forward to in the next six months from you?
A complete change in pace, literally. I loved writing these three "Love Canadian Style" stories, as I affectionately call them, but I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy and there's even a vampire story simmering on the back burner.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Good books to read, to be inspired by, to learn from. I have an extensive reference book library, and I would strongly suggest that any aspiring authors out there should start with reading some great basics such as The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler; The Artists Way by Julia Cameron; Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon; and Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, just to name a few.

What book has influenced your life the most?
Without a doubt, The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. I'm talking about the original version here, not the Disneyfied one. I can still feel the hot tears on my cheeks the first time I read that story and came upon the scene where the Little Mermaid dies, having sacrificed herself for the prince. She is so noble and true, and the original ending is so satisfyingly right. I have always tried to imbue my heroines with the Little Mermaid's strength of character, her purpose and honor. Although, unlike her story, I do like to give my own heroines a happy ending.

What would you consider your most interesting quirk?
There are so many, I wouldn't know where to begin. Creative people, by their very nature, are held together by their very quirkiness. It's what makes us tick.

If you had a warning label, what would it say?
Hand over the chocolate and no one gets hurt.

Now for a little fun. Please finish the following sentences:

The first thing I bought when I sold my first book was… ice scraper. For my daughter's car. As she didn't have one. And winter was setting in and this money was just burning a hole in my pocket, though, fortunately, I had some money leftover for a few other things...

The best present I ever got was… mean besides my husband? We were married on my birthday, so I have to say that nothing has ever outdone that birthday present. But boy-o-boy, if he were ever to forget my birthday and our anniversary...

I'd love to meet…
...some of my favorite authors like Jacqueline Carey, Jules Watson, and Juliet Marillier for lunch where we'd sit around informally and chat shop. I was thrilled to share a table for high tea once with Jo Beverley and Mary Balogh...

Do you have a website or blog where readers can learn more about you and your works?
For the full article on the "writer's block" topic from the question above (as well as other On Writing articles I've written) check out my official website.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
For any readers wishing to see something completely different, I've written a non-fiction book of myths & legends, featuring the goddess Inanna, and which is illustrated by my daughter. They can check this book out here.

Thank you for spending time with us today Vanessa!
My pleasure!

Interviewed by: Tammy