Kelley Heckart is a Coffee Time Romance Reviews favorite among the Coffee Crew, and I was lucky enough to review her Celtic Historical Paranormal Cat’s Curse. Her books are unique with fascinating characters and attention grabbing plots. Ms Heckart has graciously taken the time to answer a few questions for us.
I really enjoyed Cat's Curse and the relationship between Cardea and Aedan. What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?
I always like putting two people together that seem like they should not be together, but then later they realize they have more in common then they thought. In the case of Cardea and Aedan, they have both been cursed, which actually brings them together because if he had not been exiled to the highland forest, they never would have met. I also like how Cardea is strong-willed and stands up to the surly Celtic prince, which surprises and excites him. I think that kind of chemistry works well in romance—it brings passion to the relationship.
Do your characters live with you when writing? Have you ever had them take over for awhile when writing?
I am a total space cadet when I am deep into writing a novel, especially when I have to get inside the characters' heads. I walk around in a daze because I am always thinking of the characters and plot. Sometimes I even hear dialog in my head and scramble to write it down before I forget it.
What led to the creation as Cat Ana-whom I have a small spot in my heart for?
You know, I really felt sympathy for her when I created that character. I wasn't sure if readers would like her or hate her. She is in fact an actual mythical being from Celtic mythology, chiefly in Ireland and Scotland. She is known as Cat Anna in the Scottish highlands, but she is also known as the Cailleach, a sort of Crone goddess who personifies the harsh northern climate. She is believed to be a very old goddess and perhaps from another older religion before the Celts landed in Ireland/Scotland. She is a creation goddess, as well as a destroyer. There are many different tales about her, but I chose to focus on one where she is involved with another goddess called Brigit who is a member of the Irish Tuatha de Danaan. I can't give too much away here because the storyline grows throughout my trilogy and how they relate to each other, Aedan's clan and to Cardea. The third book in this trilogy belongs to her—Winter's Requiem. I reveal more about her and her origins as it relates to my story.
If you could be one of your characters for a day who would it be and why?
That's a tough question because I like them all even the ones perceived to be villains. I think I am going to pick Cardea. I picked her because she has been through a lot (the curse, enslavement) and she is a strong, independent woman. I kind of envy that in her and wish I could be that strong. Even though her life has been difficult, she still has room in her heart for love. The curse didn't completely destroy her.
How difficult is it for you to have to re-write apart of a book because your editor does not agree with what you have written and they suggest changes?
I am lucky because so far I haven't been asked to make any major changes to a book. If my editor called for major re-writes, first I would think it over without firing off an angry email. If the changes improved the story, I wouldn't have a problem with it. If I questioned the changes, I would do so in a professional manner, leaving out emotion. A writer needs to work with their publisher/editor without getting angry and emotional. It's hard but this is a business.
Do you have a strict writing schedule-and what happens when you come up with an idea in the shower?
I try to keep a schedule where I write at least a couple of hours every day, but if I am on a roll, I will keep working. How did you know that I get ideas in the shower? LOL That happens to me a lot and then I try to hurry and get out of the shower so I can write my ideas down. Hopefully I don't forget something important in the shower like washing my hair or soaping up my body.
You used religion as a story device while treating numerous ones with respect. Did this respect make writing harder for you and again you have my appreciation for this facet of the book?
Thank you. Religious themes can be touchy, but they are my favorite to write about because of all the conflict involved. I believe there are two sides to everything and behavior isn't always represented in shades of black and white. For instance, a Christian monk could have a dark side just as easy as someone that worships pagan gods, or vice versa. I don't like to say something is good and something is bad. I try to tell a story without the stereotypes we have about religion in general. I just had a conversation like this with a Christian writer friend of mine. We were discussing how there are good and bad people in every religion. People are humans and humans have flaws. I do have respect for people's beliefs and I keep my own feelings out of the story, concentrating on the plot and characters.
Could you tell us about your crosses, and what are some of your hobbies along with Celtic historical research?
Thanks for asking about my crosses. My crosses reflect my passion for picking up shells, rocks, feathers, pieces of driftwood and pretty much anything I can find. Each cross is unique and I have different styles—Southwest, Rune and what I call Goddess. The symbols I burn into the Goddess crosses are inspired by my research on Neolithic Europe and the mysterious designs found carved into stones. My favorite stones to decorate the crosses with are moonstones because they represent the female divinity. When I need a break from writing, designing the crosses helps to clear my head. It's therapeutic for me. I have a page on my website for my crosses with info on how to purchase them.
My crosses are available on eBay under 'wall crosses.' Or you can refine the search with my seller name: havasukelley. My other hobby is music. In fact, I started out in music as a songwriter/lyricist. I would like to go back to that someday because I love it so much. I also like to go for walks/hikes and horseback riding.
Could you tell us about Beltaine's Song and what else is on tap for 2010?
I'd love to. Beltaine's Song is the second book in my Dark Goddess trilogy from Awe-Struck and covers the time when Aedan is finally king of Dal Riata. Of course, being a king isn't an easy task especially with a Dark Goddess trying to destroy you, and having to contend with earthly foes as well. I also introduce another being who is somehow associated with Cat Anna (Cailleach). Their son, Gartnait, is one of the few people who can see her, but she may or may not be a threat. I had a theme going on through this second book that although spring brings about new life, it is also the time when clans battled one another so spring also brings about the harsh sound of the battle horn, and danger.
I'm hoping the third book, Winter's Requiem, will be out in 2010. Winter's Requiem brings foes together to try to break the ancient curse that has plagued Aedan's clan and the three women--Cailleach, Brigit and Domelch (who used to be Cardea). The title of this third book has to do with Cailleach because she sleeps in spring and awakens in winter. This final book is where I reveal who she really is and how she came to be imprisoned by the seasons. There is a lot of heartache and self-discovery in this book, but of course there will be a HEA or at least a HFN. I wouldn't want to disappoint anyone. All the questions are answered in the final book and there are some surprises for readers.
And for all you newer fans, could you tell us about your blogspot, myspace, facebook groups?
I am all over the Internet and I could use more fans. LOL Here are links to the main places. On my links page on my website I have posted more links to my online hangouts. I would like to mention that on my main blog, I have a monthly feature called Long Hair Hotties. So ladies, if you like men with longer locks, stop by and check out some of my picks.
Thank you for taking the time for this Coffee Time Romance interview, and we are looking forward to reading more from you.
Thank you, Anya, and Coffee Time Romance for the interview. I enjoyed the interview questions. Kelley