Monday, August 13, 2007

The Virtual Tour: Heather S. Ingemar

Stop number one on Beacon Street's Author Virtual Tour is the home of speculative fiction author Heather S. Ingemar. Following is our interview with this talented new name!

You write "speculative fiction." Describe what that means for readers new to the genre.

Well, "speculative fiction" is a catch-all term for anything falling in the sci-fi, fantasy, or paranormal genres, and often encompasses anything in-between, like cross-genre stories. I like the term, because my stuff is almost always cross-genre.

Tell us about DARKNESS CORNERED. When did the idea occur to you, and did it come as a complete idea, or did it evolve as you wrote it?

I had the idea for it about a year ago, just before I returned to college for my last semester. When it came, it was a flash; complete and detailed. Some things about it evolved later, for example, Lear's connection to Kai, and why she was so important. Also, the nuances of Dr. Corvan's main agenda. Now, he kind of surprised me with the shadows of his character, the depth of his malignant intent.

Who are your mentors? Stephen King came to mind as I browsed your website. How would you compare your work with his or others' whose work you enjoy?

That's funny you should mention Stephen King; I seem to be getting a lot of comparison to him these days -- which is incredibly flattering to say the least! Actually, while I haven't read a lot of his stuff, I am a fan of his short stories -- he's really got it. As for others who have influenced me, Tolkien, of course, for his amazing landscapes and Anne McCaffrey for her unique blend of sci-fi and fantasy. I'm sure there are others, I'm just drawing a blank.... (laughs)

As for comparisons, I don't know that I'm really qualified for that....! Ask me again in a few years....!

Someone else mentioned the "mind of a horror author" as being somewhat different than that of a romance author. Romance authors often allude to falling in love with their characters. That being said, do you ever come up with ideas that scare even you?

Oh, yes. There have been times when I've been writing a super-gory or disturbing scene and I just had to keep writing until I got well past it so I could go to sleep at night! In the stories that choose me to tell them, that tends to happen frequently enough. In some ways, I wish it didn't. (laughs) But on the other hand, if that's what the story needs, to not address it would be cheating the tale. I'm a firm believer in telling the story the way it needs to be told.

A little off topic: what is an Irish flute? Do you play often? Does (or will) music play a part in your literary work?

An Irish flute is a six-holed wooden flute pitched in the scale of D major. Some of them have keys; mine does, so that makes it fully chromatic. They're very popular in Irish traditional music, and they have a more 'throaty,' more 'earthy' sound than your standard Bohem silver flutes that you find in band class. I guess you could liken the Irish flute to the pretty girl who isn't afraid to work with her hands whereas the silver flute would be the pretty girl who has people do things for her. (laughs)

I used to play quite frequently with a local celtic band where I went to college, but I haven't picked it up much since I graduated in December. I got a minor in music along with my Bachelor's degree in English, and while I loved studying music at college, it's just been nice to take a break from the strict discipline of rehearsals and practice sessions.

Music, strictly speaking, is very important to me in my writing process. Some people have to have silence, others have a special area that they work in. For me, it's music. If I don't have music, I don't write. Now, for music in my work, I don't get to call the shots there. (laughs) So far, it's only popped up a couple of times in my stories, and both times it was not planned.

You live on a cattle ranch. Here, again, do you find fodder (no pun intended) for future stories? I think it would be fascinating to read a horror story that unfolds say, on a cattle drive...

Yes, I am a rancher's wife. You'd be surprised at what ends up in my work from day-to-day activities. The initial scene in "Darkness Cornered" where Lear sits down and begins cleaning his Walther, for example, was something that popped up shortly after my husband and I bought a set of .22 caliber pistols for target shooting. Part of good gun maintenance, especially with pistols, is cleaning and oiling the proper parts. Since firearms are an interest area of mine, I requested that my husband teach me how to clean my own pistol.

Other things that have made it into my work from real life are cooking recipes -- I'm writing a story now where the main character makes a tuna casserole in one scene, and she uses my mother's recipe -- and sometimes objects I've been familiar with. Gates, cars, lamps, books. The scents of flowers, or the earth on a rainy day. There's probably also a few things hiding in between the lines that I'm not even aware of. Quite fascinating, really, how the mind takes tangible things and recombines them in ways the characters want.

What's up next for you? Where would you like your career to go?

I think every author will say this, but I'd like to see my stuff in print for starters. Since I specialize in short stories and short novels, I'd like to see a collection put together for each. Part of this dream centers around my current work(s)-in-progress; I think the short novel I just finished wants to spawn a series, and if it does, it'd be just lovely to see it bound in two-story volumes. As for my career, I want to write. I want to be able to make enough at writing to live comfortably, and that's all. I'm not interested in 'wealth.' I just want comfort.

Where can readers find out more about you, and buy your stories?

Well, my website is located at and my stories are available at the Echelon Press webstore and Fictionwise. I've got a couple older works floating around in the ether of the Internet that were published at an ezine called the Gothic Revue, I've got a full biblio-list on the "stories" page of my website that you can check out if you're interested in tracking them down.
Heather S. Ingemar: Author of Speculative Fiction

~A big thank you to Heather for her interesting and entertaining interview! Stay tuned for more from the Echelon Authors Virtual Tour!

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