Interview with Heather James

What are you working on next?
My next novel with be Air, the final book in the Elements of Power series. It will bring the two girls back together again, to explosive effect! I am also currently working on a futuristic YA novel with a political focus. It will be completely different to the Elements of Power series.
Who are your favorite authors?
JK Rowling, definitely. I also love Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, Cassandra Clare, Suzanne Collins, Sarah J Maas, Lauren Oliver, Marissa Meyer, Veronica Roth and loads of other YA authors.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I work in a library, so usually my drive for getting out of bed each morning is book related, whether I'm reading them, writing them or recommending them to others (or organising them on the shelves!)
How do you approach cover design?
I make lots of notes on what I want and then drastically cut down the list based on what I am actually capable of doing! I had three original ideas for Fire and settled on the one I had the contacts and knowledge to pull off best. For Water, it was then a case of following the same format. I also rely a lot on my siblings for help - my brother and I spent an afternoon this summer throwing and spraying water around the garden in order to get the images which would become the water effect on the book's front cover. I love using Photoshop, so I really enjoy the process of cover design.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - I have read this one so many times - as a child, it was my go-to book if I had nothing else to read. I can still remember reading it for the first time though and being terrified when Sirius 'attacked' Ron.

Uglies - this is the book I really wish I had written. It is also the one I recommend most to students.

The Outsiders - this is the book that makes me cry. I love the crazy names too.

Invisible Monsters - Insane, but with probably the best opening chapter I have ever read. The style is amazing too.

The Aeneid - Having studied this book at GCSE, A Level and Degree level, some part of me does now hate this book. However, it's also masterful storytelling and a brilliant blend of mythology and action.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read a lot of YA, but also some adult fiction - at the moment I am reading A Tale for the Time Being, which was shortlisted for this year's Man Booker Prize. I would like to read the winner, the Luminaries, too, but I'm a little put off by the thought of carrying such a huge hardback around with me! I also really enjoy reading plays, probably as much as I do watching them.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Kindle. It's quite old now though and I would really love one of the newest ones (I just can't justify buying one since there's nothing wrong with mine...) However, one of the things that I love most about Kindle is the fact that I can read books on my phone too, starting exactly where I last got too. I've read two novels on my phone recently, purely for convenience.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Goodreads is definitely the main one. I use the site as a reader too and have always found it invaluable for discovering new books to read. I hope that some readers discover my novels this way too.

Bloggers are the other amazing resource for self published writers; there is nothing more important than reviews and people spreading the word about your books.
When did you first start writing?
As far as I can remember, I have always written. However, the thing that first got me to start and complete an entire novel was NaNoWriMo. I'm doing a big promotion for it in the school where I work this year, because I think that it is a great way to encourage writing.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has helped my novels to reach a wider audience. It has also been really helpful for running giveaways, since I can send winners a smashwords code rather than the completed novel. The very strict epub checker also helps me to feel confident that the formatting for my novels is perfect (after I have resubmitted them dozens of times, anyway!)
Published 2013-10-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Water
By
Series: Elements of Power Trilogy, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 58,610. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2013. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Jasmine is struggling to control her new powers, causing floods and fires with an accidental flick of her wrist. Alone, powerless and, for the first time in her life, afraid, Roxy has only one thought occupying her mind: escaping Cinaer's clutches before it's too late. Despite being on opposite sides of the world, the girls soon find themselves closer than ever. Elements of Power book two.
Fire
By
Series: Elements of Power Trilogy, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 68,350. Language: English. Published: January 10, 2013. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Is control over the elements a gift, or a curse? Roxy thinks that she is in control of everything: with flames flaring at her fingertips and an equally fiery attitude, what more could she need? But then she meets Brae, a prince from a rival Realm, who turns her assumptions of superiority upside down. Jasmine has none of Roxy’s confidence or intensity. But she does have a secret - and Brae - and