Interview with Heather Douglass

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember it never got finished! This was a weakness of mine until my late twenties -- I could not get past those doldrums reached in the middle of a writing project. I didn't understand that different energy comes into play. It's like love. Beginning a novel is full of excitement, so it takes almost no effort to write. Then, a few chapters in, you reach the duller part, the real test of the relationship.
But back to the question. The story would have been about a horse. I was mad for Walter Farley and Marguerite Henry novels. I'm not sure how old I would have been -- younger than nine.
Describe your desk
I'm laughing. I don't have one. I don't have a room of my own. I have a notebook PC, a gift, and I'm grateful for it because my old computer was slowing down. I sit where I can and write.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Not sure how much the where matters. I lived in Saskatchewan, Canada until I was six, then in Vancouver, then in southern California, then in England. So okay, I suppose you could look at Shen and say, "Hmm, is this why the characters travel around so much?"
What's the story behind your latest book?
Oh God. I mean that literally. The idea of God has fascinated me for most of my life. Unavoidably it means some contact with religion, but I don't side with its followers or detractors. It seems neither of them really stop to consider whether they've agreed on what God is before they argue about existence.

So Shen is saying, let's just look at some possibilities.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm not sure whether I'm a good writer or not. I'm slightly more sure that the whole business of 'knowing my market' and 'pitching my story' ... oh hell, that's when I get tongue tied. Shen just comes out of me and I have to write it down. Perversely, I hope it has an audience.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work full time as a credit controller. I read, listen to podcasts, read tarot cards -- the latter mainly for myself, but now and again for others in exchange for a cuppa.
What is your writing process?
I keep writing until the best story comes out. I probably delete more than I save.
What are you working on next?
The second Book of Shen is in progress. David and his associates finally get some answers about why they were brought together. But the process pulls apart the universe as they knew it. A layer of reality, or what they thought was reality, gets stripped away and naturally the temptation is to go see what's underneath ...
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Doris Lessing, in an interview with the Guardian, said she had to write. She couldn't not write. I've tried to stop writing, but eventually my mind forces me. Lessing called it neurotic, and how can I disagree? I define good times and bad according to how easy it is to write.
What do your fans mean to you?
A bit premature to use the word 'fan'. Daring people who download a stranger's novel, more like. And some of them tell me what worked for them and what didn't. I'm hungry for that, because there's always something you can take from feedback, even when you think you don't agree.
Published 2014-01-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Dynasty
Price: Free! Words: 1,860. Language: American English. Published: December 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Don't believe the things women tell you. Or men. Both are hunters.
Pandora's Tetrapak
Price: Free! Words: 2,560. Language: American English. Published: October 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
(3.00)
Once described as "Bridget Jones meets dieting nightmare".
That Five Percent
Price: Free! Words: 1,860. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00)
Remember, next time you get a job offer, to do a reality check before you accept.
Dehydration
Price: Free! Words: 1,940. Language: American English. Published: March 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age
(4.00)
Dry prairie landscape and a bleak travelling companion help a young woman discover her own calm water.
Red Hotel On The Strand
Price: Free! Words: 2,320. Language: English. Published: January 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(5.00)
An affair of the mind located in a part of London only the thinker has ever seen. Also, a game of Monopoly is lost.
A Visitor's Guide to Hell
Price: Free! Words: 2,500. Language: American English. Published: September 30, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.00)
A light bite in time for Halloween, about a day trip to the abode of the damned.
Unawares
Price: Free! Words: 2,670. Language: English. Published: August 8, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Inspirational
(3.50)
Speculative/magical realism short fiction - single story
Shen
Series: Shen, First Book of Changes. Price: Free! Words: 97,590. Language: English. Published: June 3, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
(5.00)
Shen is a mythic space fantasy series where the number one mission of its crew is to discover whether they have one. Book Two due out in 2014.