Could you tell us about yourself?
I love writing and creating stories. I especially enjoy writing science fiction because it allows for creativity, imagination, and for freedom of ideas. All inventions come from a feeling or dream of possibilities that can later manifest like spaceships, computers, cell phones, and zoom calls that connect you with people all over the world. I vividly remember the amazing day when man took his first step on the moon and the possibilities of space travel became a reality.
I also enjoy writing historical fiction because it is an intimate look into the past. We understand more about ourselves today by experiencing another time through story characters. We learn about other cultures, ideas and spiritual beliefs.
I live in Minnetonka, MN, in the house I grew up in, with my husband and cat named Lucky. I have three grown children and three grandsons. I’m fortunate in that my grandchildren all live nearby and I get to watch them grow up.
I believe we all need inspiring heroes and mentors on our life’s journey, so I write about courageous heroes who are willing to fight for the greater good.
What made you write your books?
I had a series of six dreams that were like watching an exciting, action-packed science fiction movie. The story was the classic battle between good and evil, love and power, and the struggle for religious and political freedom. I enjoyed the story so much I decided to expand on the dream and make it into a novel. While writing, I discovered the enjoyment of creating your own characters and worlds.
What is the first book you remember reading?
The first book series that really got me excited about reading was Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
What’s your favorite author and why?
I enjoy a wide variety of authors. I like them for different reasons. I loved Orson Scott Cards Enders Game with its surprise ending and look at war and humanity. I enjoyed Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games about tyrannical oppression in a dystopian state. From the first paragraph we’re drawn into the story from Katniss’s point of view. I love Ken Follet’s historical, often fast- paced books that give us an intimate look into the past.
How many hours a day do you write?
I’m a morning person, so I like to write and edit in the morning for three or four hours when I’m fresh. In the afternoon I work on promotion and other responsibilities.
What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
I like a quiet place. I write in my office or on the kitchen table if no one else is home. Though I can write almost anywhere if I need to.
What is your favorite writing snack or drink?
I like to have a glass or water or a cup of herbal tea close by. I don’t eat while I write so I don’t get crumbs in the keyboard.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
I got the first story from a dream. After that the other books in the series just seemed to flow through. Sometimes I use things I have experienced. At other times I get ideas from something I read online or in the newspaper.
What is your writing process like?
I write the first draft as quickly as possible to capture the whole story. I then use critique groups and writing partners to get feedback. I spend a lot of time rewriting. Then it goes to an editor and I make more changes and refine the manuscript even more. Last it goes to a proofreader for the final check of grammar, spelling and punctuation.
How did you publish your first book?
My first book, Red Willow’s Quest, was published by Sunshine Press. A small publisher in Colorado. After that I self-published my Star Rider Series.
What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before you beginning your book?
When writing historical fiction, I do extension research. I used to go to libraries and purchase books, but now days there is a lot of information on the internet.
Science fiction requires keeping up on the new inventions and advances in science and space travel.
I don’t have a set period of time researching before I start to write. I often research as things come up that I need to know more about like what is it like to be on a spaceship that doesn’t have gravity, or live on a space station for an extended period of time or wear a spacesuit.
How you develop your plot and characters?
I don’t have one method that I use all the time. I usually end up with a detailed outline that I elaborate on as I go. I also have characters sketches and charts of family lines. My Star Rider series takes place in another galaxy so I have an alphabetical dictionary for all the characters, animals, plants, planets and places in the story so I can keep track of them. For the main characters I list their physical traits, background and personality.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of publishing your books?
I love it when the book is completed and I finally get a copy in the mail that I can hold in my hand and see the creation I’ve put so much time and energy into.
My least favorite part is learning so many new skills that are required to self-publish my books.
What part of the book was the most fun to write?
In my last book, Call of the Eagle, I enjoyed writing the climactic scene where the hero has to face the villain in a dramatic battle. I also enjoyed the ending when the hero returns home and is reunited with his loved ones.
How do you come up with a title for your books?
Titles are always hard. I start out with a working title, but don’t make a final choice until the book is done and I have a better understanding of the characters and theme. I then search online to be sure there isn’t another book with the same title.
When I wrote the first book in the series, Star Rider on the Razor’s Edge. My working title was On the Razor’s Edge. One day I was walking down the street and I saw a movie marquee announcing the new film: On the Razor’s Edge. I looked the title up and discovered the movie was based on a famous book with the same name by W. Somerset Maugham. So I changed the name of my book to Star Rider on the Razor’s Edge.
For my current book the working title was Prince of Jaipar. The title didn’t seem to convey the full meaning of the story. I searched for current trends in science fiction book titles. Then I brainstormed different titles. As I was reading the manuscript through one line caught my attention and I decided it was the title I was looking for. The phrase was Golden Cord of Light.
Which of the characters in your books do you relate to the most?
I always relate to the main characters in the story. The first three books in the Star Rider series had a female lead. The next two are about her son and I switched to a male point of view. I was surprised to find it was easy to write from a male’s perspective. I become emersed in my characters when I tell their stories.
How would you describe your series’ idea reader?
My idea reader is someone who enjoys science fiction with action and adventure and a touch of fantasy, romance, and mysticism.
What did you edit out of your books?
As I go through the rewriting process I take out anything that is redundant or doesn’t contribute to the overreaching story. Everything in the manuscript should move the story forward, have tension, and force the protagonist to grow and change.
Did you get some negative feedback on your book? If so, how did you deal with it?
I get a lot of feedback from my critique group that helps me improve the manuscript. After the book is published, there are always some people who didn’t love it. Usually, it’s someone who isn’t your target audience. If it’s a weakness in my writing I work to improve it for the next book, but otherwise I just let it go and move on. I do my best and try to keep getting better at the craft of writing, that’s all anyone can do.
Where can people who are interested in your book, buy them?
They are all available as eBooks and paperback books on Amazon under the titles or my name: Heidi Skarie.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
I’m currently writing the sixth book in the series, Golden Cords of Light. I hope to launch it in March 2023. It’s focused on new characters, so can be read without having read the rest of the series. The theme of the series is the classic struggle between light and dark forces set on another galaxy. In this book, Morisa wants a peaceful life, but fate has other plans as waves of rebellion ripple across the galaxy.
After writing your books what is your advice to people who want to become writers?
Write novels because you love writing. It’s not an easy journey, but rewarding in many ways that go much beyond material rewards. Follow your heart and dreams. That said don’t quit your day job until you’re a well establish author. Even famous authors like Hemingway and Stephen King struggled in their early days as fiction writers.
If you’d like to reach me, please go to my website and join my newsletter. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest where I have a board with lots of cool science fiction and fantasy pictures.
Heidi Skarie Media Links
One thought on “Interview With Author Heidi Skarie”
Thank you for the interview, Amelia. I appreciate it.