Friday, March 22, 2013

Guest Q&A with Author Van Heerling

I invited author Van Heerling to my blog as a special guest today to celebrate the release of his second novel Dreams of Eli. Thank goodness he agreed to show up!

Q. DREAMS OF ELI completely deviates from your first book, MALAIKA. What traits, if any, carry over between the two?

Dreams of Eli takes place during the 1800s while MALAIKA is present day Africa. They are indeed far apart, however, I would say that the general tone of the stories carry over. The protagonists in each story are deeply lost and flawed in their own ways. Although Dreams of Eli is quite disturbing in some parts, I have had readers contact me, bawling their eyes out after each story. I mean this in the best of ways.

Q. You have over 100 reviews for MALAIKA. What good/bad/ugly advice do you have for authors regarding reviews? 

Reviews are interesting. The advice I would appreciate hearing would be as follows: don’t get hung up on the unpleasant reviews. Read them once. Allow them to ruffle your feathers if this is the case, and then go back once you are cooled off and read them once more. During this second read, look for legitimate criticism. If there is any, allow it to improve your future work. I do this with my bad reviews. It takes some discipline. Ease into it. Above all else never respond in a negative way to someone that has left a bad review. Doing this reflects badly upon the author. Take your lumps.
As for the good reviews, remember them for when you doubt your talents. Go back and read them as many times as you feel is necessary. Know that these are YOUR readers. These are the people that want you to write. So write to them. If your readers contact you directly, make it a point to respond and thank them.

Q. If you could take 6 months off and travel anywhere you wanted to write your next novel, where would you go?


Q. Which do you prefer to write: narrative or dialog? 

Narrative. First person narrative in fact. My absolute favorite way to tell a story is from the perspective of an untrustworthy narrator. What I mean by untrustworthy is unpredictable even to the character itself. For me it is unapologetic and allows the human condition to take hold.

Q. If you wrote a children's book, would the main character be a human or animal or otherwise? 

Human. I actually have two children’s books finished but not released. The first is of a little boy, called “The Bee Stomper.” The other is of an eight-year-old girl. One day I will release them, maybe. The latter will be a thirty book series. Yes, thirty.

Q. We both pride ourselves on being original thinkers. Which original quote of yours will become famous?

“In this life, seek your own answers, and quote yourself for a change.” It’s funny because people quote me.

Heather, thank you for the chat. It’s no secret that I think you are one of the lights in our darkening world. Shine.

Visit Van's website/blog at:


Paul Rega said...

Wow---what a great interview Van and Heather--two of my favorite people! Learned something today Van--children’s books--very cool--

Anonymous said...

Great interview, Heather and Van! Loved the quote. :) Thirty? WOW!

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic interview Heather and Van! I truly loved this and have shared on my FB page.. Dawn the explorer :)

Penelope Crowe said...

The Bee Stomper!! Love!
I'll be looking forward to it. Thanks you two--I love learning about people I like :)

Jane Carroll said...

Great interview...hmmm...I may want to travel with you to Mars for your research...but...probably not! Thanks for the advice on negative reviews.

Katheryn Lane said...

Great interview Heather and Van! A series of thirty books - wow!