Open Book Society, reviewer Mary, is back this month with a great interview part of the TLC Blog Tour. Here she chats with author Heather Herrman, in which they discuss her book CONSUMPTION, genres, characters, the publishing process, fun facts and more. Enjoy!
- Be sure to read our blog tour post for the opportunity to enter the giveaway!
Heather Herrman: I write horror because that’s what it gets called. I wouldn’t say that I’m always actively seeking to write something that fits in that genre, just that most of it does. But what I do love about the horror genre is how it allows the reader a new lens through which to view the everyday. As for how I can change it, that’s a pretty big task. I’d like to think that I bring some of my literary background as well as my perspective as a woman to a field in which that particular combination isn’t always evident.
Mary: What prompted you to make a married couple, near divorce, the main characters? Is John or Erma based on anyone you know?
Heather Herrman: There are always pieces of your own experience that make your way into a book, but they never, at least for me, translate directly. I may write about a particular feeling or even a “what if this would have happened” or take a fragment of someone else’s story and twist it entirely. As for Erma and John, they are probably some combination of all these things, and I chose them as main characters because I think they are caught in a very relatable quandary: “what’s enough to tear us apart and/or what’s enough to push us together?”
Mary: Please tell us about your journey to get published. Was it a difficult genre to break in to?
Heather Herrman: I’m pretty sure I’m still breaking in. In horror, there are only a few really big name guys out there, and everybody else is just scrabbling. But what I am finding that is great, is that there is a very strong, supportive community of folks interested in the genre and keeping it alive and healthy. As for my own journey, the road to publication has certainly felt long, but I imagine it does for most folks. I signed with my agent Barbara Poelle three years ago with a draft of CONSUMPTION and just now saw its release.
Mary: I had difficulty keeping the characters distinctive. On your website, you mention writing about when disillusionment and hope collide. How did you manage to convey that through the many characters in the book?
Heather Herrman: I do think CONSUMPTION asks a lot of its readers and having several character points of view is always a risk. That said, I only ever include as many povs as a story needs. For each of these characters, they are experiencing some kind of disillusionment (with a marriage, the memory of a loved one, the American dream, etc.) and at the same time finding the hope to continue fighting, to make the life they are living a meaningful one. Tragedy often brings us together, and the flip-side of darkness can sometimes be hope.
Mary: You addressed many issues through the characters i.e. Star the homeless teenager. She was one of my favorite characters. What are the causes you support?
Heather Herrman: The biggest cause I support is adult literacy and access to the arts. I have been fortunate enough to work for two incredible non-profits, The Minnesota Literacy Council and The Loft Literary Center—both of whom contribute greatly to these fields. At the literacy council I started The Shakespeare Project, where disadvantaged adults looking to get their GED’s came together to read, write about, and discuss a Shakespeare play. The event culminated in a public reading for the students.
Mary: What scares/terrifies you?
Heather Herrman: Normalcy, death of a loved one, never being good enough, Amy Schumer’s show getting canceled…you know, the usual.
Mary: What did you learn while writing Consumption?
Heather Herrman: Trust your characters; they know the story better than you do.
Mary: What is your biggest vice while writing?
Heather Herrman: Over-thinking.
Mary: Fun Stuff:
- Favorite ice cream: Izzy’s Salted Caramel (A Twin Cities exclusive.)
- Favorite candy: milk duds in popcorn (thank you Stephen King for putting that idea in my head.)
- Favorite place to write: Outside or holed up in a hotel.
- Favorite time of day to write: Mornings, before all the self-doubts and second-guessings kick in. Coffee and daycare help immensely.
Thank you to author Heather Herrman for an amazing interview!