Monday, October 31, 2011

Kat Heckenbach: Author, Mom, Educator, Artist (not necessarily in that order)

One of my favorite people in speculative fiction circles is author Kat Heckenbach. I got to know Kat a little better while we were both contributors over at The New Authors Fellowship, from which we have both recently graduated due to our publication contracts. Kat has always been a huge supporter of my writing and art, so I wanted to take some time to introduce her to you, the CotC community. I hope you enjoy her little visit with us, and if you do, be sure to check out her debut novel: Finding Angel.

So relax and enjoy this little interview with Kat...


Me:  To break the ice a little here, why don’t you introduce yourself? I’m sure readers would be interested to hear what you consider significant enough about yourself to mention after the words, “Hi, I’m Kat Heckenbach and…” (Just imagine we’re all sitting around someone’s living room at the beginning of meeting with a brand new small group or something.)

Kat: Hi, I’m Kat Heckenbach and I really stink at introducing myself :P. Okay, okay. I’m a homeschooling mom (2 kids), artist (mostly pencil drawing), writer (weird stuff), fantasy and sci-fi lover (just look at my bookshelf and DVD case), Harry Potter obsessed (yes, I have a wand), Trekkie (my dog is named Dax), and Dr. Whovian (yes, I own a sonic screwdriver).

Me: So, writing and homeschooling…how is that treating you?

Kat: I honestly have no idea how I could write if I wasn’t homeschooling. Seems like homeschooling would leave me less time to write—with all that preparation and such—but I truly need the flexibility. And a benefit I didn’t see coming is how it cements in my kids’ heads that writing means something to me. They see me working at it. It’s part of our day, and they get just as excited about my writing as I do.

Me:    Your portfolio of artwork seems to favor insects. Beetles mostly. What can you tell us about the source of your interest in the six legged creatures of the world?

Kat: I have no idea why I am so fascinated with beetles. They just seem to always draw my attention when I am at museums. The incredible variety, the iridescent colors. Some of them look like they are made out of metal! I’ve only recently gotten into drawing them, though. I guess the variety of species, shapes, patterns, etc., lends itself to creativity.




Me:  If you had the power to will one change on the publishing world, what would it be?

Kat: Oh, wow. Good question! And if you had asked me a couple of years ago I probably would have griped about trying to get someone to read my actual manuscript without it being rejected based on a query letter. Now, though, I’ve got some experience working with a small press and have seen more from the “other side.” I think at this point it would be to make bookstores more open to putting books from small presses on the shelves.

Me: What have some of the highlights been of having Finding Angel on the market and available to readers?

Kat: Getting reviews from people who are reading it as an actual book, not a manuscript in progress. That’s been cool. It really is different when someone I don’t know personally loves what I’m writing. And having friends and family see that what I’m doing is “real.” Not just a dream, but an actual accomplishment.

Me:     Being a published author, a mom, a full-time educator (and whatever other super identities I don’t even know you have) must force you to leave some things undone. If you have to let something slide to the bottom of the to-do list, what is most likely to end up there and why?

Kat: Cooking. Always cooking. I’d never cook if it was up to me!

Me: Who is your greatest supporter as you pursue the life of an author?

Kat: That’s actually a hard one. I have a very supportive family. My mom, my dad, my husband, my kids, my brother, my in-laws—they are all supportive. I think I am most grateful, though, of my husband’s support. He watches the kids so I can go to writers meetings and such. And even though he’s not much of a fiction reader, so he really doesn’t quite “get” why I’m doing all this, he’s backed me 100%.

Me: Tell us about your relationship with your publisher Splashdown. Any surprises as you’ve worked with them?

Kat: The whole experience has been one surprise after another! I had no idea what to expect from working with a small publisher. But it’s been awesome. Grace Bridges is wonderful, and the whole group of authors work really well together as a team. We brainstorm back cover blurbs and such for each other, and everyone is respectful of each other’s suggestions. I will admit, I love the creative pow-wows Grace and I have when it comes to cover art. We seem to totally connect most of the time and it’s ridiculously fun. Those moments of, “What if we….?” followed by, “Oh, yes, that’s brilliant!” happen a lot—in both directions. There have been far too many for me to doubt I’m in the right place.

Me: What other projects do you have in the works right now, whether in an active phase or on the back burner?

Kat: I’m working on three projects right now. A novella—ghost story—that will be part of a multi-author anthology, a paranormal thriller with a (gasp!) romance-ish angle, and of course the sequel to Finding Angel. The ghost story has a deadline (that is creeping up far too quickly), but bets are on as to which of the other two I finish first…



Me: Where can we read stuff you’ve written? How about see stuff you’ve drawn?

Kat: The easiest place to find all the links to my short stories is my website, http://www.katheckenbach.com/. There are links to online stories, as well as links to Amazon for the print anthologies that contain my stories.

My artwork is kind of spread out. I’ve got drawings on the covers of several Splashdown books, including Finding Angel J. The others are Caprice Hokstad’s The Duke’s Handmaid (the key) and Nor Iron Bars a Cage (the shackles), and the upcoming covers of Fred Warren’s The Muse and The Seer (the sword on both). For my beetle art, the best place is my Zazzle store at http://www.zazzle.com/kat713. Other work can be found posted on my website, or in the photos section of my Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kat-Heckenbach-Author-and-Artist/125084577483

Thanks a million for sharing your world with us, Kat! I pray the Lord will bless your work and use it to form great relationships with people you never imagined you'd touch. And thanks to you, readers, for visiting. If you or someone you know is looking for a great read for a younger reader (or a young-at-heart reader) don't miss Finding Angel.

3 comments:

  1. Hey Kat, great interview. Seems I keep bumping into you around these here parts :) Sounds like you are a busy lady on all accounts, which is great, of course. Do you have shorts in DDM or were you just doing the beetle cover art (and please note I don't mean 'just' in the dismissive sort of way)? And I have to admit I am huge Harry Potter fan myself. Which is your favorite character? Becky certainly knows mine :)

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  2. Thanks for stopping in Ruth--but I won't expose your penchant for a certain faculty member at Hogwarts. You can out yourself if you like. :) I appreciate your comment here to let us know you were in the neighborhood.

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