I'm really excited to feature Heather Marie's new book, THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME. Heather is a past giveaway winner, and when I happened to meet her in person at a recent conference, she mentioned this awesome new book of hers, debuting August 25. See below:
Aiden Ortiz, letting the dead walk through his body to reach the other
side comes with the territory. Being a Gateway isn’t an easy job, but
someone’s gotta send Bleeders where they belong. Heaven. Salvation. Call
it whatever you want. Dead is dead. But when his search for Koren
Banks––the girl who went mysteriously missing seven months ago––leaves
him with more questions than answers, he finds himself involved in
something far more sinister and beyond his control.
threat of the Dark Priest's resurrection, and his plan to summon his
demon brothers from hell, Aiden is left to discover his identity before
the Dark Priest's curse infecting his blood consumes him, and before the
world as he knows it succumbs to the darkness of hell on earth.
You can read the first chapter for THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME here: http://heathermarieya.com/first-chapter-sneak-peek/
And here are Heather's answers to some questions!
Your website bio states that you were a hairstylist and make-up artist before becoming a writer. What spurned this transition, and can you tell us more about your journey toward publication?
At some point during my hair career, I found myself reading more and more. It got to the point where I'd much rather stay in the break room, or at home reading. I suppose you can say it got a little obsessive. At some point I decided that I needed to sit down and force myself to write a book. This became the start of an entirely different obsession. I'd take my laptop back and forth from work and home, spending every free second of my time focused on writing.
I think this is when my co-workers/friends knew this was the start of something new—an entirely different direction from where I was in my life. It was then that I pushed myself to write and write until there was something worth an agent's time. Although I no longer have an agent, the idea that I could, in fact, get one with my writing spurred much determination and faith in myself.
I knew in my heart that if I pushed hard enough, I could make something happen with my writing. It just took a few years and several manuscripts to get there.
Your persistence has definitely paid off! THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME has a great premise. Where did the idea come from, and what do you want readers to take away when they're finished?
It's no secret that I'm fascinated by the supernatural, so when the initial idea came to me, I knew it had to be gruesome, yet, beautiful in its own right. It was important for me to introduce a character that is different, but essentially a reflection of the pearly gates. I don't know why this idea fascinated me so much, but the minute I began picturing the world in which Aiden existed, I knew I had to bring it to life.
And always with good, there is evil. I knew there had to be some temptation, some otherworldly power to set things in motion. To me, I see Aiden as any other teen in this world who is faced with many obstacles and temptations. We all come from a world where things are what they are, depending on our choices. Ultimately, I suppose I'd like my readers to know that they're not alone. We all have demons we have to face. It's just how we decide to confront them that matters.
Very well said. I read an excerpt of GATEWAY, and it was fantastic! What do you think makes a story's beginning most effective?
I think my favorite part of writing a new manuscript is that first chapter. More specifically, the opening line. I'm a believer that your first chapter is going to make or break the book for readers. It's the one thing that tells them whether they're gonna buy it or put it down. Starting with action right off the bat is my go-to way to begin a story. That first line and/or chapter should be the very essence of what your story is about. It's like a roller coaster—that first trek up the tracks is full of tension, setting your readers up for the initial drop.
What a great analogy for writing good openings. And I love your website! What advice, if any, do you have for writers wanting to build (or rebuild) an online platform?
Be yourself. As much as people love hearing about your writing/book(s), they don't want to be hit over the head constantly with promotional posts. Don't be afraid to show people who you are as a person, but only go as far as you're comfortable. I'm very secretive about where I live, where I go, etc. But I'm not afraid to share pieces of my life with people that they might find funny or relatable.
People are gonna like you for you. Your books and whether they read them or not is a plus. But let them decide. Don't force it.
Great advice! What are some of your current projects? Will THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME have a sequel?
It absolutely will! I announced the sequel back in June. June 12th to be exact. I remember 'cause it was my brother's birthday. LOL As of now it's titled: THE GATEWAY OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS. I am super excited to share Gateway with the world, and a little nervous. Aiden and his friends have a crazy adventure set-up for themselves. I'm looking forward to hearing what people think.
Currently I'm working on an entirely different manuscript, but it will remain a secret until the fall. It's killing me because I so want to talk about it. Soon, my lovelies. Soon.
Heather Marie lives in Northern California with her husband, and spends the majority of her time at home reading. Before she followed her dreams of becoming a writer, Heather worked as a hairstylist and makeup artist for several years. Although she enjoyed the artistic aspect of it all, nothing quite quenched her creative side like the telling of a good story. When the day had come for her to make a choice, she left behind her promising career to start another, and never looked back.