Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Transcendent Interview with Heather McCubbin

Today we're visiting with Heather McCubbin, one of the new authors of Transcendent, Tales of the Paranormal.
     1)     Tell us a little about your story in Transcendent, Tales of the Paranormal:
My story begins in what is rumored to be a haunted house; haunted by the ghost of Ms. Ravenscroft who died 60 years earlier. Dawn, the main character, really doesn't want to be there so she is standing on the outside of this haunted party, people watching and supporting her best friend's ghost hunting habit.  Up until this party, Dawn is a firm believer that there aren't ghosts, as she has never seen one and neither has her ghost-loving best friend. Dawn's belief is shattered after she begins hearing voices that aren't in the room and comes face to face with a ghost from her past. A ghost who has answers to questions that enable Dawn to move on in her life.

 2) What gave you the idea for the story?
For some reason, I have had an obsession with twins ever since I was younger. I wanted a twin sister when I was little and when I began writing stories as a preteen each story had a character that was a twin, triplet or more! So, right away I knew there had to be a twin. Also, when this opportunity was presented to me before Robot Publishing picked it up, I was told to have a scene where the character was drinking punch (the original name was Paranormal Punch). So, working around those two ideas, the story just wrote itself.  The name "Ravenscroft" is one of my ancestors' names, and it sounds a bit Edgar Allen Poe-ish. That's how I chose that name for the ghost who is supposed to haunt the house…

      3) What would you tell yourself if you could send a letter back in time?
I would tell myself to NOT throw away all those stories I hand wrote, on the back of my father's scrap paper from work. When I left for college, I purged my filing cabinet knowing I didn't have room for them in my dorm and I didn't want my parents to read any of them. I have memories of two young adult stories that I wrote and I think I was about 7th or 8th grade when I wrote them…
      4) What was the best moment you’ve ever had as a writer? The worst?
      The worst was when the very first rejection letter came for one of my YA Romance books that I wrote around 2005. When you finish an 80,000-word manuscript and love it, edit it and then send it out you think you are the bomb. That because you love it, so will an agent.


After getting rejections, I took another look at it and finally got two friends to read it and give me suggestions.  I read books on editing, attended workshops on writing and had a published author (Edith Hemingway) listen to my first paragraph. After encouragement from her and the writing group, I continued to work on it. Now, it was a polished as I could make it. This leads into a best moment (not counting this short story being published!) when I sent out that story refurbished, polished and edited the best that I could and I received some interest! Four agents wanted more, so I gave it to them. Of those three, two wanted the whole thing. Of those two, I got great feedback (one in an email and one in a handwritten letter) as to why it wouldn't work and what I could fix it, plus the strengths of the story. One even said he'd look at it after I fixed what he suggested.  However, life happens, I got a new job and the book got put on the back burner. I am hoping that in the next few months, I can upload it to Amazon if there aren't any takes on publishing it!

5) Have you ever written a short story like this before?
No, never. Besides the usual essays and papers you have to write in high school and college, I never wrote a short story. I am too wordy and find that I get attached to the characters and want to tell more about them. This was a challenge for me and the story took about two weeks to write. The editors were amazing and helped me trim it down. I had so much fun writing this short story, I know that I could do it again!

6) Why do you write?
  I write because what I want to read, sometimes, isn't out there. I can only read so much about vampires, werewolves and the mortals who love them. I can only read, "boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl" romances. so many times in a row. So, to change things up, I write so the hundreds of story lines floating around in my head will become a reality on paper and will finally have an ending or closure. I find that when I go back and read the stories that I have written, I can't put them down (if I can, then that's a bad sign and I delete it or put it in a "To Be Worked On" Folder) it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Finally, I write because it's relaxing and gives you another world to live in for just a little while so all your worries float away. Just for a bit. Until a child comes in needing something!

7) Where are you from and does it impact your writing?
 I am from Middletown, MD which is a small rural town about an hour west of Washington DC. I have lived here since I began Kindergarten so this is all I know. "Shadows of Promise" doesn't really reference a specific place, but the haunted house looks like a house that is here in town. My other stories that I have written all take place in a small town, with a larger city easily accessible. Every house that I mention in any of my stories exists within Middletown.  You know how Forks, WA began offering tours of areas that the "Twilight" books referenced? I could probably take my readers on a walking tour of "Shadows of Promise" (or my other unpublished stories) and show them where Dawn attended school, what her house looks like, what the haunted house looks like or where the popular hang out is for teens. So, yes, where I live has a huge impact on the setting of my writing.
 Be sure to find Heather on  goodreads, facebook, or her blog.

Can you relate to Heather's perspective on writing?


Rita Webb said...

Love this interview! I think it would be fun to see the Haunted House in Middletown, MD.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I read this story last night, and it kept me turning the pages. Loved it.

Nice interview, too.

Maria Hoagland said...

I love reading author interviews and I especially enjoyed this one! Thanks for giving us a peek into your personality :) Good luck in your writing.

Mike Keyton said...

Really good questions lead to really good answers. Great post

Tera Mecham said...

I love the interview! I love the haunted house idea.

Tera Mecham said...

The haunted house idea is compelling! I also enjoyed the interview.