We are honored to have Heidi Nicole Bird with us today! Woot! She is celebrating the release of her latest book “Through the Paper Wall.” Let’s jump right in!
~~Where are you from?
West Jordan, Utah, born and raised!
~~Tell us a little about yourself (ie: your education, family life, hobby, etc.)
I was homeschooled until seventh grade, and I know that largely impacted my imagination. After high school I bounced around a few colleges and ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in History from Brigham Young University. I love to read, write, and play with my three dogs. Currently the only job I have is working on my books, and I live at home with my family.
~~Tell us your latest news?
My book “Through the Paper Wall” is now available for purchase! This is the first time I’ve published anything and I am very excited about it. I will also be publishing my second book “Ontario” this coming May.
~~When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember, and I largely attribute that to the way I was brought up. With my Mom as my teacher we read a ton every day, and visited the library almost literally every day. My stories always used to be about horses, because that is what I loved. Everything I read was about horses, pretty much. The first story I remember writing was “Jenny’s Horse” and I was probably around twelve years old when I wrote it. I never finished a story until my roommate and long-time friend told me about NaNoWriMo in 2009, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
~~When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Even though I’ve always been writing, I only started really feeling like the real deal and telling people I was a writer probably a year ago.
~~What inspired you to write your first book?
My first novel, which I plan on releasing at some point, was largely an experiment. I wrote it for NaNoWriMo 2009 and I largely had no idea where the story was going until about half-way through. It is very much a cookie-cutter young adult fantasy sort of thing that grew into a trilogy. So, to answer your question, it was really NaNoWriMo itself that inspired me. When I was given a hard deadline, I went for it. I don’t like losing, or giving up, and I knew I could do it.
~~Do you have a specific writing style?
I think I do, though I don’t really know how to describe it, haha. I think my style is easy to read, yet engaging, and I stay away from anything overly romantic, i.e. awkward, or anything too violent. Basically I like to keep my books family friendly, no matter then intended age group.
~~How did you come up with the title?
It just sort of came to me as I started the story. The main idea for the story had come to me long before I started working on it, and then that first day when I sat down to write, it just sort of clicked.
~~Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In this one, yes. The main character is a young boy who is only concerned about himself and doesn’t ever see what other people are trying to do. The message I’d like readers to grasp is to pay attention to and appreciate the people in your life, because you never know when they might not be there anymore.
~~How much of the book is realistic?
I think most of the story is realistic, honestly. It is a fantasy, but the way the evil kids control everyone else is by using microchips, so in reality it could happen, which is a pretty freaky thought, actually!
~~Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life, or are they a figment of your imagination? (i.e. – is your hero/heroin you? – is your ‘bad guy’ you or someone you know?)
For this particular story, no, though I have done that in other books.
~~What books have influenced your life the most?
Oh gosh! Probably the ones that I read while I was growing up, the ones that inspired me – they were on the shelf at the library, I always wanted to be able to check out my own book one day. Some of those authors include Nancy Springer, J.K. Rowling, Bruce Coville, and Joanna Campbell. All of their books that I have read have inspired me as an author.
~~If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Chris Baty. I have always been so inspired by his writing and motivational speeches, and the correspondence I have had with him has been great.
~~What book(s) are you reading now?
“After Hello,” by Lisa Mangum and “Digitus 233,” by K.D. Emerson
~~Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
K.D. Emerson and Dominique Goodall. I am very interested in their work, though I have yet to finish anything they have written yet.
~~What are your current projects?
Now that I am finished publishing ‘Through the Paper Wall,” I have two things I am going to focus on publishing my book “Ontario” and finish writing my story which is currently entitled “Lorn.” I hope to publish “Lorn” this year as well.
~~Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The NaNoWriMo Facebook community has supported me immensely! I never would have finished “Through the Paper Wall” without them!
~~If you could pick any celebrity to star in the movie version of your book, who would it be?
Wow, what a great question. Hmm…you know, I think that Samantha Barks would be absolutely perfect for Renna!
~~If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I don’t think so. I am really happy with how this book turned out.
~~Can you share a little of your current work with us? (a short excerpt would be great)
Sure, here’s one of my favorite parts:
Jesse entered the storage room and Jake followed, his eyes never leaving the picture, which he had to duck under so he wouldn’t hit his head. Jesse closed the door behind them and sighed. … As the tunnel came into view, Jake stopped.
“Whoa!” he said. “That’s crazy!” He pointed at the tunnel and looked at Jesse.
“I know!” Jesse said, nodding excitedly. “And you won’t believe how far it goes. I didn’t even go very far, but it goes way farther than our property, that’s for sure, and I still couldn’t see the end. It just seems to go on forever!”
“Does it go down at all?” Jake asked, coming over and running his hand along the edge of the tunnel, as if he was convincing himself that it was actually there.
“Not that I remember,” Jesse said, watching him. “As far as I could tell it just kept going on straight forever.”
“Weird,” Jake said, standing back up and dusting his hands off on his pants. “That would go straight under the highway.”
“That’s what I thought,” Jesse said.
“There did used to be miners who lived here for a while I think, but that might only be one of those rumors that flies around. People say all sorts of things about the people who used to live here ‘way back when.’”
“What sort of rumors?” Jesse asked, intrigued.
“Well, the old folks around here say that weird things used to happen around these parts fairly often,” Jake said shrugging. “In fact, I think a lot of what people have to say is about your house. That’s why I was surprised that you’d moved in here. Nobody has lived here for as long as most of us can remember. Of course that isn’t saying much in my case, but others who’ve lived here for a long time . . .”
“What weird things were going on?” Jesse asked. “And what do they have to do with my house?”
“Well,” Jake said, shifting the things in his belt. “If I remember right, it seems like a lot of things would go missing,” he said. “Things like food, and tools, and clothes and such, and they always turned up here, either in the house or just outside it.”
“So somebody was stealing things?” Jesse asked.
“That’s the weird thing,” Jake said. “It continued even as different people moved in. People would get tired of being accused of taking people’s stuff, so they’d leave, but then it would just keep going on. Finally the town stopped persecuting people because they decided it just had something to do with the house, like it was haunted or something. People must have mostly forgotten about it now, or they probably wouldn’t be so nice to you guys. Or they don’t know where you live yet.”
“Some people know where we live,” Jesse said. “My Dad’s met people and told them, and he always said they were nice. And you were nice to me when you found out,” he pointed out.
“Well,” Jake said, running one hand through his hair. “I don’t have anything against this place. Nothing weird has happened here since I’ve been here, so why should I? Plus,” he added after a few seconds, “I liked you. I didn’t want to come up with some dumb reason not to be friends with you. I didn’t believe in those legends at all anyway. Well, until maybe today.”
Jesse looked back at the tunnel, where Jake’s gaze had shifted to. He wondered if something did live in there, and if it had been stealing things from people. But why had things always ended up in the house, or outside it? Did that mean that for some reason the thing that was taking things couldn’t bring the things into the tunnel with it?
Jesse put his hands on his ears and shook his head. None of this was making sense. He felt like he had been plunged into some sort of science fiction movie and he didn’t really like it.
“Well,” Jake said after the two of them had just stood there for a few minutes. “Are we going, or what?”
Jesse looked back at the tunnel with a rekindled fear. The rumors, the fact that the adults couldn’t see the door, and the fact that the door had gone right through the picture were starting to make him think that there really was something super weird going on.
“You aren’t backing out are you?” Jake asked. Clearly the older boy had only been pulled in more by the idea of exploring, and his fear had diminished if anything.
“Of course I’m not backing out,” Jesse said, color rising in his cheeks. “Let’s go.”
Jake nodded and the two of them fell to their knees. Instead of proceeding down the tunnel, or even leaning in closer to it, they simply stayed there, rigidly poised in a half kneeling down half kneeling up sort of way.
“Alright, man,” Jake said after a few seconds of this. “We’ve just got to do it. Come on.”
And with that, the two of them checked that they had all their gear, then looked over at each other and nodded.
~~Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The thing I worry about the most is making sure that I tie up every loose end in a story, so that’s a little bit of a challenge sometimes, but I usually catch things that are missing when I go back through the story.
~~What is your particular writing quirk?
I tend to have little moments that end up being rather funny, but they always seem to happen accidentally.
~~Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Haven’t traveled at all when it comes to my books, though I wish I could!
~~Who designed the cover(s)?
I designed the cover myself! The image owner graciously gave me permission to use his picture, and some fellow writers gave me a few ideas regarding the font, but ultimately I put it all together.
~~What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For this particular story the hardest part was actually the story itself, believe it or not. Years ago I had the initial idea for a kid finding a tunnel in his house and meeting a mysterious person in that tunnel, but once that part happened I had no idea what happened next. I actually didn’t write for several days and then luckily, the rest of the story just sort of hit me.
~~Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes, I learned a lot while writing this book. It was the first time I ever tried writing juvenile fiction, and I had to really be in a different mindset to do it. It was great to try writing in a new way and for a new age group.
~~Do you have any advice for other writers?
If there’s one thing I can tell other writers it is to never give up! I have too many fellow writers who have ended up trashing something they were working on, and it always breaks my heart. Writers should never, ever, give up on their work, even if they think it is crap. Keep going, and keep writing. The first few books I wrote need so much work I can’t even tell you, but I managed to come from there to here, and so can everyone else.
~~Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! I have never felt so supported and loved. I am so flattered, and so happy with how all of this has turned out. Thank you so much for supporting me and helping me achieve one of my biggest dreams.
~~Please share your blog/website/facebook/twitter here with us.
Heidi, you have been a joy to have here with us today! Thank you so much for coming by and sharing your self with us and our readers!!
Here’s how you can get this wonderful book for yourself in Kindle format:
Blessings to you all,
K.R. and T.L.