My Writing Life: Felicity Heaton
“I laugh and cry with my characters, and shiver in suspense. I live their lives as I’m writing them.”
Felicity Heaton is a bestselling paranormal romance writer so versatile that her characters range from alien princesses to conventional vampires to just about everything in between. Her Dark Angel, Vampire Erotic Theatre, In Heat, Daughters of Lyra, Shadow and Light, and Vampires Realm as well as numerous stand-alone novels.
When did you first discover a love of writing? Is there a particular book that made you want to become a writer?
I’ve always had a passion for reading, especially stories with paranormal / supernatural elements. When I was very young, I mostly read children’s books featuring vampires, werewolves, monsters and witches. As I grew older, I began to read fantasy books, and classic romance novels, and horror stories.
I discovered a love of writing when I had to write the opening chapter of a gothic horror story for a school project when I was around 14 years old. I even went on to write a few more chapters and flesh out my idea for the book. I had always fantasized about vampires and werewolves, and other creatures living in our world, and wanted to embrace this creative outlet by writing stories about them, but it wasn’t to be. Schoolwork demanded my time and my writing slipped to the wayside.
I rediscovered my passion for paranormal romance when I began writing fanfiction about Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 2003. In 2005, a friend convinced me to take the leap into writing stories with my own worlds and my own characters, and I was skeptical at first and comfortable writing established characters. I took the leap and loved the creative freedom I had, and my first stories received amazing feedback from my fanfiction readers. I didn’t look back and I’ve been running forwards ever since, chasing my dreams and seizing hold of them one by one.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a writer?
It isn’t advice so much as something I read and it really stayed with me. Dean Koontz once wrote in one of his books:
“If a writer isn’t having fun when he’s working, the stories that he produces are never going to be a pleasure to read. No one will buy them, and his public career, at least, will soon end. For me, that is the secret to a successful, prolific career as a writer: Have fun, entertain yourself with your work, make yourself laugh and cry with your own stories, make yourself shiver in suspense along with your characters. If you can do that, then you will most likely find a large audience; but even if a large audience is never found, you’ll have a happy life. I don’t measure success by the number of copies sold but by the delight that I get from the process and the finished work.”
That really resonated with me and it has stayed with me from my roots as a fanfiction writer to today, and will stay with me forever. It was as if Dean Koontz had looked inside me and seen everything about me. I do laugh and cry with my characters, and shiver in suspense. I live their lives as I’m writing them.
I’ve always been honest and told readers when they’ve asked about why I write the books I write or where my inspiration comes from, that I write the books I want to read. Every book that I write, is one I want to read, and I do read them. Sometimes, I have a yearning to read a book I’ve written. I have fun when I’m writing these books and I don’t write them for a market or because it’s trendy and I’ll make money on them. I write them because I want to read them and because I love writing them, and I find it really exciting that readers love them too.
Are there any self-publishing tricks of the trade you’d like to share? What rules of craft or promotion do you live by?
I see a lot of new authors rushing to get their work out into the world without taking the time to really hone their craft, edit their work, get a good cover and do everything else that will entice readers, giving them the read they deserve, and help the author begin to establish a positive name for themselves. I think that if an author is serious about their stories and about being a writer, that they owe it to their readers and themselves to do the research, take their time, and produce the best book they can.
I live by the rule of producing quality stories that give the reader a real emotional rollercoaster of a ride, pack a punch, and leave them satisfied. I’m a professional and take my work seriously, so I’m in the business of satisfying my readers with books they want to read, as well as I want to read, and take my time to produce something that will hopefully blow them away, really resonate with them and draw them into the book and the world, and give them characters they can really feel for and maybe even fall in love with.
I’m dedicated to giving my readers their best read yet and a fantastic escape from their daily lives, plunging them into a book they can see playing out in their minds and lose themselves in.