In the Spotlight feature kicked off in April 2015 and is an opportunity for authors, editors and publishers (basically anyone in the book industry (yes, even bloggers!)) to connect with fans. There is an option to do an interview, guest post, feature a book sale or book release or a cover reveal. Best of all, it’s free! All you need to do is click on the image to reserve your spot!
Now on with the show!
In the Spotlight with Heather Blanton
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Heather! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started.
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
I love to laugh, explore the West, sit on my front porch, brag about my Star Trek knowledge, & write Westerns. My kids think I’m weird.
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author. What’s been the best things about it and the worst?
My first book, A Lady in Defiance, made it all the way to the contract meeting at a major Christian publisher…and they wound up turning me down. They said my sales expectations were too low. At the same time, I had self published that story with the goal of selling 200 copies for my Relay for Life team. A Lady went on to sell over 8000 copies in 2012, and to date has sold well over 40,000 copies. I took that as a strong hint that maybe traditional publishing was not the way to go.
Being an Indy author allows me to be nimble as far as what and how I write, responsive to readers regarding what they want to see in my books, and, since I’m actually trying to pay bills with this gig, it’s pretty nice to be able to get a book to market in weeks and months rather than years. The worst thing about writing right now, though, is the flood, and I do mean of Biblical proportions, of authors filling the trough with new stories every minute. I read somewhere that a new book gets uploaded to Amazon every four minutes. Crazy.
First of all, congratulations on your sales! Amazing!
EVERY FOUR MINUTES?! The mind reels!
Tell us a bit about your latest release. What inspired you to write it? Why should fans of Second Run Reviews consider reading it?
My newest release, A Promise in Defiance, is the third novel in the Defiance series. All three books are definitely different from traditional Christian fiction, as they are gritty and realistic. I’ve done a lot of research, and mining towns in the 1800s were pretty deplorable places. I don’t shy away from showing the darkside of life in them. Because I believe there is hope in Jesus Christ, I wanted to write stories of how faith translates into action, especially in the worst of circumstances. I also pride myself on plot twists. Be warned.
I’m quite proud of the Defiance books. They are my highest rated stories. Readers often comment how they are not cheesy, and they just love my flawed characters. Humans aren’t perfect and yet God loves us anyway. I think that is amazing!
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
I love Westerns and gothic horror. Go figure. The best gunfight EVER is in The Virginian by Owen Wister. No one should write a Western without reading it; no fan of the genre should skip it. Shane by Jack Schaefer is a masterpiece of storytelling. The whole thing is told through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy and yet you catch every “grown up” detail. And when we talk horror, there is no one better than Poe. Period. What a true genius. His average story was 3000 words and look at the impression his work has made. Now that is staying power.
I haven’t read any Poe in ages. now would be the time of year to read some of his pieces!
What is your current obsession? Any secret obsessions you would like to share?
Thank you for not asking what do you do in your spare time? Spare time. People keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what they think it means.
*laughs* Spare time?! What’s that? *laughs* Anybody want a peanut?
Please continue. 🙂
Besides Westerns (yes, I’m honestly obsessed with everything Western), I love the outdoors. Hiking and kayaking make me want to sing a John Denver song from the top of a mountain.
*sings* “Take me home, country roads…
That’s the only John Denver song I know…oh, wait, that and Aspen Glow which my choir sang in high school.
What is one question you wish I would have asked, that I haven’t?
In late fall I have a story coming out called Love, Lies, & Typewriters. It’s a romcom Western (btw, I always capitalize the word), set in 1943 Cheyenne, WY.
The idea for the story came to me after reading an article about Hedy Lamarr’s contribution to the war effort. On her war bond drives, she would give a sailor a kiss if the crowd raised x amount of money. In my story, barrel-racing champion Lucy and all-American, purple-heart recipient Dale are on tour in WY and CO selling bonds. Nerdy reporter Bryce, who’s as out of place in the West as an elephant, falls for Lucy, but he can’t compete with Capt. America. Or can he? I’m a big fan of old Hollywood and this was a chance to write a romcom that Clark Gable and Carol Lombard could have starred in.
Sounds intriguing! I love old Hollywood—the glitz and the glamour!
Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?
Now that I make a living writing, a real dream come true, I am humbled every day by, and so incredibly grateful for, my readers. I get told all the time network, meet other authors, collaborate. Obviously, there is value in that strategy, but I prefer to spend more time talking with readers on Facebook, a little on Twitter. I get emails and private messages all the time and I respond. I value readers’ opinions, their thoughts, their input. Afterall, if it wasn’t for them, uh, who would we authors be writing for?
Thank you for being In the Spotlight, Heather. I hope you’ll stop back soon and update us on your future projects.
Synopsis: …It’s his town and he dares God to step foot in it. Charles McIntyre owns everything and everyone in the lawless, godless mining town of Defiance. When three good, Christian sisters from his beloved South show up stranded, alone, and offering to open a “nice” hotel, he is intrigued enough to let them stay…especially since he sees feisty middle sister Naomi as a possible conquest. But Naomi, angry with God for widowing her, wants no part of Defiance or the saloon-owning, prostitute-keeping Mr. McIntyre. It would seem however, that God has gone to elaborate lengths to bring them together. The question is, “Why?” Does God really have a plan for each and every life? For the rebellious residents of this remote mountain town, the answer will surely be astounding.
A Lady in Defiance, loosely based on true events, is set in the majestic San Juan Mountains of Colorado. While a romance, it is also an “ensemble” piece that weaves together the relationships of the three sisters and the rowdy residents of Defiance. With a nod to Pride and Prejudice, the story is filled with surprises, plot twists, and an ending you won’t be able to guess.