Saturday, May 9, 2015

Author Interview – Heidi McCahan

I have the privilege of welcoming Christian author Heidi McCahan to discuss her writing career and latest book release, Covering Home.

Thanks for joining us, Heidi. Would you share a brief overview of your book including your inspiration for it?

Thank you for the opportunity, I’m happy to be here. Covering Home is my second novel and my first as an indie author. Here’s a brief snippet gleaned from the back cover:

On assignment in Japan, television personality turned sportscaster Britt Bowen is determined to land an interview with the most reclusive pitcher in baseball and prove she can succeed in a demanding profession. A relationship with a professional athlete is the last thing she needs. Shunning all media attention, former All-Star pitcher Caleb Scott is focused on rebuilding his career in Japan, far from his past and the horrible tragedy that nearly ruined him. Then he meets Britt, who is everything he vowed to avoid…

The original inspiration for this story came from a call for submissions from a publisher. They wanted novellas set in various international locations with three required elements. The prompt for Tokyo caught my eye, as they wanted a bell, a bat, and an angel incorporated in the story. I immediately thought about baseball, because I’ve been to Tokyo and watched a professional game there. Once I wrote the opening scene, I knew it would be a full-length novel and no longer an option for that particular publisher. Caleb and Britt were really enjoyable characters to write about so I just kind of went with it. 

You have been published through a traditional publisher and also as an indie author. Do you prefer one over the other? What path do you envision your career taking in the future?

This is such a hot topic within the industry right now. From literary agents to seasoned authors, it seems like not a week goes by that there isn’t a blog post or an online forum debating the merits of traditional versus independent publishing. I’m still very new to the published ranks and at this point in my career, I’m grateful for both options. I’m a ghostwriter for a small press, which is a wonderful thing because I do the work and they handle the rest. It also provides a nice income to finance my indie projects. A different small press published my first novel and I’m equally grateful for the opportunity and the knowledge gained from that experience. We did part ways amicably, which prompted my first venture into independent publishing. It’s hard work being a writer and even more challenging when you have to wear the production and marketing hats, as well. But it’s also a rewarding experience and I’m so pleased to be a part of the indie author community, where we support and encourage one another. I try to follow the Lord’s leading in terms of next steps. Both traditional and indie opportunities are on the horizon and I prayerfully pursue both until doors are closed.

What are you currently working on?

I just finished a novella, Love Flies In, which releases in June as part of an e-Book collection of inspirational romance novellas written by 9 different authors. I also have three chapters of a novel under consideration with Harlequin Love Inspired. I’m waiting to hear back on whether or not they’d like to read the full manuscript, which also means I need to finish writing it by mid-July. After that, I’ll start a Christmas novella slated for a late fall release and keep working on a sequel to my first novel.

What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

It’s hard to choose just one. There’s a different verse I cling to depending on the season of life. In the context of my writing, I lean on Romans 8:28. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Many struggling writers wonder how long it takes to get a book published. Obviously, the process is probably more streamlined as you publish more books. How long did it take from the time you started writing your first book until it was published?

First, let me say I’ve wanted to be a writer since pre-school. Once I figured out all those words printed on a page equaled a story, I was hooked. In junior high, we were required to pursue publication with a traditional publisher for a poem or a short story. I still have that first rejection letter from Seventeen magazine somewhere. The dream to be a published author resurfaced when I became a stay-at-home mom and the idea for a story percolated in my brain while I rocked a baby. That became one paragraph living on my hard drive for about seven more years. Then one summer, the need to write became so powerful I couldn’t ignore it. I knew the time had come for me to pursue publication again. From the day I expanded that idea into my first chapter until I signed the publishing contract was about three years.

What encouragement do you have for other Christian writers struggling to get published, especially when rejection letters keep coming?

I’m going to share what has worked for me and the underlying motivation that keeps me moving forward, even when I want to quit. I believe God plants dreams in our hearts and equips us with the resources to pursue them. For me, writing is a calling and I follow where He leads. Practically speaking, just as a sprinter doesn’t walk onto the track and win a medal his or her first time out of the blocks without any training, a writer doesn’t create award-winning novels overnight. Become a student of the craft. One can learn a lot by reading books and blog posts, joining a professional organization, and finding solid critique partners. I also recommend hiring a freelance editor for a thorough substantive edit of your manuscript. Some writers resist this step, mostly for financial reasons, but it’s an invaluable part of the process. Finally, I’d like to offer a quote: “Stop waiting to be picked.” I’ll attribute it to Jeff Goins, from his book, You Are a Writer, So Start Acting Like One. In short, it means pursue your dream every day and don’t give up. You are a writer, whether a traditional publishing house or a literary agent makes it so. There’s never been a more exciting time to be a writer. So embrace your options. Live joyfully and share your gifts with the world.

A Pacific Northwest girl at heart, Heidi was blessed to spend her formative years in Alaska. Her unique upbringing, coupled with Alaska’s breathtaking scenery, fueled her active imagination and loosely inspired her debut novel, Unraveled. Heidi graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington and a Master’s Degree in Athletic Training from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After a brief career as a Certified Athletic Trainer, Heidi married her husband, Steve. They live in North Carolina with their three active little boys. When Heidi isn’t stepping on Legos, chauffeuring the boys around suburbia, or watching one of their many sporting events, she loves to read and write heartwarming romance.

Thanks for sharing with us today, Heidi. You’ve given us good information and inspiration! Covering Home is a wonderful story. I look forward to reading more of your books.

God bless,

Laura’s blog: "A Word of Encouragement"
Twitter @ Laura_Poole

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  1. Great interview. Thanks for posting. I love discovering new writers. Can't wait to read Heidi's books.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Linda. Glad you enjoyed the interview. You'll love Heidi's books!

  2. Enjoyed the post today! I would enjoy reading this book..

  3. Heidi & Laura, a wonderful and exciting interview. I love Heidi's work - she's an awesome writer.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Marion. Heidi is awesome!

  4. Thanks for interviewing me, Laura. I enjoyed it.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed learning more about you.