Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Author Interview Series: Writers’ Quirks Featuring Heather Day Gilbert

Today on Writers' Quirks I'm interviewing author Heather Day Gilbert. 

Welcome, Heather! Tell us about your latest project.
Right now, I'm working on an upper middle grade novel and my next mystery novel, Trial by Twelve.

Good title! I'm intrigued already, but let's get to some quirky questions…
Have you ever fallen in love with one of your characters?
I think most authors do! My novels so far are written in first person present tense, so I'm really in the main characters' heads, seeing those men in their lives as they do. And since I write married main characters, the husbands are
integral to the stories. Thorfinn (Finn) Karlsefni is the husband in God's Daughter and Thomas Spencer is the husband in Miranda Warning, and both are very vivid in my mind. Two other men readers seemed to fall in love with (and yes, I did too) are Snorri Thorbrandsson in God's Daughter and Axel Becker in Miranda Warning.

What is the best place for dreaming up your storylines?
LOL. This one I hesitate to answer, but often brainstorms hit me in church. Another place is when I am driving across the mountain (I live in West Virginia). When I get really stuck, I walk around in the woods.

What is your favorite snack while writing?
To be honest, I don't snack much while I write--I'll just take lunch or supper breaks--but I do guzzle coffee like it's going out of style.

Me too. How do you feel about pen names?
I do use both my maiden and last name because there are a plethora of Heather Gilberts on the internet, but not many Heather DAY Gilberts. It helps keep my private life more private and makes me easier to find.

What is the most not-true-to-self writing or marketing idea you’ve considered (or done!)?
As an indie author, I have tried practically every affordable marketing option out there. One thing I tried but felt pretty uncomfortable with was posting ads in several Facebook author/reader groups at once. Some of the groups advertised books that were just nothing like what I'm writing, so it basically didn't hit my reader demographic. It also took too much time.

On a positive note, things I was initially hesitant about trying that have proved to be enjoyable for me are Twitter, Pinterest, and my Facebook author page. I've found all those outlets are a great way to connect with others.

How are your books different than the millions of other books?
There aren't a lot of Viking historicals in the Christian fact, the main one I know of is my author friend Michelle Griep's Undercurrent. So God's Daughter is definitely unique in that it is a near-biographical account (as far as the saga and history record) of a Christian Viking woman who sailed to North America with her husband. Many people are unaware that some Vikings were Christians so I felt it was important to show how Christianity affected them for good.

There also aren't many mysteries in the Christian market that aren't strictly cozies. Miranda Warning really straddles that line, because it is set in a small town, with recurring characters, an amateur (married and pregnant!) sleuth, and no graphic stuff (all cozy mystery characteristics). However, it's more along the vein of a traditional mystery or a psychological mystery like Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca.

Finally, God's Daughter and Miranda Warning (and the series to follow both) are centered on married protagonists. I know I love finding women's fiction that delves into the relationships married women have, such as with their in-laws or children, but those books are rare in the CBA. So I wound up writing what I wanted to read!

What one question has no one asked you about your book/character/writing life that you wish they would?
Hm...this is really tough. I have done a lot of interviews over the years! I guess one question I don't get asked often is "How historical is God's Daughter?"

So, how historical is God's Daughter?
Very historical! The key events in God's Daughter were largely informed by the Icelandic Sagas, such as the Vikings' skirmishes with the Native Americans and the fact that Gudrid was married three times, beautiful, and a Christian, etc. The people were real people. I did have to change several names (there were so many "Thor---" names!) but tried to retain the names of most of the key players in Eirik the Red's family.

Where would you like people to connect with you online?
I love to connect on my author Facebook page here.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Heather!

Learn more about Heather on her website or order a copy of her latest book Miranda Warning.


  1. Thanks so much for asking all the fun questions, Keely! Glad to visit your lovely blog today!