When and how did you start writing?
I started writing about 13 years ago when I realized I had a story in my heart. At that time, I was in my early forties and my youngest had settled into school. My education and background was (and is) strictly science, so my writing up to that point was more science-y—research/essay type of thing—but I thought “What the heck?”. So, I started to do my research…
Tell me about your books
From the beginning, my story was to be a saga. It seems that most of my favourites over the years have been series’ that take you through the MC’s life, rather than a particular event: Outlander, of course! (Diana Gabaldon), Into the Wilderness (Sara Donati), Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean Auel), Twilight (Stephanie Meyer). That’s what I wanted for my characters—their lives. (Wrings her hands and cackles maniacally.)
Book 1, Sky Watcher: A Shadow in Time begins when Charlotte attempts to prevent the hanging of a woman she thinks may be an ancestor, back in 1818. Charlotte has come to find that her beliefs align with those of Wicca and she uses those beliefs, together with her stones, to travel back. Of course, once she arrives, she meets an array of characters and is befriended by the owners of the general store. As life moves forward there is true friendship, love, jealousy, hatred, murder, devastation, and learning. We are a part of her life as she celebrates her beliefs, uses her knowledge for herbal healing, and fights with her own feelings on falling in love, returning home, and missing her best friend who remains in the future. How she becomes “Sky Watcher” is a significant part of the story, but not something I will give away.
My goal is to leave the reader in love with my main characters (as I am): I want to leave them wanting more, and happy to know there is more.
How does a story begin for you? Is it an idea, a conversation, a
title, or an image?
I will say this … Several years ago, I was struck by an idea—a story about a young woman deliberately going back in time for a specific purpose. I knew her basic personality traits, but I had to conceive of a way to get to 1818 that was as believable as fiction will allow.
I considered this and that—standing stones, a time machine, a clock, already been done. Magic? Perhaps… As I researched a variety of beliefs and powers, two things came to me hand-in-hand, Wicca and the powers within stones/crystals. I read much about Wiccan rituals, Sabbats, moon phases, herbals and found it extremely interesting. When I stumbled upon the “magic” within stones and crystal, I found it fascinating. I was driven to write by these new interests, incorporating them into the story as I meshed them together, infusing them into my main character’s belief system.
Books 1 and 2 were actually written together because they occur at the same time. By that I mean, book 2 is kind of what would have happened in book 1 had Charlotte chosen differently—enough said. They had to be planned and written at the same time.
Did you plan your series from the beginning, or did/do you take
it one book at a time?
I planned the bones of this story from the beginning. As it will be 5 books in total (I think), I only planned the major events, but they were all planned as I wrote the first and second books. This is good and bad. Good because I know where I’m going as I steer my way through the story. Bad because I am always sooooo ready to move on to the next plot point. Sometimes it’s difficult not to jump ahead to the next book. That being said, the final lines of the saga were written as I wrote book 3. I couldn’t help myself…
What was your favourite research activity you have done for a
Hmmm, that’s a good question . . . I have had to research a lot: Wicca, powers in stones, herbal healing, dates and moon phases, Native American totems, the list goes on. I think most interesting/fun were the stones and totems. I’ve always enjoyed picking up stones that looked pretty, but when I learned about the “magic” within stones and crystal, I found it fascinating. Who knew?! Suddenly, as fast as I was writing, I was collecting various stones, making the odd bit of jewelry with them, and displaying them in my office. Now, I have a nice collection which includes all of Charlotte’s favourites (moonstone, bloodstone, jet, malachite) and more!
Totems are also interesting and wonderful symbols to use in writing. They possess very real power and magic, and adding them to a work of fiction gives them that much more potential. I love the symbolism I have used throughout my story. I am completely obsessed with one symbol in particular—the dragonfly. In my home, I have dragonflies inside and out, I even got a tattoo of one a couple of years ago. Yep . . . obsessed!
What do you want your readers to feel when they have closed
the last page of your book?
Well, for books 1-4, I’d like them to ask “When’s the next one coming out? I want to know! I need to know!!” But, when the last page of the last book is read, I want them to feel warm and fuzzy, to have enjoyed the journey, and maybe feel a little disappointed that it’s over.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just do it! It takes time, maybe more than you have, but just keep at it. Learn how others have proceeded and the steps you need to take to get yourself out there. Ask questions of the #writingcommunity, they are all around you, always there and willing to help. Don’t give up on yourself or your writing, just don’t . . . You can do it!!!
What would you do if you didn’t write?
To be honest, I’m not sure what else could have captured me this way, but I’ll tell you this, the house would be cleaner!!!
What is your ultimate dream as a writer?
The ultimate dream?
I guess I would just like people to enjoy my story (series) and tell others.
(It would be great to break even on my expenses so far, too! **wink**)
What are your current projects? What should we be looking out
Currently, I’m working to finish up book 4, which as yet has no title. I hope to get it out before the year is out!!! That said . . . I gotta get to it!
Heather Lynn, born in Toronto, Ontario, lives with her family just north of the city. Her education in biology and health sciences has supported an ongoing interest in physiology and the potential of herbal healing. In addition, she has been intrigued by the possibility and impossibility of time travel since childhood. When she's not writing, Heather enjoys family time, working in her garden, and learning more about the 'power' of stones.
You can find Heather on her website https://www.heatherlynnbooks.com/
and follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/SkyWatcher_HL
and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SkyWatcher.HL