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Interview with debut YA author Heather Christie + "What the Valley Knows" Giveaway


Heather Christie is the author of a debut novel, What the Valley Knows, due to be released on January 25, 2018. This will be the first installment in a very interesting series! Heather is already working on the second book.


Read our BookLikes interview to get to know this exciting new author, and enter our giveaway contest to win a paperback copy of the book!


YA Giveaway: Jan. 12 - Feb. 2 2018

Request your signed ARC



Let's start with a few questions about writing itself, and your book. How often do you write and how long at one time? What does your writing schedule look like, if you have one? And, finally, how do you manage to juggle family life, a full-time career in real estate, and writing (not to mention your MFA in Creative Writing studies, now complete)?


Generally, I try to block a couple hours to write in the afternoons, after I’ve attended to my “real job” tasks as real estate agent and before my “mommy” duties start in the evening. If I don’t have real estate appointments at night, I will often revisit what I wrote earlier in the day. My home office serves as my writing space, but I do keep a pen and notepad by my bedside for those middle of the night ideas.



What The Valley Knows - Heather ChristieHave you written one book so far, What The Valley Knows (which will be released in paperback on January 25), or have you written more that are waiting to be published?


What The Valley Knows is my first book. I am currently at work on the second book in the series And The Valley Wept.



Do you have writing goals - as in a certain number of books to publish per year, or in total?


My immediate goal for 2018 is to complete several drafts of And The Valley Wept and have it ready to go out on submission by the third quarter. In a perfect world I'd like to write one book per year.


Watch the book trailer of What the Valley Knows:


When you write, do you have all the stories and characters planned out from the beginning and then just write them, or do they come to you as you write the book?


I try to map the plot and the characters in advance of the actual writing. However, I've found that occasionally a new character will find its way onto the page organically, growing out of the circumstances at hand.



Tell us about your characters. Are they completely fictional, or are you inspired by people and stories you know?


What The Valley Knows is narrated by three alternating points of view. The main character is seventeen-year-old Molly Hanover who has reluctantly moved to Millington Valley at the start of her senior year. She’s smart, pretty, terribly shy, and plays the sousaphone in the marching band. Molly soon attracts the attention of the football team’s star, Wade Thornton, a good guy with a bad drinking problem. The third voice belongs to Molly’s mother, Ann Hanover, who is struggling as a single mother, working two jobs: one as a paralegal during the day and another as a bartender in the evenings at the local legion. There are kernels of real people in my characters, but certain aspects of their personalities and mannerisms are completely fabricated.




Who designed your book cover? Were you very involved in choosing the cover, and, if so, how involved?


My publisher, Black Rose Writing, has a cover designer on staff. At the beginning of the publication process, I was asked to complete a questionnaire about the vision for my cover and submit inspirational photos. From what I sent, the designer created a mock-up and we went back and forth for several weeks until we settled on a cover that suited everyone.



Let's move away from your writing and talk about literature and reading in general. Who are your favorite writers, who do you admire, look up to? Any contemporary writers you are fond of? Any favorite books you'd like to tell us about?


Heather Christie’s Top 10 Authors

Stephen King—for his incredible characters (The Stand)

Anne Lamott—for her no nonsense advice (Bird By Bird)

Colum McCann—for his beautifully structured sentences (Let The Great World Spin)

John Steinbeck—for his sweeping narrative arcs (East of Eden)

David Sedaris—for his ability to make me laugh (Me Talk Pretty One Day)

Fredrik Backman—for his heartwarming storylines (My Grandmother Told Me To Tell You She’s Sorry)

Celeste Ng—for her expert use of the omniscient narrator (Little Fires Everywhere)

Liane Moriarty—for her compelling plots (Big Little Lies)

Khaled Hosseni—for his raw depiction of humanity (A Thousand Splendid Suns)

Emily St. John Mandel—for her world building (Station Eleven)



Heather Christie’s MUST READ reading list 

The Stand - Stephen KingBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne Lamott

Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCannEast of Eden - John SteinbeckMe Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry: A Novel - Fredrik BackmanLittle Fires Everywhere - Celeste NgBig Little Lies - Liane Moriarty

A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled HosseiniStation Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel



To sum up this interview let's introduce a little bit of magic and move away from the real world for a moment. If you could choose one character from a favorite book to have dinner with, or spend a day with, who would that be? What would you ask that person?


Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne LamottThis is a tough question and I might be cheating with my answer because I'd chose the narrator of the non-fiction book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anne Lamott is the author/narrator/main character and she's funny, brilliant, and inspiring. I would love to spend the day with Anne and ask her what the most important tasks a young writer should aim to master.



Heather Christie's books on BookLikes

(click the cover to add the books to your bookshelf):

What The Valley Knows - Heather ChristieAnd The Valley Wept - Heather Christie