Saturday, April 3, 2010

Author Interview - Erin Healy

Erin Healy co-authored two books with Ted Dekker Kiss and Burn.  She is soon to release her first Never Let You Go.

Q: Erin Healy
1. What are some of your favorite books or authors?

I enjoy so many different stories that it’s hard to give a short list. But the words of Dean Koontz, Jodi Picoult, Lisa Samson, Chaim Potok are at the top of the list. My Name Is Asher Lev has been one of my favorite novels for years and years. In fact—time for me to read it again.

2. You started out editing other authors books. How did you get into editing, and what made you switch to writing?

A friend sent me to a writers conference while I was in college, where I spoke with an editor about editorial careers. We kept in touch and he offered me an entry-level position on his staff when I graduated. It was a natural fit for me. Years later, after I’d editing many of Ted Dekker’s novels, he invited me to co-author with him. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

3. How did editing other writers effect your own writing?

My authors have taught me everything I know about what to do and not do in a novel! So the list is long. But more than anything else, editing taught me not fear the editorial process. It’s always good, if sometimes difficult. It’s basically impossible for an author to “see” how much of the envisioned story actually made it to the page versus how much of it is still stuck in the brain. Editors help to shine the light on that reality. Even this editor needs editing.

4. Do you have any writing rituals that keep you writing or get you started?

I drink lots of coffee. I try to write at the same time every day. I keep notes on color coded index cards. And I take a lot of long, very hot showers (my vice) when pondering solutions to story problems.

5. You have written 2 books with Ted Dekker, Kiss and Burn (plus a solo novel, Never Let You Go, this is due this Spring). How did you work with Ted on those books?  I know when some authors pair up, one writes every other chapter. Did you do anything like that writing those books?

Ted and I spent hours together and on the phone plotting the stories before writing. Ted was the director for these books, and I put the words on the page. Our narrative voices are too distinct to have attempted the every-other-chapter model. The novel would have lacked cohesion. Once we had a first draft, we tossed it back and forth to each other, each of us making revisions until we and our publishing team were happy with the books.

6. What was it like working on a solo novel?

I’ve felt a little bit like a kid learning to ride a two-wheeler bike without training wheels. The first book was especially hard, trying to move the “what would Ted do?” questions into their proper place in my own creative process. My stories are different from Ted’s, and so making the separation has raised insecurities in me that every author experiences. My second solo novel, which will be called The Promises She Keeps, is due to the publisher in just a couple weeks. That one was much less painful to develop. Hopefully, my own voice will continue to clarify with each book I write.

7. You have worked with many authors. Are there any you haven't worked with, but would like to?

Authors are an amazing breed of creative personality. No two authors I’ve worked with think or act or work the same, which is such fun. If I had enough hours in the day I’d like to work with them all at least once! That’s a selfish desire. I love especially to work with authors who are writing their first novels, because they are so passionate about that first baby and are committed to making their readers proud of it. Veteran authors are a blast too, because we get to work on the aspects of the craft that they specialize in—or specialize in reinventing. That’s exciting for an editor.

8.   In the first couple chapters, she can't decide what's more important to save in a home fire. If you had a fire in your home and had to save 2 things, what would they be?

I’m assuming that loved ones and pets are already safely outside. Given that,

9. I find that supernatural and fantasy elements in Christian fiction confuse me a little. It just seems that they are not something that would usually be combined. Is there a reason you mix the supernatural into your books? 

I’m a firm believer in the existence of a spiritual world that exists beyond our physical reality. Ephesians 6:12 and other passages of scripture touch on this. The Bible is full of accounts in which things that can be explained scientifically intersect with things that can’t be explained outside of a supernatural context. In John 3, Jesus speaks to Nicodemus of how difficult it is for people to wrap their minds around heavenly truths. I think exploring these tensions within the framework of storytelling is a great way to wrestle with truths that are hard to understand. Jesus himself used metaphors, parables, and allegories to explain the kingdom of heaven; some of the greatest Christian writers (e.g., Lewis, Tolkien) have done the same.

10. Are there any supernatural phenomena you've experienced or believe to be true?

Yes, although I’m at a loss to boil this belief down to a simple answer. I’ve experienced what I consider to be demonic attack, and I’ve known the peace of God “which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). I’ve witnessed an exorcism and I believe that the Bible warns us away from mediums, spiritists, false prophets, evil spirits, spirits of the dead and so on because our spiritual enemy is real and deadly. I consider myself to be a healthy skeptic of many accounts of the paranormal, and I’m don’t swallow every tale of UFOs and crop circles and haunted houses. I don’t go looking for demons around every corner, either, but I do take God at His Word, and He is unflinching on this subject.

I’m so excited about Never Let You Go, which comes out May 4. You can read a summary, check out the book trailer, and download the first three chapters for free by visiting the Books page of my Web site: . It’s getting great early reviews, and I hope to have those posted in the next week or so.

Thanks again Erin for doing the interview !  See my review of Burn here.

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