post by Rich Weatherly
Friends and fellow bloggers, I’m honored to introduce you to Kourtney Heintz, debut author of The Six Train to Wisconsin. Kourtney has agreed to an interview about her past and about her writing life. Before I start the Q&A, I think this is a good time to introduce your book Kourtney.
When Kai’s telepathy spirals out of control, her husband Oliver brings her to the quiet Wisconsin hometown he abandoned a decade ago, where he must confront the secrets of his past to save their future.
Sometimes saving the person you love can cost you everything. There is one person that ties Oliver Richter to this world: his wife Kai. For Kai, Oliver is the keeper of her secrets.
When her telepathy spirals out of control and inundates her mind with the thoughts and emotions of everyone within a half-mile radius, the life they built together in Manhattan is threatened.
To save her, Oliver brings her to the hometown he abandoned—Butternut, Wisconsin—where the secrets of his past remain buried. But the past has a way of refusing to stay dead. Can Kai save Oliver before his secrets claim their future?
An emotionally powerful debut, The Six Train to Wisconsin pushes the bounds of love as it explores devotion, forgiveness and acceptance.
Welcome to my blog Kourtney! Before I get into specific questions, are there any general comments you’d like to share as we kick off this interview?
Rich, I’d like to thank you for sharing your blog space with me and for taking the time to interview me. Really appreciate the support you’ve given me and my novel!
RW– When I purchased your book, I couldn’t help but notice the following: The Six Train to Wisconsin, was a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semifinalist. Do you have any thoughts on the reason for your book’s early success?
Aw, thank you. I fretted over the book being ready. I sent out my first manuscript too soon and I didn’t want that to happen again. So I took my time with this one. I won several charity auctions to have my first 50-100 pages critiqued by agents, editors, and published authors. I had a few beta readers. I work shopped it. I brought it to writing critique groups. And I listened to the feedback and incorporated it over time. I tried to put my ego aside and make the best book I could make.
I also didn’t try to write to trend. I wrote the story that was inside me. The story I was most passionate about. My characters had lots of quirks and flaws. They were people I could spend years with.
I tried to focus on universal emotions– jealousy, regret, guilt, uncertainty… to tap into things that everyone could relate to. Even the arguments between the husband and wife. I tried to capture what I’d experienced in arguments–where you are having two separate conversations simultaneously and don’t even realize it at the time.
RW- You mentioned to me that you used genre blending and alternating point of view. Please elaborate.
I don’t write straight genre fiction because I don’t seem to be able to stay within the lines. I know what the expectations of the genre are, but my stories inevitably pass through several genres.
This one started out with the telepathy being the central story point for the couple, which is why it’s speculative fiction. Later, we learn the husband has a secret about his father whom he’s run from since high school. This introduces a mystery element. The relationship between the husband and the wife skirts along women’s fiction and literary fiction with the in-depth emotions and the beautiful turns of phrase. As the book progresses, a thriller element weaves through the last 100 pages. I didn’t plan any of this. The story just went where it went, and I realize this would be a humdinger to categorize.
The alternating point of view (POV) was something an agent suggested to me during a revise and resubmit. Originally, I told half the novel from the husband’s POV, a quarter from the wife’s POV, and then alternated chapter by chapter to the end. The agent strongly advised me to alternate POV from the get go, allowing the characters to live and breathe side by side. She thought it would enrich the story. After several months of painful revisions, I completely agree with her.
Alternating POV is more common in love stories. And at its heart that is what this novel is to me. It’s not all hearts and rainbows. There are misunderstandings and hurt feelings; there are betrayals and heartbreak. Even so, I think all of that is part of the journey of love.
RW- I think it’s fair now for me to refer to you as a successful debut author. What are your writing plans for the future?
Thank, Rich. I’ll take that.
Right now, I’m in promotional mode. I have book tours, blog tours, and lots of social media work to do. But this summer, I plan to start revisions on my YA novel, Reckonings. I have another YA novel that a beta reader is going over for me. That’s on my to do list too. And this fall/winter, I really want to start on the follow up to Six Train.
RW- Who are your favorite authors?
Charlaine Harris and Laurell K Hamilton are two authors I really love because they do cross genre so well.
I’m a huge fan of Sue Monk Kidd and Alice Sebold–they have such beautiful writing.
I also love YA fiction–Jay Asher and John Green move me to tears with their books.
RW- Do you have any recommendations or thoughts to share with aspiring writers?
You may have to hear hundreds of rejections before you get that one yes. That’s okay. It’s all part of the process to make you a better writer. Listen, absorb, and learn. It truly is a craft not a calling. So practice is essential. Keep writing and keep putting your work out there. It’s the only way you’ll ever get that elusive yes.
And if you are getting lots of personalized rejections on full manuscript requests where they compliment your writing, but telling you they don’t know how to sell it, then it may be the time to consider indie publishing. Because maybe your story is ready, but it’s just not a big enough moneymaker for traditional publishing.
Kourtney resides in Connecticut with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, her supportive parents and three quirky golden retrievers. Years of working on Wall Street provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amuck at night, imagining a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide.
RW– Please include any links you have to share.
Website: http://kourtneyheintz.com includes purchase links.
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/kourtneyheintzwriter
Taylor Swift Ticket Giveaway: http://www.facebook.com/kourtneyheintzwriter/app_228910107186452