Ed: Hola! As I hear writers are creative people, please answer each of the following biographic questions twice - Once with the truth, and once with a lie.
YH: Yvonne Hertzberger, and….”Hey you,” “When’s dinner,” “Whats for supper,” “Mom,” “Vonnie,” “Circle Nazi” – (that last one has a story attached, but you have to ask)
Ed: I’m totally calling you “Vonnie” from here on out. Where you from, Vonnie?
YH: A cramped, wet, dark place. I really had to get outta there.
Originally Gouda, Holland, then Nova Scotia, then a couple dozen places in Ontario, finally Stratford, which I love.
Ed: Day job?
YH: Not any more – nya, nya! But I pay for my clothing addiction with one-day-a-week ladies wear shop.
Ed: Dream job?
Ed: And of course the mandatory, “Why do you write?”
YH: I’m possessed. Those characters won’t let go until I tell their story. They all demand their 5 minutes of fame.
Ed: You may now return to full honesty (if you feel like it) for:
Food: Guyanese Curry
Album: “Songbird” by Eva Cassidy
Color: Do I have to choose? I love them all.
Animal: Otter, they’re such fun
Piece of clothing: Tunic top – it’s slimming
TV show: Bones
Drink: black coffee
Line from a song: “I Did It My Way” – though I don’t like Sinatra much
Pizza topping: mushrooms
Crime: What – me? Not catching me on that one. Nice try.
Quote: Sorry, can’t think of one.
Ed: Three random things about yourself, please.
YH: Married 40 years to the same man. Love to sing. Hate crowds.
Ed: Heh. I remember carrying Avalon around in Jr. High, reading between classes.
What’s the biggest consideration when you are deciding what book to read?
YH: Does it look like the story and characters will draw me – whether it is fiction or non-fiction.
Ed: Say you are looking at the back of a book in a bookstore, reading on online blurb, or whatever (you don;t actually have to say it out loud). What sort of thing makes you say “yes,” what sort of things makes you say “pass?”
YH: Yes – something about characters that make me think they will be believable. Pass – cliché stuff about action, drama, murder, bodice ripping ….
Ed: What genre do you enjoy most?
YH: Why Fantasy of course. It’s also what I write.
Ed: What genre would you read only if you lost a bet?
YH: Psychological Horror. I stopped reading Stephen King after he killed the kid in Kujo. And I am weaning off WW 2 stuff – too close to home.
Ed: Do you have a favorite author, and do you think they influence your own writing?
YH: I have several but I think my fave is Robin Hobb. Juliet Marillier is a close second. They both have strong characters, especially female, and weave wonderful stories that allow them to develop.
YH: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. The first time it was read to the class by my seventh grade teacher, then I have read it twice since. But not the entire unabridged version. I don’t think I could plow through the detail in, what was it, 9 volumes or 16? I thought 1000 pages was enough.
Ed: What’s the first book you remember buying with your own money?
YH: I really don’t recall. I mean, I am 63. It was LONG time ago.
Ed: Any books you have been told you should read, and know you probably never will?
TH: Too many to mention. Sigh. Not enough hours in a day. I am a slow reader, which doesn’t help.
Ed: Ever lied about reading, or not reading, a book?
YH: I did about finishing one, once. Otherwise, no. I always was a good girl. Maybe I need to start my teenage rebellion now?
Ed: (cue the Nirvana song)
Ever read a book you were sure you were going to like, and not liked it?
YH: Yes, I used to make myself finish them. Now I let myself off the hook and put them aside.
Ed: Ever grudgingly read a book, and loved it?
YH: Yes, but I can’t remember the title.
Ed: Now on to questions relating to books which you did just happen to write.
How, and when, do you tend to come up with titles?
YH: So far I have only two published and a third in the works. The title for Back From Chaos did not come until well after the book was finished. It was agony. Nothing worked. But Through Kestrel’s Eyes was just there when I began. And I already have “The Dreamt Child” for the third one I am wotking on. The title Earth’s Pendulum, for the entire trilogy, came after I had the theme of all three in my mind and I knew they would swing from chaos to balance and back again..
Ed: How do your characters get their names?
YH: I ty to come up with names that fit the ‘old world’ feel of my setting. Most of them are names I have never seen or heard of. A few may be recognisable. But I try not to make them too difficult to pronounce, and I include a guide at the beginning.
Ed: If you could live in the world / with the people of one of your stories, which one would it be and why?
YH: Since I have only one world I have created so far there can be only one answer. But I would love to be in a close relationship with the primary characters, as they feel so real to me and I ‘know’ I could be close to them and they to me.
YH: That I think deeply about relationships and social issues, that I am a keen observer of human nature and behavior. And that I am, in the end, a cautious optimist.
Ed: Is there anything you have written which you would now like to change or revise, wish you had written differently, etc.?
YH: Only that I wish my skill had been better with the first book. It was a learning experience, and although I am proud of it and think it is good, it could have been better.
Ed: Tell me about your favorite character.
YH: Klast, a spy and assassin, who figures in both books but is the hero in Back From Chaos. He is a man who overcomes overwhelming abuse and remains honourable in spite of it. His recovery process is agonizing and slow but he never gives up his integrity.
Ed: Have your favorite character tell me about you.
Klast: Yvonne understands me, deep down. Like me, she has a sixth sense about people. She sees through them. And she accepts them in spite of their weaknesses. She does not accept stereotypes, for instance. She even sees that sometimes prostitutes, spies and assassins can have honour and be noble. And she has compassion, but still expects others to take responsibility for their actions. But she has no patience for dishonesty. Like me.
Ed: Back to Vonnie, What’s your favorite line which you have written?
YH: “The sense of loss I felt had faded into the back of my heart, tucked into the place where those things best left unexamined dwelt.”
Plotter or Pantser?
YH: Definitely pantser.
Ed: Best/Worst advice you ever got as a writer?
YH: Best – to change my second book to first person. Worst – to have my characters speak in modern English. Ironically both were from the same person – Nino Ricci, who won the Governor general’s Award for Canadian Literature.
Ed: Best/Worst thing about being a writer?
YH: Best – being on a roll where the words just flow and I go back and need to do very little editing. Worst – marketing and promotion.
Ed: Why Indie?
YH: I checked the odds of finding a traditional publisher and discovered I had a better chance of winning a major lottery. I want to have my work read, and don’t have time to wait twenty years for that to start.
Ed: Is being a writer what you expected? How so or how not?
YH: Not at all. I had no idea I could write until I actually started, and then I had no idea that I was actually pretty good. It has been a wonderful awakening. It feels like I did not really come completely alive until I began to write. It is the first thing I have done that is entirely for ME.
Ed: Have you, or would you ever, collaborate on a story?
YH: Only if I had a deep trust and respect for the person I would collaborate with. I think it could be wonderful but could also be devastating and ruin an otherwise good relationship.
Ed: If you were starting to write for the first time, what would you do different?
YH: I would start the promo and networking so much earlier, and learn the media end of things earlier. And I would likely have ‘really’ self-published without the use of ‘one of those’ outfits which cost me a bundle with no return.
Ed: What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?
YH: Two things. To trust my gut and to listen to honest feedback.
Ed: What’s the moral of the story?
YH: You are never too old to grow up.
Your computer is smoking, wheezing, and sparks are shooting out of the back. You can save one thing off the hard drive. What is it?
YH: The latest version of my current manuscript.
Ed: You have one perfect day of free time, no obligations, needs, or responsibilities. What do you do?
YH: Walk in the sunshine to the local coffee haunt to shoot the breeze with my buddies. Read out in my garden and tend the flowers. Bake bread. Eat anything I want. Have a long interesting conversation with Mark, my spouse over a home cooked dinner. Another walk with him afterward, maybe to the ice cream shop for a cone (which I can’t eat so that would be a pipe dream but hey, that’s what this is, right?)
Ed: Someone “in the business” suggests you change something you feel is a critical part of one of your books, and guarantees it will increase sales. What do you do?
YH: Not a chance. I would stick with my gut. I really don’t think anyone else can tell what will make my book more saleable. I don’t trust those kind of guarantees. No one can really predict the market. On the other hand I do listen to well considered advice and think it over carefully before rejecting it out of hand. But not to a fundamental side of my work.
Ed: You are offered just enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life, if you will just stop writing. What do you do?
YH: Since we are perpetually broke that is tough. But now that I have had a taste of what writing gives me I don’t honestly think I could give it up for a guaranteed income. I think I would feel trapped – as I have for so many years previous to discovering writing. I could not go back to that.
Ed: What question do you wish I had asked?
YH: What – you want me to do your job for you now? Lol Seriously, can’t think of anything.
Ed: Thanks for stopping by, Vonnie.
Do check out Yvonne’s books, listed here with a five word synopsis I forced her to write. To which she responded ”Five!!??! You gotta be kidding!” which actually is five words.
“Klast fulfills destiny, restores Balance.”
ebook on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Back-Chaos-Earths-Pendulum-ebook/dp/B006112JPG
Paperback version: http://www.amazon.com/Back-Chaos-Earths-Pendulum-Book/dp/098782600X
Through Kestrel’s Eyes: Earth’s Pendulum, Book Two
“Seer overcomes tests, prevents destruction.”
Paperback version: http://www.amazon.com/Through-Kestrels-Eyes-Earths-Pendulum/dp/0987826026
All available through amazom.com