“Too cold to snow.” Tag Line Tuesday with Heather Marie Adkins

18 Oct

At long last, I am committing to an actual, regular feature here at thesablecity: Tag Line Tuesday’s.

What’s that, you ask? Well, from here on out I’m going to use Tuesdays to introduce some of my fellow Indie authors, people I’ve met over the last…has it been eight months?  Yikes.  Eight months or so, whose work makes me ever so happy to count myself as an Indie, and a writer.

Since there is more to a lot of us than just the writing (in theory), I’m going for more of a general intro, followed by the requisite book/writer talk which we all love so well. 😉  And as I’m um, verbose, I prefer what used to be called the “long-form” interview.

The “Tag Line” part of the title refers to me using a line of theirs as a title for each interview. Thus and ergo, from “Cause and Effect” by Heather Marie Adkins:  “You know it’s a bad one when it’s too cold to snow.”

And now to introduce our first victim…a practicing witch obsessed with Ireland, whose left pinkie doesn’t bend as it was smashed in karate.  Seriously. 

Ed:  Hiya, Haytch. (waves)  As I hear writers are creative types, please answer each of the following questions twice, once with the truth and once with a lie. Name?

HMA:  Priestess Willow Moonbeam Hecate.  Heather Adkins.

Ed:  Where you from, Princess Hecate?

HMA:  Northern Kentucky. The far side of the planet Quiggle in the galaxy of Nirshod

Ed: You have one of those dreaded “Day jobs?”

HMA:  Police Dispatcher, and meal taste-tester for the Queen of England

Ed:  How about a dream job?

HMA:  Sea World Dolphin–will work for fish.  Career Author.

Ed:  So, why do you write?

HMA:  So I can sleep.  Because it keeps the apocalypse at bay.

Ed:  Hmm.  In either case, please keep writing. 🙂  And now, feel free to return to complete honesty for the Lightning Round.

Quick!  Favorite…

Band: Gaelic Storm

Food: Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Game (any kind): Zoo Tycoon

Album: Nickelback’s Dark Horse

Word: effervescent

Color: Green

Animal: Dolphin

Piece of clothing: an old, gray hooded-sweatshirt

Movie: The Boondock Saints

TV show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Drink: White Russian

Song: “Lover’s Wreck” by Gaelic Storm

Line from a song: Can I just say every line from every Gaelic Storm song?  No?  “Sometimes I take the long way home I walk down to the sea / I look out across the water and remember how it used to be”

Pizza topping: Pepperoni

Crime: Public Indecency

Place: Ireland–more specifically, Blarney.

Quote: “When a man stops believing in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything.” Credited to GK Chesterton but no one can prove it was him.  Coulda been an alien.

Ed:  And now for the book chat portion of the show, let’s start with books you didn’t write.  What would you say is the biggest consideration for you when deciding what book to read?

HMA:  First would be author.  When I find someone I
love, I am one of those loyal, rabid fans that will follow that author’s career and gush about everything they ever write.  Secondly, I have to be in the mood for that specific genre–if I’m depressed, I’ll likely pick up a romantic comedy.

Ed:  What genre do you enjoy most?

HMA:  Travel writing, particularly that of the comedic style.

Ed:  What genre would you read only if you lost a bet?

HMA:  I was going to try to go for a PC answer on this one but I enjoy books in all genres–I am an equal opportunity reader. I’ll have to go with the un-PC answer–Christian Spirituality.

ED:  So let’s say you are looking at the back of a book in a bookstore, reading on online blurb, or whatever.  What sort of thing makes you say “yes,” what sort of things makes you say “pass.”

HMA:  I do NOT dig long blurbs.  Blurbs should be short, simple, and to the point.  I am also turned off by bad grammar or typos in a blurb; seems like you would come across said issues in the book as well.  A build
of tension makes me say Yes.  As for content, if there is any mention of witchcraft or mythology, I’m likely to say Yes.

Ed:  Do you have a favorite author, and do you think they influence your own writing?

HMA:  I have several favorites 🙂  The ones I believe DO influence my writing are Jennifer Crusie, Laurell K Hamilton, and Jim Butcher.

Ed:  Do you have a favorite book, and how many times have you read it?

HMA:  I have favorite books from different “eras” of my life.  My favorites of today I’ve never re-read; there just isn’t enough time when my TBR list is gigantic.  So, to go with a book that I loved and re-read many, many times, that would be The Forbidden Game Trilogy by LJ Smith (probably re-read the most out of all my books and considered my favorite book(s) of all time).

Ed:  What’s the first book you remember buying with your own money?

HMA:  I can’t remember the first book I ever bought with my own money but I’m going to place
a bet on any number of Goosebumps books (R.L. Stine).

Ed:  Any books you have been told you should read, and know you probably never will?

HMA:  The Christmas Shoes and its subsequent follow-ups. I’ve heard it’s fantastic, beautiful, must-read, blah blah blah… but not my kind of book.  My mom even gave me two of them–they’re wallowing beneath my monstrous TBR pile.  I’ll probably be eighty before I read them.

Ed:  Ever lied about reading, or not reading, a book?

HMA:  Hmm.  Probably. If I have, I can’t come up with one at the present time.  Other than maybe books we were supposed to read in high school and, um, I didn’t.  I still got A’s, so there’s that.  But really, who the f**k wants to read “Longitude” by Dava Sobel at 16??

Ed:  Ever read a book you were sure you were going to like, and not liked it?

HMA:  I’m sure I have.  But I have the memory of a dead toad.  When you usually clock around 200 books read a year, you lose track of what you did or didn’t like.  Let’s go with one book that I can remember letting me down, but it’s not fiction — Witchcraft: Theory and Practice by Ly De Angeles.  Occult nonfiction that was just not for me.  Her style of practice is nothing like mine.

Ed:  Ever grudgingly read a book, and loved it?

HMA:  Again, probably.  But toad.  Dead.  Hmm… Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Everybody said “READ IT.”  I said, “Ugh is it religious?”  They said, “NO! READ IT!”  So I did.  And it is now one of my top ten favorite books of all time.

Ed:  What’s your favorite line from a book? (not your own)

HMA:  This was REALLY hard.  I checked my “liked” quotes at Goodreads and just pulled my favorite. “After all the evidence is in–after you’ve run all the facts by everything you know–and you’re still lost, you have to do some things on faith.” ― Christopher Moore, Island of the Sequined Love Nun

Ed:  And now, let’s talk about how you do things with your own writing.  First: How, and when, do you tend to come up with titles?

HMA:  The title is usually the very first thing to come to me, actually.  I get these weird flashes of insight based on stuff that happens in my life.  For example… Chatting with my mother at Panera Bread.  My grandmother’s house was being auctioned off and I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have the money to buy it.  I grew up in that house.  I was devastated that we were losing it.  Mom started talking about how lots of people go in and buy houses like Granny’s and flip them.  Flipping houses.  “Flipping Spouses.”  Don’t bother asking me how I made the leap–no idea.  It’s my Southern Chick Lit novel that will probably be out sometime after the first of the year.

Ed: How do your characters get their names?

HMA:  I keep a list of names.  I work in dispatch for law enforcement where we handle a LOT of paperwork.  Whenever I come across a civilian’s name that I lurrrve, I write it on my list.  I pick and choose as I start new works, figuring what names work for the story.  I don’t like normal names; I like strange, fun, new names.  Some of my stuff, like Abigail’s name in “Abigail” and Vale’s name in “The Temple” just came to me.

Ed: If you could live in the world / with the people of one of your stories, which one would it be?

HMA:  A book I am currently writing, actually.  It’s the first title in my Hedgewitch mystery series, about a young practicing Witch who establishes an off-the-grid home in Maine.  She grows and sells herbs and does divinations from her kitchen table.  She is the woman I wish I could be–therefore, her world is one for which I ache.  As I write her story, I write her as the woman I want to be.

Ed:  Apart from wanting to live in Maine, what do you think your books say about you?

HMA:  That I am a strong, independent woman–feisty, hotheaded, and insecure with a desperate need to escape and be a part of the world instead of just in it.

Ed:  Is there anything you have written which you would now like to change or revise, wish you had written differently, etc.?

HMA:  Yes and I am doing changes/revisions.  The YA novel I’m currently rewriting for release under my YA pen name, Nolia McCarty, was written when I was a teenager.  I’m ripping it apart piece by piece and rewriting it.  I’m also working on massive rewrites to my short story “The House”–by the time I’m done, it will be a novella.

Ed:  Tell me about your favorite character.

HMA:  Mentioned earlier in the “which character’s world would you live in” question — Mena
McGinty.  She is thirty years old with long, curly dark hair and vivid green eyes.  She is a Hedgewitch–natural magick, natural living.  Her cottage in Maine is off-the-grid, meaning she is completely self-sustaining… no electricity or city water.  She grows herbs, which she sells as tinctures, salves, recipes, etc. as well as selling her chickens’ eggs and her cow’s milk.  She has a bad past, but she’s moving into a good future.

Ed:  What would Mena say about herself?

HMA:  My name is Mena McGinty.  I’ve been a witch all my life, raised by a Pagan mother who assed off to Ireland five years ago.  I never knew my dad and I wish I had never known my ex-husband.  If I’m not in the chicken coop, I’m probably on the bench outside my back door, drinking whiskey, coffee, or a mixture of both while my four cats lounge around me.  I love the smell of sage in the early morning.  I’m happiest with my fingers in the dirt and my eyes to the moon.  I feel like I’m filling out a relationship ad.  Is this thing on?

Ed:  What would Mena say about you?

HMA:  Don’t let her fool you; Heather is a lot more like me than she believes.

Ed:  What’s your favorite line which you have written?

HMA:  I HAVE NO IDEA.  Gods, that’s a hard question.  I don’t have favorite lines.  I have favorite scenes simply from content–I adore all of Annree’s scenes with her mother in Constant State of Disaster.  I can’t step back from my work and think, huh, what a great line… it’s impossible.

Ed:  Speaking of writing…Plotter or Pantser?  (ergo, do you plan your writing ahead of time, or just go “where the day takes you” by the seat of your pants?)

HMA:  Pantser all the way.  I usually have notes written on various receipts, notebook sheets, or typed in the memo pad on my phone but I don’t outline.

Ed:  Best/Worst advice you ever got as a writer?

HMA:  Best–Keep writing.  (Dur)  Worst–Don’t self-publish.  (hahaha, whatever)

Ed:  Best/Worst thing about being a writer?

HMA:  Best — the writing itself.  Creating characters, settings, worlds.  Worst — the insane, neurotic need for validation.

Ed:  Why Indie?

HMA:  Why not?  Full control of every aspect of the process and more money per book because you’ve cut out the middle-men.  We’ve been on the verge of a digital revolution for years; started with Mp3 music.  It’s where it’s at.

Ed:  I am legally obligated to follow “where it’s at” with “two turn-tables and a microphone.”  Ahem.  Is being a writer what you expected?

HMA:  This is an awkward question because I’ve never NOT been a writer–or at least, I don’t remember well the years before I began writing.  I’ve been writing since I was ten years old 🙂  So, to answer this question in another way…I don’t know that I even had expectations of what publishing my work would mean to me as a writer.  I worry more.  I despair more.  I’m a REAL writer now.  My progress on the books I write is directly involved in my success.  I’ve psyched myself into believing that I can make this a career and get out of my
soul-sucking day job; and that gives me more to worry about when I close out a month with 30 sales.  It will never be a career at that rate.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t expect all this to affect me so negatively.

Ed:  Have you, or would you ever, collaborate on a story?

HMA:  I would and I am 🙂  My YA persona is currently collaborating with Julia Crane.  Sometime
in the future, I’m hoping to collaborate with zombie king Jack Wallen (erm, probably not zombies though).

Ed:  If you were starting to write for the first time, what would you do different?

HMA:  I would never have stopped writing in high school and college.  I should have been writing more and more at that point, and I didn’t.  I also wish I had self-published years ago instead of now while the market is saturated.

Ed:  What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?

HMA:  That it will be the single most important cause of me going on medication.  Oh wait, that’s just publishing.  Writing itself?  I need to do it like I need to breathe.  So I’ve learned to keep writing.

Ed:  What’s the moral of the story?

HMA:  Don’t self-publish unless you have the iron will of an Irish momma and the constitution of her prodigal, drunken son.

Ed: (By the way I would be remiss if I did not point out that Heather publishes under her own imprint, as well as providing formatting services, which I can swear by.  As opposed to my own formatting abilities, which I can swear at)

Ed: And now for something completely hypothetical: Hypothetical questions.

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?

HMA:  Cue a long stream of expletives.  I don’t like this question.  It makes my heart hurt.  My writings are saved on USB, so they’re safe.  I’m saving my Pictures folder.

Ed:  You have one perfect day of free time, no obligations, needs, or responsibilities.  What do you do?

HMA:  Eat a lot, drink a lot of coffee, and lie in a hammock with a book or five.

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?

HMA: Negative.  Someone “in the business” does not matter to me.  Now, if one of my Eclective members said it, I might actually take it into consideration.  I have more faith in the opinion of people I respect than in people who think they know everything.  Too many “in the business” people are wrong.  The only true indicator of
whether your book is going to be a success is through your readers.  If a reader were to say something to the
effect, I may even look into it at that point.

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?

HMA:  Too bad, so sad.  I’m a writer.  It’s in my blood.  That’s like asking me to stop eating, sleeping, shitting, or breathing if only I’ll sell my soul to demons.  A pleasant thank you, but no.  I’d rather be struggling and writing (gods, I’m sad).

Ed:  Right answer. 🙂  And finally, What question do you wish I had asked?

HMA:  What will you do when you become a big, famous, successful indie with beaucoup bucks and the ability to do anything? 😉


And now, Heather’s books.  You can see more about all of them at her blog, Right here, she was nice enough to write A FIVE WORD BLURB for the following (after cussing about it for a while)

“The Wild Hunt claims


Amazon UK



“Fairy ain’t so sweet


Amazon UK


Barnes and Noble

“So what NOT to do.”


Amazon UK



“Bittersweet love–lost and


Amazon UK



“Disturbing short story,
with ghosts.”


Amazon UK



Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Writing


7 responses to ““Too cold to snow.” Tag Line Tuesday with Heather Marie Adkins

  1. Red Tash

    October 18, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Loved the true/false answers!

  2. stephenhise

    October 18, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    As long-form interviews go, this was certainly entertaining. Kudos to Heather for dealing with all that. I can only say to Ed, “Damn, your drunk-tests are hard!”

    • medmcn

      October 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      And I left out the part where she said the alphabet backwards.

  3. Lindsay Edmunds

    October 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Good interview! Long form is not ALWAYS enjoyable, but this one is. Kudos.

  4. caroldavisluce

    October 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Very entertaining! Good choice for your first interview, Michael. Excellent responses to some tough questions.
    Carol Davis Luce

  5. Heather Marie Adkins

    October 18, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks for having me, Ed! I LURVED doing this interview. Thanks also to Stephen, Red, Carol, and Lindsay for stopping by and checking it out 🙂


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