Monday, June 18, 2012

Author Interview: Gwendolyn Heasley, author of A Long Way from You

Please join me in welcoming Gwendolyn Heasley, author of A LONG WAY FROM YOU, as she provides us with an author interview today.

What are some of your favorite or most loved things/moments about writing A LONG WAY FROM YOU?

As difficult as editing can be, I always loved reading my editor’s letter and seeing her thoughts about how to make the story even better. Editors don’t get enough credit! They work super hard and push authors to make a good book great. I love working with my editor. But my favorite moment is when the book is done and I can talk about writing it in past tense. I love this phase because the book is actually being read and I start to get to hear reader feedback.

Both WHERE I BELONG and A LONG WAY FROM YOU have NYC and Texas as part of the scenery, what draws you to these two very different locations?

My mom is from the Bronx, and my dad is from Long Island. New York City is in my blood, and it’s where I now live. I love writing about New York City. After four years, it’s starting to feel like home. I really enjoyed writing about New York from two vastly different perspectives: Corrinne, a New York native, and Kitsy, a first-time visitor.

I have a lot of Texan friends and have visited many times. I love Texan pride and culture, so I found it very fun to write about.

How do you go about researching for your novels?

I use the Internet to its fullest. I YouTube, I Google maps, I read dozens of Wikipedia entries looking for gems. For A LONG WAY FROM YOU, I also got to go to the places Kitsy visits, so I got to see as she would see rather than have to imagine.

What do you think makes a good story?

I like stories where the characters struggle, but by the end, there’s some resolution. I also like breaking the typical romance mold and having the focus be on the character’s growth rather than a romantic relationship. (But of course, there is still romance too!)

What message in A LONG WAY FROM YOU are you hoping the readers will grasp?

Explore your passion and the world but make sure you’re not just running away.

What are some other jobs/careers you had before becoming an author?

I’ve been a student for most my life! My most rewarding summer job was the two summers I spent as a camp counselor. One day, I’d love to write a camp book.

Immediately after college, I designed and sold greeting cards, which was a blast. I no longer sell them, but perhaps I’ll do a giveaway with them some time!

I went to graduate journalism school although I’ve never officially used that degree. (It has immensely influenced by my fiction writing though!) . I also briefly worked in the literary agency business, and I also teach college in the fall in New Jersey.

Which books are on your reading pile for the summer?

I’m in grad school right now. I’m in a low-res MFA program, so I have a lot of required reading. Recently, I’ve been reading dozens of picture books. I’ve also been reading craft books, which is new for me!
That said, I’ll be spending a lot of time this summer reading beach books, which are my ultimate favorite! If there’s a beach on the cover, I’ll be reading it.

Are there any other projects you’re working on? If so, can you share a little teaser?

My next book will be neither a city girl in the country or a country girl in the city, but it will have a similar tone to WHERE I BELONG and A LONG WAY FROM YOU.

Book Obsessed


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