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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Interview with Kristen Heitzmann

Kristen is the bestselling author of a number of works of fiction, including The Still of Night and Halos. In addition to her writing, she is also a teacher, conference speaker, music minister, wife, and mother of four. Kristen lives with her family in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies.

Her book, The Edge of Recall, published by Bethany House, comes out today, July 1, 2008.

1. Tell us about The Edge of Recall.

The Edge of Recall is the story of a woman living her life on the cusp of remembering a trauma from her past that has infected her nights with terror and her days with purpose. Tessa Young is a landscape architect who specializes in labyrinths. These prayer walks she creates are a path to God that don’t require the vulnerability of relationship with the Father. They are also an element in the nightmares with monsters that have caused her to keep a therapist on speed dial.Smith Chandler is the British architect who failed her once and still has the potential to cause her emotional pain. Yet the project he offers—rebuilding a historic labyrinth that was once part of a Colonial monastery—is one she cannot refuse. Facing Smith will be difficult. Unleashing the monsters could be deadly.

2. The name is intriguing. Tell us how that came about and what the book is about.

Well, the title comes very clearly out of the story. Tessa has buried an event so deeply that it haunts her sleep like the mythical labyrinth. She runs from the memory, even as she runs from the monster, searching for someone she needs to find before it’s too late. In her life and work, Tessa loves the mysterious labyrinths her dad showed her in the last memory she has of him. She longs to make peace between what she does and what she dreams, but the price would be remembering.

3. Did this book idea come from any particular incident or experience? In other words, how did you come up with the idea?

My daughter Jessica and I conceived this story together. We had wanted to co-author it until her plans changed. The starting plot and characters are mainly her idea, though they became real in the fleshing of the story.

4. Let’s talk about your journey. How long did you write before you sold your first book?

I had started Honor’s Pledge in ’96 and had it, and about half of Honor’s Price, completed when I attended a writer’s conference that same year. The series was purchased by one of the two editors I showed it to, and the first title came out in January ’98. I know this is unusual, but since I am the worst business person ever, I turned that end of it over to the Lord, and he’s handled it ever since.

5. And what is the number one thing you’ve learned from your writing journey?

I’m a fanatic about improving my craft, but I’d have to say the biggest thing I’ve learned is to trust. I am grateful for the gifts the Lord has given me, but I’m also eaten up by doubt and perfectionism. I am always overwhelmed by the ways the Lord goes over and beyond to show me that this is his work and my part is to give it what I have, then rest in him.

6. Everybody who writes inspirational fiction probably has a story about God’s hand in their writing career and how He’s guided them. Can you share anything in particular about that? Any one thing that happened that was an ah ha moment—when you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was in what you were doing?

The book I’m completing now came to me in a dream five years ago. The dream was amazingly clear and detailed, but so dark and troubling I didn’t think I could do anything with it. All day it hovered there, but I didn’t write it down because it didn’t fit the parameters of Christian Fiction. That night, I dreamed it all again and the story went on in as great detail unfolding the deeply redemptive part of the plot. I have never dreamed the same dream twice in a row, so I woke amazed and knowing I had to pay attention. My husband suggested I jot it down just in case. I had one week between turning in the book I’d finished and starting the next. I started to "jot" down the idea and could not stop writing. In that week as we drove to visit my in-laws I wrote two hundred pages of a story that has held me in its grip to this day. It will be published by a division of Random House for the general market in the summer ’09, and every step of the way has been miraculous.

7. Do you have any future writing plans you’d like to share? Any specific dreams you’d like to accomplish?

I really don’t make writing plans. I write the stories that fall into my head and want out.

8. What is the best advice you ever received?

Take time to live, to balance all the things that matter.

9. Any parting words?

Writing is the most joyful, painful, exuberant, draining, rewarding profession I could ever imagine. It is a thing that takes hold of me like the rapids of a river until it’s run its course and I settle onto the bank to catch my breath.


Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristin -

Recently, I read your book, A Rush of Wings. You're responsible for a lost night of sleep. LOL. I couldn't put it down.

I did a brief review on my blog in case you'd like to check it out.

Susan J. Reinhardt

4:24 PM  

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