Today I am interviewing, for the first time, my gal pal Heather B. Moon. She is a wonderful artist and author. I am happy to host her on my site.
1-Can you give us a brief bio about yourself and your background for my readers?
Heather B. Moon was born in Royton, Lancashire in 1956. She attended Royton and Crompton Secondary School, Tameside College, and Mather College of Education, Manchester. She gained a Teacher’s Certificate in Primary Education in 1978. Heather is married with two grown children, Kris and Lucy, and two beautiful grandchildren, Louie and Amelie.
After teaching for some time in the Oldham and Rochdale area, Heather and her husband, Ian, acquired their own school in the north of England. Together, they managed the school for a number of years before retiring to Cornwall in 1999.
Many hours of reading stories out loud to children in her class has given Heather the experience to know just what holds their attention. She believes a fidgety child at story time is a bored child. The story must keep moving forward, and the child should want to turn the page.
2-What first inspired you to write? Have you always had a passion to write?
The children I have taught over the years inspired me to write. I just love to see their faces when I read to them. They have been my inspiration.
3-Why are you an author?
Good question! If I am walking, gardening, painting the house, traveling, or even just gazing into shop windows, I am always in the world of fantasy. It drives my husband bananas!(You see, I can now imagine bananas in pajamas!)
4-How long have you been writing?
In my head, I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Realistically though, I am pretty new to it all. I wrote my first book in the Tillie series about two years ago.
5-How did you come up with the idea for your series?
If I had known just how challenging it was, perhaps I would have started by writing just the one book in the Tillieseries instead of three all at once. I had three plots whirling away in my head, and kept coming up with different ideas. In my first book, Tillie is whisked away by a ghost horse. I came up with this idea as I rode through a grapefruit plantation in Jamaica on a beautiful ex-racehorse.
Tillie and the Voodoo Kid evolved as I was bombarded with tangerines whilst lazing on a sun lounger in St. Kitts. A cheeky little imp hid behind a palm tree as my husband and I looked around in confusion, trying to work out where the tangerines were coming from.
As I walked along the cliff path in Cornwall, I came up with the idea of something evil happening underground as I spotted a bright blue snail crawling along the ground. This led to Tillie and the Weird Christmas Tree. The biggest challenge, though, is the editing because there is so much to get through with the three books. I am looking forward to writing the fourth book in the series, and just concentrating on one story and one lot of illustrations.
6-Why did you choose this genre/this age group?
My experience with teaching and reading to children drew me to this genre. I just loved to see the expressions on children’s faces when we came to an exciting part. I always knew that if we came to a prolonged description of something in a book, they would become fridgety. If that happened, I would skip some of the passages, and make up my own shorter version as I went along.
I have now devised a system to discover if I am writing anything tedious. I read it out loud to my long-suffering husband, and watch to see if he fidgets. I have taught children of all ages, from nursery age to 16 years. I thought I would begin somewhere in the middle, as I loved teaching the 8 to 9-year-old children the most. They are just at that age that they respect everything you do with them, and give back some great response in return.
7-How do you go about writing? Do you have music playing? Do you have a routine that you go through before you start? What is the atmosphere like when you sit to write?
I need absolute silence. If I am interrupted, I resemble the girl in the Exorcist. I need coffee, too. Time just seems to get gobbled up when I am writing or painting. My husband will say, ‘Are we eating soon?’ I will then think, ‘It can’t be 6pm already!’
8-How long did it take for you to start your novel up until completion? What issues, if any, did you have to deal with to finish your book?
I can finish a book in about a week if left alone without interruptions, but then the editing and revising then has to go on for weeks. It has to be submitted to the publisher, and then goes for editing. After that, the illustrations are chosen. Positioning the illustrations with the correct text also has to be thought out carefully.
9-What are your goals for the future now that the books are out?
I have book four of the Tillie series buzzing around in my head. I have completed the plot planning, but am doing a little more research on certain places in Europe and bees. I want Tillie to be driven around Europe in an RV to help save the whole of the world’s bee population.
I also have a series of rhyming books for the younger age group in my head, but I am presently participating in RhyPIBoMo, which is a fabulous event organized by my author friend, Angie Karcher. This is helping with future ideas and how to avoid common mistakes.
10-What projects should we expect to see from you in the future?
The Biggest Nastypalaian in the World, the fourth book in the Tillie series.
Silly Trunk and the Ickle-Prickle Plant, a rhyming book for younger readers.
I also intend to expand my webpage to offer my art services to others. I recently enjoyed the private commission of painting, Jasper: Amazon Parrot, and would love to complete more pet portraits or landscapes. I can work just from a photograph with any media in any size canvas. I am sure Jasper can endorse my work and recommend me!
11-What words of advice would you give to other writers.
Just be yourself.
The three ‘P’s:
Most of all just keep on going, and do not let any rejections stop you from writing. The only way you will be guaranteed failure is by stopping what you do.