HEATHER WARDELL: KEEPING TRACK OF PEOPLE IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN SERIES
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Heather Wardell is the author behind the Toronto Collection series. She worked as software developer and computer teacher before turning to a successful writer. Her next book Fifteen Minutes of Summer was published on June 4. We’ve got a chance to speak with our next guest for her latest novels.
– Heather, Fifty Million Reasons and Plan Overboard are your last two parts of Toronto Collection. Did you imagine at the beginning that the series will continue with success for so long?
– I definitely did not, although I’m delighted! I released the first book in the series, “Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo”, as a free download back in 2008 (it’s still free and can be picked up on my website or at any retailer) and with each new book I’ve reached more readers. “Fifty Million Reasons” is the 13th book in the series and it recently reached #22 at Amazon and #5 and Barnes and Noble, my best results yet!
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I only rarely buy lottery tickets, but I’ve always been fascinated by what I would do if I won. Eventually I couldn’t resist exploring that in a novel. A lot of the issues Angela faces while handling her win in “Fifty Million Reasons” are things that actually happened to real lottery winners, even the most shocking things!
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process of such series, which are mixing different characters from each book?
– You’ve hit on it – keeping track of people. Couples from my earlier books get married and have children in later ones, and making sure that I know who is where and how old they all are is tricky! I keep a lot of lists, which helps.
– How much time you need to finish a story and to publish it?
– It takes me almost exactly a year of calendar time to go from an idea to a finished book, but I finish a draft of one book then go to a different one while the first one rests, so it’s less actual work time than that for each book. For “Fifty Million Reasons”, for example, its planning and first draft took from November to March, its second draft from April to May, and its third and final draft from October to November. In between, I wrote and edited several other books in various stages.
– Your last book Bad Will Hunting was published in November. Give us some insight about it?
– “Bad Will Hunting” is the second book in a different series. The first book, “Seven Exes are Eight Too Many“, is about a woman who signs up for a reality dating show only to find herself dumped on an island with seven of her ex-boyfriends fighting another ex and HIS exes for a million dollars. “Bad Will Hunting“, and the book I released on June 4th (“Fifteen Minutes of Summer“) are sequels to it, each looking at one of the ex-boyfriends’ exes. in “Bad Will Hunting”, a woman known as “Angry Ashley” sets out to get her revenge on everyone who’s done her wrong… which seems to be pretty much everyone.
– Who are you?
– I’ve been writing since May 2005 and began self-publishing in 2008, and I love it. I have done twenty-one reader get-togethers all over Canada and the US and I have a great time meeting readers so will do more as soon as I can. In my spare time, I read, drum, and play clarinet.
– What are your writing habits?
– I write Monday-Thursday and take Friday for administrative work like updating my website, posting books to retailers, and answering interview questions. 🙂 On my writing days I do my best not to let anything else interfere, although that’s challenging. I write for three hours a day, which I know doesn’t sound like much but that’s 100% focused time (no checking email or wandering around the Internet) so I do get a lot done each day!
– Would you unveil your plans for your next releases and to give us some info about them?
– As I mentioned above, “Fifteen Minutes of Summer” is coming out June 4th. It’s about a woman named Summer who’ll do anything to be famous, maybe even sell out everyone she loves. “Safe Harbor?” will be my next book after that, out sometime in the fall, and it’s part of the Toronto collection and focuses on why a woman would marry a man she doesn’t love.
– Ask yourself a question?
– What do you do in your spare time? I read as much as I can (I’ve read forty books so far in 2015 and that’s actually somewhat low for me). I’m also a crocheter and I play drums and clarinet for a local concert band.
Take a look at her books:
Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many (Seven Exes series Book 1)
Bad Will Hunting (Seven Exes series Book 2)
Fifteen Minutes of Summer (The “Seven Exes” Series Book 3)
Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo (Toronto Collection Book 1)
Toronto Collection Volume 1 (Toronto Collection #2-5)
Toronto Collection Volume 2 (Toronto Collection #6-9)
Toronto Collection Volume 3 (Toronto Collection #10-13)
Fifty Million Reasons (Toronto Collection Book 13)
Plan Overboard (Toronto Collection Book 14)