Today, I’m interviewing author Kourtney Heintz about her new book The Six Train to Wisconsin, out now in print and e-book. Hope you enjoy this insight into another writer’s process and decisions, and make sure to leave a comment at the end to be entered to win Kourtney’s exciting new novel!
Q: First off, tell us about you! Who is Kourtney Heintz?
I’m a former Wall Street girl, who took advantage of the economic downturn to try a new career as an author. I’m a firm believer in living the life you want and doing whatever it takes to make your dreams a reality. Even moving into your parent’s living room.
Q: When did you first start writing, and what inspired you to continue?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid. Fan fiction mostly. My own takes on the Wizard of Oz series. It wasn’t until 2006 that I decided to seriously write my own novel. It was the end of the Harry Potter series that brought it all about. I was so sad to part ways with Hermione and Harry and I realized if I wrote my own books I could stay with the characters as long as I wanted.
Q: Your debut novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin, has just come out in print and ebook. Tell us about the book!
The Six Train to Wisconsin is a work of speculative fiction. It focuses on a married couple, Oliver and Kai. When Kai’s telepathy spirals out of control, her husband Oliver brings her to the quiet Wisconsin hometown he abandoned a decade ago, where he must confront the secrets of his past to save their future.
Q: Where did the idea for the novel come from? Did anything in particular inspire you?
I was recovering from disk replacement surgery and thinking about how bad off I had been. How much care I needed. And the people who had to care for me. I wanted to tell that story. Both sides of it–the caregiver and the care-needer. The husband and his telepathic wife were born in that moment.
Q: Kai and Oliver love each other, but the relationship is tumultuous. Were there times when it was difficult to write Kai and Oliver’s love story?
It’s much easier for me to have them experience things than it is for me to have gone through it myself. I find it really cathartic to draw from my emotions and experiences and imbue my characters with them.
Q: Describe the type of person you think would enjoy reading your novel.
Women who don’t like traditional romances. They want a love story that fits their lifestyle. They don’t believe in happily ever after. They do believe in the peaks and valleys that come with any relationship. And they like reading about the journey of love and don’t think of it as a destination.
They also enjoy a story that defies genre and combines different elements of paranormals, mysteries, and thrillers.
Q: Last year your novel made its way through several rounds of Amazon.com’s Breakthrough Novel Awards. What was that process like?
Nervewracking. I had no idea if I would advance. Waiting was hard. But I got so much amazing feedback from the Amazon reviewers, Publisher’s Weekly reviewer, and readers. It gave me the confidence to stick with this novel and see it through.
Q: You decided to self-publish The Six Train to Wisconsin. What prompted this decision?
I spent a couple years trying to go the traditional publishing route. I did everything I was supposed to. I pitched at conferences, I submitted to contests, I cold-queried. I revised and revised.
Agents requested the full, but responded with “beautiful writing, but not sure how to sell this”. That signaled that the book was ready, but it might not be a blockbuster. I felt that the indie route was the best way to get my writing out there. And I was willing to assume all the risk and costs of doing so.
Q: What is the self-publishing process like? Have there been any difficulties or obstacles you’ve had to face?
Time consuming. Intense responsibility. You become a firefighter. Somedays, I’m just rushing from fire to fire and never getting to my actual to-do list.
I haven’t had much of a personal life since January. I knew bringing the book to market and promoting it would take up most of this year. So I’m okay with that. I’m trying to find a bit more balance. At first it was I’m in my busy week or month. Then it became season.
I am getting into the ocean this summer though. No matter what.
Q: When you’re not writing, what sort of books do you read? Who are your favorite authors?
As a child, I loved L. Frank Baum and Agatha Christie. I think that’s why all my stories tend to have a fantasy and a mystery element. Now, I’m a huge fan of Alice Sebold and Sue Monk Kidd–I like to see the inner workings of a character’s mind.
I have a blogroll of authors I enjoy. I also do reviews of my favorite books on my blog.
Q: Aside from writing, what are your favorite things to do?
Swimming. Roadtripping. Belly dancing. Archery. Reading. Meditating.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you would give new writers who are just starting out?
Do your homework. Figure out how everything works before diving in. Subscribe to PW updates, follow agent and editor blogs, attend online workshops. There are tons of free resources on the web. Take advantage of them. There are writing organizations for every genre. Join one and become a sponge.
Q: Thanks so much for being here, Kourtney! It was a pleasure to pick your brain about writing and your new book!
Readers, don’t forget to enter The Six Train to Wisconsin e-book giveaway at the bottom of the page! Leave your email address and what format e-book you prefer in the comment section below!
Connect with Kourtney:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/kourtneyheintzwriter
Amazon Author Central Page: http://amazon.com/author/kourtneyheintz
Buy Kourtney’s Book:
Paperback available from:
Ebook available from: