Author Interview: Heather James

We are excited to welcome author, Heather James, to the nest today.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: When and why did you begin writing? 

Heather: I have always written, ever since I was young. Creative writing was always my favourite part of school – and it was the only activity we did which I enjoyed enough to continue in my own time at home! I think my love of writing stems from my love of reading and escaping into imaginary worlds.  

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What inspired this story?

Heather: I started working on Fire while on holiday as a teenager. The story I had been writing wasn't really working and I wanted to start something new. Fire began with a description of a girl waiting on a beach; the story line and concept just flowed from there. This description later became the opening to chapter 2.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Do you have a favorite character? 

Heather: I do, but I can’t say who without it hinting at how the series is likely to end!

However, my favourite character to write about is Cinaer, who’s actually the ‘bad guy’ in the series. He’s awful but I always feel like I've got a lot of freedom when writing the scenes he is in; I think, ‘what’s the worst thing he could do here?’ and then he does it…

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Which of your characters are you most like? 

Heather: Fire is split between two protagonists: Roxy and Jasmine. Roxy is fiery and confident and everything that I’m not, but perhaps resembles how I wanted to be when I started writing the series. Jasmine is considerate and kind, but also less self-assured and she has a lot of doubts about herself and her place in the world. I probably identify more with Jasmine, although she is still very different to me.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Which book(s) have most influenced your life and/or writing career? 

Heather: The Harry Potter series had a HUGE impact on me growing up: I started reading them when I was 6-7 and the last book came out when I was 14, so they were an important feature of my childhood. I even wrote my University dissertation on the books, looking at the role of politics and authority within them (a topic which comes up quite a bit in Fire and also in a new project I’m in the process of planning).

I read a lot of YA literature, especially anything fantasy or paranormal. Some of the authors who have had the strongest influence on me are: Meg Cabot (I even read her children’s books with my younger sister); Katherine Roberts; Cassandra Clare; Lauren Kate; Scott Westerfield (the Uglies series is still one of my all-time favourite reads)

I also like classic authors like Austen, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald and I loved Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I’ve read and seen a lot of Shakespeare too and my Uni degree was half English, half Classics, so I love anything based around Greek & Roman mythology.   

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Is there an underlying message in your story?

Heather: There’s a lot about race and prejudice in it, but also about making choices and deciding where your own needs lie in relation to those around you.

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Can you share a little bit about your next project with us?

Heather: Fire is the first novel in the Elements of Power trilogy; ‘Water’ and ‘Air’ will be published as soon as I can get them ready! I've also got two more ideas in the work once I've got some more time to get started on them!

Heather James is a young-adult author who writes about heroines with amazing powers, heroes who will break your heart and fantasy realms that you will want to move to. 

She works in the attendance office of a South-East London secondary school and spends her school holidays writing, reading, playing flag-American football and wasting time marketing on Pinterest.

About the Novel

Is control over the elements a gift, or a curse?

Roxy thinks that she is in control of everything: with flames flaring at her fingertips and an equally fiery attitude, what more could she need? But then she meets Brae, a prince from a rival Realm, who turns her assumptions of superiority upside down.

Jasmine has none of Roxy’s confidence or intensity. But she does have a secret - and Brae - and she’s not going to give either up willingly.