Welcome to the book tour for The Sea Archer by Jeny Heckman! Today she answered a ton of questions about her book, the characters, and her writing and reading habits. Also find out where to go if you ever find yourself in her neck of the woods! Anything else that you want to know about Jeny? Leave her more questions in the comments area. And then after reading an excerpt and downloading your own copy of her book, please follow the tour to learn more about her and for more chances to enter the giveaway!
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What was the inspiration behind this book?
I wanted to do a series and wanted it to be paranormal. I like the wider parameters of paranormal books. You can enter different worlds and make up your own rules. However, I didn’t want the same paranormal world, filled with vampires and werewolves. So, I decided on the Greek gods because I knew there would be plenty of material to sustain a series. Having modern-day descendants that didn’t believe in mythical Greek gods was an immediate and interesting conflict.
What kind of research did you have to do for it?
Oh wow, the research I did on this book! I’m someone that likes things to be right. If I’m reading something I want there to be a basis of truth in it. So, I’ve done a lot of research on the Greek gods. They have a huge following and you will hear about it if you’ve gotten it wrong. There have been some instances where I’ve taken some creative license and it’s deliberate. I contacted a cardiac surgeon for the medical questions and asked him to read my ER/OR scenes and tell me if it was correct. I did extensive research on the Hawaiian Monk seals. I researched the best Hawaiian island the seals like to go. I even went to Hawaii to make sure I had the street names correct. Originally, I wanted the birth of Kaimi to happen on the island of Nihau, but found out through the locals that the scenario could never have happened on the “Forbidden,” Island. So, research is a handy tool.
Which character was your favorite to write?
I really love Dee. I love the metamorphosis of Raven but Dee is just so colorful and fun. She’s had stuff happen to her, but she’s still the way she is and that is a breath of fresh air.
To which character did you relate the most?
I relate most closely with Raven. Someone said to me that no one is that passive, and I said to them that I used to be exactly that passive. For several reasons, I won’t go into but I think when you don’t have a lot of self-esteem or feel yourself very incapable, like I did at the time, you allow other people to take over. Soon, it becomes their way and you just follow suit. If you’re someone that has never had that happen to them, then I can completely understand why they would feel skeptical of anyone else feeling or acting that way. It doesn’t take a lot to become empowered, but it does take a lot to stay empowered and change. Change is usually painful and hard. For those reasons, I connected greatly with Raven.
What was one of your favorite scenes?
One of my favorite scenes is when Dee confronts Raven and Finn with the prophecy. I don’t know, I could just see that entire scenario go down. The dawning awareness that someone you really love and trust has gone completely insane and what are you going to do now. There’s a level of fear for that person and what that shift will mean for them and by extension, you.
Will we see these characters again?
Yes! I hope to have Finn, Raven and Dee in most of the books.
Why should we read your book?
I love this question and was asked it before. Here are three reasons you buy The Sea Archer? Number one. I’m a new author. Personally, I enjoy reading something from the ground up. I do have a lot of stories to share and am just getting started. I’ve been told I have a great ability to write dialogue, in a true-to-life way. Dialect and syntax are fun things to explore and I want my characters to speak like real people do, complete with awkward pauses and idiosyncrasies.
Number two, The Sea Archer is different. Many paranormal books are similar in subject matter. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those books or stories but things can become saturated. I believed the Greek gods would be fun because you don’t see them as much and if you do, they’re the actual Greek gods. So, I also wanted it to have a kind of Percy Jackson meets Nora Roberts way about it. Finally, I liked the idea that the characters don’t know they’re special or even believe anything they’ve been tasked to do. I mean it makes a quest harder, doesn’t it? You must believe in a quest to thwart it, so already there’s conflict.
Number three, the books of The Heaven & Earth Series build off each other. The Sea Archer is a romance with paranormal elements rather than a straight up paranormal romance and that’s intentional. I want this series to take the reader on a journey. The characters, as I stated above, don’t necessarily believe in quests or Greek gods. It’s like your own grandma saying to you over breakfast, “You’re the descendent of Athena. Now go do some stuff to free her and all the other Greek gods from the depths of hell because if you don’t, they’ll unleash the last remaining evils upon the earth.” You might roll your eyes, pat her on the head or possibly call for a psych evaluation, if you discerned she was really serious. So, there’s a significant level of unknown, then as the series progresses, it enlightens you as a reader just like it illuminates the characters. First, you learn the basics, then a bloom of understanding happens, and then you grow more proficient. Each story has its journey, but the series is the reader becoming proficient in the quest.
What do you hope people will get out of your book?
I hope it will empower people. The Sea Archer is a story of empowerment. For a woman starting over; for a man stuck in one way of thinking; for an older woman trying to be believed; for a villain trying to get revenge and for a group of Greek gods trying to find salvation.
How do you make yourself stand out in this genre?
That’s hard because there are so many good books out there and so little time. You have to invest time into an author or series or even a single book. I’d like to think I’ve got a slightly different take on things. I want my audience to learn as the characters learn and that’s hard to sell in book one. It’s an investment but one I think that will pay off.
Tell us about your other published works.
I have self-published one other book entitled, The Catch. I’ve always thought in stories but never wrote them down and was inspired to do so while walking one day. I was very intrigued by the show, The Deadliest Catch. It’s about Alaskan crab fisherman. There was a vignette about women on fishing vessels and how they’re taboo, or bad luck. I was taking care of my father-in-law, who was dying from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after a nineteen-year-long battle. My family was distraught to say the least, and a character materialized in my mind that put all those elements together. I went home to see if I could write it down and before I knew it four hours had passed, and I had a detailed outline. The Catch resulted from that effort and my first attempt at writing.
On what are you currently working?
I’m currently halfway through writing book two of the Heaven & Earth Series. It picks up six months after The Sea Archer ends.
What is your writing routine?
I wish this is something I could be a little more consistent in because my intentions are always good. I want to wake up get ready for the day and write. Write about four hours, get some lunch, then write another four and end the day. My schedule in reality looks like one of those Family Circus cartoons where the kid travels everywhere but the straight line home. Usually I write in spurts. I need things to be quiet, so if there’s a lot of activity going on around me, it’s virtually impossible for me to concentrate. When I write, I also get on a roll and can write for hours and even days. Let me be clear I LOVE those days and am constantly striving for them. I am continually searching for the happy medium between the two.
What is the best writing advice you ever received?
To keep writing the next thing and don’t take reviews personally.
What are you currently reading? Up next on your TBR?
I am currently reading Sarah Maas’s, The Court of Wings and Ruin. I’m also eagerly awaiting Darynda Jones’s, Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave, and Diana Gabaldon to come out with, “BEES.”
When not writing, what can we find you doing?
I’m also a photographer and have a million hobbies but at this stage in my life, I’m no longer running my kids around to all their varies endeavors but now chasing them around and asking them to come home occasionally.
Let’s say I’m coming for a visit to your area. What are some must-see places?
Well, I live in Washington state and you cannot find a more diverse place than this. It has something for everyone from mountains, to islands, to water to technology. You can never go wrong with Pike Place Market and Seattle Center but I also like fun and different things. The Hyrum Locks are awesome, Climbing Mt. Pilchuck is challenging but fun. Going up to Snoqualmie Falls is breathtaking. And taking a Saturday and roaming around the San Juan Islands is absolutely required.
What is something on your bucket list you have accomplished? Want to accomplish?
I got a tattoo. I actually have two. I did the first with my family. We all received the same one. It’s a Celtic knot with four loops, one for each of us. The loops go over and under a steel rod, because we’ve gone through a lot as a family and lastly it has an H in it for our last name, Heckman. The second is a butterfly, and my own private metamorphosis.
Something I’d like to do is travel to Greece before the series conclusion. I would love to be able to travel to Greece before beginning the last book, to put my head into that perfect space. To see the temples and where everything originates from would be beyond cool.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d like to thank Candrel’s Crafts, Cooks and Characters, for having me here today. I appreciate the time you’ve devoted to me and I’ve had a lot of fun. To those of you that joined me, thank you for doing so. I hope you’ll come visit me on my website, at www.jenyheckman.com. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. I sincerely hope you enjoy The Sea Archer.
Raven Hunter, a musical prodigy, flees to the Hawaiian Islands to pick up the pieces after her marriage to her manager collapses. Instead, she experiences extraordinary and unsettling events that are beyond her understanding.
Living in paradise, marine biologist, Finn Taylor has the unconscious but effortless ability to understand the needs of the animals he cares for. His playboy lifestyle is most men’s fantasy. That is, until the night he meets the shy and elusive new island resident. Suddenly his life no longer feels like his own.
The attraction is undeniable. However, vastly contrasting lives, peculiar dreams, and an unbelievable proclamation that they could be the direct descendants of Poseidon and Apollo threaten to divide them forever. Will they accept their destiny and begin the quest of a lifetime or will they remain in their comfortable yet separate existence?
Read an excerpt:
"Where's the one place you've never been?" Que asked, trying to keep her on track. “Someplace you've always wanted to go to?" Wyatt asked. Enjoying herself, Raven turned pink. "You'll think it's stupid." "No, I won't," both said in unison. "I've never been to Hawai‘i." "Hawai‘i?" Que's brow furrowed. "That's here. Don't you wanna go to, like, the Bahamas or something? How have you not been to Hawai‘i?" "Donovan always wanted to play the massive arenas and big cities, and for some unfathomable reason that didn't include the islands." "You should do it then. Take some time, figure it out." "What about my tour dates?" "You'll get ‘em from, whoever, then call and cancel them. Hell, you can even interview new people to run the works while you're there. You're in the position to do that now, Rave. People would fall all over themselves to come to you. The point is to go away and figure it all out." She bit her bottom lip and thought about all the problems this idea would bring until her brother spoke the next words. "What're you afraid of Rave? What do you have lose?"
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Jeny Heckman, loves romance. She especially loves romance with a paranormal and/or historical twist. When not ignoring her family and friends by writing you will find her time exclusively on them and photography. Jeny lives in Stanwood, Washington.
Jeny Heckman will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.