Heather Brewer is the New York Times bestselling author of the “Chronicles of Vladimir Tod” series and supreme ruler of her fans – aka, the Minion Horde. She doesn’t believe in happy endings, unless they involve blood. Ms. Brewer lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband, two children, and three very spoiled cats.
For what age audience do you write?
I write for outcasts, for kids on the fringe, for people who have ever felt like they don’t fit in – no matter their age. Some classify my books as horror, some as paranormal, some as humor. I’m still not certain what label to put on them. Besides, I hate labels.
Henry: So, pretty much every person that has ever lived. Well played, sir.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book in the second installment in my “Slayer Chronicles” series (a spin-off from “The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod”), called “Second Chance”. This time around, Joss is sent to Manhattan for the summer, to hunt down a serial killer who the Slayer Society believes may be a vampire. But oh…the surprises that await him!
The follow-up to “Second Chance” (and also the third and final Slayer Chronicles book, wrapping up my ties to Elysia) is “Third Strike”, which will be in stores February 20, 2014.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
I hope that readers will get some answers to some of the questions they’ve been asking throughout “The Slayer Chronicle”s and “The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod”. I also hope they come to understand Joss’s motives for (SPOILER ALERT!) attempting to take Vlad’s life. But mostly, I hope they enjoy the ride.
Henry: My co-author son is a big fan, and definitely enjoyed reading your books.
What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?
Focus, I think, is the biggest challenge for any writer. It can be so difficult to simply sit down and get words on the screen. Life gets in the way, and there are so many shiny things all around us, just waiting to distract us from writing. The key is to block out the world when you can, and just lose yourself in the make-believe.
Henry: Note to self: invent writer’s blinders to improve literary focus.
What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer?
I’ve learned that no matter who you are, there are other people like you out in the world – and that books can do amazing things: create connections, broaden views, save lives.
Henry: Indeed, you never know what impact your books will have. My book Nimpentoad got at least one young reader to try eating mushrooms. One small step for man…
What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?
The opportunity to meet and interact with so many amazing teens and tweens. They are my favorite people on the planet, next to librarians.
Henry: Plus, librarians are so much better behaved than teens. 🙂
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Do something every day to move your story forward. A lot of the time, that’s getting words on the page (or screen). But sometimes, it’s playing scenes out in your head, or working out the kinks.
Do you have any favorite quotes?
My favorite quote is actually something that Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day fame said. “To do something that you feel in your heart that’s great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that’s successful is a series of mistakes.”
Henry: Well, then I’m well on my way to success…
Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write?
I must have iced tea (black, no sweetener, no lemon, extra ice, preferably from Starbucks), and I always write best in my office, with my kitties present and lounging on my coffin couch.
Henry: Ah, cat familiars. Per wikipedia: “In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiars were supernatural entities believed to assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic. According to the records of the time, they would appear in numerous guises, often as an animal, but also at times as a human or humanoid figure, and were described as ‘clearly defined, three-dimensional… forms, vivid with colour and animated with movement and sound’”
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I wish I could become invisible at will. Not only would it give me the most honest view of the world that I could get…but just think of all of the awkward moments I could escape in a blink!
Henry: Think of all the trouble you could get into. Never pay a restaurant bill or traffic ticket again. You could be a poltergeist. A Brewergeist!
If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?
I’d invite over the three authors that I admire most, for purely selfish reasons: Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Edgar Allen Poe.
What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?
I know it seems obvious, but…vampires, absolutely. There are just so many different takes on vampires out there, and they act as an amazing avenue for explaining human issues. Plus, fangs are cool.
Henry: Plus immortality. It occurs to me that Hannibal Lector from “Silence of the Lambs” is a kind of vampire too – smart, strong, cannibalistic, and thoroughly evil.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love spending time with my family (doing anything from cosplaying to hanging out), gardening, traveling, and of course, reading. I daydream a lot.
Henry: Do you ever garden in costume? Think of the possibilities!
What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
Here lies Heather Brewer (that’s a lie – she’s actually had her ashes spread in the Haunted Mansion at Disney World)
Henry: If James Doohan (of Star Trek fame) can have his ashes spread in space, I don’t see why you couldn’t have your ashes spread at the Haunted Mansion. Have your minions make inquiries…
Where can readers find your work?
My books are available in so many places: local indies, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Walmart, Target, grocery stores, and of course all over online. But my fave place readers can find my books? At the library!
Henry: Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview.
This interview is also posted to the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.