Author Interview: Rebecca Hefner
About the author:
Rebecca Hefner grew up in Western NC and now calls the Hudson River of NYC home. In her youth she would sneak into her mother's bedroom and raid the bookshelf, falling in love with the stories of Judith McNaught, Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts. Years later that love of a good romance, with lots of great characters and conflicts, has extended to her other favorite authors such as JR Ward and Lisa Kleypas. Also a huge Game of Thrones and Star Wars fan, she loves an epic fantasy and a surprise twist (Luke, he IS your father). One day, over a decade ago, she began writing her own stories and recently mustered the courage to leave her corporate medical device sales job and become a full-time author. She would be thrilled to hear from her readers any time at [email protected]
What inspires you to write romantic fiction?
I've read romance novels since I was a teenager. I have always loved the genre and think the heroines are always so strong and courageous. I can't think of any other genre of books that has such strong female characters, mostly written by women. What an inspiring thing to be a part of! I started writing because I had characters and stories that appeared in my head, screaming to get out. They wouldn't relent so my stories were born. Now they can live in others' heads as well and hopefully make them smile, cry and laugh as they've done for me for decades!
Tell us about how you write.
For me, the characters appear in my head. Usually interacting in a scene, which becomes one of the pivotal scenes in the book. From there, I sit down and outline what I think should happen in the book. Plot, story, conflicts, etc. The characters always end up taking me somewhere further than the original outline, and always to a much better, more heart-wrenching and satisfying place. Seeing them evolve is one of my favorite things about writing!
Do you listen to or talk to to your characters?
Ha! I'm a single woman who lives alone with my super-cute cat so I most likely do. I've been told I talk to myself, so why not to my characters? They surely live in my head and all have very distinct voices of their own.
What advice would you give other romance writers?
First, read lots of romance novels. See what you like and don't like. I, myself, am not a huge fan of the "insta-love" books. Not knocking them at all, because they're super-fun and faced paced, but I find that I need to see a relationship develop before we get to the steamy scenes. I want to see the attraction (and sometimes the denial of attraction), the banter, the flirting and the eventual start to the fall before they become intimate. But don't get me wrong, I like my books steamy. I quite often read erotica and love the hot scenes. In my books you'll find both: the building of the relationship and very steamy scenes. I like to include both, for readers like myself who need the extra build. Also, there are a ton of fantastic writing courses online. When I got serious about writing and publishing my books, I devoured many of them. Take the time to become a better writer–it will do wonders for you. Also, make sure you hire a professional editor. If you can't, then offer your manuscript for free to several beta readers in exchange for their feedback. It is imperative that you let others tell you what holes they see in the plot and character development, as authors have a tough time seeing these things in their own books.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I hired an amazing editor and decided to self-publish. It was very important for me to maintain creative control of my characters and stories. There are many advantages and disadvantages to both traditional and self-publishing and every author has to decide what's right for them. For now, I'm really enjoying self-publishing and am so happy my books are slowly but surely finding readers who enjoy them!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The explosion of self-publishing has changed the industry and will continue to do so. My one fear about authors who self-publish is that if they put out works that weren't edited or beta read, they will put out works that are sub-par. This lowers the quality of self-published works as a whole and makes it tougher for self-published authors who garner a lot of feedback, and ensure the minimum number of mistakes, before publishing. However, I do see the industry continuing to swing toward indie and self-published authors. In the end, most people have a story to tell and it's phenomenal that every author now has a platform to share their story with the world.
Which romance sub-genere(s) fit your stories best?
Paranormal Romance or Fantasy Romance
My books are available in the following formats: