“Guardians” is the final installment in the Seers trilogy and was released in July, just weeks after the book’s author, Heather Frost, graduated from college and returned from a trip to Europe.
Juggling schoolwork, a job, and professional writing, Frost somehow made it through her senior year at Utah State University to earn a degree in Creative Writing. More about that later.
We’d like to thank Frost for taking the time to field a few questions in our Fiction Fest hot seat.
How did you get started writing?
I’ve always been fascinated by books. I learned to read at four, and I began writing short stories for myself and my family when I was five. I told stories to my siblings—I was the second oldest in a large family, so I did a LOT of babysitting. I continued to be an avid reader, and I wrote my first novel when I was twelve, after running out of books to read at the small town library. It was a fantasy book, never published, and littered with clichés. But it was while writing that story that I realized how exhilarating writing could be. Telling the story, not just reading it, was a totally new way to experience a book, and I became addicted to writing. For the record, I’ve never recovered.
I’d spent a couple years with a few random thoughts about the afterlife in the back of my mind, and then, in the summer of 2010, everything literally fell into my head. The concept of the immortal Guardians and Demons came to me first, but Seers were soon invented, and I found my protagonist, Kate. I started writing the same day, doing research on the Irish Revolution even as I drew up character profiles. It’s funny how an errant thought years ago can change your life.
You recently graduated from college. Was it difficult finding time to juggle academic writing and novel writing?
It was a challenge, definitely. I would wake up, go to classes, go to work, come home and do homework, and then—if I had the discipline to not just go to sleep or watch a movie—I’d work on my books. That included marketing, editing, and of course working on other writing projects as well. I’m usually working on at least two novels at a time, so I was stretched pretty thin for a while there. So there may be a bit of a delay before my next book is released, simply because I didn’t get much new writing done my senior year.
What is your writing routine like?
I usually write at home, and I’m not particular about the time of day—though I’m definitely not an early bird. I have to have at least an hour, preferably two-to-four, of uninterrupted time to really get in the zone and accomplish things. I also have to eliminate certain distractions, like emailing, Facebook, and my daily marketing objectives. I try and take care of those things before I start writing, so I can be in a completely creative space during my writing time.
Since I’ve been reading my whole life, this is a hard question to answer. Especially because I read so many different genres, and books published in different time periods. I do think that J.K. Rowling helped me hone a lot of my skills, including: character descriptions, conversations, and plot twists.
Do you prefer hard copies or e-books?
Hard copies! E-books can be very convenient, don’t get me wrong. But nothing beats a physical book.
You went to Europe after graduation. Any future novels come to mind while abroad?
Plenty! The trip was rich in stories, legends, and inspiring locations. Not only did it fuel new book ideas, it also helped sharpen a couple ideas I’d already had floating around in my head.
Yes, it is the end. And it’s been a great adventure! I’ll really miss spending so much time with those characters, but there are many other worlds worth exploring, and I’m certainly not done writing.
What do you plan to do with your college degree?
My degree is Creative Writing, so I think I’ll keep on writing, although I have thought about doing some freelance editing as well.
What advice would you like to offer aspiring novelists?
As corny as it sounds, believe in yourself. Writing and publishing, despite how complicated it can seem, becomes simple if you remember why you began writing in the first place—to tell a story. So believe in yourself and your characters. Dreams can become reality, if you are determined enough.