Do you know what a sweetheart Heidi Kling, debut author of SEA (launching today!), is? I'm here to tell you she is that, and more. I just met her at the very amazing Teen Author Carnival in NYC, and she is every bit as nice as you would expect. (Pic: me, Heidi, Sarah Ockler, and Kieran Scott)
Heidi and I are meeting up at ALA in Washington, DC at the end of this month to sign our debut books - PLUS she's here today to spill some secrets about SEA...
So without further ado, I present Heidi!
SEA is a romantic adventure about hope after tragedy set in post-tsunami Indonesia.
I spent years in Indonesia, a place I'd never been. Also, did a lot of soul searching --how would my family react if I suddenly went missing--how would I react to this situation if I was 15--it was incredible spending time with these characters. I love them like they are my own family now.
Holly Cupala: I love to hear the stories behind the story. How did SEA hit you?
Heidi Kling: The long story is on my website, but I was inspired by my husband's real life volunteer efforts.
What driving force is at the core of SEA?
I'm inspired by people who see the world in a positive way--who react to situations like, "How can I make this better? How can I help improve myself? How can I be a better friend/spouse/citizen of the world. I try to surround myself by like minded people who are constantly working to evolve and make the world a brighter place.
How long did it take you to write, and did the story evolve as you revised?
Three years. I started writing SEA when my son (who is now 7) started preschool. It took a lot of research and since it involves another culture, I wanted to make sure I was sensitive as well as honest in my portrayal. I made friends with some of the tsunami survivors, who helped me a lot--particularly a young man named Usul, who I consider a good friend now. He's amazing.
What do you most hope your readers will take away?
A sense of hope. A sense that one person can make a difference. Also, a sense that you can be true to yourself--your decisions don't have to please everyone, but if they ultimately enrich your life in a positive way---that may be the best decision for you. Sienna makes some choices that make some people very nervous, but I think they were right for her in that situation.
Any secrets you might be willing to share?
Are you asking me to play Truth and Dare, Holly? ;-)
'What's up next after SEA?
I'm finishing up a modern fantasy novel about estranged witches and warlocks set in a beach town. It's a planned trilogy. Also, I'm contributing to the Mystic Falls Vampire Diaries anthology which is coming out in October. #TeamDamon.
Thanks, Heidi, for stopping by to tell us the secrets of SEA! And readers, be sure to visit Heidi's blog for lots of launch day celebration! Here's the cool trailer: