Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Skye Hegyes – I met Skye early on when setting up QSF on Facebook, and we’ve since gone on to work on an anthology project together with two other authors. Love ya, Skye!
Thanks so much, Skye, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
Skye Hegyes: Hmmm… I’ve never considered what kind of style I have. I was never good at recognizing the different styles when in school either. I can tell you what genres I like to write though. I mainly write paranormal romance and fantasy, but recently I’ve added contemporary romance and erotica to my repitoire.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
SH: Oh dear… This is a tough one, and it’s taught me so much about what NOT to do when publishing. Writing too, but definitely publishing. I seem to learn a little more with each publication, but that one… Yeah…
It was a short story called “Chiller” still available on Amazon for $0.99 about a vampire crossing paths with the Kazals, a powerful vampire family thought to be the origin of the vampires in America. It’s… bad… Based on a dream, I didn’t put a lot of thought into it and will someday remove it entirely so I can update it into a full-fledged novel with a little more planning behind it.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
SH: My process seems to change with each novel I write, although I’m finally starting to hone down an actual process that works for me.
One of the first things I do when I come up with an idea is plot it completely. This isn’t always something that ends up on paper. First I watch the whole thing play as a movie in my mind. This is the simplest step for me as a lot of my ideas are based on dreams in the first place. Sometimes it ends up the same when I outline it. Sometimes, it doesn’t.
Once I know how the whole story will play out, I write it. From start to finish. I hammer out an entire first draft. I’ve started hand-writing first drafts in composition notebooks, which I’ll later type up as I edit, but sometimes (especially around the time of NaNoWriMo) I type it instead.
Once a first draft is complete, whether hand-written or typed, I let it sit for a bit. This can be as short as a couple of weeks and as long as a couple of months. In the meantime, I work on other projects, since I never have only one project I’m working on at a time. When the waiting period is over, I go ahead and re-read it a chapter at a time, making notes on the story, the characters, and everything in between as I go.
Once the edits are made, I’ll wait once more and run through it again. I look for the same thing as before, fixing any plot holes or inconsistancies I come across. Only later will I edit for grammar.
It’s at this point, I’m ready to send the story to an editor. I seem to work with different editors for different projects based on availability, so the process from there is always based on what they have to say about the work.
Finally, after months of read-throughs and edits, I feel the story is ready for publication, which means it’s ready for one final read-through where I’ll finally actually look at grammar and everything as a whole. This is where I’ll read it as if I’m a reader instead of a writer and ask the questions any reader will. Once I’m sure all questions are answered (or if it’s part of a series can be answered later in another book), I’m ready to publish it.
For shorter projects, this process is shorter with less read-throughs unless a complete re-write is necessary.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
SH: Erm… This is questionable because I’m very open and honest about myself on my own blog… I guess the only thing most people don’t realize about me is that while I have three cats, I actually prefer dogs and would love to have one again, but can’t because my lease doesn’t allow animals. I’m not even really supposed to have the cats. *shuffles away*
JSC: What was the first speculative fiction book (sci fi, paranormal, fantasy, horror) that you ever read? How did it influence you?
SH: Ooooh! This is a good question. I’m not certain I read On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony or Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey first. Both made me want to write about new and fantastical worlds though. They are both why I created Altera, an alternate world some lucky (or not-so-lucky depending on your viewpoint) people go if they have magic. It’s why I wrote alternate or futuristic history stories where magic runs rampant in the real world for various reasons depending on the story.
JSC: If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
SH: A knife, some rope, and a bit of flint. Everything else I could probably get from the island itself including food and water. With the other three items I could hunt, build a shelter, and build a fire.
JSC: Which of your own characters would you Kill? Fuck? Marry? And why?
SH: From Puck’s Choice, I’d kill either Warren or Melinda because I can’t stand either of them. They are manipulative and think they are better than everyone else around them.
I’d fuck Rand because I honestly believe he’d be a good romp. Ah! I’m chasing after a fictionalized twenty-one year old. At least, he’d be twenty-one this year. Garsh. He’s barely legal. What’s wrong with me. lol As far as who I’d marry, that one is tough. I love Rand and know he’d make both a good provider and a family man, but I think I’d marry Jay over him. Jay is more patient and doesn’t push you to talk about something you don’t want to. He’s not as possessive either, making him a somewhat polar opposite of Rand.
JSC: Do you have any strange writing habits or superstitions?
SH: If I’m writing, I’m listening to music. My supply of music is limited at home, but when I have internet, rock on. I listen to anything from country to heavy metal to musicals. I just throw it on shuffle and see what pops up.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
SH: Depends on the story. With shorter pieces, I’m more of a pantser. I just write. Novels though? I like to plan those in great detail. It means fewer edits I’ve noticed and hardly ever any re-writes.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
SH: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is going on right now and there’s three projects I’m working on.
One, the second Shifters & Mages novel, Jenna’s Story. I’m doing one final read-through of it before I send it off to my publisher.
Two, the third Shifters & Mages novel, Hunters’ Betrayal. This is the first draft of this project. I hope to have it finished by the end of December, let it sit through January and take another look at it sometime early next year.
Three, a contemporary romance called Endless Starry Nights. It’s a contemporary romance about a comic book artist who helps his mother run her inn and the author he meets there as she tries to finish her latest novel.
And now for Skye’s book: Puck’s Choice:
Puck Dupree moved in with her sister after spending over a year trapped in the form of a fox. She had hoped to move on with a normal teenage life; however, trouble seems to have followed her.
The Council wants her to partner with a mage or forfeit her life, a friend of hers has a stalker who may or may not be trying to destroy her, and a boy at school keeps watching her. If only she could decide if he wants to kiss her or kill her.
Life was simpler as a fox, Puck thought as the smell of bacon wafted down the hall where she frowned at her reflection in the mirror above the bathroom sink.
Her short red hair stuck up in all directions. Note to self—never cut your own hair. You can’t do it.
It fit her though, and she liked it—except that it reminded her of her fox pelt. The same shade and color. If shifters could tell each other on sight, any shifter would know what kind of animal she was. Luckily, there was no way to tell who was a shifter and who wasn’t. She would have to tell them, and the Council had warned her against that.
Her eyes were also odd and left little doubt of her animal side. Her hair had always been red, which was why it didn’t bother her that much, but her eyes had once been chocolate brown. Now they were yellow—a low amber, like honey.
Maybe people thought she wore contacts; that would explain it after all.
She was wearing a white tee-shirt with a small mud stain near the bottom. All of her shirts were stained like this, white or not. At least they smelled clean. Her jeans were also raggedy; holes in the knees, frayed at the bottom, permanent mud and bloodstains along the frayed edges.
She lapped at a thin line of dried blood on her lip like a young pup. Dry and cracked, she knew the smallest twitch would make them bleed. She needed to drink more water and find that lip balm Fancy had gotten her.
“Puck? Are you okay?” Fancy, Puck’s older sister and legal guardian, sounded concerned.
Puck walked out of the bathroom into the bedroom connected to it as Fancy walked in.
“Fine,” she replied. Had it really only been two months before that she had still been a fox? She guessed it had been, and it was evident in the growl still in her voice.
Fancy didn’t seem convinced, but she didn’t push the issue. Instead, she took a good look at Puck’s attire.
“I do wish it was easier to keep some nicer clothes for you.” She sighed. In that way, she was just like their parents, always looking at how Puck was dressed and how clean she was. Puck had to be socially acceptable, even here.
She grinned. There was no reason to buy her new shirts when they were all going to look like the rest of her collection in the end. She didn’t think it quite clicked in her older sister’s mind. Fancy insisted on buying a couple new shirts every time she got paid. She was a waitress at Ray’s Café, a local restaurant that had been around since the late eighties, where Fancy had worked for the past ten years she had lived in Apple Creek. Lucky for her, her younger sister was happy with a plain, generic shirt. Her nicest, cleanest shirts all had funny quotes and the only reason they still looked nice was because they all seemed to be black.
For a moment, Puck thought about changing into one of them, but then she remembered she hadn’t washed any laundry, and they were all mixed in the pile of clothes on the floor sandwiched between the bed and the wall where Fancy couldn’t see them or in the hamper basket in the laundry room. Fancy would have to deal.
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“Creativity: having a pencil in one hand and the paper below it. All that’s left is the writing.” ~Skye Hegyes
Dragons, wolves, and sharp objects are commonplace in Skye Hegyes’s home in North Carolina. She spends most of her time between writing and working. When not doing either of these things, you may find her making crafts or adventuring with her family, which consists of her husband, two daughters, two birds, and three cats… and a partridge in a pear tree…