Author Interview: Heather Reid

The Author: Heather Reid

Heather L. Reid is founder of the blog for writers, Hugs and Chocolate. She has always had a sense of wanderlust and a belief in the paranormal. She eats mayonnaise on her fries, loves video games, and getting lost in a good story. This native Texan now lives with her Scottish hubby in South Ayrshire, Scotland, where she spends her weekends wandering the moors in search of the ghost of William Wallace and exploring haunted castles.

Writing: How you got into writing?

My love of words started like most writers I know. It started with a story. In this case, the stories came from the imagination of my great-aunt, Delia. She weaved magical tales to send me to sleep. She wasn’t a writer, she never wrote any of her stories on paper, and she read to me too, but I loved her stories best. Neither of us knew she was giving me the greatest gift of all, the love of storytelling.

At the age of four I started dictating stories to my mother who would illustrate them for me. By the age of nine, I was writing plays for friends and binding my own picture books with cardboard and string. At eleven I tried my hand at a first novel. (No, you can’t read it. It’s buried in a deep dark hole somewhere in the Tasmanian Outback and guarded by a three-headed dingo.) It was then I told my parents I wanted to be published by the age of sixteen. I also told them I wanted to be Wonder Woman, a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, a Broadway star, and an archaeologist. Those dreams faded. I never did get that invisible jet, and I would be a lot older than sixteen before I got a publishing deal, but the dream of being a writer stayed with me. After college I decided to stop dreaming and start getting serious. I joined the Society of Children’s book Writers and Illustrators, joined a writer’s group, read books on writing, went to conferences, workshops, and most importantly, I started writing every day. Some of it was crap. Ok, at first, a lot of it was crap, but writing takes work. After over twelve years of studying and writing, my first young adult novel, Pretty Dark Nothing, sold in a two book deal to Month9Books. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m still learning. I write because I have to. It’s a part of what makes me, me.

The Book- Pretty Dark Nothing - Releases 23rd April 2013

Pretty Dark Nothing

I think the spark of inspiration for Pretty Dark Nothing has been brewing my whole life. As a child, I suffered from night terrors and sleep walking. Although I eventually grew out of the sleep walking, the nightmares never went away. I would dream of faceless entities and demons on a reoccurring basis. I spent my pre-teen years trying to rationalize my fear while I spent my nights huddled under my covers with a book and a flash light afraid to fall asleep for fear of what would greet me in my dreams. I kept this a secret from my friends and afraid of what they would think. The dark torture of my imagination lasted through three years of middle school and finally faded. I still don’t think my mother knows how terrified I was of falling asleep and I have no idea why the nightmares stopped, maybe they were my way of coping with the stress of adolescence. I don’t know. When I reached college, I went through a particularly bad time in my life, suffered from depression, illness and the nightmares returned. I wasn’t frightened like I was when I was young; I recognized them for what they were. We all have inner demons we battle, those voices that tell us we’re not good enough, taunt us, paralyze us with fear. That’s when the idea for a novel started to form. I asked myself what would happen if those negative voices, inner demons weren’t imagined. What would happen if they were real and they started to manifest outside the dream world? What if they influenced things around us and what if you were the only one that could see them? That’s when Quinn and the idea for Pretty Dark Nothing was born. I didn’t start writing Pretty Dark Noting right away. I did some character sketches and jotted down some notes while I spent the next several years writing short stories and articles. But Quinn’s story wouldn’t let me go. When I finally decided to give my full attention to her, she blew me away. Quinn and I battled the demons that tortured her together and in the process, she taught me how to battle my own.


Seventeen-year-old Quinn hadn’t slept a full night in twenty-three days. She’s terrified of the demons that stalk her dreams and whisper hauntingly of her death. The lack of sleep and crippling fear are ruining her life and her arsenal of energy drinks and caffeine pills don’t make a dent. When Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. Now the demons will do anything they can to keep them apart. If Quinn can learn to trust her heart, and Aaron can discover the secret locked away in his fragile memory, their combined power could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.

 How does it feel to be releasing your debut novel in April?

The feeling of achieving something you’ve been striving and working toward for over half your life is indescribable. It’s like winning the lottery, getting a new puppy, and marrying the love of your life all on the same day. Exciting and scary all tied up with a giant red bow. It still feels a bit surreal, really, almost as if I’m watching it happen to someone else. I’m not sure the shock has worn off yet. It’s been a long, hard road, filled with rejection, frustration, and close calls. There were moments when I wanted to give up, but something kept pushing me to keep writing, keep fighting for my dream. Looking back, I’m glad for the experience. Each rejection brought me one step closer to my publisher, Month9Books and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I honestly can’t imagine working with a more amazing team. I’m exactly where I should be and I can’t wait to share Pretty Dark Nothing with all of you.

Can you describe you main protagonist Quinn in less than 140 Characters?

Pretty Dark Nothing is told from duel POV. Both Quinn and Aaron’s perspectives are told in close 3rd.

Quinn: Damaged but not defeated. Stubborn, self-reliant, sometimes selfish. Bit of a perfectionist. Trust issues, especially trusting herself.

Aaron: Loyal. Loves deeply. Keeps his secrets close to his heart. Would do anything for his friends. Guilt issues. Amnesiac with Physic abilities.

Why should we pick up Pretty Dark Nothing when it releases?

Pretty Dark Nothing is full of demons, and I don’t mean the hot fallen angel, bad boy types. These demons are the evil, hairy, sulphurous kind, bent on manipulating and destroying Quinn’s life. Throw in some romantic sparks with a psychic amnesic, an ex-boyfriend she can’t quite get over, and suspension from the cheerleading squad for failing grades, all while the demons are pushing her to the brink of madness, and I hope it’s a recipe for something darkly paranormal and not quite typical .

Some Bookie Questions

Favourite YA book and why?

This is such an unfair question. There are literally dozens of books I love, and my favourite changes based on my mood. I guess, if I had to choose and ultimate favourite, I would pick the classic A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L Engle. I read this series when I was around twelve and it stuck with me in such a profound way. Meg Murray was awkward and insecure, insanely smart and loving, and incredibly complex. As a pre-teen being bullied at school, Meg was someone I could relate to. Part science fiction, fantasy, mystery, Madeline L Engle took me on a journey I’ll never forget and sealed my love of language and magical tales where characters have to dig deep inside to find strength and courage they never knew they had and overcome something bigger than themselves.

Favourite YA author and why?

Again, there are so many amazing authors out there. I know you asked for my favourite, but there are three current authors that I love. Seriously, it doesn’t matter what the book is about, if they’ve written it, I will buy it. Libba Bray, Maggie Stiefvater, Cassandra Clare are, in my opinion, three of the greatest YA genre writers out there right now. Their language, complex characters, and ability to paint you into a scene so thoroughly that the world around you disappears, is magical. It takes a lot to impress me these days, but these women never cease to amaze me. Love them.

Debut author/ upcoming author we should check out?

I’m really excited about My Sister’s Reaper by Dorothy Dreyer, Taken by Erin Bowman, Splintered by A.G Howard, and City of A Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster. They are all on my Debut Author Challenge list.

Favourite 2012 read and why?

There were two books that stood out for me in 2012. My very favourite, hands down, was Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. When I read the opening line, I KNEW I had to read this book and I wasn’t disappointed. A historical fantasy about a covenant of female Assassins who serve the God of Death? Heck yeah! Dark gods, court intrigue, murder, assassinations and romance, this book hooked me and didn’t let go until the very end. Can’t wait for the sequel, Dark Triumph.

The second book I want to mention is Transcend by Christine Fonseca. A truly dark re-telling of the Phantom of the Opera, we spend most of the book inside the broken and deluded mind of Ien Montgomery. His obsessive and sometimes cruel pursuit of the girl he loves is both freighting and heart-breaking. It won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but I loved it.

A Book series you love and why?

The Farseeer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. Fantasy at its best.

Pretty Dark Nothing is available for pre-order on
Barnes & Noble right now and will be available on Amazon to pre-order soon!

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  1. Wow! That sounds fantastic! Can't wait to read it!

  2. You are so inspirational! Love this interview! I can't wait to read your book(s)!

  3. Wonderful interview, Heather! My favorite line: "No, you can’t read it. It’s buried in a deep dark hole somewhere in the Tasmanian Outback and guarded by a three-headed dingo.)" Congrats on your published novel, we'll be looking for you on the shelves. :D