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Featured Author: Heidi C. Vlach

August 1, 2014

Heidi

ABOUT HEIDI

Hey, I’m Heidi. The C stands for Caroline. I’m a Canadian chick born August 7th, 1985. I share an apartment with my (male) best friend, two cats and too many video games.

Because I love food and the culture behind it, I took chef training and graduated at age 18. I cooked professionally for a while, but I didn’t find the high-stress assembly line very fulfilling. Now, I wait tables and try to help customers pick something they’ll like. But thanks to the chef training, my fridge stays full of vegetables and homemade chicken stock.

I don’t have any credentials for video games or books, but I love those and their culture, too. I grew up playing Super Mario and looking for offbeat fantasy stories in the library. And a lot of the time, when an idea struck me or a character charmed me, I’d write fanfiction. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if I hadn’t written amateur fiction about games like Phoenix Wright, Elite Beat Agents and Mother 3. It was a fantastic learning experience and I managed to introduce some readers to underappreciated video games. Nowadays, I’m focused on creating original material and paying the creative experience forward.

Website: http://heidicvlach.com

FEATURED BOOKS

Render (A story of Aligare)
Render

Find on Amazon!

Serpents of Sky
Serpents of Sky

Find on Amazon!

For the first week of August, Render is only $0.99 on Amazon!

INTERVIEW

Why did you choose to self-publish?

The short answer is that I think there needs to be more exploration in fantasy media — but not the kind where warriors go travelling. I mean the kind where an author writes a story unlike anything else on the market, just for the sake of giving it a shot. Our mainstream media seems obsessed with following bandwagons and mimicking the newest bestseller. A lot of people think that tried-and-true ideas are the only valid ones. That’s a recipe for stagnancy. Where would humanity be if our ancestors had looked at each other and said, “Inventing the wheel? That won’t sell. Only rocks sell.”

My other peeve with mainstream fantasy is the way non-human characters aren’t taken very seriously. Just because a being doesn’t look like a Homo sapiens doesn’t mean it’s a simple monster, or scenery, or a token Weird Character. A story without any humans in it doesn’t have to be a shallow “talking animal” story for children. Sci-fi has proven that strange beings can be real characters, and I don’t see why fantasy can’t challenge itself more in that vein. Also, I don’t think a story needs sex, gore and betrayal to avoid being a children’s story. I like media with joy and goodwill in it. I doubt I’m the only one.

The stories of Aligare are my personal expedition. I’m writing what I want and making it available to the world, thanks to modern self-publishing tools. Maybe the naysayers will be right and my work will never sell — but I don’t think their pessimism is justified. I chose self-publishing so that the world has a chance to read what I do, without it being crammed into some mold of what fantasy is “supposed” to be. Maybe people out there are searching for stories like mine. Or maybe they’ll just like my work when they stumble across it. We’ll see!

Which authors or books influenced your writing the most?

Oh geez, I always struggle with this question. The fictional stories closest to my heart are mostly from video games and animation. I’m going to have to say The Flight of Dragons by Peter Dickinson. I watched the animated movie adaptation as a kid and that laid a lot of groundwork for how I view the fantasy genre. The movie has very little in common with Dickinson’s book — just the core concept that magic and science can be opposing yet complementary forces, especially in whimsical creatures like dragons.

What are your current projects / What are you working on next?

I’m working on a book tentatively titled Tinder Stricken. It’s a fantasy adventure set in a Nepal-inspired mountain realm. In this place, humans gradually morph into animals in old age, and so people pay for retirement care during the most trying part of the transformation. Tinder Stricken‘s main character is a poor farming woman with early-onset animal features, who needs to retrieve her priceless heirloom knife from a thieving phoenix if she hopes to afford retirement. But the phoenix isn’t just a simple bird who stole a shiny object. The phoenix has a debt of her own to pay.

Anything else you’d like to mention?

Follow me on Twitter! @hcvlach is where I talk about books, but also about cooking, video games, and anecdotes from my waitressing day job.

 

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