Helen Scheuerer Interview:
Questions asked by Poppy Nwosu.
When I read your YA fantasy, Heart of Mist, my absolute favourite aspect of your story was the heroine herself. I found Bleak to be a very interesting and complex character. I was also startled by what a mess she is, this girl is self-medicating with alcohol to suppress a powerful ability, and she finds no easy cure for her addiction either. Your book literally opens with Bleak suffering a major hangover, passed out in her own vomit on the street.
And yet..... I also found Bleak utterly likable and immediately I was rooting for her to succeed.
I didn’t set out to make Bleak likeable or unlikeable, she just developed naturally. I don’t mind at all if readers find her unlikeable, I often do! But hopefully she changes over time and reveals some redeeming qualities too...
The importance of likeable characters, particularly female characters, has actually been a recent topic of conversation in the YA community, about how everyone expects female characters to be likeable and accommodating…
It’s a great topic to explore, and I’m happy to say that Bleak certainly isn’t those things! She’s definitely got rough edges as you say, and makes some selfish choices. I think it’s important that we see flawed characters in YA novels - I want characters who make mistakes, who question their morals, who struggle with their imperfections. Whether these characters are likeable or not, is up to the reader, and the importance lies with them!
Thanks for such a great question! To be honest, writing a second book within a series was very new to me. The Oremere Chronicles is the first series I’ve gotten to such a developed point, so I definitely faced new challenges with it.
I had a lot of difficulty. There were certainly times where I felt I had backed myself into a corner in terms of a plot point or a character. Much of writing Book II, Reign of Mist, felt like I was constantly problem solving.
Hmmm… That’s a hard one. I suppose for the longest time, I was told I couldn’t make a living from being an author, that writing would always be hobby… When I saw one of my first royalty reports after the release Heart of Mist, it was the first time that I truly understood how wrong everyone was, that I could do this for a living.
That realisation allowed me to quit my part time job and start writing full-time, so it was pretty influential I’d say!
From there, I’ve read lots of indie author blogs and follow a number of indie author stories, these always keep me inspired, and have definitely changed the way I think about fiction writing and publishing.
At the risk of sounding like a super planner, YES! I have a publication schedule that has me releasing books up until at least 2021 at this stage.
It’s both reassuring and terrifying at the same time! Lots of secret projects on the horizon!
Thanks so much for your time Helen, it was wonderful to have you on my blog!
Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer's Edit, a really wonderful resource for emerging writers. I can definitely recommend this site to anybody wanting to learn more about the craft of writing, editing, marketing, author platforms etc. I have found this site so helpful time and time again during my own writing journey.