Deb Heim and Co-author Ross Hightower Expand the World of Argen with Their New Release
1) Let’s get to know each other. What is your Author name; use your Pen name if you have one.
Sometimes I go by DL Heim, sometimes Deb Heim
2) What inspired you to become a writer?
I wrote all the time when I was young and majored in English literature in college. I even wrote in my high school yearbook that my goal was to be a syndicated columnist. But when I graduated I couldn’t see a clear career path, so I ended up in graduate school for exercise physiology, which landed me a job as a fitness director. Marriage and kids, multiple moves, multiple career changes later, I considered the writing I did (dissertations, position papers, press releases) as a skill applied to my profession.
My partner Ross Hightower, an IT professor, was the one who started writing fiction. I was initially a beta reader and support person, but as time went on, we started collaborating on the backstories to his novel Spirit Sight. He has been quite generous giving me credit, because he is really the one who writes the books. I have started writing my own short stories, and we have a series of caper/crime novels planned which I expect to co-author, but I’m not quite sure I’d call myself an author yet.
3) What is the best time of day for you to write?
I manage time on Saturday and Sunday mornings. My mind is the clearest first thing in the morning.
4) Did you receive encouragement from a mentor, family member, teacher, coach…?
Ross has encouraged every step of the way. What is kind of amazing is how well we work together. We also have a friend Annette who is a skilled editor. I haven’t shown her any of my work yet, but at some point I’ll take the plunge!
5) Was there a pivotal point or experience that impacted your decision to take writing seriously?
When Ross started taking me seriously as a collaborator, I realized that I wanted to develop my own voice. I haven’t written enough yet to consider myself a real author, but I see it coming.
6) What is the one thing you wish you knew at the beginning of your writing journey?
Over the years I had to unlearn quite a bit of the training I received as an English major. There was a preciousness about the way we were encouraged to write, using “10 dollar” vocabulary words and convoluted sentence structure, that would result in a high grade and an unreadable mess.
7) What is your favorite character from any book you have ever read?
One of my earliest is still my favorite – Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.
8) What is your favorite book turned T.V. show/movie and why?
I recently saw News of the World and loved it, so of course I had to read the book. I ended up loving the book much more than the movie. The Lord of the Rings films offered fabulous fan service. Honestly, I would love to see Spirit Sight made into a movie 😊
9) What is you preferred method of reading a book? (Audio, paperback, hardcover, or eBook)
I dearly love hardcovers, but there is only so much shelf space – we have run out of room for more bookshelves. I just got an old-school Kindle that is small enough to fit in a pocket, so that is my new go-to. Of course we go to author events and end up with a mix of hardcovers and paperbacks from our fellow authors. I often end up sending the ones I really love to my mom, who is a voracious reader.
10) If you had to write in any other genre, what would that be and why?
Ross and I already have plotted out a series of murder mysteries with an urban fantasy twist. We’ll see where that takes us. I am also working on short stories that pop up from random comments I hear.
11) What is your favorite book that you have read this year?
I’ve just started News of the Air by Jill Stukenberg that I am really enjoying.
12) If you could live in any “book world” what would that be?
When I was a kid I was desperate to live in Narnia, but looking back on it now, that wasn’t such a great place for girls. Of course everyone who has read Harry Potter wants to go to school at Hogwarts. But dearest to my heart at the moment is the world of Argren in Spirit Sight and Argren Blue. Ross and I spend so much time talking about details of that world that I’ve started dreaming about it.
13) What is the name of your book/series? Tell me a little bit about them.
The book I have co-authored is Argren Blue, which is part of a prequel trilogy to the Spirit Song series. Ross and I are currently working on Desulti, the next in the series. Spirit Sight, Ross’ first novel, is a story about a young girl with magical powers who has to leave her small village to save her people from an authoritarian regime. We started talking about how a peaceful people learn to fight against an oppressor, which drives the plot of Argren Blue.
14) Do you have a website? If so, what is it?
15) Where can we find and follow you? (Name your social media platforms.)
16) If there anything important that you would want my readers to know about you?
Writing is one of multiple passions – I would love to connect with readers on lots of topics, including gardening, cooking and overturning the patriarchy.