Author Interview 📚 H.A. Callum
I’m beyond thrilled to bring you my first author interview. The best part is that this first interview is with an author whose writing I greatly admire, H.A. Callum, author of WHISPERS IN THE ALDERS!
Again, if you haven’t read my review of the book, you can find it here. If you have, you know how much I loved this book, so to pick the brain of the person who wrote it is such a treat.
So, here we go…
Q: What is your favorite thing about writing?
A: Bar none, it is the freedom that writing brings – free to work at your own pace, utilize your creativity, and set your own schedule. Of course, there is a certain level of responsibility and dedication involved in seeing that the time allocated to write is actually spent, well, writing. That freedom can be both a gift and a curse!
Q: What is the most difficult part of the novel writing process for you?
A: I don’t think there is an easy part to the novel writing process – it is hard work. The greatest challenge? Overcoming fear and doubt and telling yourself that you can do this. Self-doubt kills creativity.
Q: What inspired you to write Whispers in the Alders?
A: I’ve always been a fan of coming of age novels, be it a contemporary tale or one of the classics. There’s something timeless about the challenges of arriving to adulthood. I knew my first novel would be in this genre. The alders themselves were part of a childhood memory along a riverbank where I spent many hours as a child. Once the thought of the catkins planted its seed, I ran with it. The entire story actually sprang forth from imagining the alder catkins, and how they could come to represent something far greater – which turned out to be the one-of-a-kind friendship between Tommy and Aubrey.
Q: How long did it take you to write Whispers in the Alders?
A: I wrote Whispers in the Alders in the evenings. From conception to a completed first draft was just shy of six months.
Q: Do you plot out your stories, fly by the seat of your pants, or some combination of the two?
A: I know many people don’t like to hear this, for fear of taking the “romance” out of writing, but I am a plotter/outliner/planner – whatever you want to call me! That’s not to say that what I plan at the outset is set in stone – far from it. Writing is a fluid endeavor and I am always open to change. The stories speak to me, as do the characters, and many times I adjust based on what the story or characters are telling me. But a novel is too long a work to throw it all to the wind. The details are important, and it takes effort to carry out those details and see that nothing is out of place. The symbolism utilized in Whispers in the Alders flows throughout the book, and I would have failed the story as a writer if I didn’t pay particular attention to all the minute details that made this story what it is.
Q: How do you select the names for your characters?
A: I am a big believer in meaning. I like to think that each word I select will carry its weight and strengthen the sentence where it is placed. And each sentence should do the same for its paragraph. The character names in Whispers in the Alders are no different. These are the people that shape the entire story, so why not place importance in naming these characters? A simple look at name meanings online offer some explanation of the characters in Whispers in the Alders. Each detail was deliberate, and part of the development of each character. The places, too, are symbolic in how they attained their names. The Lowanachen River and St. Germaine Parish both bear this out.
Q: Are you working on anything new?
A: Thanks for asking, and yes, I am! At the moment I am completing a few short stories for future submission and have been writing and submitting poetry as well. My next novel is started, completely outlined (there you have it!) and in the early phases of writing.
Q: Do you prefer to write in the morning, afternoon, night, or whenever you find a spare moment?
A: For me, night time is the right time! I’ll write whenever the opportunity presents itself, but I do prefer the stillness of night. Once I hear the chickadees outside, I know it’s time to call it a wrap.
Q: Do you have any writing rituals?
A: This may sound odd, but I never eat when writing. I find it too distracting. Other than my coffee cup, I like a clear desk.
Q: What do you think makes a good story?
A: A good story envelopes the reader and makes them not want to put it down. I think you know a good story when you read it. It just grabs you and is with you throughout the day. As a writer, I can feel when someone poured themselves into a story and took care to pay attention to every detail, and every edit. That appreciation for the reader can make a story magnificent.
Q: Dogs or Cats?
A: Both! Sorry, but you won’t pin me down on this one! We have two cats in our home, but no dogs at the moment. Although, there is a certain German Shepherd in our family who owns the canine half to my heart. Here’s a little-known fact about me: I once trained a retriever for field trials. So yes, both canine and feline are dear to me!
Q: Savory or Sweet?
A: I love both, and I am known to chase down sweets with something savory. If push came to shove, it would definitely be savory. I can’t imagine a world without baguettes and butter.
Q: Beach or Forest?
A: You’re pushing it here, Karen, with these tough choices! Give me a forest that creeps up to the beach anytime. Alright, I’ll make a choice, but it isn’t an easy one. Forest. Please publish this before I change my mind!
Q: When you’re not writing, what do you like to do with your free time?
A: I love to read, and I am a runner. I’m hoping to get my marathon legs back under me in the next couple of years. Most of all, though, is time with my family. It’s one thing I can never get enough of.
Q: How can readers keep in touch with you? Do you have a website? Are you on social media?
A: All of the above! Here are the links:
Q: Do you like to hear from your readers?
A: YES! I’ve done some book club appearances with readers, and they were a blast! I always look forward to hearing from my readers and listening to their thoughts. I’m always ready to talk books and writing, or simply getting to know my readers on social media. Don’t be afraid to ask me something on Twitter or Facebook!
Q: Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?
A: Only that I want to put out my thanks to all the readers and reviewers who have read Whispers in the Alders. To quote a line from the book, “This is why we write.” I’m still blown away by the reception it’s received and will be forever grateful to everyone who has joined Tommy and Aubrey in the alder stand.
I hope you all had fun reading the interview!
And here is some more fun, and just another example of how much this incredible author cares about his readers, he’s offering a giveaway for WHISPERS IN THE ALDERS!!!!
Click here to enter the giveaway and good luck! If you win, please consider leaving a review. If you don’t win, maybe pick up a copy anyway. You won’t be disappointed!