I knew this interview was going to go great as soon as Heidi Heilig suggested we meet at Doughnut Plant, a local Brooklyn eatery that boasts the best doughnuts in NYC. Now, I feel the need to stress, I did not suggest this meeting place. I repeat, I did not suggest this place. But! Heidi Heilig, who has great taste in doughnuts and a fantastic YA debut coming out this February, did. So thank you, Heidi. Now, lets get onto the interview.
What was it like growing up in Hawaii?
I spent high school hiking and going to the beach. Just like in the city [New York City] there are so many free things to do!
Tell me about the transition from paradise to the city that never sleeps…
I moved right before senior year to go to a performing arts school in Rockefeller Center and left behind so many friends. New York felt so much more cold and gritty. I fell in love with the city through walking. I would explore New York for hours on my feet, just walking.
You studied musical theatre and wrote for the stage… what motivated you to write Young Adult?
My theatre partner did music and I did the writing- I was not musically talented. When he went on tour in the Midwest, I had nothing to do. I had always loved YA and Fantasy, things like Game of Thrones. So, I just decided to give it a try myself.
You travel a lot. Do your travels inspire your characters or do you travel to research your characters?
I walk and explore to recharge. Those explorations really inspire my characters.
How do you choose a destination when you travel?
I have such a scattered brain… I’ll become obsessed with things and I just have to know more. I wanted to go to Morocco after I saw a lamp in a thrift store!
What drew your interest to the father daughter relationship, which is such an integral part of your book?
I didn’t think I would be able to have a kid and really wanted a relationship with kids. The parents in my book were really more like me, struggling with things such as addiction and bipolar disorder. I really wanted the father in particular to have a redemption arc.
Time travel is a big part of The Girl from Everywhere. Why did you focus on it?
I regret so many things. I think its good to regret, it means you tried. When I lived in Hawaii, I fell in love with a classmate, who is now my husband. I was so creepy! I bought a disposable camera one day and ran up to him, asking for his picture! I still have it. When I moved to New York, I really regretted never telling him how I felt and had this morbid fantasy that years into the future we would go to the same retirement home and fall in love there. Luckily, we met at a friend’s wedding a couple years later and reconnected then.
A lot of authors have playlists for the books they write… do you have one?
For The Girl from Everywhere, I listened to a lot of sea chanties, which are really wail-y and dark. I also listened to Marianas Trench’s Ever After.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the first new book in a three book series for Harper Collins.
Okay.. time for the lightning round! Say whatever comes to your mind first! It doesn’t have to be right.
Where do you want to travel to next?
Do you have any pet?
A boy hognose snake!
I have to ask… what’s your favorite doughnut?
What’s your takeout order?
Shrimp veggies with egg rolls.
Do you prefer the big city or a small town?
What are you watching on Netflix?
I don’t watch TV when I’m writing, but I want to start Veronica Mars.
What book is on your beside table?
Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate.
Thank you so much for the interview, Heidi! Heidi Heilig’s debut, The Girl from Everywhere comes out this February. Follow her on Tumblr and Twitter: @heidiheilig and Twitter