Interview with Felicity Heaton, author of Claimed by her Cougar
06 Aug 2018
What can you tell us about your new release, Claimed by her Cougar?
Claimed by her Cougar is the first book in a brand new shifter romance series I’m writing called Cougar Creek Mates. Cougar Creek Mates is set in the same world as my Eternal Mates series, but because it focused on one pride and the stories of the four brothers, I decided to make it a separate mini-series. It’s a great introduction to my Eternal Mates world too.
Claimed by her Cougar is all about an alpha shifter who has lost a lot because of humans and a hunter organization, so he’s very wary of humans now and wants nothing to do with them. He’s busy with life at Cougar Creek as the mating heat is coming into full force and there’s a pride gathering about to happen and it’s his job to oversee it and make sure everyone is protected while they’re all a little… distracted. He’s not looking for a mate, but when Ivy, a human photographer, strays onto his land, it isn’t a need to drive her away that he starts feeling, it’s a need to make her stay because she might just be his one true mate.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I’ve always loved reading, and I’ve always been creative. It’s in my blood. I used to channel a lot of that creative passion into drawing, but it evolved into another form of painting, this time with words. I stumbled into writing, starting in school when my English teacher set an assignment to write the opening chapter of a gothic horror as we had been studying that genre of writing, and she ended up reading mine in class. It was both embarrassing and inspiring, and I wrote more for the book before schoolwork stole all my time and focus. I found my way back to writing when I was in my twenties, starting out in writing fanfiction for a favorite TV show before being encouraged by another fanfiction author and also by my husband to write original stories with my own characters and worlds. I was reluctant at first, thinking I wouldn’t enjoy it as much. Boy was I wrong!
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
This is going to look like a strange list for a paranormal romance author, but these are my favorite books:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien.
Persuasion by Jane Austen.
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
Ashes of Midnight by Lara Adrian.
Yes, that’s actually a paranormal romance at the end there. I was torn between it and another classic romance novel, but it does have a spot in my heart so it deserves to be on the list.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
I think I’d be getting all my favourite paranormal romance authors on since I can’t get my favourite classic romance authors or Tolkien. I’d definitely start with Elisabeth Naughton, because I really want to know if she’s ever going to write any more Eternal Guardians stories, and then I would get Gena Showalter on to ask her why she just had to lead us on for years with the whole William / Gilly pairing and then end up placing Gilly with a completely new and different character. Biggest disappointment ever.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love the planning part. I love it when an idea or character comes to me and the whole creative process starts. There’s a lot to it, especially the world building. I’m very serious about world building. I’m planning a new series right now and it’s exciting. Thrilling. I love playing in a new world and figuring everything out, building a picture of everything so the world becomes immersive for my readers. I always aim to give them a world that feels real and one they can lose themselves in when reading my books, and it’s satisfying when readers email me to say they could see it all playing out like a movie for them.
What is a typical day like for you?
I try to start the day on the treadmill. Having a job where you work from a home office is a challenge when it comes to exercise. At the moment, I’m producing audiobooks of all my books, so I’ll jump on the treadmill to walk for thirty minutes to an hour while I listen to the audio and read along to check it all, noting any corrections as I go.
Then I hit the office for writing time. I have to get all my writing done first. If I tried to do any marketing or creative work before writing, I would engage that side of my brain and then the day is gone! I find it hard to switch back into writing mode if I do anything else first.
In the afternoon, after I’ve written as much as I can manage without causing my RSI in my ulnar nerves to flare up, I tackle all the other things I need to do. I handle all my own advertising and marketing, design all my own graphics and book covers, and do the paperback and ebook file formatting myself so there’s always some creative or marketing work to do each day. It’s non-stop.
What scene in Claimed by her Cougar was your favorite to write?
I’m going to have to say that one tiny moment where Rath, the hero, is fly-fishing and the heroine, Ivy, is watching him from a distance as the sun sets over the forest and mountains beyond him and the river.
I wish I could magically transport myself into Ivy’s shoes in that moment and just watch Rath as she did.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
When it comes to writing, there’s a Dean Koontz quote that I read in the back of Strange Highways a long time ago, and it touched me and spoke to me then, and it still does now.
“Have fun, entertain yourself with your work, make yourself laugh and cry with your own stories, make yourself shiver in suspense along with your characters. If you can do that, then you will most likely find a large audience; but even if a large audience is never found, you’ll have a happy life. I don’t measure success by the number of copies sold but by the delight that I get from the process and the finished work.”
This goes with my philosophy of I don’t write books for others, I write them for myself. I believe that if I don’t enjoy the book I wrote, why would anyone else?
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