Co-author of the bestselling novel Kiss (with author Ted Dekker), Erin Healy has joined forces with Dekker once again to present Burn (Thomas Nelson January 2010 978-1-59554-471-1 $24.99), a new supernatural thriller grappling with the good and evil natures that exist within all of us.
Healy is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, where she has specialized in fiction book development for the past eight years. She is an award-winning editor of numerous bestselling novels, and has worked with popular authors such as such as Frank Peretti, James Scott Bell, Melody Carlson, Colleen Coble, L. B. Graham, Brandilyn Collins, Rene Gutteridge, Michelle McKinney Hammond, Robin Lee Hatcher, Denise Hildreth, Denise Hunter, Jane Kirkpatrick, Gilbert Morris, Lisa Samson, Randy Singer and Robert Whitlow.
Healy earned her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in communication studies from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., and began her career as an editor for Christian Parenting Today during the mid-1990s. After advancing from assistant editor, to associate editor, to editor while working for the magazine, she moved on to serve as a book editor for WaterBrook Press. She founded WordWright Editorial Services in 2002.
Healy began working for Dekker the same year, editing 12 of his well-known, heart-pounding stories, before collaborating with him as a co-author on Kiss. Her first novel, Kiss is the story of Shauna, who wakes from a coma to find she is responsible for a terrible accident that left her brother permanently disabled and her recent memories erased. She discovers she has a paranormal ability to steal memories from others, a capability that she uses to clear her name and find out what really caused the car accident.
With Burn, Healy continues to bring her feminine voice to Dekker’s popular brand of supernatural thriller. The story of one woman’s ultimate betrayal of friends and family and the far-reaching consequences of her actions, Burn features overarching themes of good vs. evil, guilt and regret, and the grace of second chances. In May 2010, Healy will release her first stand-alone title as an author with Never Let You Go (Thomas Nelson), which melds elements of the supernatural and suspense with relational drama.
Healy currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colo., with her husband, Tim, and two children. She is the director of the Academy of Christian Editors, as well as a member of International Thriller Writers and the American Christian Fiction Writers. Visit www.erinhealy.com for more information.
When did you decide to be a writer?
My first foray into writing involved coveting the talents of my second-grade best friend, who had more creativity than our entire class. I plagiarized a story she wrote and got a good grade for it, and my conscience haunted me. I begged her forgiveness and God’s, and they both were gracious. I repented by writing a short story about a character-flawed seagull who stole picnic lunches until he was redeemed by a cute scraggly dog. And here I am today.
At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?
I’m a full-time editor of full-length novels. I earn a living by offering critiques that call writers’ self-confidence into question. So I’m living in serious payback mode right now, taking it from the other side of the desk. Juggling suggestions and critiques comes with the territory and won’t be something I ever try to avoid. After writing three novels, I still believe the editor is almost always right.
Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?
I’ve got two kids and a husband and a day job, so I can almost never write when I feel like it. That’s what makes me disciplined. During writing seasons, I strive to hit daily writing goals. If I don’t, the stress of failing to progress becomes unmanageable. People don’t like me when that happens.
What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?
I walk the dog. I read very, very simple books to my toddler. I take hot showers and empty the water heater. I drink lots of coffee. And I try to do all those things every day.
How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?
Reading is a constant reminder to me of all that I haven’t accomplished yet. There are wonderful models to aspire to, as well as examples from artists who have broken the models and done it well. In other words, reading inspires me. My editorial work has given me the additional perk of reading writers who are in process. The many opportunities I’ve had to see the evolution of creative work has helped me to loosen up as a writer. (But not as an editor.)
Tell us a little about your latest release:
Never Let You Go is a thriller with a good dose of the supernatural running through its center. It’s the story of a single mom, Lexi, who is trying to save her daughter from the men in her past: her estranged husband, her sister’s killer, and an unsavory old friend. These three re-enter her life in a strangely timed manner and begin making terrible demands that put Lexi’s child at risk.
Where did you get your inspiration for Never Let You Go?
This novel grew out of my observations about how difficult it is to forgive. Offenses are real; pain is real. Refusing to forgive often seems to be the most justifiable response to harm, because many of us also seem to think that unforgiveness itself isn’t harmful. But I’ve seen bitterness drip down through generations, affecting children in unfortunate, surprising ways.
Which character is most like you?
I identify most with Grant, Lexi’s estranged husband, who has really screwed up his life and relationships. Nothing about our circumstances are similar, but I relate to his longing to get things right for the people he loves, and how hard it is to correct certain kinds of mistakes.
Who is your favorite character and why?
Hard to say. I like Gina. She’s got a great attitude toward life in all its untidiness. She doesn’t take anything more seriously than it ought to be taken, which is something I’ve never been able to do. And she’s the one who has the answers to Lexi’s burning questions. I like having answers to life’s riddles. Wish I had more.
Did you know how Never Let You Go would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?
I have to confess I knew exactly where I was going with this one. My unknowns were in the story’s middle territory—how my characters were going to travel from A to Z. That became a process of discovery. My next novel, The Promises She Keeps, came about much differently. I had a starting point, but the end didn’t reveal itself until the very end. Seriously. Like, a month before the manuscript was due.
What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?
I hope the concrete images (spiritual warfare) that I tried to attach to abstract ideas (forgiveness and bitterness) will stick with people. I hope that the story paints a compelling picture of the beauty and power of letting go of old hurts, a picture that inspires people to actually do it.
What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?
Writing two books with Ted Dekker was highly effective. I recommend it.
Tell us what new projects you’re working on.
The Promises She Keeps (January 2011) is a supernatural thriller about the unlikely meeting of two women who want to live forever. Promise, a talented young vocalist with a terminal illness, is counting on fame to keep her memory alive after she dies. Porta is an aging witch and art collector in search of the goddess who will grant her immortality. When Promise inexplicably survives a series of freak accidents, Porta believes that Promise is the one she seeks. But Chase, an autistic artist who falls in love with Promise and opposes Porta, comes between the women with his mysterious visions and drawings, and plunges everyone into a flesh-and-blood confrontation over the true meaning of eternal life.
Want more? Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Thursday for an excerpt from Never Let You Go by Erin Healy!