Heather McLaren is a Cherokee writer living in southern Illinois with her husband and four children. She began her life in an unfortunate situation, much like thousands of children in this country. She was born to a fifteen-year-old mother who could not take care of her. After living in foster homes for two years, at the age of four, a loving couple adopted Heather, but feeling unwanted and rejected never left her mind. Who was she? Where did she come from? But Heather was lucky to have found her new parents. They helped her realize her own potential. They told Heather the sky was the limit when it came to what she could accomplish in life.
Over the years, Heather’s struggles mounted. She escaped an abusive marriage and lost a baby to RH incompatibility before turning 21. On May 17, 2002, Heather gave birth to Kimber Liliana—a child the doctors said could never survive the stroke she had suffered in the womb. After seven long months in the neonatal wing at Cardinal Glennon and then Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, Heather brought Kimber home to the amazement of the doctors. Though Kimber is still bedridden from spastic cerebral palsy, she celebrated her eleventh birthday last May—a joyous event Heather never takes for granted.
At the age of twenty-six doctors diagnosed Heather with bipolar disorder, but instead of giving in to her disease, she picked herself up, met and married her soul mate and began writing fantasy novels. Heather McLaren wants others in her situation—either adopted and looking for answers, families of disabled children or sufferers of mental illness—to see her own success story as evidence that life does prevail. They can have active and fulfilling lives no matter the difficulties they may face.
Heather’s passion for writing began at an early age. As far back as she can remember, she wanted to publish a novel she could call her own. She wrote the outlines for books one (Mythos) and two (Beyond Legend) of the Mer Chronicles series during free time in tenth grade creative writing class, but it took many years for her to find the courage to send her completed novels to publishers. Now that Heather has found her niche in today’s literary world, she plans on bringing fantasy into the lives of our youth for years to come.
When asked if she created her characters to inspire others, Heather immediately had an answer. ABSOLUTELY! She wanted to embrace her husband’s kind and protective nature, thus bringing David Cooley’s character to life. (Her son) Bryce’s loyalty shines through as David’s best friend, and (her daughter) Charlie’s innocent and inquisitive nature and (her step daughter) Dakota’s playfulness triumph in future books. Heather’s youngest child’s bravery and determination to live despite her handicap was inspiration enough to immortalize her in black and white. By creating Cindel’s character (for Kimber), Heather hopes that readers will see people with special needs as having the same potential as everyone else.
What inspires you to write?
Writing gives me a break from every day life. Even if I can’t leave my house for months on end I visit the Bahamas every day.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write outlines for my books and then fill in the gaps at the last minute.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I see my characters come to life like they’re on the big screen. They seem very life-like.
What advice would you give other writers?
Never give up! Someone has to come up with the next big thing…
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I wanted to have the advantage of certain contests and retail stores self publishing wouldn’t give me, so I went with a traditional publisher.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I agree that books will eventually all be eBook. I can’t say I’m upset about that. It will save trees.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
YA/ New Adult
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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