Writer’s Corner: Heather Hall Cassaday

Writer’s Corner: Heather Hall Cassaday

This week we are talking with Heather Hall Cassaday, an indie author who manages the website “In the Coming Time”. You can find her on Facebook and on her website: https://hlc027.wixsite.com/inthecomingtime.

1. How long have you been writing and what is your proudest accomplishment so far?
I have been writing off and on for about 25 years. Little poems, short stories, and such. But seriously writing for the purpose of getting a book out there has been the last two years. I work slowly but steadily and have my work-in-progress about half way done.

My proudest accomplishment is the relationships I have built with fellow writers. Through my blog, Facebook page, and Twitter I’ve managed to build up a network of great people that I can rely on and that can rely on me. I conduct author interviews and write up book promos, I share short stories and flash fictions through my submissions tab. And in exchange, I’ve met people and made friends that I will have for the rest of my life.

2. What advice would you offer new writers?
I have 2 bits:

  1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It take courage to put the inner working of your mind out for the world to see. You’ll be nervous and feel exposed at first, but it is far better than never having done it at all.
  2. Get involved in the writer’s community. Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads… all of these are good places to meet other writers. You can join groups and get involved in discussions, find advice you may never even know you needed. There’s so, so many resources out there and all you have to do is ask. I actually wrote an article about this called What Networking Has Done For Me under my personal tab on my blog.

3. What is something that you struggle with the most when you are writing?
I am dyslexic and have ADD, so I struggle with just about everything. But that’s why I do it. I found a font specifically designed for dyslexics, set a reasonable writing schedule for myself, and I learned to not beat myself up too badly when things don’t go well. I also write about it on my blog. I have an entire series on writing with learning disabilities in hopes that it will help someone else in the same place as me.

4. As a writer, do you have any literary pet peeves when reading books?
I have a hard time getting into epic fiction, anything that requires page after page of scene descriptions. I don’t need 3 paragraphs on what bushes look like. I know what bushes look like. But I think this may have more to do with my condition. It’s hard enough for me to get into a book. I force myself to read a lot, but it’s even harder when nothing happens for pages at a time.

5. When you decided to put your books out for sale, did you go Indie, small press, or with an agent? And what factors contributed to that decision?
I have done neither so far as I am not done yet, but I ask a version of this question in nearly every interview I conduct as well. The best answer I received was from Author Raven Oak. She said:

a) Talk to authors who are successfully traditionally published.
b) Talk to authors who are successfully self-published.
c) Take a long, hard look at your finances.
d) Read Let’s Get Digitalby David Gaughran.
e) Promise the world that no matter which route you take, you will write the best you can, have your work professionally edited, and ensure that your work has a professional cover.

6. Are you working on anything new?
I steadily work on my work-in-progress. Lately I have been putting more work into my blog and growing my audience so that when the time comes that I am ready to publish, my audience is already in place. I do churn out new flash fictions from time to time on my blog.

7. Would you describe yourself more as a “pantser” or an “architect” type of writer? (someone who makes it up as they go along – writing by the seat of their pants, or someone who plans meticulously)
I am definitely a “pantser” but I am trying not to be. I’ve found that since I’ve starting doing things like filling out character arc charts and  timeline outlines that my writing has improved. There is a lot less inconsistency and plot holes. It’s been hard going back and redoing work, but it is necessary to give my main characters the proper story they deserve.

8. What is your writing process like?
1. Kick my kittens out of the room. 2. Turn off all TV, music, internet, mute my phone. I work in silence. 3. Write, delete, rewrite, edit, delete, write again, decide I can live with it, move on. 4. Turn my internet back on so I can fact check, get distracted on Facebook, yell at myself and get back to work. 5. Tea, iced… nothing fancy.

9. Do you use any special tools or programs to help you write?
As I mentioned earlier, I use a font specifically designed for dyslexics. It’s called OpenDyslexic3 and it is perfect for my needs. The spaces between words are bigger. Indents are more dramatic, the words themselves are not so in sync with each other, so that my brain has an easier time distinguishing between them. And, the best part is that similarly shaped letters like ‘b’ and ‘d’ are slanted differently and the shapes are oblong. It looks rough to the average person but I love it. You can easily find it through a Google search.

10. Is there anything else that you’d like to share with reader or aspiring writers?
Just this: Being a part of the writer’s community is as much giving as it is taking. If you’re new and  you find an awesome author out there who takes the time to answer your questions and give you encouragement, do the same for another when they come to you. If you’re experienced, please take the couple minutes to respond to someone reaching out. Pay it forward…. and always leave a review!!!