Today, I have the pleasure of having Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl From Everywhere on my blog. Before we get to that, here is some info about Heidi and her awesome book!
Heidi grew up in Hawaii where she rode horses and raised peacocks, and then she moved to New York City and grew up even more, as one tends to do. Her favorite thing, outside of writing, is travel, and she has haggled for rugs in Morocco, hiked the trails of the Ko’olau Valley, and huddled in a tent in Africa while lions roared in the dark.
She holds an MFA from New York University in Musical Theatre Writing, of all things, and she’s written books and lyrics for shows including The Time Travelers Convention, Under Construction, and The Hole. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their pet snake. They do not own a cat.
Author: Heidi Heilig
Pub. Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.
Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.
In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.
Heidi: I want to say it’s the Chinese dragon with an appetite for pearls (YUM), but really it’s Captain Slate, who is a bit of a disaster. His highs and lows, and his regrets about the past, are very familiar to me.
Do you have any habits or rituals that you have/need to do when you’re writing? (Ex: always having some form of chocolate on hand)
Heidi: I have a really bad habit of needing to make notes on hard copies while I’m revising. That in itself is not so unusual—the bad part of it is that my handwriting is abysmal. I may spend more time translating what looks like an ancient Martian pictograms into American English than I do actually solving plot problems.
What would make you immediately stop reading a book?
Heidi: I’ve actually never purposefully DNF’d a book (though sometimes I’ve gotten distracted and forgotten to finish things), but because I’m a huge SJW, crappy portrayals of marginalized people definitely make me eyeroll/bristle/rage, depending on the severity.
If you could time travel to any place (mythical or not) and time, that is not already in your book, where would you go and why?
Heidi: Oh, the possibilities! There are so many adventures to be had, but right now I’m feeling like a vacation to the medieval mythical utopia of Cockaigne. It was a land of extreme luxury, where the harsh realities of peasant life were distant memories. There, the streets were paved with pastry, cheese rained from the sky, and grilled geese fly directly into your mouth. (Can you tell I’m hungry right now?)
What is your most memorable moment on your journey to becoming an author?
Heidi: I will forever remember the day my agent called to tell me that multiple publishers were interested, and she needed outlines or paragraphs for other books I had in the works. One, because I didn’t actually have any other outlines or paragraphs handy, and two, because I was on bedrest for preterm labor with strict instruction not to get worked up about anything.
Do you have any pet peeves? If so, what are they?
Heidi: It’s funny—as much as I rant and rave about big things, little things don’t bother me much. I only have two settings: chill and SO NOT CHILL. Things like open mouth chewing or “man-buns” or the word “moist,” I’m cool.
What is the craziest thing you’ve had to look up on Google while doing research for The Girl From Everywhere?
Heidi: I went deep with the historical accuracy. The dates for the phases of the moon and the names of the ships in harbor are both things I researched and included. Probably the weirdest thing, though, was the specific density of mercury; you’ll know why if you read the book.
Were there any scenes that were cut from The Girl From Everywhere during the editing process that you wish had been kept in the final version?
Heidi: I’m lucky that my editor and I saw so much eye-to-eye on this book. All the cuts she suggested, I agreed with (though there really weren’t many) and most of them were for the sake of pacing. In an older draft, though, before she even saw it, I had a scene where the Temptation sailed to the marshes of ancient, mythical Japan to find a kitsune. The scene was creepy and atmospheric and very Studio Ghibli but ultimately it slowed the story down when I needed it to speed up, so I cut it myself.
You’re shipwrecked on an island. Which five fictional characters (that are not your own) would you want by your side and why?
Heidi: Normally I’m a city girl, but now that it’s winter—and so close to my release—a long stay on an island sounds amazing. To make sure we were safe (and for hilarious conversations), I’d want the gunslinging, fast talking Amani from REBEL OF THE SANDS by my side. We could play D&D with Travis from THE SERPENT KING while Orpheus, the famous bard of Greek myth kept us all entertained. And I think that between Santa Elena of THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US and AIDAN from ILLUMINAE, they could scheme/power/blast us all off the island when we started longing for civilization.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Heidi: Keep at it! Do the thing! I BELIEVE IN YOU!
Brittany Thank you so much for stopping by our blog, Heidi! Always great talking to you ^_^ Be sure to check out the awesome giveaway below. Also, if you need more convincing to check out Heidi's book, read my review of it here!