Us: What was your first major inspiration for Fire? A TV show or another book maybe?
Heather: Not a TV show or book - or not consciously, anyway. The story originated from a description of Jasmine waiting on the beach and most of the powers stemmed from the idea of the characters having coloured streaks in their hair.
Us: Did anyone or anything in your life influence anything in Fire such as the characters in the book?
Heather: Again, not consciously. Small things though - Vincent's motorbike was introduced after I had been on one for the first time; I decided they were the perfect form of Helian transport - fast, exciting and only capable of transporting 1 or 2 people.
Us: Who is your favourite author? And how would you react if you saw him/her walking down the streets one day?
Heather: JK Rowling and I would probably be too overwhelmed to say anything at the time, and would then spend the rest of the day thinking of all the questions I should have asked her! I met Marissa Meyer at a book signing recently and this is pretty much what happened!
Us: Who do you think is the real heroine in this book: Jasmine or Roxanne?
Heather: They are both equally the heroines. Jasmine is probably more of a conventional heroine - she's kind and caring and takes risks for those she loves, whereas Roxy might come across as more of a conventional antagonist, but I hope that throughout the series she proves herself to the reader.
Us: What was the hardest part to write in Fire?
Heather: There is a scene between Roxy and Cinaer that it took me three attempts to write. I wanted it to be quite dark and tense, to really highlight how mean Cin is, but it took me a while to hit the right balance. The opening and beginning were both completely re-written as well, since they're such crucial moments in the book and it was important to get them right.
Us: Do you have any improvements you want to make in Fire? If so, what are they?
Heather: There are a couple of mistakes I would really, really like to fix and I often wonder if it ought to be a little bit longer; perhaps with more of an explanation of why the Arcan Protectors who go to the Helian Realm are all teenagers. I'm going to try and fit that into Water and Air.
Us: Why did you start writing as a career?
Heather: I'm not sure I really see it as a career yet - I have my day job, which is working in a school and writing is what I do when I get in after work. It's what I love, and I wish I could spend all day doing it - hopefully at some point in the future that will be possible.
Us: How would you feel if Fire received a literary award?
Heather: Amazed. Overwhelmed. Astounded. (But very, very, very happy!)
Us: We apologise for the bluntness of this question... What is Jasmine? Or would you rather not tell us and let us wait?
Heather: Oooh, I can't tell you that yet I'm afraid! You will find out in Water though - I'm not going to drag it out for too long, I promise. And once Water is out, I can come back and explain more if you would like.
Us: If you could be a character in Fire, who would it be? Why?
Heather: That's a really good question! I think I would be pretty torn between Roxy and Jasmine… I think Jasmine wins on powers, but I love Roxy' confidence. Roxy's not afraid of anything and I wish I was a little more like her.
Us: What is your biggest achievement in writing so far?
Heather: Getting Fire to the stage where it was ready to be published. It's one thing to just sit and write, but another mission entirely to get it polished and perfected (and to build up the confidence to let anyone else read it for the first time).
Us: Who do you want to thank in your life because they have done something that has touched you?
Heather: My fiance is my biggest supporter and has helped me stay sane throughout this whole process (as well as during life in general). My dad was the very first person to read Fire and it meant a lot to me when he told me that it was good and worth pursuing at the end of it. He also gave me lots of feedback on how I could make it better.
Us: Do you have any regrets in your life so far?
Heather: No. Once you have made a decision, there's no point in agonising over it and wondering what might have happened if it had gone differently.
Us: Which character do you think has the most resemblance of someone you know in real life?
Heather: Erm, none of them really; they are all quite extreme in their own ways and I have never knowingly based them on real people. In early drafts, Cinaer was loosely based on Chuck Bass (from Gossip Girl), but as the story progressed he went from the bad-guy-in-need-of-saving to just being plain evil!
Us: If you had a book tour, would you put Malaysia (that's where we live!) on your list?
Heather: Absolutely! I would love to go to Malaysia. One of my house-mates from my first year of Uni came from Malaysia, and it sounds beautiful.