Roxanne Heath’s interests and ambitions have changed many times over the years, but the one constant has been her affinity for fiction. Her primary hobby in childhood was writing stories, and the habit continued well into her high school and college years despite pursuing a degree in science. Her first story, Smoke: A Novel, was self-published in June of 2016. Her favorite genres to write are those that dabble in paranormal horror and fantasy, along with psychological thrillers.
What’s your favourite part of the lifestyle of an Author?
The freedom! I follow many authors who are traditionally published and they often complain of deadlines and hard release dates, along with the duress of meeting quotas for word counts each day. Even during my education I found that once I was put under a creative time constraint my inspiration would run dry, and I’d hate to have that same pressure in my indie writing life! The lifestyle I’ve cultivated as an author grants me the freedom by which I can write when I want to instead of when I have to, and it gives me as much time as I need to work out the kinks in any given story – which, in turn, prevents me from hurriedly releasing anything I’m not entirely proud of.
What made you start writing?
Oddly enough, my memories or lack thereof are what motivated me in the first place. I’ve always had a knack for remembering trivia and quotes and things of that nature, but even from childhood when something enjoyable would happen I would often quickly forget the specific details and be left only with the happy feelings that resulted. Because of this I took up journaling to try and capture all the tiny details before I forgot them, and journaling evolved into wondering how the events would have gone if one detail or another had been different. Eventually experimenting with journaling lead to an evolved form of storytelling, and once I began more avidly reading I also began creating entirely new stories instead of simply retelling old ones.
What’s your number one tip for an aspiring Author?
You have to be ready to get absolutely sick of your work, but you also have to have faith that it’s good work nevertheless. Writing stories is odd in that you, as the author, will be completely convinced that you’ve done your best – you love the prose, the pacing, the arcs – but by the time you’re done polishing the story, you’ve begun to hate it. It’s awfully discouraging to look at something that you were previously satisfied with and then begin to question its quality, but that’s what proofreading a story thirty or forty times can do to your perceptions. So, be prepared for it! Know that no matter how amazing your work is, at some point before publication you’re going to become very disgruntled with this thing you’ve created – but you must remember that you’ve done your best, and that it is still a good piece of work.
What type of book do you like to read and does this differ from the genre that you prefer to write?
I find myself unusually fascinated with YA novels that center on fragmented families, those stories that are able to capture the subtle nuance of a brewing conflict and the bad aftertaste it leaves in everyday life – such as the ones frequently put forth by Laurie Halse Anderson. When I find an author that can capture and depict that psychology, I’m fascinated by their work and can’t get enough of it. However, I myself prefer writing stories that center on horror and suspense, and tension borne of individual psychological dysfunction. I’m much more comfortable writing issues that come together in a more grandiose kind of conflict, as opposed to the day-to-day ramifications featured in the works of Anderson and similar authors.
What’s been the hardest edit that you’ve had to make? Why did you want to keep the material in?
My upcoming novel, Risen – which may or may not have made it into print by the time this interview goes live – began as a single scene in which the deuteragonist dies at the hands of the antagonist. Originally written to parallel the myth which inspired the scene in the first place, it was the first scene to be cut out and vigorously reworked. It was the largest and most difficult edit I’ve yet had to make because I felt that the original material – that single scene in uncut form – had been the driving force behind the rest of the finished novel. To cut the scene felt almost like a betrayal to that original source of inspiration, despite the fact that its removal yielded a much more cohesive piece of writing.
Can you sum up your life story in ten words or less?
Science geek to writing geek in less than ten years!
What’s exciting you about your next project?
Without giving too much away, I’ve been officially describing my next project – the aforementioned “Risen” – as “a mythological take on the classic zombie horror story.” What’s exciting about this is that I’ve been fascinated by different incarnations of zombie stories, whether it be the result of bioweapons or viruses or interdimensional rifts, and I’ve always wanted to figure out a unique way to write my own. Coupled with this is the fact that I’ve been an avid reader of myths since middle school, and whether it be Greek or Roman or Norse myths it’s always been a subtle influence in my appreciation of various works. So, more or less, what’s most exciting about my next project is that it’s given me the chance and the inspiration to weave together two of my favorite topics.
And finally, you have one quote to be remembered by, what is it?
“Everything worth wanting in life requires the faith to engage in an uphill battle without the guarantee of success, and it is better to lose the fight and go home with every rib broken than tap out and suffer only a bruise.”
Our thanks go out to Roxanne for taking part in our interview, if you want to find out more about her then check out the links below: