7 Questions With Author Rebecca Hefner
Rebecca Hefner published her first book in November of 2018. Before that, she had an extensive twelve-year medical device sales career, where she fought to shatter the glass ceiling in a Corporate America world “dominated by men” according to the author.
After saving up for years, she left that job to try writing full-time. Due to her experience, you’ll find her books filled with strong, smart heroines on a personal journey to better themselves and fight sexism and misogyny at every turn. Oh, and she’s a huge Princess Leia and Buffy fan and a child of the ‘90s.
Therefore, you’ll see lots of Star Wars and pop culture references in her books. She loves a good twist and her characters all exhibit humor. If you like fantasy, romance or paranormal romance, check Rebecca’s links below!
For the ones of you who are new to my blog, I’m Esther Rabbit, writer, content creator for authors and massive nerd. If you’re curious to know all the tips & tricks surrounding the process From Writing To Publishing Your Novel, you’re only a click away. For more goodies, articles and giveaways, please consider subscribing to my Newsletter.
Esther Rabbit: What should readers expect from your next novel?
My next novel, The Reluctant Savior, is the fourth book in my Etherya’s Earth series. It features a very complex and flawed heroine named Evie. She was actually one of the antagonists in The End of Hatred, the first book in the series, and I think that some of my readers are a bit confused as to why I made her the heroine of this book.
The answer is simple: none of us are perfect. Evie was subjected to terrible atrocities for the first few centuries of her existence, leading her to become a ruthless and cunning person. She built a life on her own, needing no one for centuries, and grew into her power.
She became a strong, confident, self-empowered woman. If someone like that doesn’t deserve love, I don’t know who does! We all have demons that drive us. If they make us stronger, then we’ve managed to create some form of greatness in spite of past tragedy. How amazing.
Our hero in the novel, Kenden, is such a beautiful soul and just what Evie needs. It’s the first book where I actually cried while writing it and I hope it connects with the readers as much as it did with me.
Esther Rabbit: What are the steps you usually take from writing your first draft to publishing?
I don’t believe in a huge amount of plotting because I find that the characters always take me to a place far better than I could’ve imagined at the beginning. I sit down with my notebook and write down plot points that I definitely want and a rough timeline.
Then, I start to write. I usually will get the prologue and first few chapters done when a scene from the middle of the book will start screaming at me in my head. Then, I’ll write that (because the characters are demanding it!) and then I’ll go back and fill in the chapters between.
Once finished with the manuscript, I let it sit for a few days. Then, I do a full read-through, fixing errors, etc. Then I give it another few days and read/revise again. Then I send it to my editor. It’s usually with her for four weeks and comes back with many suggestions.
I then revise it, send it back to her, have a call with her to discuss and that’s my final draft. I’ll read it over two more times before uploading it to Amazon. I’ve usually already set a pre-order date, so that gives me a firm timeline to work with.
Esther Rabbit: There are a lot of experts behind the novel, editors, developmental editors, proofreaders, beta readers, etc. How did you find your perfect crew?
I researched a lot of editors but ended up going with Megan McKeever at NY Book Editors. She did a sample edit for me, as most others did, but hers was so straightforward. I think one comment said “Why didn’t you end the prologue here? It’s such a powerful sentence and the ones after it don’t matter.”
I laughed and thought, “I found my editor!” I wasn’t looking for someone who would be kind and fluffy (although she is very kind and awesome). I wanted someone who would give me firm feedback so I could make these stories better.
It’s been amazing working with her. My friends are really my beta readers. They all buy my books (because they’re awesome and I make the pre-order price $2.99 so it’s really nothing!). I have a set group of friends who read quickly who’ll shoot me a text like, “Hey, I think you used “once” instead of “ounce” in chapter 22”.
There are very few of those mistakes by the time it gets uploaded to Amazon, but there are always one or two, so I just upload a new version. I find that readers are very forgiving and I rarely read a book anymore without one or two small typos (although I’m really hoping all of mine are gone now!)
Esther Rabbit: Is there anything you learned from reader reviews?
I’m really surprised at what the readers connect with. Miranda and Kenden are cousins who have a very strong connection. We see their relationship play out over the entire Etherya’s Earth series. But many reviewers have commented on how their relationship is one of their favorite parts of the books.
I had no idea it would resonate that strongly! Also, Darkrip is everyone’s favorite character. And I mean EVERYONE. I really didn’t see that coming. He’s very dark and mysterious and I thought people might hate him but it seems that we all love a tortured soul.
Esther Rabbit: How long do you self-edit your manuscript before sending it to a proofreader/ beta reader / editor?
I give myself about two weeks to read, revise, proofread, etc. before sending it to my editor. I feel that her time is valuable and I don’t want to send something over that is full of mistakes and needs revision, etc.
Esther Rabbit: What’s your favorite genre as a reader?
Romance and Paranormal Romance. I used to sneak into my mom’s room and read the romance novels tucked away on her bookshelf. It will always be my favorite genre but I’m a voracious reader and really enjoy everything. I love non-fiction, especially science and political books.
I’m a sucker for a good fantasy, mystery or romantic suspense. Some of my favorite authors are Carl Sagan, Nora Roberts and Lisa Kleypas.
Esther Rabbit: Does the genre you normally read have a direct influence on your writing?
Definitely. Since I love romance and also love a great fantasy (Star Wars, GoT, LotR) I wanted to write a fantasy romance series that had an equal amount of fantasy/action as well as a satisfying romance in each book.
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And if you’re a fan of Paranormal Romance, check out Lost in Amber:
“A new Interplanetary Alliance ambassador on an earthbound mission.
A handful of genetically altered humans to be rescued.
Meeting her changed everything.“