Monday, November 23, 2015

The Girl From Everywhere: Interview with Heidi Heilig

We - at The Book Voyagers - adore diverse reads and intriguing plots, and most of all - we love stories that leave us wanting more. The Girl From Everywhere is a book you need to put in your TBR as soon as possible. It has all of these factors and so much more inside those pages. It's a book that you will definitely say "yikes, Heidi Heilig is something else."

We decided to interview Heidi Heilig because we just wanted to know more. We hope that you enjoy this next interview as much as we do - and find out more about the magical, character-driven book - The Girl From Everywhere.



TBV: Hi, Heidi!! We're excited to have you here with us and talk about your upcoming book - The Girl From Everywhere (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧
Heidi: Thank you for having me and for the sparkle-confetti!

TBV: So first things first, for those who don't know about this book, can you tell us what it is about?
Heidi: THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE is Nix’s story. Though she was born in 19th century Honolulu, she’s lived all her life aboard a black pirate ship captained by her father, who uses antique maps to sail through time to places and eras both historical and mythological.

As idyllic as that sounds, her father would give it all up in an instant if he could only find a map that would allow him to save Nix’s mother, who died in childbirth. Of course, it’s very possible that undoing her death would erase Nix’s life, her memories--even her existence. Nix has to fight for her life, work through her relationship with her father, and figure out her feelings for her best friend and crewmate Kashmir--all while her father draws Nix and the crew into a political plot against the Hawaiian monarchy in an effort to get the map that will let him save the woman he loves.

TBV: What inspired you to write it? A traveling-time ship is just simple a wonderful idea.
Heidi: Thank you! Frankly, I’ve always loved time-travel--both for the twisty turns of chronology, and the way the past is littered with regrets that in real life we can never undo. And being from Hawaii, my father and I spent a lot of time on, near, or in the water when I was a girl. The literal idea for a time traveling ship actually came from the ocean itself--it connects every piece of land and it is ageless--it seems that if you were to use a vehicle for time travel, a sailboat would be the natural choice.

TBV: You can go anywhere if you are on board of The Temptation. If you were part of the crew, when in time would you go? Who would you just love to meet in person?
Heidi: Oh gosh, what a tough question--there are so many possibilities! I’m sure my answer will change every time I think hard about it, but right now, I feel like going back to ancient Egypt to meet Pharoah Hatshepsut would be incredible. For those who don’t know her, Hatshepsut was one of the rare queens of Egypt. She was an excellent ruler: successful in war, but more importantly, she ushered in an era of peace and prosperity, broadening international trade resulting in a flowering of art and architecture in her country. She also described herself as “the most beautiful of women,” and I love it when women know how lovely they are. There is a wonderful statue of her in the Met, depicted with the traditional ceremonial beard that the Pharoah’s wore. I visit her every time I’m at the museum.

TBV: This next question is something we really want to know *ha!*: If you could do a crossover with another book, what book would you love to see interacting with your characters and scenery (or vice-versa)?
Heidi: Again, another question with a lot of possible (and interesting) answers! But the answer that came immediately to mind is PROMISE OF SHADOWS by Justina Ireland. (PROMISE OF EVERYWHERE? Or THE GIRL OF SHADOWS maybe?) I think Nix would feel quite at home with the rich modernized mythology of Ireland’s world, and Zephyr knows a lot about fates worse than death. They could commiserate about difficult family members, and honestly Zephyr might help Nix lighten up. After all, Zephyr starts off in a pretty shitty (pun intended) place, and she’s still cracking jokes. I like to think they’d be friends.


TBV: Let's talk about that fantastic cast of characters. Which character was the first one you came up with? And are some of the qualities of the characters based on people you know in real life?
Heidi: The first character who came to me was Nix herself! That’s probably because she’s similar in some ways to my sister--she cares deeply about the people in her life, she’s a little bossy, she’s very smart. The second character came very shortly after, and that was Slate. He’s a bit more like me--let’s just say he’s . . . ‘difficult.’ The relationship between the two of them is something I’m really proud of, and that developed, like any good relationship, over time.

TBV: Speaking of the characters - they are from all around the world. Would it bug you if they were casted incorrectly or whitewashed in graphics/edits?
Heidi: Definitely! I actually think that the plot of the story (and the themes of the story) would make much less sense if the backgrounds of the characters were ignored. I don’t want to spoil the story, but part of Nix’s arc involves discovering who she is and where she fits in the world, and while the theme is universal, the actual plot is specific to her as a biracial, hapa haole girl.

But there is nothing to fear on that front. One of the things I’ll always love about my editor is that, when we were discussing the cover (and specifically, the eyes in the wave), she told me: “The last thing we want is for her to be white-washed!” She (and the team at Greenwillow) have made it clear to me they’re committed to celebrating the diversity in this book.
 
TBV: If you could describe The Girl From Everywhere in 3 words, which ones would that be?
Heidi: That’s a tough one, especially since the title is four words! But I would just say: myth, history, regret.

TBV: Can you talk about which books/authors inspired you to write? And what made you choose the Fantasy genre?
Heidi: Oh I’ve read fantasy all my life--and before I read it, my father read it to me. He’s a big fan of fantasy and sci-fi (and myth and history too), and since he was the one who read to my sister and I, he shaped my taste in books. It’s honestly hard to imagine writing in a different genre because fantasy is the one I know best! But I do read non-fantasy books, and actually one of the authors who inspired me to actually write a YA novel (instead of just enjoy reading them) is Rick Yancey, who wrote a gothic horror series called THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST that I really enjoyed. That mix of philosophy and adventure was mind-blowing to me, and I wondered if I could ever write something along those lines.

TBV: Thank you so much for this, Heidi! It was so much fun and we're so happy we got to do our very first interview with you! ✧ 
Heidi Thank you guise! You honor me! :)



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