Friday, October 14, 2011

Talking with Van Heerling

Welcome Van and thank you for joining us!  
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Do you work another job when you are not writing?
Oh yes. I am no Melissa Foster… yet. (Hi Melissa, had to get that one in once more.) I am self-employed and in the field of food distribution. For the sake of losing readers to boredom I will leave it at that.
What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing?
I am a big fan of “me” time. I do realize this is selfish but at least I am man enough to own it. With this said, I am not totally self absorb. I have a wife that is six months pregnant. I do my best to pamper her and try to minimize upsetting her the best I can. I realize this may sound cheesy as a cheese ball, but I figure she is doing all the work and it is the least I can do. But as soon as that little sucker pops out—It is “me” time again! Just kidding ladies, more like baby time! 
What is your favorite color? Why?
I have two depending on what mood I am in. The first is deep forest green and the other is cobalt blue. I believe my affinity for these two colors has to do with their depth and richness. 
What is your favorite season? Why?
Fall, without a doubt. I like the way it feels when I go outside. The sight of autumn leaves tumbling down along the street and the crackle underfoot during our evening walks, takes me back to my childhood.
If you could live anyplace on earth, where would it be? Why?
I was going to say somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy but if we are narrowing it down to earth I would have to say maybe South Korea or Japan. Maybe one day. I have always been fascinated with the East.
If you could have any car, what would it be?
If money were no object, probably the Porsche 911 turbo, however I have become disenchanted with this car maker. When Porsche came out with a four door I think I died a little, truly heartbreaking. If you own a four door Porsche you should be ashamed of yourself. There I said it!
Tell us about your writing: 
How long have you been writing? Was it a dream, a goal or is it just a hobby?
I have been writing for about ten years. MALAIKA is the first story I have shown the world. I carry an ugly past with the writing craft. It stretches back to my childhood. I remember being eight years old and struggling in school, when I said to myself, “why on earth would anyone in their right mind ever want to write for a living?” I loathed even the idea of it. I recall thinking one hundred pages of writing may as well be tantamount to a death sentence, but something clicked in my early twenties, which changed my outlook on the subject.
How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you have a set routine or do you write when the mood strikes?
I am a night owl. No set schedule. But I will say that I do my best work between 11pm and 3am, which makes for a heck of a workday, so I try not to indulge too often. 
Is there some place special you like to be when you write?
Special? No not really, just my trusty desk.
Do you listen to music or do you need a quiet place to write?
During the editing process I usually like it quiet. But if I am laying down a lot of story line generally I listen to music. I will say what puts me on edge is when my wife is doing the dishes. The clanking can really throw me off my rhythm. The one thing that tops this is when she shouts my name from another room. More often than not, she needs me at the exact same moment the Muse whispers in my ear.  That’s life I guess.
Tell us about your book:

What is the name of it and is it part of a series or a standalone novel?
MALAIKA means “angel” in Swahili. It is a standalone story and a quick but powerful read. Once I had a reader tell me she read MALAIKA three times and she cried every single time. And then she gave me a big hug. I think a hardy cry is a good thing. We all need to clean the pipes out now and again. 
Where did the idea come from? 
MALAIKA came to me from the heart of the universe—where dreams are born.

How long did it take to write?
The process took about a year, although I did not work on it everyday
What is it about?
It might be best to share the synopsis with you:
A middle-aged man with the crushing weight of his American past seeks peace and a simpler life in rural Kenya. Armed with only his smokes and coffee he discovers a friendship with the most unlikely of friends—a lioness he rightfully names Malaika  (Angel in Swahili). But she is no ordinary lioness nor is he an ordinary man. Between them they share a gift.  But not all embrace their bond and some seek to sever it. Discover this new world rich in human truth and sensibility.
Your other work:
Do you have any upcoming projects in the works or other books that have been published? 
Yes. My next release will be Dreams Of Eli. Here is an excerpt:
May 1863
Eli Age 26

    During a skirmish two days ago, I lost my company while in retreat. Somewhere in the backwoods of Northern Mississippi I finish a piece of stale bread, stand up and lay my rifle against my shoulder.
    It is not the crack of the enemy Enfield rifle round that startles me. It is the sifting whispers of the bullet as it splits the wild grass in my direction. The shooter, by the sound of it, is between four hundred and five hundred yards off. I know this because I have the same standard issue. The ball strikes me hard in the lower left shin. Blazing white searing pain shreds up my leg and through the top of my head like a thunderbolt.
    I stumble. My rifle catches most of my weight as I plow it into the soft earth from where I had just risen. But the shock is too great. I lose my grip—falling hard and fast to the cool soil where I crush my face against a granite boulder—the flavors of shattered teeth, dusty vapors of bread and metallic blood wet my mouth. But all I can think about is the next eighteen seconds—just enough time for my enemy to reload. The shot that I will never hear is upon me. I knew I would die in these woods. I just did not realize I would be alone. But at this end I do not want my brothers next to me. I want her—Cora. I wait for the final shot that will take me from this life, but it never comes. Instead blackness creeps over me first.

Where can readers connect with you?
Twitter @vanheerling
Where can we buy your books?
I would like to take a moment and thank you Stacy. You are simply fantastic. And I thank you sincerely.
Very Best,
Van Heerling
In this life, seek your own answers, and quote yourself for a change. 

Note to Van:  You are quite welcome!  The Pleasure is all mine... and hopefully my readers!!! 

Don't forget to check out the Launch Party coming soon! 


  1. Great interview! I cracked up at ME better get use to it. Once the baby is here, all your me time is GONE! And any other time for that matter:)) Get to writing now!

  2. Great interview. LOVED the excerpt, Van!

  3. Van, I'm blushing, lol. Never in my life did I expect to see my name in that fashion. Maybe, "I'm no Melissa Foster...thank goodness!" but not in such a kind manner. Thank you.

    I love Me Time, can I borrow some of yours?

    Loved the interview, guys, and the excerpt. Van, your cover is one of my faves.


  4. Melissa, You're welcome. And yes you can have some of my "me" time. You will however, have to come to California to get it. (I just pre-ordered your latest book: Come Back To Me).

    Tonya great advice. I'm typing right now. Can you hear the click-clacks of the keys? :)

    R.S, Thanks for reading that excerpt. More to come.

  5. Van,
    I admit that I'm a fan. I loved the multiple layers of Malaika (I gave it 5 stars on Amazon) and I want you to write super fast, so that I can read Dreams of Eli soon! Congrats on the expected baby. Nice to learn more about one of my favorite authors!
    Cheers, Carrie

  6. The book looks truly unique and fascinating! I can't wait to read it. Thanks again to Stacy for her great look inside a fantastic author's life.

  7. This interview was so fun to read. Van you're a hoot.

  8. Great interview...I am a huge fan(dieting, however)of Malaika. You definitely have a gift for writing and I will read all your future writings.
    You are somewhat cruel,however,to tease with that excerpt from Dreams of Eli. Set your ass down and finish it so I can buy it.
    So now I have to read Melissa Foster since birds of a feather flock together.
    You do great interviews, Van. Love the humor.
    Now write...Tony

  9. Just made friends with Van on Twitter - thanks for sharing who he is with me. Great interview.

  10. Van is a trip! He is a great guy! Glad you found him on Twitter!