Hello, and if you celebrate, Merry Christmas!
It's hard to believe we've finished off another year, but here we are, and I'd like to say I've saved the best for last (but that would be a disservices to all the fantastic authors who've been here already) - so let's just say we're ending on a high note!
Havelah McLat grew up on a small farm in rural Ohio with her family. As a kid, she spent hours drawing and then crafting short stories to go along with her illustrations. As she got older, her passion grew to write stories about the world, faith, and topics that matter the most to her. She has written several short fictions that have been featured in different anthologies. When she isn’t writing, she reads books, draws, helps with activity events in her local church and community, and spends time with her family. You can follow Havelah McLat on Instagram @havelahmclatwriter or sign up for newsletter to get free short story https://havelahmclat.wixsite.com/home/sign-up-for-newsletter and updated on latest writing, new guest blog each month, and future news. You can check out her other books, A Forever Summer and When You Returned on Amazon.
A book you’re looking forward to release (by someone else)?
I am excited to read Dreamer by Melanie Bateman, a sequel to the Traveler series. It is a historical fiction book with time travel and secrets. I love the first book and now waiting to read this one. It is coming out at the end of the month in January 2024.
A book that pleasantly surprised you?
Knife is a fairy novel. Not a friendly kiddish type of story. It has high stakes, secrets, magic, mystery, and of course a sprinkle of romance. It touches on mental health and struggles. Overall, it is really good. I was fairly surprised and loved it.
Coffee, tea, or cacao?
I like to drink water, tea (depending on the flavor), and sometimes Starbucks coffee.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It was late 2010 and I asked my sister to write a story based on the characters I drew. When she wrote it, I thought to myself I want to give it a try. It looks fun. And summer 2011, I started taking writing seriously and began to write my own stories. Even since then, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I wouldn’t trade a world for it.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
When I started writing, I would use stories from movies and create fan fiction. I looked back and am glad I did because it helped me find my writing style and gave me the courage to create my own stories that aren’t fanfiction. There is a saying, you have to start somewhere. Now these days I get a lot of inspiration from songs, books, or movies.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I like to write in the morning because I get more work done. Sometimes I write during the day.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to draw, ride a bike, sometimes do a fun craft project, read a book, and take a walk. I like watching videos and listening to music.
Is there a trope you find yourself going back to in multiple works? Or one you avoid?
I often write about small towns or found family. I do like friends-to-lovers and second chance.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family has not read many of my published works. They read some but not all of it. They know I like to write and sometimes share a snippet or ask for second-thought advice on a scene from a story.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have published two clean romance books and an anthology, which is coming out on January 11, 2023. To be honest, A Forever Summer and When You Returned have a special spot in my heart. I really enjoyed writing both of them. My Fables of Hope and Light anthology would be my first collaboration, with six authors. So, if I had to choose one over the other, it would probably be When You Returned because I worked on this one for a long, long time.
Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Practice, practice, and practice. Never stop learning and keep on growing in your craft and storytelling. Write a story you are passionate about. Remember it is okay if you take time to write it. And you don’t have to stick to one genre or specific brand. I understand today in the writing world many authors stick to one genre or brand of who they are as a writer. It is not a bad thing. But that may be different for you. I may publish romance books but it doesn't mean I am going to publish or write romance novels for the rest of my writing career. I like to branch out and dabble myself into different genres.
Do you like to create books for adults?
Yes. Two of my books are targeted at adults, but they can be read by young readers too (all of my books are clean and appropriate).
What do you think makes a good story?
There is no right or wrong how to create a good story. I believe it comes with patience, time, and practice. Most of all, write a story you are passionate about. The rest will come in time.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Jimmy by Robert Whitlow. I watched the movie and then the book. The ending of the book devasted me. I was mad and shed tears. It turned out the author had a different ending online. It was much better and I wish he used that instead.
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
You don’t have to publish a ton of books to be successful. Many writers are pursuing to be full-time authors and publishing a lot of books. That is great. But some of us like myself don’t write and publish a lot. This was a hard thing for me. It made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough or should be doing that. It took some time for me to shift that mindset to publishing one book or writing one story at a time. Every author’s goal is different.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Comparing yourself to others and imposter syndrome. It can be hard to avoid it. But it will happen here and there, but don’t let it stop you from writing. It took a while for me to change my mindset on these two things. And I still try to stay positive and not let discourage me from pursuing my passions in writing and publishing my books.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have several people in my life who helped me with writing. It took some time for me to learn how valid and important it is to have another person or a group of writers look at my works and help me improve my writing skills.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?
For now, I like writing stand-alone novels. Maybe in the future, I will do a series.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
To be honest it didn’t change my process of writing. I do know every story I write is different. Some may take longer than others. I believe it is finding the time to do it. Also, remember why you want to write the story in the first place.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Hiring an editor and hiring a cover designer. I know sounds like a generic answer, but it is true. For me.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
You can expand your creativity and let your imagination run free. There is no limitation. That’s the reason why I started writing in the first place.
Do you write novels, novellas, short stories, episodic fiction, poems, screenplays, or something else? What is your preferred format?
I write a few novels, definitely a lot of short stories, some freestyle poems, and several novellas. I like paperback because of the feel and texture. But I do like reading ebooks because I don’t have to worry about running out of space on my bookshelf.
Are you traditionally or self-published? Or both? Do you feel there are advantages to one over the other?
As for now I am self-published and would like to see one of my books be traditionally published. There are always pros and cons for each side. It depends on what you want and your goals. I chose to self-publish to get my name out and the stories I have written.
What do you have coming next?
Fables of Hope and Light anthology is coming out on January 11, 2024. The ebook is available for preorder on Amazon. There are eight short stories and each one has its own touch of spark and uniqueness. If you like a quick read with a mix of contemporary and whimsical fantasy, then this is for you.
Hardships can be found anywhere. On royal grounds and in the countryside. Inside dreams and books. Or perhaps in another realm. Despite the location—trust, courage, and love can always be found to overcome adversity. A group of authors have come together, alongside Havelah McLat and editor Jannette Fuller, to share their heartwarming and whimsical stories. This collection of contemporary and fantasy stories is a must-read for those in need of hope along with a touch of the fantastical.