When one of Whim’s dearest friends, Helen Scheuerer, released her debut novel recently, we were completely in awe.

After all, it’s not every day someone has the talent to weave an imaginative, unique, and utterly addictive tale and bring it into the hands of book lovers all over the world. It’s also not every day that an indie author releases their debut novel, only to have it shoot to Amazon’s best-seller list within hours (sitting prettily next to celebrated classics such as Harry Potter and Game of Thrones). Mind blown!

But if there’s one author who whole-heartedly deserves such incredible success, it’s certainly Helen Scheuerer. Along with the awesome title of best-selling YA fantasy author, she’s also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit, a hugely popular online resource for writers, which has released three anthologies over the past few years.

We chatted to the super-talented Helen to discuss the recent (and very successful) release of Heart of Mist. It’s sure to inspire all creative minds! Keep reading to find out how you can get your hands on a copy, as well as three FREE prequels to whet your appetite!

Q: Firstly, congratulations Helen on your fantastic debut novel, Heart of Mist. We certainly found it hard to put down and adored every page! What initially sparked your creativity to assist this imaginative world to develop in your mind?

A: Thank you so much! I’m so thrilled to hear you enjoyed it :)

In terms of developing the fantasy world, you’ll love this answer… Making secret boards on Pinterest really helped me create the finer details of the realm within Heart of Mist, particularly Valia Forest (where one of the protagonists is from).

I have a board for each setting and each character, and it really helped me visualise the world I was creating.

Q: We understand that within just 24 hours, Heart of Mist had already become a best-seller on Amazon, deservedly sitting among fantasy classics such as Harry Potter and Game of Thrones. This is an incredible achievement for any publication, let alone a debut novel! Please tell us what was going through your mind when you discovered this amazing news?

A: It feels surreal even confirming this, but yes! To be honest, I couldn’t quite believe it. I’m an unknown indie author, and so definitely wasn’t expecting the results I got.

Release day was insane. I think I was kind of in robot-mode. There were so many little things that needed to be done, and I needed to be super active on social media, particularly Twitter, so it was all a bit of a blur!

Honestly? I still can’t quite believe it. Heart of Mist is still at the top of the charts six weeks later. It’s been a lovely way to validate all the hard work that’s gone into not only the writing and production of the book, but the numerous hours of outreach marketing as well.

Q: We agree with many of your book reviews when readers praise you for your genius ability to create such well-rounded, captivating, and complex characters. What advice would you give to writers struggling to do so themselves?

A: I have so many warm fuzzy feelings right now, haha! For advice on complex characters… I’d definitely say work out what they want… Defining character motivations is the first step of many for me when developing my protagonists. I also like to live by the rule: everyone has a secret ;)

Q: What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing indie authors right now and how can readers help authors to overcome these?

A: One of the biggest challenges is getting reviews, both from book bloggers and in traditional media. Thanks to some outdated stigmas associated with indie publishing, some reviewers aren’t willing to give independent authors a chance. I’ve been lucky enough that the reviewers I’ve contacted have been super supportive and understanding, some have gone out of their way to promote me and Heart of Mist, for which I’m incredibly grateful :)

For readers wanting to help authors overcome these challenges, I’d say: leave a review! It can be as brief or as long as you like, but leaving a review on the likes of Amazon and Goodreads can mean the world to an author!

Q: We understand that when you’re not busy writing The Oremere Chronicles, you’re also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit, a cherished resource for writers around the globe. How do you think your experience with Writer’s Edit has assisted you with creating Heart of Mist?

A: That’s a fantastic question. I’ve learnt a lot through running Writer’s Edit! In particular, the skills and best practices for building an online presence have proved incredibly useful. By publishing the Kindling anthologies through Writer’s Edit press I also learnt a lot about the logistics of book production and marketing, so when it came to publishing Heart of Mist, it wasn’t such a huge learning curve, and I knew what worked for me.

Technical lessons aside, the community we’ve built with WE has been a massive support. People who have read our advice for years, have gotten in touch to say how much they enjoyed Heart of Mist, so it’s been a really wonderful and rewarding experience from start to finish.

Q:  Lastly, we just have to ask: how is the second novel in The Oremere Chronicles trilogy coming along and when are you hoping to release it to your eager fans? Like many, the question has been on our lips since we finished Heart of Mist (talk about a cliff-hanger!) ;)

A: Book II is coming along slowly but surely! I’m nearlyyyyy finished the first draft, with hopes to have it to my beta readers by Christmas. If all goes to plan (fingers crossed) it should be out by September 2018. The publishing schedule is: Book II, 2018 and Book III, 2019… It’s kinda scary when I write it out like that… there go the next two years of my life haha!

However! For those who are super keen beans, there are already three free prequel stories available, which you can get your hands on here. The events in these e-shorts take place before those in Heart of Mist, and the entire trilogy.

Three more prequels will be released before Book II, just to tide readers over in the meantime ;)

We want to thank Helen for taking the time to answer our interview questions and encourage you to find out more about Heart of Mist on Amazon (where you can buy a copy of HoM starting at just a few dollars!).

You can also keep up-to-date with Helen’s work by visiting her website or following along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Additionally, you can check out Helen’s profile and her books on Goodreads.

Want to read our review of Heart of Mist? You can do so on Amazon here. Enjoy!

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