Heather Ezell (Book Coach) releases Nothing Left to Burn!
Author Accelerator Success Stories
Heather Ezell (Book Coach) sat down with us for an interview about her new release!
What inspired you to write this book?
As is evident from the synopsis, NOTHING LEFT TO BURN’s ticking clock is centered around a raging wildfire in Orange County. In retrospect, my first novel having a wildfire was perhaps inevitable. I grew up under what felt like a constant threat of wildfires bulldozing my childhood home and naturally developed a severe fear and obsession with fire. Nothing spikes my anxiety like the smell of smoke. But, in general, everything I write is deeply inspired by extreme weather and place — I think it’s fascinating to examine how both the extremes and the subtleties of a place can so deeply impact the lives that are settled there. I usually think of setting first when a new story idea comes to mind.
But, that said, the wildfire is really only the face of NLTB. At the story’s core is Audrey’s relationship with an intensely passionate boy named Brooks. I’ve always been intrigued by the blurred lines within relationships — obsession and love, passion and dependency, the ways in which relationships define us. And this intrigue came from my experience as a teenager, when I was in an extremely fraught, co-dependent romance. We were both intensely passionate, volatile, in love and painfully young, and we both built our identities around the idea and the possibilities of us. My finally coming to terms with the realities of that relationship is what fed Brooks and Audrey’s story.
Tell us one surprising thing about your book
One could say (and I have on many occasions myself!) that I wrote the first draft of NLTB when I was thirteen… that first draft did not include a fire, a Brooks, a non-linear structure, ballet, Grace, Maya… and many other key elements.
So, one could also say, perhaps more accurately, that I wrote the first draft of NLTB in 2014, over the course of three months.
What was one struggle you had in the writing of this book?
Oh, that’s easy. Brooks. Brooks was a headache and heartbreak and an infuriation of a character. It was incredibly difficult to find the right balance between his really dark, charred parts and his genuine goodness.
He’s a sweetheart and he’s terribly flawed and messes up bad time and again and god does he just want approval but he doesn’t know how to go about getting it and is painfully selfish… It’s a bit of a battle to write a somewhat antagonistic character that you want readers to love, to some degree, while also showing his most wretched layers.
I know of many early readers that have struggled with Brooks, hated him from the go (though the synopsis DOES kind of set up readers to be dubious of him), but there have also been many early readers who found the Brooks I worked so hard to get on the page. So, I’m happy!
And, oh yeah, ha, writing the ending of NLTB nearly did me in. I was rewriting it until my final round with my editor. It’s no surprise that it was Brooks’s last action that had me spinning in frantic circles.
What do you dream your ideal reader will say to her best friend about your book?
I’ve been SO lucky to hear readers say the loveliest things about NLTB. It’s always especially wonderful to know that I portrayed the blurred relationship in a way that resonates, that readers have related to Audrey on various levels, that I didn’t do harm in the sensitive topics I handled.
Really, it’s simply a dream come true to HAVE readers talking about my book! And it’s always a delight to know I caused someone to stay up late reading. :)
What’s next for you in your writing life?
Keep writing. :)
My personal “writing goal” for 2018 is to master (as much as I can) the dreaded synopsis and crafting of proposals. I’ve never been one to outline or know a story before writing it, so proposals have proven DIFFICULT for me. While I’m a believer in doing what works for you, I also acknowledge that writing pitches and synopses and the like ARE skills that can be learned.
On that note, I’m currently working on a few different potential “second book” project proposals (*fingers crossed*), as well as drafting a paranormal passion project on the side.
Where can readers find more information about you and your books?
You can purchase NothingLeft to Burnat:
You can find Heather in these places:
Originally published at medium.com on March 13, 2018.