Mabuhay! Today I am super duper excited to share with you a post that I have been looking forward to! Today (or over the week, rather) I had the chance to interview the best-selling fantasy author of Heart of Mist, Helen Scheuerer!
Heart of Mist is a YA fantasy about an unlikely heroine and a plague-ridden kingdom; in her book, Helen tackles issues on addiction, the morality of loyalty, and family.
In today’s post, Helen and I talk about her characters from the Oremere Chronicles, how she started out with her publishing press, and her creative process.
Helen Scheuerer who is a novelist from Sydney, Australia, and the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit. She is the best-selling author of The Oremere Chronicles.
Good day, Helen! Thank you so much for taking the time to guest on my blog. Before we get into the interview, give us a pitch of your trilogy!
Sure thing! The Oremere Chronicles is a young adult fantasy trilogy that centers around the 19-year-old protagonist, Bleak. In a realm where magic is forbidden, all she wants is a cure for her power. Everything changes when she’s snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army and she realizes that the fight on her hands is much bigger than she ever anticipated.
The three books follow Bleak’s story, and the narratives of some other intriguing, flawed characters, where the stakes only get higher.
Heart of Mist stood out for me because you had the main character – a teenager, in fact – who was dealing with her alcohol addiction. Can you tell us what motivated you to tackle teenage addiction, and were there any worries you had with it?
I’m always really interested in questions like this! Alcohol addiction wasn’t something I actually set out to explore, it just sort of presented itself as one of Bleak’s challenges. It felt authentic to her character and I wasn’t going to shy away from the subject because of my intended audience.
I’ve always been quite passionate about not censoring my work for a particular demographic, whether it’s something like substance abuse, violence or sex. Addiction is something young adults face just as much as adults, so if a story calls for it, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be included. I suppose that attitude didn’t really allow for me to worry too much!
Have your characters changed a lot since the first draft of your books?
Hmmm, that’s a great question. They’ve changed in two ways really…
Firstly, from idea to finished book, they’ve become far more fully formed and developed. When I started writing this series, the characters were all quite blurry in my head. Over the course of three novels and 9 prequel e-shorts, I’ve really gotten to know them. I know what makes them, them, and how they’d act in certain situations. It’s an incredibly surreal feeling if I’m honest!
They’ve also each undergone their own metamorphosis throughout the series. Personally, I think in any book, a character needs to grow in one way or another. Lessons have been learned, secrets revealed, inner reflections made… If someone’s the same at the end of all that, it’s a bit boring, isn’t it?
I believe I speak for every reader when I say that we fell absolutely in love with the Valian Forest! What research did you do to create a warrior community of women?
Oh I do love Valia! Well, the idea of it just seemed to pop into my head, but I did a lot of worldbuilding using Pinterest. I have a whole board dedicated to forests and bridges amongst the canopies. I basically used that board as visual inspiration.
Later on when I was fine-tuning the details, I’d add in layers based on the other senses – touch, smell etc… And I researched different types of foliage etc… Which I think help with making the setting so vivid.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it was after the release of Heart of Mist that you became a full-time author. How much has that changed your creative process?
You’re right! Less than 5 months after Heart of Mist was published in 2017, I went full-time.
I wouldn’t say it’s changed my creative process much at all, just amplified it, if that makes sense? What was previously meticulously carved out hours of precious writing and editing time, is now my day job.
And you know what? There still aren’t enough hours in the day!
It was also during the release of Heart of Mist that you started your publishing company, Talem Press! Can you tell us about? What was your decision process like?
Absolutely! I had always loved bringing books into the world and really enjoyed the production aspect, and wondered: was it possible to do what I’d done with the Oremere books for other authors?
Myself and my business partner from Writer’s Edit decided that we’d open submissions and see what happened. Much to our surprise and delight, we fell in love with two titles immediately.
Now that The Oremere Chronicles is coming to an end, what is the next step?
Ahhhh I wish I could tell you! Besides the other Talem Press books being published, I’ve got a number of exciting new projects on the horizon.
I can tell you that there’ll be at least one new Scheuerer title per year for the next little while. But other than that… My lips are sealed for the time being!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Scheuerer is a YA fantasy author from Sydney, Australia. Her debut novel, Heart of Mist, was the bestselling first installment in her trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles.
After writing literary fiction for a number of years, she was inspired to return to her childhood love of fantasy by reading the work of Sabaa Tahir, V.E. Schwab, and Sarah J. Maas.
Helen holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing, and a Master of Publishing. She is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit, one of the world’s largest online learning platforms for emerging writers.
She is now a full-time author living amidst the mountains in New Zealand.
Follow Helen on her platforms!
ABOUT THE BOOK
WAR OF MIST BY HELEN SCHEUERER
BOOK THREE OF THE OREMERE CHRONICLES
War is here.
Toxic mist drives all life to the brink of destruction and the conqueror queen, Ines, has her talons in the kings of the realm.
Bleak, having discovered her true heritage, must now scour the lands for the one thing that might save them all.
But the search is a treacherous one – and it will push her to the very limits of endurance.
Amidst secrets, lies and the intricacies of battle, Bleak and her companions learn just how far they’ll go for the ones they love. But will it be enough?
As deadly forces grapple for power across the continents, families, friends and allies unite to take one final stand.
Explosive revelations, heart-wrenching betrayals and breathtaking magic soar in the epic conclusion to Helen Scheuerer’s bestselling trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles.
WAR OF MIST, the epic conclusion to Helen Scheuerer’s The Oremere Chronicles is slated for release July 25. You can add it on Goodreads here.