Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.
Wolf: Thanks for stopping by today, Heidi. Tell us a little about yourself.
Heidi: There are worse things than living in a world of kings, queens, warriors, bards, and all manner of magical beings. After a life spent burying myself in the imagination of others and lamenting my inability to create such a story myself, I was challenged by my husband and a friend to bust down the barriers to my own creativity and just do it! I did, and the Kingdom of Uisneach series is the result.
I have been blessed by careers as a Registered Nurse, an interfaith minister and a hospice chaplain, but ever-flowing beneath the surface was my passion for books and writing. Whether I was writing care plans, weddings or journaling my own personal odyssey, I crafted words in ways that others found . . . interesting.
The Kingdom of Uisneach series taps into the core of my Irish heritage, evoking the spirit of ancient myth and legend. I hope you enjoy this story and would love to hear from you.
Wolf: Sounds interesting. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?
Heidi: I am drawn to swords, which represent many things such as justice, ritual, power and strength. Specifically, I would choose the longsword. On the physical level it is the common weapon of the warriors I write about in the mythic fantasy genre. It requires a great deal of strength and dexterity to manage in battle and can get the job done completely. Granted, it is usually more difficult for women to use effectively, but not impossible. It is both an elegant and earthy weapon, crafted and honed by the hands of a smithy in a simple wood-fired cottage. On the symbolic level it is power and strength, two attributes of the men and women I write about. It plays a key role in The Prophecy in the magical sword Nuada, one of the four treasures of Uisneach.
Wolf: There is nothing like a good blade. You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.
Heidi: I adore ferns for their diversity and grace. They remind me of faeries and whimsy. Being one who is often referred to as ‘a bull in a china shop’ the lithe grace of ferns is something I can only dream of. Living in forested places, changing color with the seasons and hosting shelter to small or magical beings, is all I could hope to be in the botanical world.
Wolf: And some of them taste good. I mean the ferns, not the faeries. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?
Heidi: Definitely canine! I adore dogs and have often said I’d have one of every kind, though that would leave little time for writing. In my mundane world, I have a very un-mundane Scottish Terrier named Riley, who people on Facebook have come to know as my office buddy. In Uisneach, Briana has Dara, an Irish Wolfhound. She saved him when he was wounded and in turn, he became one of her loyal guards. I cannot imagine any world without dogs in it and none of my future books will be without some form of canine hero.
Wolf: I know exactly what you mean. While walking in the woods you come across…
Heidi: Well, obviously a magical oak tree that is a portal to another kingdom in need of a savior-queen.
Wolf: Of course. What else could there be? If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Heidi: All my life, I have had this occasional dream of being able to fly. They are rare, and I really treasure them. It feels so good to be able to fly fearlessly above the world, seeing everything from a higher perspective. I am also inspired by watching documentaries where they are looking down on say, the African savannah or the Amazon River and birds are flying below. It gives me the same feeling that I’m flying.
Wolf: I’ve had those dreams as well, which is kind of funny. I don’t like heights. Do you have a favorite character?
Heidi: Every character in The Prophecy is my favorite for a different reason. However, I am really beginning to appreciate Briana as a force to be reckoned with. Readers have so far either loved her or have rolled their eyes and picked her apart. I guess she makes an impression and that is exactly what I like about her. She isn’t ordinary, though she thinks she is. Up until she walked through a tree in the woods near her house and ended up in Uisneach, she lived a pretty sheltered life. On the other side of the tree, she immediately discovers she is the savior to a land of gnomes, dryads, witches, druids and very mythic men and women and must adapt quickly to this new paradigm. She goes from being a young woman who cries at the drop of a hat and rejects most men because they don’t meet her dreamy expectations, to a woman who makes hard, sacrificial choices for the greater good of a kingdom she falls in love with. I freely admit it is cosmically cliché. I meant it to be. Her character arc seems complete in The Prophecy, but through the writing of the second book, The Runes of Evalon, it is clear she has room to grow, and is. She impresses me more and more with each passing day.
Wolf: Describe a meal you (or Briana) would be served while visiting another world.
Heidi: So, I’m on Uisneach and it’s the season for Christmas and Briana wants to celebrate the holiday she remembers so fondly. She consults with Moira Flannigan, the head cook and Reilly Doherty the butler, to create the meal. Slabs of cheese and baskets of nuts and fresh berries start the meal. The main course is roast turkey, pheasant, rabbit and venison, with sautéed mushrooms and wild onions. Brimming bowls of potatoes, turnip and carrots are set on the tables. Fresh oat bread with herbed butter is a staple at the castle and one of Briana’s favorites. Apple crisp and wild berry cobbler with whipped cream will be dessert. Cups will overflow with red ale, Uisneach mead and fresh goat milk. What won’t be served is plum wine, an Uisneach specialty that makes Briana act a little crazy.
Wolf: Yummy. What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)
Heidi: Two bodies of water play important roles in my life. Waterfalls are magical and play a significant role in my writing as you will see as the story of Uisneach unfolds. I live within a couple of hours drive of the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. When I’m feeling stressed out, overwhelmed or overtired, I head for the ocean. The timelessness of wave after wave, crashing on rock or breaking on the sand is healing and reassuring for me.
Wolf: I agree, sunny day ocean waves are soothing. What story are you working on now?
Heidi: The Runes of Evalon is book two of the Kingdom of Uisneach trilogy. I have just finished the first draft and hope to have it edited and published in the spring. This book is written from Briana’s and Silas’s alternating points of view. Silas is on a quest to find important magical runes to restore magic in Uisneach and Briana and Brath are trying to capture Lord Shamwa and stop him from wreaking havoc across the kingdom.
Wolf: If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
Heidi: What is the meaning of life? Ha! Isn’t that everyone’s question? Doesn’t everyone want an answer? In my work as a hospice chaplain, I often ask people what gives meaning to their life. I think the answers to the question about the meaning of life are varied and personal. So, for me, I will answer that the meaning of life is to find the place where I am connected to the song of the universe and then to discover how to work with that energy in the quest to be all that I am capable of being and bring something of meaning and value to the other souls and beings I share this life with.
Wolf: I hope everyone enjoyed Heidi’s visit to Wolf Notes. You can connect with Heidi through these links:
Facebook: Heidi Hanley Author Page
Kingdom of Uisneach (closed group on Facebook)