Today’s interview is with Heidi Chiavaroli. Hello Heidi. Thank you for allowing me to interview you about your book. Tell us a little about your new book. What is the main storyline?
Thanks so much for having me, Stena! Here’s a little blurb about my debut novel, Freedom’s Ring.
Boston — 2015
Although two years have passed since the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David continues to be haunted by the call to be Boston Strong. She knows the truth: she is far from strong. She cannot seem to release two burdens left to her that tragic day—guilt over a crippled niece, and an old ring that evokes a hazy hero’s face. But when she finds a business card with the same emblem as the ring, she’s finally able to discover her hero…and the story of the woman behind the ring.
Boston — 1770
As a single woman in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When tensions mount in the form of the Boston Massacre, her world is shattered as her brother, with whom she has just reunited, is killed in the fray. Overcome with anger at all redcoats, she plans to leave her employment at the British Officers’ Home. But upon her return, she is attacked by the roguish captain when Lieutenant Alexander Smythe isn’t there to rescue her. In her fury, she leaves the home with all of her belongings and a ring that belonged to her dear Alexander. Suddenly her attraction to him is tarnished by the uniform he wears.
The Boston Massacre sparked the American Revolution; the Boston Marathon bombing set a city on edge. Both became the proof of where true strength lies.
That sounds really exciting. I must admit I haven’t read it yet, but I think that will be changing very soon. How long have you been writing?
My first manuscript was called I’d Cross The Desert For Milk, written in third grade! Though I’ve always loved to write, I didn’t seriously begin to pursue publication until eleven years ago, when I was a young mother taking care of my two babies.
Third grade? Wow! When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
While I loved to write for as long as I can remember, I first knew I wanted to write life-changing stories after I finished A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. Wow, that book changed my heart and completely inspired me to tell stories that had the potential to draw people closer to God.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always been fascinated by Boston’s Revolutionary history and knew a story was waiting there for me. When the Boston Marathon bombing hit so close to home, it really shook me up. I realized around that time how much I was living in fear. So what does a writer do to work out her problems? She writes a book about them! I combined my love for a good historical story, grounded in another Boston tragedy almost 250 years earlier, and dove in with my characters, exploring the answer to my question, “How can I conquer fear?”
Did it turn out the way you first thought it would? If not, what was different?
I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, so when I begin writing I have little idea how it will all end. Though in this story, I knew that my two main characters, Annie and Liberty, would need to have made a connection in the end, even though they lived centuries apart.
While it’s fun to explore the same themes within the same story but along two different storylines, it’s not an easy task, either. I wasn’t always confident the stories would merge together nicely as I knew they needed to. I was having one of those rough writing days when my husband came home and said, “Hey, did you see that they uncovered a time capsule in the State House buried by Sam Adams and Paul Revere?”
It was those times—when real life handed the inspiration to me, when the timing between reality and story just absolutely fit together so perfectly, that it seemed God was affirming the novel.
Then, all the headaches were totally worth it. J
The more you tell us about this book, the more I want to read it! How long did it take you to write? Tell us a little about the process.
Although this is my debut novel, this was the sixth manuscript I wrote. I’ve gotten faster at writing with each manuscript. (I think my first manuscript took two to three years—and that one isn’t fit to ever see the light of day!) The actual writing on this book took about four months, which didn’t include research—that was at least another three. J
This isn’t an everyday subject. Did you need to do any special research?
We took MANY trips to Boston to explore the Freedom Trail. So fun! We also went to the Lexington Reenactment and took a trip to the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. Since I had never done any genealogical research, I listened to a lot of webinars and classes, but going to the Society and talking with a Chief Genealogist was extremely helpful in plotting out my story.
Do you have a special place or atmosphere you like to write in best?
I love to write in my kitchen/dining room or on my front porch when the weather’s nice. Any place with plenty of natural light and relative quiet. If the kiddos are home and I need to write, I head to Panera. J
Are you like your main character? What character do you relate to or like best?
Liberty, my historical heroine, is probably a little more gutsy than I would have been in colonial Boston. I don’t like to rock the boat too much! She’s probably more how I wish I was, so in that respect, I’d have to say I relate more to my contemporary heroine, Annie. I can relate to her fears, to her desire to run away from her problems, even. But I can also relate to her desire to break those chains and run free.
Did you learn anything new about yourself while writing this book?
I’d have to say I learned how to lean on God while writing a book, to trust Him for the outcome, to create with Him (as Allen Arnold says so well) instead of on my own. I’m certain I’ll need another reminder for the next book, but so far He has never, ever failed.
What project are you working on now?
We’re about to plunge into the marketing of my next book, The Hidden Side, releasing in May 2018! Alongside that, I’m deep into the research for my third book with Tyndale Publishers (and spending more time in Boston to accomplish it!).
What advice would you give a new author?
When I first began writing, I figured either I was going to have talent and make it to publication, or I wasn’t. When I received horrible scores for a contest I entered, I was devastated. It looked like I didn’t have talent after all.
But I had a lot to learn. Because writing CAN be learned. No one has it perfected and we can all improve. I think the quicker we realize that persevering with our writing is more than half the battle, the more enjoyable the journey will be and the more accepting we can be of bad contest scores and rejections. All that comes with the territory. The important thing is to glean what we can learn from them and keep improving our craft!
Very good advice! How many books have you written and how can we find your books?
Freedom’s Ring is my debut novel. The Hidden Side will release this May! They are/will be available online and at many brick-and-mortar bookstores. To learn more, please visit http://www.heidichiavaroli.com/what-i-write/
Do you have any closing comments for us today?
Thank you so much for having me, Stena! Many blessings on you and your readers!