Author of  full length romance novel, “Summers & Winters”, Heather Dowell is only 23 now, but has been writing for about 10 years.

“I don’t think there was ever really a moment when I decided to write. I never really thought about it until now, but I think I started coming up with ideas after watching A Walk to Remember. The first plot I came up with was for Summers & Winters. I didn’t make it past the first 60 or so pages until 2009. On my second deployment, my writing really took off. I was tired of looking at a black screen watching the minutes go by, so started stealing computer paper, and pretending like I was working on job requirements, when really I was working on this novel. Now that the novel is finished and I have all of these other ideas swarming around in my head, I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing. People always say they were born to do something, and I believe writing is the thing that I was born to do.”

Heather loves writing, has a rich imagination and is not bound by any one genre, except that she is not interested in non-fiction, Westerns or horror. She has favourites however:

“I love paranormal, sci-fi, dystopia, and fantasy, and I enjoy the challenge of trying to write them and make them realistic.”

Like many authors, Heather becomes deeply involved in the lives and the feelings of her characters too:

“The thing I love most about writing is giving life to my characters. I don’t feel settled until others can read about them. Sometimes I think of my characters as real people. I cry when they cry, laugh when they laugh, and love when they love.“

The next book in the series is “The Coldest of Winters” which picks up right where book one left off, “well, a few hour later to be exact. Sorry about the cliff hanger, but it had to be done. It was the perfect ending to book one and lead in to book 2. I’m sure some of you saw it coming, but I doubt you will be able to predict what will happen in book 2.”

With the quality of Heather’s characterization and great romantic content we can certainly look forward to book 2!

Of course, Summers & Winters is also available worldwide and clicking on the picture below will take you to Amazon UK.

 

I asked Heather to give me a flavour of her characters for you to read and she came up with this interview. Characters were interviewed separately, but the answers are given together for ease in reading!

Heather Winters (H:) and Mitch Summers (H:) interviewed by the author, Heather Dowell (I:)

I: Where do you go when you’re angry?
M: I go to my grandpaw’s. He lives on farm, so there are always things to do. Chopping wood seems to be the best method for getting rid of my frustration.
H: I go running. It doesn’t really matter where. I just can’t sit around. I have to do something about it, or I’ll go out, and that won’t be pretty.

I: What is your biggest fear? Who have you told this to? Who would you never tell this to? Why?
H: My biggest fear is that when I have to go back home, Mitch won’t follow me like he says he will. I’m sixteen and he’s seventeen, our parents aren’t going to change their lives around so that we can stay together. After my grandpa dies, I’m going to have to leave. It’s scares me to death. I’ve told Brittany. I wanted reassurance that I wasn’t being a worse wart. She said she could tell that Mitch loves me, but didn’t offer anything else.
M: My biggest fear is telling Heather that I love her. I’ve never told anyone that before, and I most definitely would not tell Stacey. Stacey would open her mouth and expose Heather and me, and then Heather would be forced to leave.

I: Does you have a secret?
M: I’m dating Heather. It’s not a secret to my closest friends, but no one else know. I want to tell everyone that we’re together so that I can take her on actual dates, but we’re living in the same house, and if my parents find out about us, they’ll find other living arrangements for Heather.
H: I’m in love with Mitch! [squeals]

I: What makes you laugh out loud?
H: Um, everything. [laughs]
M: Listening to Heather’s laugh. I love her, but she sounds like a seal.

I: When you think of your childhood kitchen, what smell comes to mind?
M: Pancakes and waffles.
H: Something on fire. My mom can’t cook worth a – [covers her mouth] – flip. [nods her head in confirmation, blushing]

I: What is your most treasured possession?
H: I have two. The ring my dad gave me when promised not to [gives an awkward look], you know. The second is his compass that doubles as a locket. It was the only thing that survived the [takes a gulp before sighing], you know.
M: It’s going to sound really stupid. I know you’re gonna laugh. I’m a guy, I’m not supposed to be a romantic sap, but this is what she has turned me into. It’s the picture she drew me in Art class a few months ago – a heart with a key at the center.
I: Aw, that’s so sweet. [cough] Dork. [cough, cough] Sorry, got a frog in my throat.
M: [rolls eyes] Sure you did.

I: Moving on, when and where were you the happiest?
M: In my bed.
I: WHAT!!! Y’all didn’t [intruding face]?
M: No. Wow, you have a dirty mind [blushes]. Heather though I was asleep and she [bites his lip and turns his head away from the interviewer, while running a hand through his soft, blonde hair] told me she loved me.
I: AHHH!!! That’s awesome.
M: [raises eyebrows] Yeah, it really is. [bites lip]

I: When and where were you the happiest?
H: Hmm, I’d have to say the entire weekend of Sammy and Brian’s Birthdays. The campgrounds at Hilton Head were awesome, but what I most enjoyed was going to go on a really date with Mitch. We weren’t too worried about the people there with us finding out. We can’t be so careless anywhere near Homestead, so it was nice to be a few hours away.

I: Which talent would you most like to have?
H: I’d love to be able to dance. I’ve had great dance partners that make my look like I know what I am doing, but I have new skills of my own. I’ve only mastered grinding and slow dancing. Anything else, and I’ll look like a fool.
M: I’d love to be able to play the guitar. Heather likes for me to sing to her, even though it makes her cry. They are happy tears, she assures me. I’m sure if I ever have a kid, I’ll want to be able to sing them to sleep, and playing the guitar would only help. [glares questionably] What? No frog in the throat?
I: [wipes tear away with index finger before sniffling and regaining composure] No. That really was sweet.

I: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
M: Being without Heather. You going to cry again?
I: Nope, I’m good. You’re back to being sappy again.

H: Losing someone you love, especially when their death comes suddenly.

I: What is the quality you most like in a man?
H: Hmm, I’d have to say compassion. I have to have a man that ok with me being emotional at times or angry, or whatever I choose to be at any given moment. He has to show me that he love me and isn’t going anywhere.
I: Trust issues?
H: [one eyebrow raises as the other lowers] I lost my dad when I was 12. I don’t do well with death or any sort of goodbye. I ever despise the very words. Maybe that makes me weak. I don’t know, but it’s not a trust issue. I just like having assurance.

I: What is the quality you most like in a woman?
M: A like a woman that is completely raw. That’s not really the right word, so I’ll explain. I like a woman that doesn’t hold back what she is feeling in order to please other people and is unapologetic about who she is. I want a woman who will put her heart on the line and let me in. A women that will let me discover the depths of her soul. There is only one women like that, and her name is Heather. [hands interviewer a tissue]

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
M: Superman
H: Superman. I think he always will be now.
I: Why is that?
H: Superman always remind me of the first night I saw Mitch. The airport lost my things, so Mitch let me borrow his pj’s. They are Superman pj’s. I still wear them every night.
I: [cough] Dork. [cough, cough]
H: If going to bed in clothes my man once wore makes me a dork, so be it.

I: Which living person do you most admire?
H: My mom. We both lost dad, and she just kept on kicking.
M: My grandpaw. He’s always been here for me.

I: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
M: My looks. Heather looks at me like I’m some kind of god, but I’m really not all that good looking, or at least I don’t think I am. If she’s attracted me, then that is all that matters. I could care less about whatever anyone else has to say about my looks.
H: My singing voice. I’m no Demi Lavato. I’m try, and I guess I sing better than most, but I’m not rock star material by any means.

I: On what occasions do you lie?
H: I lie when I’m protecting myself or my friends.
M: When the outcome of telling the truth is unbearable.

H: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
M: You tell me.
I: [shrugs]
H: You know.

I: How would you like to die?
H: That’s a horrible question for someone like me, but I guess I would want it almost instant, like a car wreck. I’d have long enough to say my last prayer and then POOF.
M: In my sleep. I’m a wussy.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
M: Rain, because I would be given other things life.
H: The wind. I could go anywhere.

In some two years of using Radio Airplay (formerly Jango) I have noticed one overwhelming trait that I think artists SHOULD be aware of. Now, as someone of fairly advanced years for a recording artist my main focus tends to be on building a following for my songs and hoping that someone prettier will eventually go through the appropriate channels and record them commercially. As a composer with a catholic taste, there is no way anyone could accuse me of recording the same song 15 times on one CD as pop stars do. Every single one is different and for that reason targeting is an ongoing mystery that I am only just getting to understand. Then in comes the Spring Break or the Summer Vacay – or Christmas.

Now, why should that be a problem? Having gotten used to pop scores in the range between 80 and 95 on a fairly regular basis, I will suddenly see my popscore plummet below 55 during vacation periods. This is becoming such a regular feature for me, that I am starting to wonder if other Radio Airplay users see similar? The songs are the same, the geo targets are the same (although they do sometimes go a little screwy!)  More worrying is that even profiling for age has relatively little effect on the plunge.

The other issue is that popscore plunges in vacation times EVEN WHEN NEW FANS INCREASE FAST. Yes, I am telling this correctly, you may get twice as many new fans in the week as usual and still get a drastically lower pop score. Now that leads me to consider two possibilities; either there are simply more kids – huge numbers of them – on Radio Airplay signing up and voting for other more mainstream bands OR kids cruising the site and DOWN VOTING older looking performers. The worrying thing is profiling kids OUT by using premium targeting has no effect, so I believe they may be using parental accounts to do this down voting.

I don’t think this is a trend we need to worry about, as it restricts itself to those times of year when teens and kids are off school, but I do think that artists who notice a sudden plunge in pop score need to be aware of the demographic that may be causing it….

Persimew also writes as Photahsiamirabel and profiles Radio Airplay as a useful resource for independent musicians in this article:

Flying To Meet The Sunrise (album) and St Francis Prayer (single) are her most popular CDs.