Interview: Summer Heacock, Women’s Fiction writer

Remember how a while back I mentioned an amazing woman on Twitter who’d just drafted an entire novel in four days? (No, that isn’t a typo. FOUR (4)!) Her name is Summer Heacock and she kindly agreed to do this interview about her writing process.

I was completely awestruck when I heard you’d done the first draft of a manuscript in four days (I can’t even manage four months!). Tell us a little about Pineapple!

I have to be honest, I didn’t expect or plan that in the slightest! I’d been planning to write this story idea for a little over a year, but every time I sat down to write or plot, I was stuck staring at the screen, or writing out crap. I was actually coming to the point where I thought I would have to move on to another story because this one just wasn’t coming out!

Randomly, I happened upon a picture on Google at like 2AM on Friday night and thought the guy looked like what I thought the main fella in Pineapple would look like. The next afternoon, I was thinking certain parts of the book through, decided to sit down and scrap everything I’d written before, and damned if the words didn’t just start falling out.

For those who obsess on numbers like I do, how many words did you average a day? How many hours a day were you writing?

I averaged about 15,000 words a day. I still had to do real life, I’ve got kids and a husband, but for Saturday afternoon and most of the day Sunday, I was a total recluse and in the word zone. I totally need to buy my hubs a pony for the slack he picked up when I was pretty much ignoring life for two days.

I’d say I was writing 4–8 hours per day, depending on the day, and what else had to be done, like getting the kids ready for and to and from school, and so on.

Okay, I’m looking at that and it seems slightly insane… I swear, I’m aware my brain isn’t normal. I have these word binges where I’ll dump out giant word counts but then not be able to write anything for weeks.

Because I write so slowly, I do a quick edit of what I wrote in the previous session before I start drafting the next bit—mainly to remind myself of where I was up to. I’m guessing you don’t have that problem! What is your editing process?

Eek. Um. Well, I’m not sure I have a process. Outside of making sure I have Jelly Bellies and a playlist of music going, I just sort of dive in and hope for the best. But I’m utter crap at editing, so don’t strive to be like me, kids.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Was Pineapple fully plotted before you started?

I’m both! I usually will have a scene in my head that inspires an entire story. Usually it’s something near the end of the book, so I have that in mind, and sort of just write out what happens to get to that point. With some stories, I have a more info, like multiple scenes that I piece together and fill in the blanks. I will do a rough outline with those scenes marked to get to, and the rest kind of pops up as I’m watching it all happen in my head.

I seriously hope other writers are as loony as I am…

What other projects do you have on the go right now?

I’m revising Pineapple now, and hoping to get it shiny and on point after my betas get through with it. I try not to work on more than one story at a time, but I have another MS that is waiting patiently to get started on after Pineapple is finished. It’s probably the most outlined story I’ve ever had before starting, and it’s quite different than my other Women’s Fic stories, so I’m intimidated and excited to see if I can pull it off when it’s time.

Until then, all the Pineapple! I have strong feels for this story, so I hope I can do it proud.

Tell us about yourself.

Let’s see. I am a writer, a mother and a wife. I am relatively badass at all these things. You will notice I did not say housekeeper up there. I suck at that. Like, hard. I am a writer of very strange characters that if I didn’t put word to paper would take over my brain, and who knows what would happen then. I write to SAVE LIVES, people.

When I am not donning my Super Mom/Wifey underoos, you will find me on Twitter or at my blog. I write Women’s Fiction and dabble in YA when I’m feeling froggy for it. You will find my fluency in profanity present in ALL THESE THINGS.

I am repped by the unfathomably brilliant Sarah LaPolla of Curtis Brown. I genuinely have no idea how I managed to snag someone so incredible as my agent, but I’ma run with it before she realizes she signed a crazy person.

Summer Heacock

Summer Heacock

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8 Comments on “Interview: Summer Heacock, Women’s Fiction writer”

  1. In writing, at least, you’re perfectly sane. I think. Here, try this self-huggy jacket in case I’m wrong 🙂 I sometimes have those writing binges, 10 – 15k words and afterwards, it is brain mush for a few days. Barely remember I have a name. You are my hero at being able to do it in four!

  2. Stacey Nash says:

    Wow. I am also in awe. An entire draft in four days is unthinkable!

  3. 🙂 Hooray for supportive husbands who make writing binges possible! Recently, I was trying to figure out what to do next (rewrite a manuscript that I’ve been working on for years or start a shiny new project), & hubby suggested: “Summer just drafted a novel in 4 days. Why don’t you clear your schedule and see if you can do one in 3 days?” (I’ve done the 3-day writing binges before, & he knows how much slack he has to pick up to make this happen. All the cooking/cleaning/dishes/laundry I’ll be ignoring.) This is why I love my man! 😀


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