Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve been writing professionally for about 10 years. Most of that time I was publishing short stories or doing contract work copywriting for companies online, which was great experience, if not all that exciting. Thankfully, I got the opportunity to write for myself full-time this last year, and I’m excited that my debut novel, Winter’s Child, released last month!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Winter’s Child is an adult historical fiction novel set in 15th century Florence. I’ve always been fascinated with the Italian Renaissance, and I think it was inevitable that I would eventually find myself writing in that setting. That said, I don’t think I could point to any one specific inspiration that inspired Winter’s Child; the story has evolved so much since its conception that it’s unrecognizable from my initial premise.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I do, and they change constantly. I have a post-it note that I keep near my computer that just reads, “Whatever works,” and I live and write by that adage. If I’m working best at my computer, great. If I’m working best at a coffee shop, great. I’ve had times where I found myself working best on airplanes, or outside, or longhand. I just do whatever works until it doesn’t work anymore, then I find something else that does.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Wow, that’s a short question that begs a long answer. I grew up reading fantasy and science-fiction, then fell in love with classical literature in college, so I think my writing is influenced by a really wide range of genres and authors.
I find a lot of inspiration from Robert Jordan, whose characters grew and evolved more organically than any I’ve seen since. Neil Gaiman, to name another fantastic author, has definitely had an impact on my style; I just can’t get enough of his narrative voice. On that note, I think, surprisingly enough, that I would include Bill Watterson, the author of the Calvin & Hobbes comics, on this list as well. Something about the way he develops a story — the timing and fluidity — is truly inspiring.
What are you working on now?
Not to give away any spoilers, but I’m well into a young adult speculative fiction novel with some really exciting settings. It hosts a cast of six high-school characters, and each chapter is framed as a daydream from the perspective of a different student. In the end, I’m hoping it highlights how perception can influence reality.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m pretty new to the advertising game, so I don’t really have a great answer for you. I’ve built a website (RJHervey.com), engaged with a wide range of online reading groups, submitted Winter’s Child to popular review blogs, and I’m preparing to dive into the world of advertising through Facebook and Amazon.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write every day, read as much as possible, and do whatever works for you. Every writer is different, so you’ll need to find a line between accepting feedback from your peers and sticking to your guns on the things you care about.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Do whatever works. I feel like I’m really beating a dead horse by now, but seriously, it’s good advice.
What are you reading now?
Last month I was digging into cosmology books (which is NOT the same as cosmetology). This month I’m on a Neil Gaiman kick, probably in response to watching the new Good Omens series with David Tennant (swoon). Hopefully I’ll find something else exciting to read next month!
What’s next for you as a writer?
That’s a good question. I’m mostly finished with a draft of my next manuscript, but I’m still deciding whether I want to self-publish or try the traditional route. There are so many pros and cons to each!
What is your favorite book of all time?
Geez, loaded question. I want to say that I’d bring a bunch of survival books. Since that’s a boring answer though, I’ll instead say The Collected Works of John Milton, Biocentrism by Robert Lanza, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, and…probably a copy of my own book. You know, just to make me feel good.