Samantha Heuwagen, author of the Starless Series, is on the blog today to chat about her inspirations, influences, and allowing her work to fuel her muse. Welcome, Samantha!
Author Name: Samantha Heuwagen
Book Title: The Starless Series: Fading Starlight (Book II)
Book Genre: Feminist Science Fiction
Release Date: June 17th, 2019
Publisher: Trifecta Publishing House
Please tell us about your latest release.
With the #MeToo movement in full swing, I wanted to add to activism and be involved. By creating an open discussion about mental health and helping a loved one dealing with sexual assault, Fading Starlight was born. As a therapist, I work with survivors all the time and I wanted to offer my thoughts on what happens to a system (i.e. family, friends, community) after such a life altering event. Fading Starlight examines what happens when misunderstandings and mistrust explode during an already stressful time and how people can come together to support and love one another.
Did you come up with the title on your own? Or did you get some help?
One of my dear friends actually thought of it after hearing a few of my ideas. He hated what I had (with a passion) but offered Fading Starlight as a great alternative. We both stopped what we were doing and had a moment of silence––that’s when we knew it was a perfect fit for this book!
I’d love to hear more about your process–how long did it take to write and what sort of research did you do, if any?
It took about six months, which was extremely fast for me. My debut novel, Dawn Among the Stars took years, but something about Fading Starlight felt right and it flew by quickly.
The only research I had to do was about their final destination in the book. Without giving away too much, I realized my memory was very poor about Mackinac Island and, thankfully, I had time last summer to visit and take a lot––a lot––of notes! I was really lucky and it helped create the setting for the finale and following books.
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
At first I thought it was about moving the story along in an interesting and insightful way, but now, it’s just finding the time! As a therapist with a private practice, if I’m not careful I can go days without writing, which just feels awful! I have to be mindful about creating time and space to write. It fuels my soul to be a better therapist, too.
What do you love most about it?
I love the creativity it brings to my life and how it’s my way of making the world a better place. It’s my own form of activism.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read your books?
Science Fiction is known for being a male dominated genre. I take that idea and flip it on its head by showcasing independent, smart, and sassy women kicking ass and taking names. Gone are the days of heroes fighting aliens. Now, females are getting a piece of the action. Plus, if you want to see mental health done right, The Starless Series is for you. I’m very proud of the fact many of my readers have told me they felt for the characters in more ways than one and saw themselves reflected in the pages, whether it be because they also live with mental illness or because they could relate.
How does your day job inform your novel writing?
There are so many ways my work as a marriage and family therapist influences my writing. From the depictions of mental health to the way sexual assault is discussed by the characters, nothing I do is untouched by my work. I really believe the best way to educate and change the stereotypes of therapy is by showing how it works and fiction offers that ability.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I love hiking with my family in the North Georgia Mountains and yoga.
What are you working on now?
I am working on two projects. I’m working on the third installment of The Starless Series, Stardust Emerging, which is a lot of fun since I feel like I know the characters so well. My second project is a memoir about my life and feminist ideals. It’s a body positive look at going braless and what I’ve learned about myself in the process. I’m really excited to see how it turns out.
Where can readers find you?
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samantha_heuwagen/ (I’m over here a lot and we have a ton of fun!)
Thank you, Samantha! Fading Starlight releases on June 17 and is available for pre-order NOW.
Even the stars mourn . . .
Earth is but a shadow of itself as three Humans begin to pick up the pieces of war-torn Earth and their shattered lives.
Kayin Aves finds herself on Selucia with no word on whether or not she’ll be able to return to her beloved planet. With such uncertainty, her fears cause her to push away any La’Mursian that might help her fight for Earth. However, her inner strength gives her hope that she can put an end to this war.
When Beenishia set up a base camp for survivors, she knew it would be a target––but she didn’t calculate the full cost. Because of this, Henry and Melissa realize that war is more than just gunfire and explosions. Psychological tactics threaten to tear the survivors apart and end the fragile bond forming between what’s left of the La’Mursians and Humans.
Can they save Earth, or is this just the beginning of the end?
Samantha Heuwagen works as a Marriage and Family Therapist that specializes in Sex Therapy in Atlanta, GA. She is a graduate of Mercer University School of Medicine where she earned her second Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Her first Master’s degree is in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of South Florida where she first realized her passion for sex education and the power of the written word. When she isn’t working with clients, she writes about faraway places and tries to change the world through fiction bridging mental health awareness and social justice together.