Find a Christian store

Interview with Heather Burch

Our special author today is Heather Burch and we’re thrilled to share her amazing journey and success in the recent publication of her novel, Halflings, which I find an unusual, tho’ intriguing, title. Heather, help us out here. What’s a Halfling and how did such a one become your friend?
Halflings are half-human, half-angel. Our story centers around three—Mace, Raven and Vine. Mace and Raven are older teens, but Vine—the newby—is only fifteen earth years. How did we “become friends?” I can honestly say they pursued me relentlessly. I was writing another book and the idea and characters grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I started telling their story. They’re still holding me captive!

Okay, half human, half angel, half young men, and all trouble. Right? They have a mission, which is the plot of your book. How did you arrive at these characters? Detail the book for us in a big elevator pitch, please (means it can be more than 25 words!).
Seventeen-year-old Nikki Youngblood is being hunted by men and demons and turns to three Halflings for protection. When two of her guardians fall for Nikki, it puts more than their lives at risk. Mace and Raven’s eternal souls hang in the balance. Discovering Nikki’s the key to an evil plot capable of altering world events, the Halflings must make some tough choices. Walk away and protect their hope for eternity or stay the course and insure Nikki doesn’t become a catalyst for the end of the world.

Let’s back up and talk about your writing journey. You find yourself in the middle of a writing family, but you have done earlier work within the children’s arena haven’t you? Fill in the blanks for us, if you will. I love what you’ve said about writing Halflings- “this is the funnest and most exciting writing journey of my life.”
I’ve always done a lot of writing. When my husband and I decided we wanted to begin a program at our local church for kids ages 8 to 12, we couldn’t find anything that addressed all the areas we wanted. So, we wrote a yearlong curriculum. It was a big hit and other churches started adopting the same model. We willingly handed it over so more kids could take part. It was utilized for several years. Who knows, maybe it’s still out there somewhere. That was about 15 years ago. Now, there is a lot of great curriculum for kids that age. That was my first step into writing curriculum. But since I taught at a Christian school, I had many opportunities to write material for children and teens.

Halflings is a proud Zondervan production and you should be proud, too, young lady. What’s this about signing a shopping agreement with an awesome Hollywood producer?
Isn’t that just the craziest thing? The producer who has Halflings actually contacted my agent about it, when she saw the series announcement in Publisher’s Marketplace. She requested it, read it and is now working to build a team for production. One of the things she said about the project is it had more take-away value than a lot of the projects out there. She’s an award winning producer and has worked for Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures. I’m very excited about having her onboard.

What an amazing thing to happen! Love that thought of take-away value.
But there’s even more than that’s happening with Halflings. Zondervan has released a Game App for iPhone and Android. Halflings memory match game is fun and anyone can play! It’s like the game Concentration I used to play as a kid. And it’s free. Also, we’ve offered a free illustrated e-book prequel to Halflings titled 11:15, The Making of a Halfling. It’s available at all e-book retailers. Another free prequel will be available before the October release of book two, Guardian.

No way? Yes, way. Kids will love that. We just never know how something will take off do we?
Heather, this is all very exciting and so is the fact you received the 2012 Debut Author Challenge honor and then the accolades from our own Jim Rupert don’t hurt either. He said "Every now and then an author comes along that makes me leap up and shout, 'Yes! We have a winner!' Heather Burch's debut novel, Halflings, is well-written, creative, and most of all, flat-out captivating, story telling. Highly recommended."

Comments, Heather? Smiles?
Yes. Right after my head stops spinning. I’ve been so blessed by the amazing responses I’ve gotten from my fellow Christian authors. Robert Liparulo wrote a fantastic endorsement for me and contacted me after he finished reading Halflings. I’ve gotten words of encouragement from Ted Dekker and Colleen Coble—these are writers I’ve read for years. I’m so honored that any of them would take the time. Especially since I wasn’t sure Halflings would fit anywhere. It has the voice of a secular YA and yes, people have asked if it’s the CBA answer to the vampire craze. I don’t know. Truly. I just knew I had to tell the story. As I wrote, I thought of my son and his friends. What could I write that would captivate them?

How cool is all this? I like you considered what would catch youth of today. You’ve written a series of three novels. Tell us about books two and three and when they will be available.
Guardian, book two releases in October. The mission to safeguard Nikki depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings her. Mace wants to protect Nikki at all costs, while Raven's loyalty to Nikki finds him advocating for her independence and battling his own darker nature. Dangers intensify when Nikki must use her power as a Seer to stop a deadly accident. Tensions between Mace and Raven flare as the purpose of their mission becomes clear. Can they stop master manipulator Damon Vessler and the powerful secret he holds regarding Nikki's heritage? Can anyone protect Nikki from her true purpose and destiny?

You’re keeping us hanging!
Avenger, book three will release sometime in the spring of 2013. When a Seeker is released from the pit to hunt Nikki, she and Raven must flee. In a dangerous game of cat and mouse, they stay one step ahead of the beast. Mace and the other Halflings run interference so Nikki can escape, but in her heart she knows she must ultimately face the beast herself. Has she gained the faith necessary to destroy the creature? And if so, will she be ready to confront the real threat, the horrific Damon Vessler and his plot to use Nikki to destroy the Halflings?

I’ve already been on Amazon, downloaded your free things and ordered a book for my fifteen year old grandson and would encourage others to do the same! You say your writing is for the teen and that you are more secular than CBA. How can a half angel not be spiritual or Christian? Just curious.
Well, the writing has the flavor of the secular market. Meaning, this is a book that sits on the shelf with everything from Twilight to Hunger Games. It’s gotten great reviews from those who read that genre and consider themselves “experts” in what it takes to make a YA novel that can hold its own. But I’m also a youth pastor, an ordained minister since 1994 and still have a teenager at home.

There is a spiritual payload to Halflings because of who I am. Because of who God is in me. As an author, we have a commitment to tell a great story. As a Christian author, we can’t just lose sight of that. Our integrity is on the line. We’re building a trust with our reader. An author’s world view will be apparent on the page. We don’t have to search for ways to get the gospel into a story. If we’re full of God, it’s evident. Just like in normal life. God oozes from us. His message is clear. Maybe that’s why I wanted to tackle such a story.

I will tell you this, a question that kept rolling over and over in my head before I began writing Halflings was … “How do you show what a gift salvation is?” The answer… “Create a race of beings who understand its power, yet have no way to obtain it. And what if they chose to serve the Throne regardless?”

To me, that’s an interesting scenario … the introduction of those who serve God though they have no guarantee He won’t reject them. Halflings have no written contract, (unlike humans) but serve Him anyway. They know His greatness and His mercy toward humans—and they hope He’s made a way for them as well.

Heather, these are thought-provoking words. You say, “If we’re full of God, it’s evident on the page, as it is in life.” Powerful words.

Your background sings a unique song-- minister, teen advocate, esthetician extraordinaire, motivational speaker and writer. I know you bring all things to play in your work, but if you could spend a day with any literary figure, present or past, whom would it be and why?
Of course, I’m going to say Jesus. Wow. Think of that. Okay, I just sat back in my chair and imagined what it would be like to spend the day with Him—in flesh. I bet I’d be a little more gracious to my fellow man, a little less irritated in traffic. That’s sad, isn’t it? Because really, in flesh, He’d be no more here than He is right now. Hmm. Something to think about, I suppose. ☺

Thanks for asking me to drop by. It’s been a joy.

Jesus would be my choice, also! I’ve enjoyed our talk, too! Please list how you can be found. Your web site, Amazon or Zondervan. Accept our gracious thanks, Heather, for your time. is the Halflings network and all the freebies are available there when you join.

Thanks for everything, Jude. This was a lot of fun! There’s one bit of info I think people may find interesting.

In 2000, we were youth pastors at an awesome church in Missouri. Harry Potter was becoming popular and I think the second book had just released. Our youth group was concerned that there weren’t Christian books with that kind of following, books geared to teenagers and younger readers that had a paranormal element but pointed to God. They started praying. Some even fasted, petitioning God to open the door for Christian authors to write books that any teen could enjoy but also glorified God. 12 years later, I’m finding myself a part of what God is doing in that very arena. That’s why the last line of my acknowledgement page of Halflings is for Youth Over the Edge. I’d love to encourage other authors to reach beyond the boundaries you’ve had and write that story that’s in your heart. It might be just the thing God has been preparing you for. It might even be a CBA answer to the vampire craze. *smile*

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.