Being a writer makes even the mundane fascinating for Author Heather Rivera. She sees a story everywhere. To her, it is breathing through words.
My name is Dr. Heather Rivera. I am a past life researcher and author. I became fascinated with past lives after I had a profound healing during a past life experience. After that experience, I got certified as a hypnotherapist specializing in past life regression. I trained under Dr. Brian Weiss and discussed with him my idea for a doctoral dissertation study. He encouraged me to pursue my idea. I did a study measuring the benefits of past life regression therapy. It was published in a peer-reviewed journal and my first book, Healing the Present from the Past, covered the study and my story of healing. I have a PhD in Parapsychic Science, a doctorate in law, and I’m a Registered Nurse. I founded a past life research institute with my husband, Mark. Mark is a physicist and our institute’s science adviser. Our children are grown and on their own. Recently we found out that we are soon going to be first-time grandparents.
When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first poem when I was five years old. I thought it was quite good. After that, I was hooked. I wrote poetry for many years, some short stories, and children’s stories. As an adult, I wrote for magazines. Later I moved on to writing books. I write non-fiction, fiction, and young readers.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s difficult for me to answer. At times I felt like a writer and then doubt crept back in. This may be a common theme with writers as our esteem tends to fluctuate. I am not sure of the exact date that I felt with some certainty that I was a writer and it wasn’t a passing phase.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
My latest book is called Inside the Crystal. It is the third book in my Prism Walker series. These are fantasy/adventure books for young readers ages 8-12. The books follow the adventures of three children, Sara, Molly, and Leo. They find out that they are Prism Walkers and with the help of prisms can cross realms and enter magical worlds. They are called upon to help with missions and save the inhabitants of Exaltia. The books have many magical creatures, including elves, sprites, and dragons.
What inspired you to write this book?
A young fan asked her grandmother for the next book in the series and at that time I didn’t know there would be a third. The grandmother wrote to me regarding her granddaughter’s request and the next thing I know I story came to me.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I would say I am a hybrid. I don’t extensively outline but also don’t write by the seat of my pants. I like to create a timeline of events and then leave room for the muse to deviate from the timeline.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
The first book in the series is called Into Exaltia. The second book is called In Search of Emerald Bay. I wanted to start the third title with “in,” and Inside the Crystal worked well with the story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Although the series contains themes of cooperation, resourcefulness, and thinking independently, my goal is to provide a fun adventure for readers to enjoy.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The idea for the book came from a dream, as do most of my books. I did tap into my own childhood when creating the characters, Sara, Molly, and Uncle Henry. And the grandmother’s house is based on my grandma’s house when I was growing up.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” comforted me as a teen and rolls around in my head to this day. I memorized it when I was seventeen. Anne Rice’s books are beautifully written. Her language is lyrical and mesmerizing. I also appreciate her advice to writers. She inspires me.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
The first writer that comes to mind is Stephen King. His book On Writing was encouraging and helpful. It continues to be one of my favorite books about writing.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
My cover designer is Laura Gordon Moyer. Martin Kaspar is the illustrator for the Prism Walker series and he creates the color images that Laura incorporates into a cover. She keeps a consistent theme throughout the series. She also designed my Golden Raven series. The Golden Raven series are past life/paranormal books for adults. I chose Laura after I saw some of her work on her website. She is talented and very reasonably priced.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I offer book coaching/mentoring for writers and help writers stay focused and inspired so that they can have the joy of seeing their completed project. I discuss my process, how to get unstuck, and how to keep motivated. For my own projects, I like to create a large poster that has pictures of my characters, items of significance to the story, maps, and the timeline. If I’m stuck I go for a walk and soon the characters begin speaking to me again. I always let a story sit for a while before working on revisions and before I send the manuscript to beta readers I read the entire manuscript aloud. I have caught many hiccups this way.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I am grateful to my supportive readers. Their kind words, emails, and reviews lift my spirits and make my fingers type a little bit faster.
Heather Friedman Rivera
Huntington Beach, CA