Kat Heckenbach graduated from the University of Tampa with a bachelor's degree in biology, went on to teach math, and then homeschooled her son and daughter while writing and making sci-fi/fantasy art. Now that both kids have graduated, her writing and art time is constantly interrupted by her 96 lb. boxer mix. She is the author of YA fantasy series Toch Island Chronicles and urban fantasy Relent, as well as dozens of fantasy, science fiction, and horror short stories in magazines and anthologies. Enter her world at www.katheckenbach.com.
You have to trade places with one of your characters for a day. Which and why?
The main character, Angel, from my Toch Island Chronicles. Because I'm a control freak and I need to shake some sense into her friend Melinda, who is constantly sneaking off and getting into trouble. Oh, also, I really, really want to get to meet Kalek in person. Although, it's rather nerve-wracking. I know I'd totally humiliate myself fan-girling over him. But can you blame me? That long hair, the Elven ears, those onyx eyes, and the way he plays guitar and sings and brings nature to life like that.
What mythical creature do you most wish to be real?
Um, gee, hm...let me think....
No, really. Seriously??? The answer is dragons. It. Is. Always. Dragons.
What's in the box? What box? How should I know!? You're the one standing there with an imaginary box!
In my house, the answer is generally art supplies. Or random, obsolete power cables. If you could grant one species of animal the ability to talk, which would you choose?
I'm sure you expect me to say "dog" because I'm always sharing pictures of my 96 lb beast of a mutt, Paxton, on Facebook and Instagram. But really, dogs are pretty easy to read. I actually would love to know what my daughter's guinea pig, Kevin, is thinking. I'd really like to be able to ask him why he sleeps in his litter box.
Can you simply walk into Mordor?
See, this is where they made their mistake. They should have sent a cat. It would have walked in completely unnoticed and batted that ring right into the pit.
If you had to pick a song (or commercial jingle … or nursery rhyme) to be your theme song, what would you choose?
OK, so on a serious note, I'd have to say "A Wise Old Owl" nursery rhyme.
A wise old owl lived in an oak The more he saw the less he spoke The less he spoke the more he heard. Why can't we all be like that wise old bird? It's not because I think I'm so wise, but I can definitely relate to getting older and sharing my opinions, particularly online, less and less. I've always loved owls (the other answer I considered giving to the above question about an animal I'd like granted the ability to talk) and relate to their desire for a solitary life, living in a grand old tree. Are computers friends or foes?
I'm pretty sure we all think of computers as frenemies. I mean, they are like lifeblood for most of us, especially writers. But they also make you want to throw them across the room sometimes. At least I can type on my laptop, as opposed to my phone, on which it takes me like seventeen minutes to type out a text because of the tiny little keyboard. Also, without a laptop, where would I put my Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "Don't Panic" sticker?
Have you ever considered piracy? You'd make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts.
It would definitely be nice to walk around with a mask around my eyes rather than over my mouth for a change... Although I'd kinda rather be more like Inigo and get to tell people all the time, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Oh, wait, I do that already. My cat wants to know why he hasn't gotten his tuna yet. Can you help me come up with an excuse?
A dragon caught sight of the shiny metal can and added it to his hoard.
If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?
How many lights do you see?
There are four lights!
For those of you who don't get that reference, and to answer the question for real: I actually want to say how much I appreciate these interview questions not being the norm. I understand why so many people ask questions like, "Where does your inspiration for your stories/art come from?" but the honest answer for me would frustrate the interviewer and I end up making up stuff about it coming from things around me or whatever. So I'll take advantage of being here to say: I have no freaking clue. This stuff sometimes literally just drops into my head. I've written stories that fell right into my brain fully formed. I wrote one story because I kept hearing these two old guys arguing in a graveyard -- a graveyard that was in my head. Seriously, how am I supposed to know where that came from? As for my art, it's the same thing. I sit, I start pouring paint, I start moving the brush, and images show up on the canvas. Or, like with my altered thrift store paintings, I set the original painting on an easel and stare at it and stare at it, and walk by it a hundred times a day and scowl at it, and then put it away, and then put it back out, and then stare at it some more...until it tells me what "needs" to be in the picture. Creative people are weird, folks. And some of us don't get inspired--we get randomly attacked by feral muse-cats.