About the Author
H.M. Prévost is a writer, photographer, teacher and avid reader of YA fiction. Thrillers, fantasy and paranormal romances (that’s right, pretty much anything with a vampire in it!) are her favorite genres. She also loves to paint and has covered her house with murals. For many years, she worked abroad in the United Arab Emirates, which provided an exotic setting for her debut YA thriller, Desert Fire. She lives in Québec with her husband, two rambunctious daughters, and Ginger the cat.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Yes, I’m a teacher. I spent 12 years in the United Arab Emirates, where I taught high school English to classes of very noisy, undisciplined boys. The girls’ classes, on the other hand, were usually a pleasure to teach. The girls valued education. For the most part, the boys didn’t. Then I moved back to Québec and started teaching at a Cégep, where students are respectful and motivated (well, most of them!). It’s like night and day.
How would you describe your creative process while writing? Is it stream-of-consciousness writing, or d0 you first write an outline?
I find that the longer I write, the more I feel the need to outline, because it cuts down on the editing process later. And I hate editing, I really do. Actually, I don’t know anyone who likes the editing process. You have to re-read every single word you wrote over and over again, and find all those little errors that you didn’t catch the first time around. After a while you get tired of the story and you want to move on to something new. But a story is like a gemstone, the more you polish it, the better it will be.
Who are your literary heroes and why?
There are lots! Philip Pullman. His Dark Materials trilogy pulled me completely into his new world. That’s why I read, to escape my mundane everyday life. So when I find an author who can transport me to a new place and keep me there for hours on end, that’s nirvana. I love Suzanne Collins and The Hunger Games, although I found the third book in the trilogy to be a huge disappointment. Katniss simply acts out of character, and she doesn’t get to be in the role of a true hero.
If you could have been the servant to any famous person in history, who would that be and why?
Hmmmm. Tough one. I wouldn’t be anyone’s servant. How about if I could take Cleopatra’s place and she could be my servant? That sounds so much better. I spent so many years living abroad in a very rich country where I had a maid, and even after being back in Canada for quite some time, the thought of a toilet brush sends a tingle of horror down my spine.
What would you tell aspiring young writers about the publishing business?
It’s tough. It’s competitive. Don’t quit. Keep submitting and getting through all the rejections. Most of all: keep honing your craft. As a writer, there is always room for improvement.
Do you belong to a critique group? How has this helped or hindered your writing?
Critique groups have helped me in innumerable ways. It wasn’t until I became part of a critique group that I started to really evaluate and improve my work. It’s good to have other writers look at your work, comment on it, find flaws in it, and praise you when you’ve done well. It’s a great confidence-booster and at the same time it keeps your ego in check.
When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?
Usually right before I fall asleep. My conscious and subconscious mingle, and I come up with all kinds of solutions to the problems I faced that day.
From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
Describe your working environment.
I write wherever and whenever I can. I used to bring my laptop on the bus in the morning and afternoon, because I spent almost 2 hours a day on the bus. Why waste all that precious time just sitting there in traffic? I converted that into precious writing time. As long as my laptop is with me, I can write. And if it’s not with me, I can always scratch my ideas down on a piece of scrap paper.
They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?
An author with a fragile ego won’t get very far. I use criticism as an opportunity to improve.
How do you divide your time between taking care of a home and children, and writing? Do you plan your writing sessions in advance?
I grab snatches of time whenever I can. I get inspired when I’m in the shower in the morning. I write while the kids are watching TV and after they go to bed.
What is(are) your favorite book/author(s)? Why?
There are so many. Ken Follett (Pillars of the Earth); Stephen King (The Shining); Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games); PC Cast (House of Night); JK Rowling (Harry Potter); Anthony Horowitz (Alex Rider); Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl). I could keep going.