As part of the Reading Addiction tour for Lady of the Manor, I was able to have an author interview with Adrian Heflin about the writing process of Lady of the Manor and a few other things. Enjoy!
About Adrian Heflin
Adrian Heflin is a graduate of the University of West Georgia with an accounting degree. He is a former banker and security guard. He began his writing career with short stories, eventually evolving to novels. Adrian has published four books and is in the planning stage of several others. Lady of the Manor, a family saga, and Devil Town, an urban fiction novel, were published in 2013. E.M.A. Chronicles, a collection of short stories, and The Untrackables: Zhang Rule, a political thriller, were both published in 2014.
Interview with Adrian Heflin
What is the inspiration behind Lady of the Manor?
The inspiration for Lady of the Manor came from a previously terminated relationship with a woman who was a victim of child abuse. The damage caused by this traumatic childhood led her to believe that she can’t trust any man, including me. After the breakup, I began thinking about how lives are altered even years after the abuse has stopped. During a phone conversation with her, I began to consider the idea of a book about the life of a victim after the abuse. I thought the story would be much more conflicting and compelling to readers if the antagonist/abuser was a female. Once I developed the two main characters, I spent weeks in research and development of the setting, plot, supporting characters, and chapter organization before I wrote the first word.
Which character is your favorite in Lady of the Manor?
Although I enjoyed creating the dialogue for Caruthers more than any other character, Rosemary is my favorite. As a shy person, I envy her ability to say whatever to whomever without concern for any consequences. Even though she appears to be strong, she is one of the most vulnerable characters of them all.
Are there any echoes of your own childhood and experiences in Lady of the Manor?
Many readers have asked me if the story is about my childhood. At first, I was offended by the question because I felt it was an accusation against my mother. Later, I was offended by it because it made me feel like people didn’t think that I could be creative enough to develop this story from my own imagination. No, I don’t have very much in common with the experiences in this novel. But, every character has a little bit of me in their personalities.
Who do you think is the most misunderstood character in Lady of the Manor?
Pop Barnes is probably the most misunderstood character in the book. I’m sure many readers will question his friendship with a woman as cruel as Rosemary. If he loves her so much, why didn’t he ever marry her? To understand him fully, my readers will have to be exposed to their relationship from the beginning. The other secrets that bound their friendship will be revealed in the prequel.
Do you have any new projects in the works?
I am currently editing Rosey Dawn, which is the prequel to Lady of the Manor. I hope to release it by the end of 2015. It covers the life of Rosemary from her emigration from England to her days as a young grandmother in Savannah. I am also in the planning stage of part two of The Untrackables which continues the saga of government outcasts in a potential political coup that could lead to another war against China.
You have a wide variety of genres published- which is your favorite to write?
I most enjoy writing science fiction novels set in the future. These books are the easiest because they allow me to use my poetic license to create my own world within my mind with my own rules, laws, and settings. There’s not as much research involved in these types of novels as with those set in the past.
Do you believe short stories or novels are harder to write?
I think that novels are much more difficult to write. With short stories, I’m able to introduce a small group of characters and a simple plot, escalate the situation, and resolve it quickly. With novels, I have to create a much larger collection of main characters, supporting characters, and extras, each with their own personality and voice. A lot of thorough research goes into every novel to ensure historical accuracy. I have to develop deeper plots, multiple twists, and various conflicts. Though it is more difficult, I enjoy the challenge of writing novels over short stories.
Who are your biggest writing influences?
My desire to become a published writer was influenced by one of my college English professors. She submitted one of my research papers for publication in a magazine. It didn’t win; but ever since then, I wanted to have a book published. My high school senior English teacher guided my knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and linguistics. My style of writing is mostly shaped by Robert Newton Peck. I love his simple, country style with a mixture of drama and comedy.
What are your hobbies outside of reading or writing?
I enjoy watching sports and coaching my two children in their various sports. When I’m not doing that, I’m either watching movies or bowling.
What genres and authors do you like to read for fun?
I’m mostly into reading the classics. The last novel I read was Don Quixote and it’s my favorite book. I also loved reading The Brothers Karamazov, The Iliad and The Odyssey, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I will read anything written by Robert Newton Peck. I enjoyed his ‘Soup’ series, as well as A Day No Pigs Would Die, Arly, Arly’s Run, and Hallapoosa, among various others. I also grew up on books like the Encyclopedia Brown series and Sideways Stories From Wayside School, which I am currently reading to my children.
Thanks for taking the time to participate in this author interview, Adrian! If you have any questions for Adrian, leave them in the comments below!
About Lady of the Manor
71-year old Rosemary (Rosey) Isabella Creek is the cruel and ruthless matriarch of Creek Manor who carries out her malevolent deeds with the help of her loyal butler, Rayford Caruthers, whom she continually degrades for being an albino black man with atrocious English. Her only friend is Pop Barnes, who along with Rosemary’s brother, are the only ones who seem to remember a softer, lovelier ‘Rosey’. She lords over her only son, Richard, a 43-year old banker; his wife, 42-year old Helen; and their five children: the twins; Hilary and Taylor, along with Kimberly, Reginald, and Brock.
The patience of everyone is tested with each of Rosemary’s taunts as they try to understand the nature and reason of her cruelty. As more details of her past are revealed, it only further complicates their comprehension. Will she ever transform into a woman that they can love?