Saturday, July 21, 2012

PhotoNovelist Heather Hummel #AuthorInterview

Heather, you describe yourself as a photonovelist instead of a photojournallist. Why is that? and how do your photos come into your novels?
I’ve pursued both writing and photography since my teens. In fact, my two favorite classes in high school were English and photography. Now, in my forties, I remain both a writer and a photographer. The term “PhotoNovelist” was coined when I acknowledged that I don’t write in the journalism field¾I write novels. So it’s a simple term to accurately describe my two passions!

Are the descriptions in your novels visually richer because of your eye for a good picture? How so?
Because of my love for photography and being outdoors, I’ve always been a very visual person. As a writer, I consider all of our senses when scripting a scene. What would the air smell like? What colors are accentuated during this season and location? What sounds would be appropriate? I think the answers to questions like that are subconscious at times, but other times we strive to find just the right description. I’ve also lived in and photographed many locations, north, south, east and west, so I have a good sense of the weather and seasonal changes around the country. That diversity has helped with the types of novels I write. So yes, the two go very well together.

That said, which medium do you find more expressive? Visually with photographs, or stirring emotions with words?
I think they’re equally expressive; it’s more a matter of how the viewer or reader connects to the piece. One image can evoke powerful emotions as readily as a paragraph in a novel. It’s up to the interpretation of each individual, which is why I get so much satisfaction out of doing both. There are days when I connect more with my photography and other days when I take great pleasure in writing 2,000 words. I’m just so grateful I can do both on a daily basis and the reward has been that of responders to my work in both cases.

I just started reading "Write from the Heart: A Novel." Is it autobiographical? Or a flight of imagination? Any message for the reader to take from it?
WRITE FROM THE HEART was actually written as a test of the Law of Attraction with the purpose of having much of it come true in my own life. Ironically, my first novel, WHISPERS FROM THE HEART, was only slightly autobiographical, and yet many of the scenes came true in my life within five years! Because I believe that what we put our focus on with great emotion has the potential to come true, I’m careful about the types of books I write!
The unanimous response to WRITE FROM THE HEART is that it has inspired readers to either write their own first novel or to start a positive thought journal. That’s all I ever wanted from it.

You're working on a PhD in metaphysical studies. Can you describe what it is? How does it work its way into your writing? Your photos?
Metaphysical Sciences is the study of spirituality, such as the Law of Attraction based ideas. As I noted in my experience with WHISPERS FROM THE HEART, I learned that what I write with passion, I have the tendency to create in my own life. So, yes, it definitely carries over to my writing. Believing in the idea that what we focus on (pun intended) we can create, I am conscious of the topics and subjects I write about and capture through my lens. Much of my photography is landscape in beautiful places where I love living. That’s a conscious choice. My characters learn to love again after heartache, that, too, is a conscious choice.

You are absolutely lucky to live on the Central Coastline of California and your photos are fabulous. What are the emotions coursing through your body when you have a majestic scene in front of you?
I did live in Carmel for two years, but recently moved to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. After photographing the tumultuous waves of the Pacific, I found myself moving to Colorado where I now photograph statuesque mountains. It’s quite a different feel. I’m much more grounded in Colorado, which has surprised not only me, but those who know me well because I was always considered a “Cali Girl” even when I lived in Connecticut and Virginia!

I never tire of looking at beautiful landscape, and as I’m driving or riding my bike, I constantly analyze the lighting situations. It’s become much like when I read other people’s books in that I’m always analyzing (not critiquing, but more of a study) their works.

How about people? Photographing them or writing to capture their essence?
I do some portrait photography. I also photograph people with their pets, which is my favorite. Most of the characters in my novels come to me on their own accord with their own self-description. It’s interesting because I don’t have much say in the matter. It’s like they show up in my head and tell me all about themselves. I definitely have more control of the camera’s subjects than I do my novels’ characters!

What is your philosophy about life?
Read my book SIGNS FROM THE UNIVERSE, it’s all in there! But in a nutshell, I believe there are two wells in the universe that we can dip into: Love and Fear. Which one do you (plural) dip into?

It was great to get to know you. How can folks contact you?
Thanks so much for having me! My websites are:

Heather Hummel is a "photonovelist" who blends her love for photography with her award-winning career as an author. Her published works include:
Journals from the Heart Series:
Whispers from the Heart (2011)
Write from the Heart (2011)
Life in the Iris of the Beholder (2012)
Signs from the Universe (2011)
Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw-Hill, 2008),

2009 Mature Media Awards, Merit Award
2009 New York Book Festival, Honorable Mention

Heather has ghostwritten for politicians, corporations, and public figures. Her books have appeared in newspapers such as: Publishers Weekly, USA Today and the Washington Post; and in magazines that include: Health, Body & Soul, First, and Spry Living, a combined circulation of nearly 15 million. A graduate with High Distinction from the University of Virginia, Heather holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree with concentrations in English and Secondary Education. She is currently earning a Ph.D. in Metaphysical Sciences.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heather, I am really happy to have met you. I've started my Positive Journal and looking for positive things that happened to me and eliminating negative self-talk and everyone around me is happier.