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Interview with "Winged Descent" author Heather Allen Dencker

Heather Allen Dencker is the author of the Winged series. The  second novel in the series “Winged Descent” is currently available on Amazon here. The prequel “Winged Decision” will be available on Amazon January 2013, but can currently be read online here. Heather is a diehard Twihard, and was recently at EyeCon! You can follow Heather on twitter, and read our interview with her below.

What originally made you want to become an author?

“Writing is my escape from the world, and I’ve been doing it since I was seven years old. My best friend and I used to write down stories together and bring them into our second grade classroom for our classmates to read. I’ve never stopped writing since then, but I’ve never had an idea that I could carry through to the end and finish a novel with. After I wrote Winged Descent and tried to go the traditional route of finding an agent for it without much luck, my husband suggested that I take matters into my own hands & self-publish it. I’m grateful he pushed me into it!”

How did you come up with the concept for the Winged series?

“I don’t know! I can’t remember exactly how it started. I know the exact day I started writing it (April 1, 2010), because it seemed like an important thing to remember, but I don’t remember if it started with Savannah or Kendrick. I can say that I’ve always had a fascination with winged creatures, and once I started writing about the centaurs’ backstory, I did some research and found out that their classic enemies were the Lapiths. Then I started questioning what would happen if these mythological creatures who had this feud thousands of years ago were still dealing with the fallout today. What would that look like? From there, the story just snowballed & started writing itself.”

Were you into Greek mythology as a child/teen?

“I’ve never studied it in great depth, but yes, I’ve always enjoyed reading it. I really love the story of Icarus & Daedalus, which, ironically, is about a boy who tries to fly by making a pair of wings!”

Who is your favorite Greek god?

“Hmmmm…. I guess since I’m using him so much in my books, I’d have to give Apollo a shout-out, but Athena is pretty cool, too. Figures that the god(dess) of wisdom would be a woman.”

Kendrick is my new boyfriend, so thank you. How did you develop him? Are his looks or personality based on someone real?

“No! No one can live up to his perfection, haha. His personality isn’t based on anyone I know, or even anyone fictional. I wanted him to be his own person, and I developed him based on what I would want from my ideal man. My biggest demand from him was that he had to be inherently good. No matter his flaws (and he does have some—we see those more in the prequel), he is still good to the core. His looks, when I first started writing, were based on Ian Somerhalder. Now, I envision him being personified by Matt Bomer. Those eyes… *sigh*.”

How did you decide that some centaurs wouldn’t have horses bodies?

Well, when I first envisioned Kendrick, I just saw him as a man with wings. The fact that he was a centaur came afterward. I knew I didn’t want him to be an angel, but I wanted him to be something supernatural. I started thinking of creatures with wings, and I kept coming back to centaurs. Though I knew they were half-man/half-horse, I always thought of them as having wings, too. A quick Google Image search confirmed I’m not the only one who thinks that. Anyway, I decided that in my fictional world, the centaurs would have wings, too. BUT, a romantic lead with a horse’s body was not appealing to me, so Kendrick became half-human to get rid of that little physical trait.”

 Whose POV was the most fun for you write in?

Oooh, great question. I have to say I like them all for different reasons. Savannah’s voice was probably the most comfortable because it was most like my own, but that also made it a little uninteresting for me. With Kendrick’s I got to speak through this beautiful, perfect, otherworldly creature, so that was really cool. But Conner’s POV was probably the most fun. With him, I got to explore a huge range of emotions. I also got to say all the unfiltered, bold things I often can’t say in real life.”

 Without spoiling anything, different characters have special talents. How did you decide what these talents would be?

“They are all based on what Apollo himself was known for. Taking into account that he is the god of prophecy, healing, light, and truth, this is why the centaurs can do what they do. It is mentioned that the original Lapith, Lapithes, took his seven sons and slaughtered the Greek countryside when he still lived on Earth. Knowing this backstory makes it plausible that the Lapiths are extraordinarily strong and have heightened senses. They are born warriors.”

 Can you tell us about Winged Decision and its plans to be released in book form?

“Winged Decision is the prequel to Winged Descent and it discusses the events leading up to the decision the Centaurans made to come to Earth. It is essentially Kendrick & Norana’s story, starting around their engagement and ending with Kendrick landing on Earth. It is available now on HeatherDencker.com for free, but will be released as a paperback & ebook in January 2013. That version will have three extra chapters not found online.”

 What was your favorite chapter in Winged Descent to write?

“I’d have to say the fight scene between Conner and Kendrick. It took a lot of research on my part, was very fun to actually write because of all the action, and I’m proud of how it turned out. A close second is the scene where Roma comes to Savannah’s house. She was just a blast to write. I guess I like conflict!”

 Do you have a favorite plot twist of your own?

If you mean my favorite plot twist in Winged Descent, mine would be the end of the epilogue. That one actually surprised me. I was imagining what happened to Fidel after he went home with his family, and it just came to me that this would be the natural consequence. I remember thinking, “oh, no no… that’s too harsh… but it’s awesome!” and I had to go write that part right away.”

Winged Descent ended with such an amazing cliff hanger! Have you already written Winged Deliverance? Do you know exactly how the series will end?  

Well, thank you! People have strong reactions to the ending, which is so cool. Everyone says, “you are writing a sequel, right?” To which I have to reply, “of course! I want to know how it ends, too!” Anyway, Winged Deliverance is not finished yet, but I do know how it will end. There will be closure to all three characters’ stories.”

 Will Winged Deliverance be told in Savannah, Connor and Kendrick’s POVs as well?

Yes, but since it will involve a battle with the Lapiths, I’m considering throwing in a few “villains’” voices, too. I feel like they should get a chance to defend themselves a bit.”

 Are you team Kendrick or Connor?

“Ohhhh, that’s not fair—I love them both. For Savannah, I’m definitely Team Kendrick. She and Conner are just friends. Their love for each other is deep and real, but it is more familial and less passionate. I adore Kendrick because he is genuinely kind and good, but I appreciate Conner’s ability to throw caution to the wind and jump in feet-first.”

What is the last book you read? 

I just finished “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth, which disappointed me a little because it did not live up to the awesomeness that was its predecessor, “Divergent”. However, I would still recommend this series to anyone because as far as dystopian trilogies go, it’s fantastic. I’m now reading “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, which is excellent so far.”

 What is the last movie you saw?

Breaking Dawn, pt. 2…. and it was amazing. I’m a huge Twihard.”

 What is your favorite TV show?

“I love Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, Once Upon a Time, The Walking Dead, Being Human, True Blood, and probably a few more that I’m forgetting.”

 Tell us about your experience at EyeCon.

“EyeCon was fantastic! It was my first convention as a vendor and I had such a good time. I got to meet people I’d only previously talked to online who read Winged Descent, and that was a really cool experience meeting them in person. People were so complimentary about the book, and that always makes me feel so good. I also got to network with bloggers (like you!) and I truly appreciate that. Just the countless conversations I had with people—whether they bought the book or not—everyone had a story, and as a fellow Vampire Diaries fan, I loved hearing them. Lastly, I was able to give my book away to four of the celebrities there, and they were so supportive and gracious. It was all a very uplifting experience.”

Would you be interested in attending another convention or doing a book signing?

I definitely hope there will be more! I’m open to going anywhere and doing whatever I have to to promote the series. My alma mater, UCF, is having a book fair in April that I will be attending as a vendor, and I’ve done a book signing at our library here in Orlando, but I want to do more, yes. I’m very grateful for everyone who has done their part to support the series and get the word out, but at the end of the day, I have to do the legwork to make sure people know about the book. Until it’s a household name, my job isn’t done.”

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