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Hello Historical Fantasy Author Kelley Heckart! Welcome to Coffee Time Romance and More!

Hi, and thank you for the interview.

Please tell us about your recent release The Bear Goddess. The title is very intriguing!

The Bear Goddess is a retelling of the Greek myth of Callisto, the nymph who betrayed Artemis. This one has a forbidden love theme and is filled with otherworldly creatures like centaurs, satyrs, gods, and nymphs. My story is set in Bronze Age Greece and is a mix of history and myth. The setting is in Artemis’s magical forest.

That sure sounds exciting. Which part of this story was your favorite part to write? Which part was the hardest?

My favorite part was creating the mythical, secret realm of Artemis, the wild forests and hidden waterfalls within the Erymanthos Mountains. The hardest part was the sex scenes. Those are always hard for me to write, but romance readers expect them.

Oh yes, romance readers do!
If this book was adapted to film, what actors do you see playing your characters?

I would have someone like Clive Standen, the actor who plays Rollo in Vikings, play my centaur-shifter, Kasin, because that actor has the build, the fierceness, and the long hair of a centaur. It’s more difficult to find an actress to play Callisto. I based her on a model I found in a magazine and don’t know her name. If there is an actress who looks like Angelina Jolie with light olive skin then that would work.

Where did the idea for this story and characters come from?

I have loved Greek myths since high school when I learned about them in English class, and Artemis is one of my favorite goddesses because she was independent and refused to wed one of Zeus’s brothers. I had an idea for three books based on different Greek myths. This one is forbidden love, the second one is a take on Beauty and the Beast, and the third book has a revenge theme. For The Bear Goddess, I stayed with the main part of the myth that Callisto betrayed Artemis. I wanted my nymphs to be more like warriors, and I created Guardians, nymphs who protect the goddess’s forest. I came up with a world where centaurs and nymphs were enemies, so naturally, Callisto falls in love with a centaur, and he is one of few who can take human shape.

You have so many fascinating interests! Please tell us how you became passionate about history, mythology, and magical creatures.

I have loved all of those things since I was very young, maybe because the real world was boring. I’m not really sure why, but I always had my nose in a book, escaping from reality. My mom said I started reading on my own at age 4. And I never wanted to be the princess saved by a prince. I wanted to be the one doing the saving. So I was pretty weird for a girl.

Well, the worlds in your books definitely do not sound boring, and I love it when the princess saves the prince!
I understand you are also a musician? What instruments do you play?

I play the bass guitar and Irish whistles. In fact, I just dusted off my whistles to play an outside wedding with my husband. He also plays bass in a bunch of bands, plus guitar and mandolin. Our acoustic music is what I would describe as Celtic rock.

What type of music do you enjoy? Are there any songs that helped inspire The Bear Goddess?

I like to listen to Icelandic metal when I write because a lot of the lyrics are based on mythology, and the music sets the mood for my otherworldly stories. Some of my favorite bands are Evanescence, Nightwish, Apocalyptica, and Sirenia. I think I had a Sirenia CD playing while I wrote The Bear Goddess.

Are you enjoying your summer? Do you have any exciting plans?

Summers here in the desert are scorching, so this isn’t my favorite time of the year, though I do get a lot of writing done because it’s too hot to go outside. No exciting plans this year, but I would like to get to Las Vegas for a weekend.

You write such unique stories! As a reader, what kind of stories appeal to you? Who are some of your favorite authors?

Thank you. One of my favorite authors is Morgan Llwelyn. She writes a lot of stories set in ancient Ireland. I also like Ann Rice and Stephen King. Right now, I am obsessed with Game of Thrones. I love the HBO series and am reading the books. Love them so far. I can see why it made such a great series—the characters really stand out. I love the fantasy world he created. I like to read stories that are different. I get bored with the usual ones. I read this really cool werewolf tale set in 16th century Prague—The Werelord Thal. So I’m always looking for something different or set in an interesting time. I don’t really read too many contemporary stories.

What would surprise readers to learn about you?

How about that I am more of a horror fan, and I have no idea how I ended up writing romance.

That is surprising. Horror and romance are about as different as you can get!
What are you working on now? Do you have any upcoming news you would like to share?

I hope to have The Wolf Queen out this fall. I just got the edits back. It’s based on the Greek myth of Lycaon, the werewolf cursed by Zeus. Then I have to finalize The Crow Maiden, another book in my Greek myths series. After that, I have to decide what to work on next. I have a cursed druids series, a couple of contemporary paranormal stories I’ve been playing with, and one light paranormal that is about the healing power of music. I’m also toying with a really different take on King Arthur.

Is there anything else you wish I would have asked during this interview?
No, you did a great job with the questions. Thank you. I appreciate all that CTR does for authors. The only thing I’d like to add is I have a special notices newsletter with extras and contests only for my subscribers. The link to sign up is:

Thank you so much for dropping by CTR, Kelley!






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