Name HA (Heather) Fortman but I write under HA Fortman
Age Too old! I’ll be *pouts* 20 with 20 years of seniority this September!
Where are you from Born and raised in Michigan, although I spent a short stint in Florida in my youth.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc I’m married to a wonderful ex cop, who helps me when I get stuck in my books. I have my degree in Criminal Justice, with previous schooling in pre-med. My son will be 16 this year, so plan to stay off of the sidewalks! We live in a small town near Detroit, with our two dogs (Belle, an old Australian Shepherd & Penny, a younger Harrier Hound) and our two cats (Syd, she’s an old Maine Coon that is grouchy, and Peanut who is a year old and tests her every chance he gets!)
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m working on an offshoot of the UGS Constellation series, the first book is Stolen Hearts, although I’m not sure if I’m going to make it a full blown series. After that is a super secret work with Dawn Montgomery and Trinity Blacio, but that one isn’t due until August… and of course there’s book three for the UGS series, I’ve got to give “The Twins” their story!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I actually started writing when I was in grade school, in fact, I found all of my notebooks that I used to write in, hidden in my Mom’s closet when I had to sort through it after she passed away last December.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I first considered myself a writer after I published Chasing Constellations and it shot up to #3 on the Amazon Best Sellers list. Although, to be truthful, I still get shocked when someone fan-girls over meeting me!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was on the way home from RAGT 2014, that’s long 4 hour drive home, and I was letting my mind wander. There was nothing on the radio and I didn’t want to stop and dig out my CD collection, so I called MrMan (what I call my husband) and put him on speaker phone. The next thing I know we’re discussing what would happen Zodiac Killer hadn’t been from Earth, if he’d actually been an Alien and that’s why they were never able to catch him. Granted, we were being silly at the time, but it was an idea that stuck with me for months. I started plotting out the story line in my mind at that point.
A few months later, I was at a FB party with SE Smith and she had an open question session, so I asked what advice she would give someone that was an aspiring writer. The next thing I know, she was on the phone with me and giving me some wonderful advice. We still talk regularly, and I’m so excited to finally get the chance to meet her in person at my first book signing in April at RTC, in Ottawa!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Honestly, not really. It depends on the type of writing I am doing, and what the characters are demanding. For instance, Rex is more of a laid back person in most respects, so the writing style was fun and jaunty. Chase was more formal, not quite stiff around the edges, but more like an oak tree.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I hashed out several titles with MrMan for weeks before I even bought the cover. Then after I settled on one, I went and found the cover that fit it the best. For Tracking the Hunter, it just seemed to come tome when I was writing out a ‘general idea’ plot line (not that the story stuck to it!) and when I went to start writing it, it just made sense.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
To expect the unexpected. Embrace the odd and most importantly, believe in yourself.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Most of it is, in fact, based off of actual case files. In book one at least. The rest is purely due to my own imagination. Book two is the opposite, most of it is my imagination but there are real life facts thrown into it as well. In Book One, there really was a killer that called himself the Zodiac Killer, with many killings, however for the story I had to add more. In Book Two, the after effects of the Vietnam War were hard on our returning soldiers and many did suffer from PTSD, but at that point in time, they had no name for it. Instead, they would tell the soldiers to “man up, and get back out there!”
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I interviewed several individuals for Book Two, because I wanted to get a good grasp on PTSD. For Book One, I conferred with my husband and another friend as they are both police officers, either retired or active.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I’ve read thousands of books, I’m a known book-a-holic! I think the ones that impressed and influenced me the most are Mercades Lackey’s Valdemar series. I could so relate with Talia!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Bianca D’arc’s newest book: Hidden Dragons.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There’s a TON of authors that I one click. SE Smith, Bianca D’arc, Dawn Montgomery, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alexandria Ivy… just to name a few!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on Stolen Hearts, it’s an offshoot of the UGS books. After that I am going to write book three for the UGS Series and the compilation box set with Trinity and Dawn.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
That’s difficult. There were six people that helped me by supporting me while I was writing. So, to encompass them all, I’d have to say that my friends supported me the most.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career? Yes, I do. I would love to be able to do nothing more than write.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I don’t think I would change the book, however, I would definitely change the circumstances around why I published it sooner than I planned to. You see, my Mom passed away December 4th, and in her honor, my Dad asked me to release book 2 early.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
was in 4th grade, English class. We had to write a short story with certain words, I can’t remember, but I know they were on our spelling list. I was only supposed to be 5 sentences, mine was 15, because you can’t tell a good story in such a short amount of time.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us? (Beware, it’s not edited!)
“Is everything ready?” Cloaked in darkness, hidden in the deep shadows, the voice slithered against his spine. He hated meeting in secret like this, the intrigue that used to stir his blood, now chilled his bones.
The noise of the bar dimmed to a low roar, as he leaned toward the smaller man with the odd voice. This bar, packed full with the seediest persons in the known universe, was built with small, secluded areas for privacy. They even managed to block out most of the light from the lamps, and roaring fires at either end of the long main room.
He could just barely make out the shape standing next to him, although it was hard to ascertain just what he stood next to. It seemed like the shadows simply swallowed the creature beside him, undulating around and over it until there was nothing left but that shapeless blob. He could be any life form, of the thousands known and perhaps even unknown, or any person with a voice modulator.
Even the eyes were nothing more than a slight glittering in the deep shadows, a spot of darkness that was slightly deeper than the rest. Its voice was raspy and deep, almost as if they lovingly caressed the creature and only reluctantly allowed his – because it was definitely a male – voice pass through.
He didn’t want to accept this job, knew in the recesses of his mind that it wasn’t a good idea, but his crew needed the credits it would bring; and his small fleet of fighter’s needed constant repairs. His voice was like silk compared to the other man’s as he murmured, “Yeah, we’re ready. As soon as we get the frequency we’ll be able to track them and set things in motion like you want.”
“Good.” Long and drawn out, the voice almost sounded winded. It sounded almost as though it was from an older person, and probably on its last legs or ready to keel over at any moment. Perchance that’s what would happen, and he wouldn’t have to worry about finishing this job.
He was jerked back to the conversation at hand when that slithering voice continued, “We’ll meet here at the same time in one standard week; I will give you the frequency and projected coordinates then.”
As he shook his head, feeling the long strands of his braided hair sweeping and chiming against each other, he asked in his deeper, smoother voice, “Why are you doing this? What’s so important that you have to hire us to attack this carrier instead of sending your precious army after them? Not many people want to deal with an unassuming ship sent out on a delivery, never mind dealing with pirates and our unsavory reputations.”
“Just get it done, according to our agreement! You don’t need to know why, or what happens after your part is over with. The less you know, the happier I’ll be. Do the job you’re being paid to do, and do it right. But if you fail, you won’t have to worry about finding another contract. You’ll be too busy scraping yourself, and your crew, off of whatever is left after I annihilate your base, and everything you hold dear.” It was clear he’d pushed a button with his questions as the gruff voice dropped another octave.
A rough body pushed him back against the wall, missing the slight upward curving of his own lips, as they shoved their way out of the secluded cubby hole. He was surprised with the force of the shove, strong enough that he nearly missed his chance to place the device on the creature, while it moved out of the secluded corner.
Smaller than a grain of sand, it would allow him to follow and eavesdrop on any conversations it had. As long as the creature remained within the same galaxy, he’d be able to find the bastard.
Stolen from the Lothags – a nasty race that looked more like walking insects, with a penchant for devouring their own young – it had been just a prototype when he swiped it earlier in the year. However, he wasn’t about to tell them that it worked wonderfully, especially after he modified it to suit his needs.
Tapping his ear, he heard the soft pealing note as his communicator connected before whispering, “Did you link it?”
“Yeah, boss. We’re golden. We’ll know when the mongrel steps into the toilet before even he does.” The voice on the other end was exuberant, almost gleeful as he heard fingers clicking away on an old fashioned keyboard.
“Good, lock on it and record everything.” He didn’t wait for a response before tapping his ear once more.
Instead, he watched the tall, cloaked figure as it shoved other creatures out of the way. There was a sense of entitlement surrounding the creature, as though it always got whatever it wanted.
His burnt-orange toned hands were smooth as they thrust out of the tall, hooded cloak, much more delicate than the voice indicated. And he was definitely a male, if the large hands and well-muscled forearms were any indication, then he was younger than he appeared to be.
He was certain that something was off, not quite right with the contract they were just given. And his instincts were telling him that they were about to get in way over their heads, that the client they were dealing with wasn’t telling them everything.
“Oh, yeah, like that’s anything new.” He murmured as he slipped from the shadowy corner of the decrepit bar. No one dared mess with him, not if they valued their lives. He was well known in this bar, a frequent ‘guest’ of the establishment.
Built with several corners that were intentionally darkened for just such meetings as he was now leaving, the bar was in the worst quadrant of the Vestal System.
Bypassing a rowdy table before it erupted into yet another brawl – thankfully the tables were bolted to the floor and made of strong steel – he exited the bar and turned left down the filthy, trash ridden alleyway.
His right hand rested on the butt of his gun, loose, but ready to rip it from the holster hidden under his leather coat. While the left hand seemed to almost enjoy showing off the wicked looking short sword hanging off his wide belt.
He let his fingers dance along the etched edges of the hilt, after pushing the edge of his leather coat clear, almost as though he dared anyone to try and approach.
He knew, in this desolate area, that most would be attracted like moths as the murky light reflected off of the gleaming sword. They would never see the shot from his other hand until it was too late.
Much like the other person, he was dressed in all black; from the combat boots that reached mid-calf, to the tight pants that were slung low over his hips, and the black T-shirt that barely stretched across his broad shoulders.
Any similarities stopped there, however, as he was wearing a thick leather coat that flipped against his calves with each step. He’d removed the sleeves years ago, finding it easier to fight without them in the way.
His strong arms, covered in a swirling tattoo of black, purple and red ink, flexed and seemed to dance almost as though they were alive.
Slung low over his face, helping to keep his features hidden in shadows, the wide brimmed black hat would look ridiculous on anyone else, but he knew he had the swagger to pull it off, and did so as often as he could.
A growl escaped his lips as he stepped over a body, not bothering to see if it was alive or not. He needed to get back to headquarters, and inform the crew of their next assignment. His steps increased, a sense of foreboding riding his tail. Something told me there was more to this little caper than met the eye, he just hope none of his men paid the price.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Editing. It’s so hard to catch the mistakes when you’re mind see’s what SHOULD be there, instead of what actually IS there. Thankfully I found a wonderful group of people that are willing to read and catch the mistakes for me.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Sherrily Kenyon, her work is so life-like, it just sucks you into the book and doesn’t let you go until the very last word is read.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Yes. But I love it. This year I’m driving down to Ohio, NY, and Ottawa.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Melody Simmons is my cover artist. She’s wonderful, sweet, and superbly talented!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Letting it go. Releasing it out into the hands of the readers, I always worry that people aren’t going to like it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
To always follow your dreams and NEVER let someone tell you otherwise!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
No matter what, keep writing.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for your support! I couldn’t do anything without my readers and I love to hear from/talk to you all! Even when I’m in the middle of writing, I don’t mind stopping to talk to someone. (I’m a chatty cathy!)
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Unfortuantely no, but I do remember my first horror story by Dean Koontz! Strangers. I loved it but it was so complex that I had to keep a notepad next to me so I could keep the characters straight in my head!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Rex running through the woods and falling over a tree… I laughed so hard at that scene that I had to stop writing for an hour. I still giggle over it. Surprises get the laughing-while-crying thing. I even cried (and still do even though I KNOW it’s going to happen) at Bambi!
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would LOVE to meet Shakespeare! His stories are just so inspiring!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“She followed her dreams” because they are so important. For years I buried them, and I regret it. Now however, I am making up for lost time.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Besides reading, I love to make lace through tatting (not tattooing!) which is making lace by knotting thread. I also do wood burnings.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love me some Ghost Hunters, Gotham, Fire Fly and of course you have to watch Serenity! Dr Who is another favorite.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Anything without wheat, although I splurge and pay for it, since I’m allergic to it. I love purple, red, and black… teals too but they need to be the darker colors. As for music… hmmm anything other than rap.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have gone into forensics.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
International Bestseller of Science Fiction Romance on Amazon!
Romantic Suspense That Captivates!
Here’s a picture of my puppies, Belle is the one blowing bubbles and Penny is the one blowing raspberries!
Here is “Queen Syd” on her perch… my knee.
And of course we can’t forget Peanut! He truly lives up to his name!