Author Interview: Heather Davis

Everyone welcome Heather Davis, author of The Clearing, a YA time travel novel that brings sixteen-year-old Amy, recovering from an abusive relationship, back to 1944 where she meets eighteen-year-old Henry, who is stuck in an endless summer.

Interview Questions

1- Hello Heather.  Welcome and thank you for taking the time to stop by Damsels in Regress to talk with us.  What inspired this novel? Did you always envision it as a time travel story?

Thanks for having me!  So, I used to live in a small mountain town near a river, just like Amy.  I lived next door to a big open field where my neighbor grazed his cows and horses.  Often a mist would cover the field so completely, the big red barn at the end of the field would disappear.  I started wondering what was really behind that mist, and Henry Briggs came walking out – a boy stuck in the endless summer of 1944.  It began with Henry, so the story really begged to be a time travel novel.

2- I love the 1940s and 1950s, and one of the big reasons is the attitude of men towards women.  They were gentlemen in the truest sense of the word.  You did a great job of portraying that in Henry, through his actions, dialogue and thoughts.  What type of research did you do to help write Henry?

I love old movies — one helpful film was The Best Years of Our Lives – a 1946 film about men returning home from WWII.   As far as how people lived through the depression years up through the war, the older people in my life were a great resource.  I did research online, tapped an expert for help with dates and military stuff, and read an amazing book on the nurses of WWII.  I really enjoyed doing all this research.  While I wrote the book (especially Henry’s scenes) I listened to 1940s swing and 1930s standards.  It wasn’t hard to get into the mood.

3- I’m curious, how did you come up with the ending?  Did you always have one in mind or was it something you struggled with?

The ending was pretty close to what I had thought was going to happen. It had to be organic – honoring both Amy and Henry and the choices they had to make.  I usually write my stories with the ending in mind.

4- You change from 3rd to 1st POV depending on what year we are in and whose head we’re in.  What motivated the decision to use two different POVs?

I wanted Amy to feel close so that today’s readers would identify with her right away.  I wanted them to hear her voice.  With Henry, who actually came first in my imagination, I felt that the 3rd person would help him feel more distant, more true to the period, maybe.  When I put the chapters together, it felt right.

5- Do you have a particular favorite time travel novel?

I have a favorite time travel musical, Brigadoon, and a favorite time travel movie, Somewhere in Time.  I would say my story has more in common with that story than with a work like The Time Traveler’s Wife, which was a great book.  I read it after I had written The Clearing and was really moved.  The book was a million times better than the movie, by the way.

6- And lastly, I’m always curious to know what other authors are reading.  What books are on your to read list?

I’m reading Boneshaker by Cherie Priest and several non-fiction books for research for my next novel, Wherever You Go, which is about a teen caring for her Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather and the ghost haunting them both.

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and chat with the Damsels!


3 Responses to Author Interview: Heather Davis

  1. Tricia says:

    Nice interview! Always fun to be introduced to new authors.

  2. Annie Parker says:

    Lovely interview, thank you for posting it!

  3. Danielle Hinesly says:

    Thanks for giving us a look into the authors’ lives and opinions. I always enjoy the interviews on this site.
    Keep ’em coming!

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