Author Interview: Kourtney Heintz

sixtraincoverJust in time for Valentine’s Day, Kourtney Heintz is stopping by to talk about her novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin.

Six Train is such a classic love story. Did you set out to write a novel like that or is that how it evolved?  

Thank you Sheila! It was very intentional. I wanted to write a love story I could relate to. No idealized hero and heroine who live happily ever after. For me finding someone isn’t the journey. Staying together, growing into each other, and dealing with the times you aren’t connecting – that’s what love is about. I wanted to write about people who have good intentions and sometimes make bad choices. I wanted to play with all the gray in relationships and capture what it’s really like to find love and to keep it.

Where did the idea for your novel come from?

The telepathy aspect came from thinking about how great it would be to read someone’s mind and realizing how much more complicated a relationship would become.

The central core of the story is about what you would do for the person you love. What a husband will do for his wife and what she will do for him. The book begins with Oliver as the caregiver and Kai as the care needer – this came from my experience with a back injury. I wanted to take all that pain and use it for something. To tell the story of what it is like to be on both sides of an injury – the caregiver and the care needer.

Do you think telepathy is possible?

Believing in the unbelievables is my tag line on my blog and my website. And I do. I think it’s all possible. I’ve had lots of woo-woo experiences and know people who also had them. I think there is so much beyond our five senses. I’ve never met a telepath, but I like to live in a world where that is possible.

I couldn’t help thinking that the colorful aunt in your novel sounded like Grandma H. What does she think of that character?

She is actually a bit from Grandma H’s sister, Julia, who always wore floral and paisley print dresses when I was a kid.

Unfortunately, we may never know. Grandma H is a niche reader. She only reads non-fiction. Specifically biographies or autobiographies. Usually of president’s wives or movie stars. So she hasn’t read the book. She did buy two copies though, so she is very supportive. 🙂

What made you decide to go the indie route?

I spent one and a half years pitching agents at conferences and sending out queries. I received a good amount of full manuscript requests and personalized rejections. Even got a revise and resubmit two-page editorial style letter from my dream agent at my dream agency. But we had a different vision for the opening and it didn’t work out.

Most of my feedback centered around great writing, but not sure how to sell it. That told me this was a book that might do best in the indie market. I also had a very specific vision for this book down to the cover and the formatting of the chapters. I felt like this was something I needed to bring to market myself.

IMG_0891Kourtney Heintz resides in Connecticut with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, her supportive parents and three quirky golden retrievers. She dreams of one day owning a log cabin on Butternut Lake. Years of working on Wall Street provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amuck at night, imagining a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide. 

Her debut novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin, is a 2014 EPIC Ebook Awards Finalist, a 2013 USA Best Book Awards Finalist and a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semifinalist.

You can connect with Kourtney through her blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

Where to buy: The Six Train to Wisconsin can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, or iTunes.

56 thoughts on “Author Interview: Kourtney Heintz

    • That’s right – so you know it must be good! 🙂 I loved her descriptions of the setting and the people. It was a lot of fun to virtually travel there!

    • I ❤ Wisconsin! Made some amazing friends there doing research and last summer during the book tour. I plan to go back this summer too!

  1. Ouch, telepathy between lovers– what a way to complicate a relationship. I am thinking that the relationship would require a great sense of humor to survive. Good interview. Way back in high school, I became interested in parapsychology and read a book by J.B. Rhine, the parapychologist from Duke University. I then proceeded to run his tests on a number of classes for a report. One or two students were off the charts in terms of the odds. Fascinating stuff. –Curt

    • I’ve always been interested in that kind of thing too and it really would complicate things! There are some funny parts in the book that show how complicated it would be. It also helps to make them closer at times. Thanks for visiting – I loved your goat post!

    • I really wanted to play with the concept of “if only I could read your mind”. It makes things more complicated. The husband does know how to shield so certain things he is able to keep from her and that causes lots of conflict later.
      I’m fascinated by this stuff as well. It ends up in every story I create. 🙂

  2. I find it so funny that Grandma H purchased two copies of your book but didn’t read it. Sounds like a classic Grandma H move, at least from what I know about her from your blog. 🙂

  3. This interview pushed me over the edge. I’ve been intrigued by your book for a while now, but finally ordered it today. Can’t wait to read it.

    • Yay! Thank you so much Charissa! 🙂 If you ever want to chat about it on email or Skype–I’d love to hang out with you and talk Six Train.

  4. I wanted to play with all the gray in relationships – this one line alone made us think of molding clay. great piece and sounds like a wonderful book. btw, we just heard the phrase “woo-woo” last week. Have we been out of it, or is it new? ox LMA

    • It really is a wonderful book. Molding clay might be messy with those paws of yours though. I’m not so sure I’ve heard woo-woo at all until now so both of us must be out of it (no surprise there)! xo

      • LOL. It is a lot like molding clay sometimes you push in one spot and something weird happens in another. 🙂 I’m not sure where I heard it or when. But it’s a fun way to describe it.

  5. Kourtney it sounds intriguing, I prefer love stories that don’t go normal path, well done for going it alone and believing in your dreams. It takes guts to tell the traditional publishers how you want it done. I will add it to my list of books to check out thanks for sharing Sheila.

    • Thanks Kath! I love sharing great books with friends. That’s true that it can be hard to put something out there on your own like that. Kourtney did a wonderful job with it and she’s a true inspiration.

    • Thanks! I truly believe love is a journey never a destination. Been in enough relationships to realize it doesn’t stop–everyday the journey continues. 🙂 Thanks. I couldn’t revise the book the way they wanted. I simply didn’t see it that way. It wasn’t easy, but I felt like this was the story I could stand behind. It cost a lot to bring it to market myself, but I am so proud of the story I told.

  6. Pingback: Talking Six Train with Sheila Hurst + Reckonings Announcements | Kourtney Heintz's Journal

  7. I always like stories that focus on real relationships, the actual journey part of the relationship, as she mentions. And, of course, I’m an immediate fan of anyone who loves dogs! Off to buy the book….

    • Hahah – dog lovers unite! 🙂 I think you’ll love this one. It really is about the journey, how difficult it can be, but also how it can all be worth it.

    • Thanks Letizia! I felt frustrated by traditional romance novels. They always end just as the couple gets together. To me finding someone is hard, but growing together and surviving the day-to-day together is the epic journey. Aw, I am a big dog lover. Emerson even makes an appearance in my YA series.

    • Thanks Britt! Your book is in my TBR pile after your fabulous interview with Sheila!

    • Definitely a great combination! 🙂 Sometimes that love even melts the snow away. Hope you have a fun long weekend with lots of warmth and hugs.

  8. I’m with you Kourtney in believing in the unbelievables. Who’s to say it can’t happen, just because we may not have experienced it ourselves? I believe my father contacted me in the wee hours of the morning on the day my first daughter was born; he’d been dead a year and a half by that point. Having read Six Train, I’m glad you stayed true to your vision for the work and pursued indie publishing. It’s such a unique story and presentation.

    • I agree. I think he did. It would have been such a special moment and I think those we’ve loved can break through for something like that in some form. 🙂 Thank you. The big stumbling block was to cut the first 40 pages and start with them on the road. I just didn’t see it that way. I felt like we needed to see how bad things got in NYC to understand Oliver’s actions and all that happened afterwards.

    • That’s so nice that your father visited and was able to see his granddaughter. I’ve had experiences with that kind of thing too. I believe so much more is possible in this world than we fully realize.

  9. I really enjoyed this book, which is also a great example of how good independent authors can be. I’ve been recommending it to family, friends, and coworkers for months now!

    • Thank you so much! JM you are the best. 🙂 You also helped me get into DeKalb Public Library. Readers like you make every hour editing and agonizing over word choices completely worth it!

    • Definitely a great example and an inspiration to us all! Hope you have a great weekend with lots of snow melt on the horizon.

  10. There are many people in my life who’s mind I’d love to read! Terrific interview, Sheila! I’ve got Kourtney’s book on my Kindle and I’m really look forward to reading it. Kourtney’s great!

  11. This sounds like a great read, Sheila.

    My brother is also a niche reader and loves ‘real life’ stories. I’m always throwing my fiction books at him, but I can’t break that stubbornness 😉

    • It really is – I loved it. That’s funny about those niche readers. To me, fiction can be more real than real life stories.

      • Thanks Dianne!

        And nonfiction can sometimes have more fiction in it than even the writer realizes. 🙂

  12. Great interview, Sheila. I recently finished Six Train, and I loved it. I had to laugh out loud that Grandma H hasn’t read the book, but bought two copies. Typical. 😉

    • Thanks Kathryn! It’s so her. She wants to be supportive but she won’t break her reading rules for me. 🙂

  13. Great interview Sheila – I read Kourtney’s book some time ago and thoroughly recommend it – it’s a unique and exciting read. What has also been great is following Kourtney’s journey on her blog, as she promotes the book, while giving us all some very useful advice.

    • Thanks Andrea! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the blog posts about my journey as an indie author. I worry that it might bore people because sometimes it’s just small victories.

      • “Believing in the unbelievables is my tag line” > Blimey! Did Haruki Murakami say that 🙂
        It was excellent to read further details on Koutney´s book…
        The plot ´s main topics seem so interesting. And I loved KH´s insights on love at the very beginning . Enjoyable interview!

        Best wishes Aquileana 🙂

      • That must be something the fun people say. 🙂 Thank you – I’m glad you enjoyed it. The telepathy aspect definitely adds another dimension to a love story.

      • LOL. He may have. It just seems to fit my writing. Glad you liked our interview, Aquileana. Sheila gave me some fantastic questions to run with. 🙂

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