It’s a great pleasure to introduce Australian writer, Heidi Catherine, in one of my occasional Meet the Author spots. Heidi has written The Soulweaver, a really mesmerising tale about reincarnation, which will be published on 19th January by Crooked Cat.
I’m lucky enough to have read The Soulweaver already, and I loved it. Sometimes it has the air of a folk story, sometimes it’s a romance, then the story turns again and has tragic elements. It’s a fascinating tale. I’d be the first to admit that it’s not my usual genre but I was gripped from the first by Heidi’s beautiful writing, by her sense of conviction and by her masterly storytelling. I think it’ll be a huge hit and I can definitely see it being made into a really intriguing film. It’s no surprise to me that it’s already won the Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award.
Here’s the blurb for The Soulweaver:
Lin’s dreams are haunted by faces of people she’s never met. Unable to shake the feeling she’s lived before, she’s drawn to Reinier—a stranger whose soul is heartbreakingly familiar from a time gone by.
Reinier helps Lin unravel the mystery of her past life as Hannah, a girl who sacrificed herself for her true love, Matthew. As Lin falls hopelessly in love with Reinier, her memories of her life as Hannah sharpen and she finds herself unable to let go of Matthew.
With her heart torn in two, Lin must decide whether she should stand by Reinier’s side or track down Matthew and fight for his love. What she doesn’t know is that her decision will ripple across our troubled planet, affecting far more lives than just her own.
Winner of Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award, The Soulweaver is a story that will change the way you see the world.
To what extent does the book represent your own beliefs?
The idea of reincarnation has always fascinated me and I would very much like to believe it’s real. I’ve heard some incredible (and very convincing) stories about children remembering their past lives, with these memories fading as they’ve grown older. I’ve also met people who I’ve been certain I’ve met before. In the first chapter of The Soulweaver, Hannah sees Reinier for the first time and is overwhelmed with the feeling she’s seen him a million times, yet she’s never met him before. It’s a feeling I’m sure many readers will relate to. Reincarnation makes a lot of sense to me, and although nobody can be completely certain as to what happens to us after we die, I’m positive that something happens. The Soulweaver is just one of a billion possibilities.
Did you base any characters on people around you?
In The Soulweaver we meet Lin, who’s torn between Matthew, the man she loved in her past life, and Reinier, who has been her soulmate for a thousand years. Her love is so strong that she finds it impossible to choose between them. This reminded me of how a mother feels for her children, and I subconsciously started loosely basing Matthew on my elder son and Reinier on my younger son. When I realised this was what I was doing, I went with it and discovered that it really worked as a tool for ensuring that I didn’t favour either of my male characters. I want the reader to be just as torn between these two men as Lin is —and as I am myself.
Why did you decide to split the book between Australia, Hong Kong, London and New York?
The Soulweaver is told in parts, with each part taking place in a different city from the point of view of a different character. I really liked the way that changing the setting as well as the character gave each part of the book a distinctive feel. It also felt too limiting to have souls only reborn in the same city. As much as this is a love story, it’s also a story about our planet and what humankind is doing to it. A story like that is best told from different corners of the globe.
Why did you decide to make the Author male?
In The Soulweaver, the Author is the creator of the universe. When he first appears in the novel, he is male, although explains that as he isn’t made from flesh and blood he can appear in any form he chooses. He then manifests himself as an old man, and then a young woman. So really, the Author isn’t male or female. The reason he mainly presents himself as male in the book is because planet Earth also has a female Soulweaver who weaves each soul into the life they will live next. The Soulweaver is such a powerful force in the story that I wanted to balance out the genders a little bit.
Are you planning to continue the series?
Yes! Initially I wrote this as a standalone, but when I got to the end, the characters had so much more they wanted to tell me. So I wrote the second book and then… yep, those characters still wouldn’t leave me alone, so I wrote a third book. They’re keeping quiet now so the series will end there. Each book is very different, as they become a little more sci-fi than fantasy. But in essence, they’re all stories about the power of love and the journey our soul takes over our lifetime. I’ve also written a prequel novelette to the series, called The Moonchild, which is available for free on Amazon. In this story, we meet two of the main characters from The Soulweaver, in their lifetime directly before the series begins. It’s one of my favourite things I’ve ever written and I’m really excited to be able to get this story out there.
How old are your children, and does being a mother make you a better writer?
I have two sons, aged 11 and 13. I’m not certain they make me a better writer, but they have made me a different kind of writer. Becoming a mother changed the way I see the world, which of course had an impact on what I write. There’s a scene in The Soulweaver between a mother and son and I was a weeping mess at my computer when I wrote that. If I hadn’t become a mother, I’m not sure that scene would ever have been written, or if it would be as powerful. Having said that, I don’t want to imply that someone who isn’t a mother couldn’t write about being one. I’ve written plenty of scenes from a male point of view and I’ve never been a man. Well, not in this lifetime, anyway!
If you’d like to know more about Heidi Catherine’s writing, she can be found on Facebook, Twitter or on her website. Her debut novel, The Soulweaver, is available for order now. She also has a free prequel novelette called The Moonchild, which introduces you to two of the main characters from The Soulweaver in the lifetime they lived before the book takes place.