I’m pleased to introduce you to award-winning author Heather Cumiskey, whose novel I Like You Like This was a Finalist in the 2017 USA Best Book Awards and 2018 International Book Awards. Publisher’s Weekly says the main characters’ “unpredictable melting pot of emotions and attempts to find their place resonates.” The novel is the first of two in a YA duology about addiction, sexuality, peer pressure, and first love. Its sequel, I Love You Like That, arrives August 20, 2019. Meet Heather:
What have you learned from parenting, or from your own parents, that you bring to your work as a writer?
When you’re a new mother, it’s easy to feel under confident and constantly question whether you’re doing the right thing for your child. It’s also tempting to be swayed by other people’s opinions. Then you realize everyone mothers differently and it’s okay if your parenting style is unique. Your kid probably is, too. It’s the same with writing and learning to trust what you’re creating. There’s no perfect formula for either one—which is a good thing.
Where do you write? What do you love (or hate) about it?
I write in the solitude of my home office. Working alone used to bother me because I missed the energy of others and bouncing ideas off of them. Now I prefer the quiet. It helps me hear my characters’ voices.
If you had a motto, what would it be?
Leave people and places better off than you found them.
Who inspires you?
All types of artists inspire me, from parents who fit in their craft while their kids are at school and lose out on sleep to meet a deadline, to teens who catch their creative fire early and diligently hone it. Their love for what they do is contagious and a joy to witness.
What charity or community service are you passionate about?
I love volunteering with Athletes Serving Athletes, an organization based in Maryland. Its motto: Together We Finish. We train and help special needs athletes to compete in mainstream races, in the process becoming close to the athletes and their families. The group embodies the best of the human spirit and the joy in helping others.
What are you reading now (or recently) and/or what book do you recommend?
A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena. I enjoy stories about characters who aren’t as they seem, especially ones whom others have prejudged and discarded. I like seeing a good backstory unfold. Everyone has one that deserves to be told.
What is the most satisfying part of being an author?
When readers share with me that a character(s) resonated with them. To me, that’s the ultimate compliment. It encourages me to keep going.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be?
A painter. I love color. I’d be a messy painter. The fun would be in the creating, not necessarily the end result.
Are there moments in writing when you feel like a fraud?
Sometimes. I think that fear lingers in most artists. I use it to work that much harder. I quiet the inner voice by setting out to play, not to write when I work. It’s a different mindset and it helps me relax and have fun going anywhere with any character I choose.
Heather Cumiskey is a freelance writer, editor, and author. I Like You Like This is the first book in a poignant YA duology about addiction, sexuality, peer pressure, and first love. It is a bronze recipient of the 2017 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and a Finalist in both the 2017 USA Best Book Awards and 2018 International Book Awards. She resides in Maryland with her husband and three sons. Visit her at heathercumiskey.com.