A couple of months ago, a debut author popped up on our radar and ever since, we've been obsessed. Lisa Heathfield is an incredibly friendly author, mother and former teacher who has just published her first novel Seed, which went on sale April 16th 2015. Seed is about Pearl, who was born into an isolated community named Seed, which is led by a man named Papa S. Outsiders have never breached the community before, until Ellis and his family arrive. At YA Love, we are obsessed with Seed and its handling of the topic of a cult. It's unlike anything we've ever read before and we applaud Lisa for writing such an excellent first novel. We asked Lisa some burning questions so we could share our new found obsession with you, although please bear in mind the following answers may include minor spoilers.
Q1. Seed is your debut novel; did you always know you wanted to write a book or was it a “let’s give it a go, why not?” kind of situation?
I've always loved writing. I wrote my first book when I was nine! I used to write short stories on my type-writer and send them to magazines such as 'Blue Jeans'! But I never dreamed that I could be published. I've never written with that in mind. It's more that I HAVE to write. If I'd never been published, I would have happily carried on writing book after book and keeping them piled in the corner of my room!
Q2. We LOVED Seed here at YA Love, as it contains unique themes not often seen in YA literature. How did you come up with the idea of a cult, specifically, one that focuses on nature?
There was no conscious thought - Pearl appeared to me one day, as real as anyone I meet and with her came Seed. I have always been interested in cults, so maybe SEED was rattling round in my subconscious for a few years, waiting for the right time to come out. And I do like the idea of 'going back to nature' a bit - so maybe I've created somewhere that (without all the darkness) I'd quite like to be.
Q3. At times, Seed can be hard to read due to the challenging content. Did you have any fears that tackling something so different would affect the way in which people read this book?
I think that cults naturally lend themselves to the abuse of power. There's almost always one person in complete control and they work the strings. It's extraordinary that they can make people do whatever they want. And an environment like this breeds secrets and lies. As a result, Kate suffers appalling abuse at the hands of Kindred John. This is something that I couldn't hide. It wouldn't have been right to 'brush it under the carpet'. Although, I also knew that it couldn't be explicit, as SEED is essentially a book for young adults. I know that it does make some parts uneasy to read, but YA literature is an important place to have tricky themes come out in the open.
Q4. If you could collaborate with any other YA author on a new book, who would be your first choice and why?
Wow, there are loads of authors I'd love to just meet, let alone work with! But I'd have to chose Markus Zusak. I think he's an unbelievably beautiful writer.
Q5. What three YA books would you recommend that all YA Love Magazine readers must read?
Stephanie Kuehn's CHARM AND STRANGE, Jennifer Niven's ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES and Rachel McIntyre's ME & MR J. They're all completely brilliant.
Q6. What advice would you give to aspiring writers wanting to break into the industry?
Don't follow trends - write the story that you have inside you. And write for no other reason other than you love it.