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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kat Heckenbach Interviews Angel Mason of The Toch Island Chronicles

Hi. My name is, um, Angel. Yeah, I know, odd name. I get that a lot. But it’s what my charm bracelet says, and since that’s the only thing I have from the past that I couldn’t remember when I was found by Mr. and Mrs. Mason when I was six…

Oh, sorry. That’s not why I’m here. I mean it is—my story is why I’m here. But I’m not here to tell you that story. The whole thing is written out in a book. Yep, Kat Heckenbach wrote a book all about me. And today I’m going to ask her some questions about it. I bet you’d have questions for someone if they wrote a whole book about your life, wouldn’t you? Yeah. So, here we go.

A: Miss Kat, I—

K: You can just call me Kat, Angel. “Miss Kat” makes me feel like a preschool teacher. ;)

A: Oh, okay then. Kat…what made you decide to write a book? And did you know it would be about me when you started?

K: Let me answer those the other way around, if that’s okay. I definitely didn’t know it would be about you, specifically. I knew it would be about a girl, somewhere around your age, but I didn’t have all the details. I remember that age well (although junior high feels like a long time ago!) and it was a time in my life when I really started getting into reading fantasy.

A: Ooh! I love fantasy! It’s my favorite genre!

K: Yeah, mine, too. I loved the whole idea of being magic and finding a hidden world or something.

(Angel gives Kat a strange look.)

K: You okay, Angel?

A: Yeah…it’s just that….well…for me, that pretty much came true.

(Kat smiles.) K: Yeah, I know. I, um, wrote it.

A: Oh, right. Duh. Go ahead.

K: Anyway, your name came from my daughter. She was on this kick about naming all her stuffed animals and such “Angel.” It was literally the first thing that popped into my head. So I started there.

A: Cool! But you still haven’t answered about what made you want to write.

K: Right. Sorry. Like I said, I really got into reading fantasy when I was your age. I read all the time. My favorite place was in this tree in my back yard.

A: A tree? Really? Mine too!

K: Well, mine was this cool tree that was kind of knocked over, so it stuck out of the ground at an angle. I could actually walk up it, and sit at the top where a big branch stuck straight up. I would lean against the branch like a chair back.

(Angel’s eyes widen.) A: That sounds just like my tree!

(Kat smiles again.) K: That’s an odd coincidence. Is yours way in the back? Like by the back fence?

A: Yeah!

K: I bet you like to look out across the neighbor’s yard, too. My neighbor had this big, open field—

A: Mine too! Whoa, that’s so cool! I wonder if we have anything else in common! Do you have any brothers? I have three! My youngest brother is really cool and loves bugs.

K: Well, I do have one brother, but he’s not very into bugs. My son is, though. He loves them. We even count his bug-hunting as part of his homeschooling sometimes.

A: My little brother, Zack, homeschools, too. Wow…I bet they’d get along great.

(Kat stifles a chuckle.) K: I bet they would.

(Angel nods and bites her lip.) A: So, Mis—I mean, Kat. What else do you like to do beside write and read fantasy?

K: I draw. Mostly with charcoal pencil.

(Angel gapes.) A: No. Way. I draw, too! And charcoal is totally my favorite medium. That’s just weird…

K: Yep, pretty weird.

A: But we can’t have everything in common. (*arches one eyebrow*)

K: Oh, surely not.

A: I mean, like…I bet you weren’t a nerd in school like me. And I bet you don’t like science, do you? Not many artsy types are into science. (*crosses arms and looks confidently*)

K: Total nerd. And my college degree is in Biology. 

(Angel shakes her head as if to clear it.) A: How tall are you?

K: Five-foot-nine.

A: Five-eight! Hah!

K: I was five-eight at your age, too, Angel.

(Angel eyes Kat’s hair and points.) A: You’re not a redhead. 

K: Nope...not anymore. My hair has gotten darker as I got older.

A: Oh…this is just too bizarre. Even weirder than finding out magic is real…

(Kat smiles and leans forward, lowers her voice.) K: Maybe it is magic…

Kat Heckenbach grew up in the small town of Riverview, Florida, where she spent most of her time either drawing or sitting in her "reading tree" with her nose buried in a fantasy novel...except for the hours pretending her back yard was an enchanted forest that could only be reached through the secret passage in her closet...

She never could give up on the idea that maybe she really was magic, mistakenly placed in a world not her own...but as the years passed, and no elves or fairies carted her away...she realized she was just going to have to create the life of her fantasies.

Now she shares that life with her husband and two kids. Ok, maybe "share" isn't the right word--more like lives that life in her writing and tries her best to be normal the rest of the time...

Kat is a graduate of the University of Tampa, Magna Cum Laude, B.S. in Biology. She spent several years teaching, but never in a traditional classroom—everything from Art to Algebra II—and now homeschools her children.

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