We are featuring a special Q&A with We Were Beautiful author Heather Hepler. Learn more about Heather and her recent release below!
Get your copy of We Were Beautiful HERE.
What was your inspiration behind We Were Beautiful?
This book was born out of an anti-fairy tale that I imagined – about a girl with a scarred face receiving a chance at beauty only to find that she would rather go through her life physically flawed than emotionally empty. It morphed from there into Mia’s story – which has a similar theme. Mia has a chance at learning about empathy, forgiveness, and unconditional love if she can see past the physical and emotional scars that she has.
Why is NYC a good location for this book?
NYC is city of diversity and possibility. It’s a city where you can lose yourself and you can find yourself – sometimes on the same day! I wanted Mia to move from the tiny town where she was starting to feel claustrophobic and isolated to a city where she has room to move and to grow. Plus, it’s just plain fun to be in NYC. It’s one of my favorite places to visit.
What kind of impact did writing We Were Beautiful have on you personally?
We Were Beautiful came to me during a time of my life where I needed my own redemption story. Mia’s story gave me the courage to make my own amends and move forward from a painful time in my life. That is one of the best things about writing—you get to fight your own demons and hopefully defeat them.
What do you hope readers take away from We Were Beautiful?
I hope that readers allow Mia’s story to help them overcome their own pain. I also hope it gives them the courage to try new things, be vulnerable, and learn that just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.
What makes this book special/unique?
I think We Were Beautiful tackles something that most anyone will struggle with at some point. Causing harm or doing something wrong is unfortunately a part of even the most carefully lived life. I wanted to show Mia’s movement from guilt and shame to forgiveness and freedom. I also wanted it to be clear that she’s not just sweeping what she did under the rug or making excuses for it, but she’s facing it head on and doing the hard work to move through it.
I also love the love story between Mia and Cooper. It’s not glossy and easy, but real and deep and beautiful.
How are you reflected in We Were Beautiful (or, how much of you is reflected in the book)?
This is such a difficult question because writing is all about the author, I think. It’s the weird blender that each of us has in his or her head. You consciously put things in there, but also life comes along and sneaks in some ingredients that you might not notice. When you write, you switch that blender on. And like the smoothies that I make sometimes it’s delicious, but sometimes, you just have to chuck it out and start again.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned while being a writer?
It can be lonely, typing away early in the morning or late at night, knowing that much of what I am writing will never make it off my hard drive. But it’s also hugely satisfying, bringing something amazing from only my imagination.
Any additional thoughts?
Just a thought to anyone wanting to be a writer or wanting to publish – don’t give up. Sometimes it takes a really long time to find the right story and sometimes even longer before you know how to tell it, but it’s worth it. Whether one person or a hundred million people read it – it’s worth it.