Today we’re featuring Havelah McLat on the blog. I love the superpower she wishes she had and I’m now wondering why I never thought of that.
Havelah McLat’s Book & Writing Process
Q: What is the title of your book and what is it about?
A: When You Returned. It is about a woman who has to work with her old flame from high school to save her family’s skating rink.
Publication date: April 25, 2023
Q: What genre is When You Returned?
A: Clean & Wholesome Romance / New Adult & College Romance
Q: What inspired you to write When You Returned, and how did you come up with the idea for it?
The spark of the story started in 2014 after I watched the movie August. It is about a young boy and how he used his gift of music to bring his parents together. After months of working on it, I put it away. Then in 2021, I reread the draft and the lightbulb moment hit me. I started over and completely rewrote the entire story. After I watched the movie Forever My Girl, it got me back into the story.
Q: What scene was the hardest one to write and why?
A: Hmm, probably the part when Lavern’s brother died because (I won’t spoil it) there were some things I had to work around in order to make it believable. However, I would say the business and marketing part of the book was hard to write as well. There were a lot of things involved.
Q: What are some themes and tropes that are included in When You Returned?
A: Friends to lovers, small-town vibe, second chance romance, betrayal/abandonment, single mother, orphan boy meets the popular girl, found family.
Q: Who is the ideal reader for When You Returned?
A: New Adults 18+
Q: What’s the one thing you want readers to take away from reading When You Returned?
A: We are all given a second chance. There is always hope in the midst of hard times. And have faith to know things will work out for good.
Q: Share a favorite quote or two from this book.
A: “You know deep in your heart that Mistson is your home. This is where you belong. Everything will work itself out. Let go of the past, brother – take a leap of faith to move forward.”
Q: Plotter or pantser? Share a bit of your writing process.
A: I am both (LOL). I usually have a general idea of what the plot is, but I also like to be open to being creative. I do sometimes make a loose outline, but I don’t always stick to the exact plot line. Every story is different.
Q: What does a typical writing session for you look like?
A: I like to write in the morning and sometimes in the evening. It depends on my mood and how much energy I have.
Q: What was the most challenging aspect of writing and publishing? How did you (do you plan to) overcome it?
A: I have to say cover design and marketing are the most challenging because I sometimes have a hard time finding the right cover. Marketing is another task to tackle, though I enjoy creating images, graphics, and little videos.
But the hardest part is trying to get new readers and sales. I try not to compare myself to other authors, especially debut authors. I need to stay in my own lane and do the best I can.
Q: Why do you write?
A: I want to share to encourage others to use the creativity and imagination God has given us to make a difference in other people’s lives. Also, to share hope. I want my writing to bring hope, forgiveness, and love to my readers.
Writing Advice from Havelah McLat
Q: What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out?
A: Don’t worry about what other people do and write a story you are passionate about. Work on it at your own pace and keep learning and growing in your craft. This is something I had to learn (and am still learning).
Q: What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever received? How has it impacted your life?
Hmm, there are a lot of pieces of advice I received over the past several years.
- Take your time and pay more attention to the story.
- It is okay not to write. We all need time to recharge our creative minds.
- If you feel stuck on a story, it will come to you. Don’t force it. It is better to let come to you than beat yourself up.
Q: What’s the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Why do you think this was not good advice?
A: I can’t think of the worst advice. But I can say this: you don’t need to write a ton of books to be successful. Sometimes quality is better than quantity. You want to share a story you are truly proud of.
Q: If you could go back and change one thing in your author career, what would it be and why?
A: Probably formatting. It is nice to have someone format your book, but it limits your ability to make changes. Sometimes it is better to take the time to learn to format on your own so you can have full control.
Q: What is one writing resource that you couldn’t do without?
A: Body Beats to Build On by April W Gardner
Just for Fun
Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Why?
A: Marketing and statistics. I don’t understand half of the things shared. It would be nice to have excellent marketing skills and be able to understand my statistics without an issue.
Q: If you could have dinner with any fictional character, who would it be and why?
A: Katya from The Memory Keeper of Kyiv because she is an interesting character. Her survival journey through the horrible years of the Red Famine in Ukraine inspired me.
Q: If you were not a writer, what would you want to be and why?
A: A professional artist. (I like to draw as a hobby). If I hadn’t spent 12 years in writing I probably would spend more time on art. I would like to be a freelance professional artist.
Q: If you could switch lives with any person for a day, who would it be and why?
A: Meg Devonshire from Once Upon A Wardrobe because I would love to meet C. S. Lewis and ask him many questions, and learn something from him about creating imaginative tales.
Q: What are you reading?
A: I’m reading Mary Poppins Returns by Kathy McCullough.
Let’s Connect with Havelah McLat!
Q: What are you working on next?
A: I am working on a fairy retelling of Anastasia (a historical figure). The story is inspired by the Broadway Musical. It is going to be for young readers, but adults are welcome to read it. It won’t have any romance but focuses on friendship and finding where you belong. Because it is inspired by the musical, this story will be told in a fairy version with my own spin and twist. I hope to release it by the end of the year or early 2024.
About When You Returned
Is their love strong enough to heal the wounds of the past? Once a renowned skater, Jaclyn is now a single mother, working at the beloved skating rink in a small town in Colorado that has been in her family for generations.
When the rink is at risk of being lost, she looks for help from professionals. The last person she expects to help them get back on their feet is Lavern, an old flame from high school. After running from grief over the loss of his brother eight years ago, Lavern is back in town on assignment from a company that helps struggling businesses.
Assigned to help the rink recover, he now must face the girl he once loved and left behind. Together, Lavern and Jaclyn are the only hope to save her family’s rink. But confronting the pain of the past might be more than they can imagine.
Purchase When You Returned on Amazon
About Havelah McLat
Havelah McLat grew up on a small farm in rural Ohio with her family. As a kid, she spent hours drawing and then crafting short stories to go along with her illustrations. As she got older, her passion to write stories about the world, faith, and topics that matter the most to her grew.
She has written several short fiction pieces that have been featured in different anthologies. When she isn’t writing, she reads books, draws, helps with activity events in her local church and community, and spends time with her family.
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