Posts Tagged ‘Romance’

Interview with Heather Huffman author of Jailbird

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Hey friends! Today I’m very excited to have Heather Huffman, author of Jailbird, join us at the bar. I met Heather a few months ago through the lovely people at Booktrope and after reading her novel, Jailbird, I thought, “Karen, you need to interview this woman.” So, without further ado, here is the lovely Heather Huffman!



KD:  Can you tell us a little bit about Jailbird and where the idea for the story came from?

HH: Jailbird’s story follows Neena Allen from her accidental jailbreak to the small town she lands in. The book actually begins in the middle of her jailbreak – that scene came from an incredibly vivid dream that inspired the book. In the dream, I saw everything through the eyes of a woman breaking out of prison. I saw what she saw; I felt what she felt. Also in the dream, there was no speech, no conversation, until I saw Charlie Russell and asked, “Who’s that?” Those are the first words of dialogue in the book, too.

Jailbird is more than the story of Neena’s jailbreak and subsequent new life. It’s a beautiful love story. It’s Neena’s journey to reclaim her humanity and the healing of her soul.

KD: Neena’s story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. She met adversity and through strength and hope she found her way. Is she modeled after someone you know or is she more of a collective thought of what a strong woman should be?

HH: Neena is a little me, a little of who I hope to be, and a lot of the women I see all around me everyday. Her plight seems so horrible; just the other day I heard that 1 out of 3 girls will be sexually abused by the age of 18, so it’s not an uncommon one. The details of her story are exceptional, but the heart of her tale is something many of us can identify with. Neena’s strength is a combination of the beautiful strength and power of the women in my world.

KD:  I absolutely loved the exchanges between Neena and, well, everyone. Her side of conversations were fast, quick-witted and honest; I felt as if I could pick up a conversation with her easily. Did you have a favorite Neena exchange or moment to write?

HH: It makes me happy to hear you say that – I genuinely like Neena. I think we’d be friends if she were real. My favorite scenes with Neena are the ones where she got tongue-tied around Charlie. That always made me smile.

KD: Due to the nature of Neena’s back story was there a scene or section that was particularly hard to write?

HH: Talking about the night of Neena’s attack was always tough. It was more than deciding how much to share – though that was part of it. I’m a visual writer; I often see the scene play out as I type, and many times it’ll keep playing over and over until I finish writing that particular part of the story. Those scenes were tough to watch.

KD:  You write romantic suspense, what draws you to this genre? 

HH: I didn’t pick my genre so much as it picked me. I just write down the stories in my head, and this is where they happened to fall. I suppose the fact that two of my favorite things in life are adventure and love might have had something to do with it, though!

KD:  Who are some of your favorite authors? Are you currently reading anything?

HH: When I’m not actively writing, I read a wide variety of books. Lots of classics line my bookshelves; they’re my favorites. When it comes to modern writers, I find myself buying a lot of Jennifer Crusie’s books. I used to tear through Nora Roberts books like crazy. At the moment, I’m reading something completely different. It’s a book called the Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. When I finish that, I plan to catch up on some of the books by my fellow Booktrope authors!

KD:  Your stories revolve around women who haven’t been dealt the best hand yet find a way to not just survive but thrive. Have you always been an advocate for social injustices for women? How did you become a part of the movement against human trafficking? 

HH:  I’ve never been able to keep my mouth shut when I see injustice. I believe that if something’s wrong, I should try to fix it. Why wait for someone else to step up? I became part of the fight against human trafficking when I learned it existed while researching Throwaway. At first, I struggled to find a way to plug into the fight. When I started using my writing as a way to raise awareness, things fell into place. I began to connect with some amazing organizations on the front lines like Project Liberty and The Covering House.

KD:  Your voice as a writer is strong and well developed, how long have you been writing?

HH: First, thank you – that means a lot to me. In answer to your question, I’ve been writing books for as long as I can remember. I got serious about honing my ability to write a novel and share it with others about four years ago.

KD: When you’re not writing how do you spend your free time?

HH: What’s that? My family recently moved to a 10-acre homestead, so tending the garden and animals is where the bulk of my non-writing time goes. I love to create – sewing, embroidering, weaving, refinishing furniture… the list goes on. I spend a lot of time with my kids; they are a lot of fun, and we have some pretty fantastic adventures together. In fact, as soon as I finish up with work today, we’re taking the dogs on a creek walk. That’s my kind of evening.

KD: Are you currently working on anything new?

HH: The next book is just wrapping up – look for Devil in Disguise to begin hitting the online shelves mid-June. I’m giving my brain a writing break until August, when I’ll start working on Roses in Ecuador, which tells the story of Devon McAllister. His sister was the main character in Ring of Fire.

Thank you so much, Heather, for stopping by the pub! I can’t read wait to read more from you and I urge you all to check out the wonderful works by the talented and wonderful Heather Huffman!

You can find out more about Heather on Twitter, Google +, Facebook, and on her website. You can find her books on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.  


The Lost Romantic

Monday, March 19th, 2012

What happens when you can no longer write what you want to write? I write romance, er, well, I used to. It always felt right to me. It was not uncommon for my mind to drift off during the day and find myself dreaming of romantic gestures, sensual dialogue and even steamy sex scenes.

This past December I had to get an MRI done on my left knee. I don’t know how many of you have had an MRI done but they can be loud, and therefore intimidating, suckers. To help ease their patient’s nerves the hospital offers headphones with your choice of music to listen for the duration of the test. I didn’t have my ipod with me so I settled for a local pop station and away we went.

At first the music was just fodder in my ear. I really wasn’t listening to it, it was just taking the edge off of the machine gun sound from the MRI machine. Then a love song came on, I can’t remember the song specifically but it had a nice melody and immediately set my mind adrift.

I started to picture a woman laying right where I was, listening to music. It’s a song she likes but it reminds her of her boyfriend, no, make that ex-boyfriend. They had just broken up for one of those classic romance novel misunderstandings, but of course, since it was my book it would have to be something more than just a misunderstanding. (I mean really, can’t people just talk to each other and just, I dunno, ask what the problem is instead of just assuming you know and getting all pissed off about it?)

Anyway, when the song is done she sighs a breath of relief until she hears the first few chords of the next song. It was the song he used to sing to her when they were first dating. The song transports her back to a time of young love, hopeful dreams and long summer nights. Her heart breaks again over the loss of that love, of that innocence. (more…)

Romance Genre Challenged! Is There a Support Group? by Holly Bush

Monday, January 30th, 2012
Holly Bush

Good day and happy Monday, friends! Today I'm shining the spotlight on Holly Bush author of Romancing Olive. To say that one is a romance writer is no longer enough, there's always that follow up question of, "But what kind of romance do you write?" In Holly's post she discusses the genre and the influx of sub-genres that seem to be taking over. Enjoy!

Romance Genre Challenged! Is There a Support Group?

Let me preface this by saying I don’t care what anyone else reads or does in the privacy of their own bedroom or spaceship.

But the new sub-genres of romance books are downright confusing and sometimes I have to think really hard  to imagine, envision or even process the categories of cross-genres. As I was trolling the other day on a book selling site, I found an author that billed herself as LGBT Dystopian Paranormal author. Doesn’t it get crowded with this many people or vampires in the same bed/coffin? Will the government be watching and take away one of the participants leaving . . .  uh . . .  I’m not sure who we started with or who they had an affinity for.

One part of me just wants to tell folks, hey, read the jacket blurb and see if you’d think you’d like the story. Don’t be hemmed in by search sorting on the internet. On the other hand, there are just so many books out there, especially with the boom in the self publishing world that a poor reader needs to narrow down the 20 gazillion books to ones they might be interested in. So authors try and help the reader along by identifying their book in a variety of searchable categories.  (more…)

Interview with Holly Bush author of Romancing Olive

Thursday, January 19th, 2012
Holly Bush

Good Thursday, friends! Today I'm happy to introduce Holly Bush, a fellow Pennsylvanian, to you, my dearest friends. You may have caught my review of Holly's historical romance, Romancing Olive, this past Tuesday. Well, now the lovely lady has joined me for a crisp sauvignon blanc as we talk romance and the younger man.

KD: When and how did Olive’s story come to you?

HB: I’m not sure how to explain this without sounding odd but I see my characters in my head. They lodge themselves there. I saw Olive seated on the train west to Ohio, purse strings looped over her arm, bonnet tied and traveling coat buttoned-up, staring out the window at the passing landscape. She was very consciously not engaging other passengers and dreaming her dreams about raising her niece and nephew in her family home in Philadelphia. I didn’t have a clear picture yet of why Olive had to rescue these children, only that she did.  (I removed this entire opening chapter and worked bits and pieces into the current first chapter having decided it was too much back story and that the story really began as Olive waited impatiently for the sheriff to speak to her.)  (more…)

Review of Romancing Olive by Holly Bush

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
Romancing Olive

In 1891, a spinster librarian, Olive Wilkens left the quietness and stability of her Philadelphia home on a mission to rescue her now orphaned niece and nephew in Spencer, Ohio. All she knew when she embarked on her journey was that the children, Mary and John, were taken in by a neighboring farmer Jacob Butler after the deaths of her brother and wife. What she learned was that her brother was not living the respectable farm life he led her to believe in his letters. In fact, the quaint little farm house he painted in his letters was nothing more than a shack on overrun land. He was drunken gambler married to a whore who didn’t do much by way of their children. What starts out to be a saintly mission turns into a journey of self discovery for Olive and a lesson in opening your heart and mind to the world around you.

Olive’s character starts off very naive in the book; not that she can’t handle the horrors that the world can hold only that she hasn’t had to. She was by no means extraordinary privileged growing up, but she did have the nicer things in life. She is absolutely appalled, but then again, who wouldn’t be, when she learned how her brother actually lived. However, if she were truly naive and unworldy she would have taken the children and ran back to Philadelphia as fast as the carriage could take her. But she didn’t. She did what was best for the children, children who were traumatized by witnessing the death of their mother.  (more…)

My Escape to Panera

Monday, March 28th, 2011

If you follow me on the Have Coffee….Will Write blog you know that last week was a tough week for me as a mom and a writer. I was fed up with trying to do everything for everyone and not having any time for myself as a writer. I have to say that the response I got to the post was very supportive and inspiring, so if you visited the site and commented on my post, thank you for your thoughts and suggestions.

When I was at a complete loss last week, spiraling out of control inside my own mind, I did what any self-respecting writer would do. I turned to Twitter. I posed the question there, then again to the HCWW blog readers, asking them where they go when working at home just isn’t working out. Like I said in Friday’s post, I got the usual answers of coffee shops, libraries, parks to the not so usual, McDonald’s.

I’ve decided that although I absolutely love McDonald’s french fries, I opted for our local Panera Bread. I didn’t pick the best time to go, Saturday over lunch, but I must say, even though I shared the restaurant with 150 perfect strangers, I loved every minute of it. I ordered soup with a sandwich, a huge Pepsi, found a corner table and slipped into my own little paranormal world. It was amazing.

And quite surprising actually. The little table I found was situated by the door and with being there during lunch time, it seemed as if that door swung open every 30 seconds. Not only was the door constantly being opened, but with every person that came in brought a chill from the outside with them. The tables were full around me with gossiping teenagers, hungry children and deaf senior citizens. I did more writing in that crowded bakery then I have done in a quiet house with the napping kids. Who would have thought?

I sat for 2 1/2 hours and I outlined chapters with details, I thought up ideas for blog posts, I ate and drank way too much. No one wanted food from me, no one needed their diapers changed, the dishes were being taken away by someone else and I got to just sit and think. The noise and chaos around me didn’t touch me; I allowed myself to forget who I am and the responsibilities at home and just focus my attentions on my characters.

When I did come home I felt refreshed. The rest of the day I could dedicate to my family without feeling like I was forgetting to do something. There was no guilt trying to balance reading books to my children and writing a book for me.

I’m going to try a library next. We’re surrounded by several colleges, so I may check out them out (with their longer hours it may be more beneficial for me with writing at night.)

So, thank you friends, for being there when I needed you, your support and advice were greatly appreciated! Now, I’m off to make dinner.