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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Letting Go of Your Book: An Interview with Heather Heyford

What made you decide to write stories about wine and romance as the theme? 
I was an Air Force brat who moved continually growing up. Although I wouldn't change it now for the world, at the time moving so much sometimes made for a lonely life. Reading filled the void left after leaving behind friends.

One of the most colorful places we lived was in the Champagne region of France. There, my mom—a closet hippie—bought bubbly by the magnum, using the empties as candle holders until their sides ran with multi-colored wax. I never forgot that.

Your bio says you sold your first series in 2014, but when did you actually start writing the books?
Back when I taught high school art, there was a story in my head that just wouldn't go away. I figured I'd write it down and that would be that, but in fact, it showed me that writing was what I was meant to do. That first book didn't sell, but I received a lot of great critiques from contest judges and editors I pitched it to. I've sold nine books since then, and recently even went back and sold the first one, after extensive revisions.

How did you go about finding an agent/publisher?
I figured out who agented and published my favorite authors, and then I pursued them very methodically. 

What is the hardest part of writing for you? Starting? Dialog? Tension, etc?
The hardest part is keeping the middle from sagging.

What does your editor remind you to do most often?
Relax, LOL.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
I try to avoid reading reviews since once a book is out there, it doesn't belong to me anymore and there's nothing I can do to change it. However, whenever I happen to see something nice on social media, it warms my heart more than I can say.

We have all experienced rejection. Give me an example of one you’ve had, and how you learned to write past it.
I'm atypical in that rejection never brought me down. Really. Rejection was proof that I was in the game, and you have to be writing and submitting to get anywhere. Rejection is just a part of that.

What has surprised you the most in writing/publishing?
The most surprising thing is that once an editor buys you and your book is finished, you don't have to start over from square one with the next book. As long as it sells sufficiently well, they are waiting for you to write another.

What frustrates you the most about writing?
The most frustrating thing is the deadlines.

What do you know now about writing that you wished you had known sooner?
I wish I'd started sooner.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
There is a well-defined craft for every genre, and you have to learn it. There's no shortcut.

Are there any other points about writing that you would like to add?
You will know you're cut out to be a writer when the difficulties of finishing a book and getting it published don't deter you.

What is the next book that will be coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?
Right All Along is already pre-ordering for a 9/25/18 launch! It's about childhood friends who reunite and discover that time apart has only deepened their feelings for each other:

"From the time they were in grade school, graphic designer Harley Miller-Jones believed that Jack Friestatt was her destiny—until she was blindsided by Jack’s sudden engagement to another, right after high school graduation. Ten years have passed. Now Harley's back in Ribbon Ridge, successful beyond expectation, intent on buying a bed and breakfast—an independent woman ready for the next chapter in her life.  

Jack Friestatt has his hands full managing his winery, precocious twin daughters, and an iron-handed family matriarch. But behind the gentleman farmer’s handsome exterior beats an empty heart. Life has taught Jack some tough lessons and now the lonely widower is ready for a new life partner. But has he learned enough to win back the woman whose world he once turned upside down?"

That’s all for today’s interview if you would like to learn more about Heather’s writing, here are some links to get you started.

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