Good morning, everyone! It's the eve before RomCon departure, and I am thrilled to have Heather Long on the blog today. Heather was one of the authors I met at Fantasy on the Bayou, and she's wonderful! Ask her questions if she doesn't answer them in the interview -- you'll love her, I promise!
And her books are hot, hot, hot!
So with much ado, let's meet Heather's newest book in her Always A Marine series:
Heather subjected herself to my interview (mwah-ha-ha). And here's all the tidbits I learned!
Briefly take us on the journey with you – when did you start writing, did you start in the genre you’re published in now, what hurdles did you have to overcome, etc.
H.L. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved books and I was always telling my own version of stories. Initially I wanted to write comic books, DC Comics specifically and I even pitched to an editor in New York and developed a potential working relationship. (This is one of the reasons I’m also really excited about my upcoming superhero romance from Carina in September). Alas, that came to naught, so I continued on, but I never stopped writing. When my daughter was born, I went from having a lot of free time to almost none and that was the last kickstart I needed to finish a full manuscript.
Five years of practicing, writing, re-writing my fiction while working as a freelance writer continued to grow my craft. From 2006 to 2008, it was all about the rejection letter. Then in late 2008, I received my first acceptance and now here I am four years and 18 books later with nearly ten due out total this year. It’s been a wild ride, but I wouldn’t trade any of it. The challenges actually made me a better writer.
Obviously you write in the contemporary genre. Is that your favorite genre to read? Do you write in any other genres, or under any other pen names you’d like to share?
H.L. I write in a lot of different genres from paranormal romance to contemporary to romantic suspense, urban fantasy and paranormal western historical romance…I write what I like to read, eclectic. I need to add thriller and YA to my list and I think my life will be complete!
Of the books you have published, do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why?
H.L. This question is always the hardest because I love every book I’ve written and of course I love them because otherwise I wouldn’t have written them, but two of my favorite books haven’t been published yet, they are still looking for an editorial home so of those published, I’ll have to say Brave Are the Lonely. This is the second book in my Fevered Hearts series set in the 1850s. Cody (the hero) offered me a lot of challenges as a writer and I loved seeing my world unfold and deepen as I typed.
What are your published titles and please tell us about anything coming down the pipe next
H.L. Currently, I have four series in release:
Fevered Hearts - a paranormal western historical romance featuring some sexy brothers, supernatural powers and sensational romances.
Forbidden Legacy - paranormal romance set in the contemporary world as the Fae reveal themselves and ancient hatreds challenge the ménage relationship between a Fae, a Wizard and the woman they both love.
The Fortunate Buddha - a romantic suspense series that are loosely tied together by the common hunt for an icon that is said to bring great fortune to those that touch it.
Always a Marine - This is my series of five sexy shorts from Decadent as a part of their 1Night Stand line and I have to admit, I’m a little bit in love with every Marine in the series.
Gee, I wonder why. Not that they are super-sexy, ultimate-alpha or anything.
Speaking of those Marines, let's jump to your new release, Once Her Man, Always Her Man . Tell me about your plot development? How did the idea spur, did you have to do much research, any interesting tidbits that we should know?
H.L. I’ve never had the opportunity to write a military hero. I have nothing but admiration for the men and women who serve our country. When a friend suggested that I write for this line, the story that immediately came to mind was the reunion of first loves and one was a Marine. I wanted to tell the story of a Marine who gave ‘everything’ at eighteen to serve his country after losing his mother and his sister during 9/11. But I wanted to take it a step further to confront who these men and women are now and what challenges they face at home and abroad.
Each story then led me to the next and it was an amazing journey. Research wise, I had actually done a paper when I was working on my psychology degree about the integration of soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan and the difficulties. I’d read articles about the challenges for families of the deployed both during deployment and when they returned, so these were all elements I wanted to combine in my shorts. That presented another challenge because these were meant to be sexy shorts, not a deep character study.
As someone who is tied to the service, those are all awesome elements that round out stories and aren't always present. So glad to hear you incorporate them.
Let’s talk heroes –
What’s one thing about Luke that we wouldn’t necessarily learn in the book? A secret dream, an embarrassing habit, an episode from childhood.
H.L. Funnily enough, it’s touched on a little in the story, Luke nearly fumbled a football game in high school because his girlfriend was sick and he was worried about her. That affection contributed to his choice to leave her before he headed to basic. He didn’t want his focus to be on worrying about her or worrying about her worrying.
Aww. Remind me to tell you a story sometime ;)
All heroes are unforgettable in one way or another. What’s one thing about Luke that makes your heart go pitter-pat?
H.L. His absolute dedication to the idea that there is no I in team. Fierce devotion and loyalty definitely melt my butter.
Me too. Especially the devotion part!
If Luke doesn’t have a pet in your novel, what kind of pet would best suit his personality?
H.L. Luke is totally a dog guy.
With lots of drool, or no drool? Hee!
Okay - Rebecca's Turn. Everybody has flaws. Sometimes they are endearing, other times they are annoying. What is Rebecca's greatest fault?
H.L. Rebecca couldn’t let go. Even when she made herself stop writing, a part of her remained vigilant in her love and she compared every man to this idealized version of Luke. I think it inhibited her from really being able to move on with her life.
Without giving away details that might spoil the story for those who have not read it, could you tell us the one strength Rebecca provides to Luke?
H.L. Unconditional love. Unflinching support. Uncompromising forgiveness.
If Rebecca was your daughter – what advice would you give her upon meeting your hero?
H.L. He’s a keeper. But make him work for it.
If we peek in on Luke and Rebecca's lives ten years from now, can you give us a glimpse of what we’d see?
H.L. I see two of the most disgustingly happy people raising their two point four kids with their dogs and thriving in the network of families that they live in. Luke and Rebecca really are that couple that make it, as long as they keep talking.
Laugh. Disgusting, yes, but really cute and sweet.
Let's take a peek at Luke and Rebecca real quick, then we'll touch on a few more things with you.
Luke Dexter handed his keys over to the red corseted valet driver, gaze skimming the generous globes peeking up from the open buttons of her white shirt. The Sybarite Club offered the Dallas area generous access to every pleasure. He slipped a card out of his leather wallet and displayed it to the doorman. The doorman, a tall, lanky figure dressed in topcoat and tails exuded a sense of elegance that the club's exclusive clientele enjoyed.
The doorman examined the card, scanned it with a small device in his palm. Luke admired the cageyness of the action. The pen scanner would be out of place with the old world atmosphere encouraged by the man's uniform. “Good evening, Mr. Dexter. Welcome to the Sybarite Club.”
Accepting his card back, he passed through the opening doublewide doors. The gothic style doors were dark cherry, aged like a fine wine and a decorated with wood cut carvings of a man and woman engaged in cunnilingus and fellatio. The joining was subtle, the each left crying out in pleasure when the door opened, only to be joined again when the doors closed.
Amused by the door carving, he smiled as he plunged into the velvet darkness of the club's jazz infused atmosphere. Every night featured a different style of music, but Fridays were reserved for jazz. Old world, cool smooth jazz with smoky voices, haunting guitars and lonely horns played to the soul. The doors barely closed behind him when his phone buzzed inside his breast pocket.
How did the woman know these things?
Pulling it out, he thumbed it on, a new message from Madame Evangeline of the 1Night Stand exclusive online dating service populating the screen. She's dressed in green silk and sitting at the bar. Life doesn't always offer a second chance…
Clicking the screen off, Luke walked down the four red-carpeted steps into the lounge proper. He'd only agreed to the dating service only to support the men in his unit putting themselves out there. The last thing he'd expected was the invitation to the Sybarite Club. His gaze roamed the room the room, coming to a halt as they fastened on a pair of to die for tan legs at the bar. The sweet length of them, one crossed over the other ended in black heels with crystals glittering around dainty feet.
A green skirt skimmed her knees. While he appreciated the legs, he studied the line of her back, curious about the rest of her. His gaze slid higher to the pile of unruly auburn hair fighting to escape a pair of matching crystal hair combs.
As though sensing his appraisal, the green cloaked mystery woman turned on the bar stool and his heart tripped.
YOU HAVE JUST READ AN EXCERPT FROM ONCE HER MAN, ALWAYS HER MAN~~@~~
Yum! I want to be her in just that little scene. Make me my own Luke, Heather!
Okay, breathe deeply, Claire. Back to you, Heather. What’s been the greatest contributing factor to achieving the goals you’ve accomplished?
H.L. My daughter. Corny as it sounds, she inspires me, she challenges me and she makes me want to keep trying even when I want to give up, I know I have to show her how it’s done.
I completely understand that feeling, even if it is corny.
In your opinion, what is the hardest part of writing a novel? Why?
H.L. For me, the hardest part is always the beginning. Those first three chapters are always like pulling teeth because I am always second guessing ‘where does the story start’?
If you write in multiple genres, Do you find it challenging to shift? Or is it a natural process?
H.L. It’s a totally natural process. Shifting genres book by book keeps me fresh and gives me new ways to look at things as I write.
Well, I think our time is up for today. Thank you so much for coming by, Heather. I wish you the absolute best with Once Her Man, Always Her Man -- everyone go buy it now!
Here's a little more about Heather to polish off her visit!
About the Author: