Saturday, July 2, 2011

Special Post: Interview with author Heather Justesen

Hi all! I don't usually post on Saturdays, but I'm so excited I had to share. This week friend and author Heather Justesen is kicking off her newest release, Blank Slate. Because she's awesome, she agreed to do a short interview about her journey in creating this particular book so I can share her story with you.

You can read more about what I thought of Blank Slate here.

NG: From what I understand, the premise for Blank Slate stemmed from a real-life T.V. news story. Can you elaborate a little about how this evolved?

HJ: Hmm, if I get too detailed it’ll give away my best twist, but suffice it to say that it came from a highly publicized news story—something that seemed like it was such a long shot it could never happen again. And then I did research and found out that the phenomenon has happened numerous other times across the country in the past decade. I started spinning scenarios and when I found a twist that made it different from the usual amnesia story and made me excited to start writing, I sat down and started typing.

NG: You have a gift for writing strong female characters who are not only talented, but who use their talents daily. Adrianna’s talent didn’t work out the way other character abilities have in your past books. Did this make writing her story more or less difficult? And why?

HJ: Adrianna’s loss of ability to play the piano after her accident really throws her for a loop. She had to reinvent herself and find a different path and there’s more than a little stumbling before she figures out what she’s good at—and what she’s really not good at. I’d say her change in talents did actually make it less difficult for me, if only because the job she ended up with was similar to my own work history.

NG: If you were allowed to spend a day with just one of your fictional characters (in any of your books) which one would you choose and why?

HJ: Okay, that’s seriously difficult to decide because I like them all! I always seem to like the characters I’m spending the most time with the best. As I’ve got three different critique groups working on three different books and a fourth I’m trying to get ready for submission, (Not to mention my three published books) I have a plethora of characters to choose from.

At the moment I’m going to have to claim a woman named Rosemary as my favorite. She’s bright and fun, a bit mouthy, a fabulous chef, and doesn’t put up with anyone’s guff, but on the inside she’s full of the same insecurities and worries that plague all of us and a pain she does a great job of hiding. She’s not even the main character in the book I’ve been working on, but she’s larger than life and I can’t wait to get around to telling her story. She’d be a blast to go hang out with because she’d push me outside my comfort zone without doing anything truly wild (like skydiving or base jumping). Oh, and she has terrific taste in shoes.

NG: I understand you already have ANOTHER book being released soon. Tell us about it!

HJ: Yes, my fourth book is slated for release in January with Cedar Fort. This is one of my favorite stories!

NG: Mine too. (Yes, I'm the lucky one who has read it already.*sticks out tongue*)

HJ: It’s about Rena, who is thirty-two, single, and wishing for a family of her own. When her best friend for nearly a decade, Tucker—who is a gorgeous Marine reservist—loses his brother and sister-in-law in a car accident, he wants to raise his niece and nephew. Alas, as a soldier—and one with basically no living family members left—the state is leery of giving him custody of the kids. What if he gets called up, who’s going to care for the children? He decides the way to solve his problem is to marry—so he turns to Rena. The struggle to juggle two successful careers, two children under the age of seven, and find love along the way makes for a fun read with great characters. My publisher is discussing new titles for the book, so I’m not sure what it’ll be called, but the current title is Family By Design.

NG: Excellent. I'm way excited for that one as well. Sounds like you have great things in the work, Heather. Congratulations and good luck!

Don't forget to head over to Heather's website and read a few sample chapters of Blank Slate. You have nothing to lose but a chance to read a great story. And once you're good and hooked, you can get your paperback copy at Amazon, or your ebook copy at Smashwords (on sale through the month of July for $1.49 with the magic blog-reader code: WV49Z )


Jemi Fraser said...

Awesome interview! Love the idea of the poor girl losing her ability to play the piano - which has got to be so incredibly difficult! :)

Jeff King said...

Awesome interview... and best of luck with your book, I hope it sells a ton.

Rachelle said...

This was a fun interview! Heather is an incredible writer and I loved Blank Slate.