Welcome Heather! Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m excited to chat with you and find out more about you and your books. First off, tell us about Suddenly a Spy.
Suddenly a Spy was a really fun book for me to write. It started when I had a dream about a couple at their wedding reception when a strange woman showed up. The ensuing conversation made the bride realize her perfect groom was more than she realized; he had a secret life.
What sprang from that dream was the world of Rick and Veronica Sinclair, one of my absolute favorite book couples. Up until her wedding, Veronica had been daddy’s little girl. Her world was pretty perfect. Some of my heroines are facing dire circumstances and have no choice. Veronica could walk away from the mess that she finds herself entangled in. She doesn’t because she feels like seeing it through is the right thing to do. I like that about her. She’s pretty sassy, too, and I like that!
Tell us about your next release.
February 1, 2013, I release Roses in Ecuador, a book many of my readers have been eagerly waiting for.
In Suddenly a Spy, the character Devon McAlister is first introduced. He’s the wealthy owner of a fair trade rose plantation in Ecuador. Readers get to know him better in Ring of Fire, when he helps out his little sister, Alex McAlister.
Roses in Ecuador is his story. In it, Devon’s neighbor is Jane Russell, a woman who’s in Ecuador to study the cats on a jaguar preservation. When the preservation comes under attack by what appears to be angry locals, Devon steps in to help her. As they sort through the destruction, an unexpected visit by a charming yet secretive U.S. senator reveals the identity and motives of the attackers to be much more sinister than they could have ever imagined.
Does travel play in the writing of your books?
Before my family moved to our 10-acre homestead in the Ozarks, I had a real travel bug. (Something about farming has tempered that!) I’ve always been game for a good adventure, usually in the form of a road trip. I think that love of adventure and travel comes into play in all of my books. My characters never sit still! Although I think Suddenly a Spy was a record even for me. There were so many settings in that book!
I try to write about places I’ve been to so the settings have more life to them. Occasionally, I venture out of my known territory. When that happens, I try to ask a friend who lives in the area to supply me with descriptions so my settings stay real. Sometimes, like in Roses in Ecuador, I’m writing about a place I’ve never been and my research makes me really wish I could go see it just once!
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
Two things are especially tough for me. The first is what I like to call the “murky middle” of the book. When I first start writing, I cruise along. I’m enjoying getting to know the characters and the possibilities are limitless.
A little over a third of the way in, I start to wonder if I’m going to be able to pull it off. Usually by that point, I’ve gotten my characters into one heck of a pickle and I don’t know how they’re going to find their way out. I also struggle to keep the sparks going between the main characters when I want them to live happily ever after already. The middle third of the book is sometimes painstaking for me.
And then something will happen to tip the scale, it all falls into place, and I cruise through the last third of the book. The closer I get to the end, the more excited I get. By the time I type that last sentence, I’m on emotional overload.
The second thing I struggle with is the time period in between approving the proofed, laid-out final product and the release of the book. I start to second guess myself and the book until the excitement of the release takes over. Once reader feedback starts coming in, I feel like I can finally turn the book loose and concentrate on the next one.
How do you describe your writing style?
I think I have a pretty distinctive voice that I developed early on, back in the days when I was writing just because I love to do it.
My books are fast-paced, quick reads that take you on a roller coaster ride. They don’t shy away from dark topics but they certainly don’t dwell there, either. When you pick up one of my books, you can expect to laugh, cry, get angry, and fall in love. Sometimes all in the same chapter.
Sometimes a book winds up being shorter than I planned because I worry about length less than quality. I tell my story, in however many words it takes me to do that.
My books also intertwine; the characters exist in a shared universe. So if there’s a secondary character you wished I’d told you more about, chances are pretty good they have their own book or it’s coming down the pike. That said, they aren’t a series in the truest sense of the word. I work really hard to ensure that a reader can pick up any one of my books and understand what’s going on without having read the others.
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
My books almost always come to me in a dream. Usually, it’s just one scene and I wake up knowing it’s meant to be a book. Then I type up what I dreamt and store it in a folder called “Books to Write.” When it’s that book’s turn, I start really thinking about the characters and what their story is. I research any plot points I know I want to include. I watch movies with actors who remind me of how I picture the characters so I can study their mannerisms.
I can research a book for months before something sparks and I know it’s time to start writing. Once I start the writing process, it usually goes pretty quickly for me. Occasionally, I have a pretty good idea where the book is headed, but usually I have no idea what twists and turns are in store for me. No matter how much I think I know about the book I’m writing, it always manages to surprise me at least once. That’s the fun part – when my fingers type something I wasn’t expecting.
While I’m working on a book, the characters are alive in my head. I think about them all the time. I pictures scenes from the book like a movie playing in my mind. I love watching the pieces fall into place, and I get really excited when suddenly it all makes sense and I can see how the book is not only coming together as its own work, but fitting into the larger universe of Heather Huffman books.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be so many different things as a child, surprisingly, being a writer for a living never crossed my mind! I was certain for decades I’d grow up to be an actress. Being a veterinarian and marine biologist were major contenders. Since I hadn’t made my mind up by the time I needed to actually earn a living, I tried my hand at a pretty wide variety of things, from waitressing to human resources to teaching writing at a Fortune 500 Corporation.
I’ve always loved to write; it’s always been a major piece of who I am, but it didn’t occur to me to be a writer. When I was 17, my boyfriend told me he thought I should be a writer and I looked at him like he was crazy. It wasn’t until I was 31 when I figured out what I really wanted to be when I grew up. Turns out, Erik knew what he was talking about!
Now that I am a writer, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love my job and it suits me to a T. No two days are the same, and I’m always researching something new for the next book. I love that!
I love writing. It’s more than something I do; it’s who I am. Few things bring me more joy than being elbow-deep in a story.
Since childhood, I’ve always been able to amuse myself with the stories whirling round in my head. A simple conversation, a scene from a dream, a random what if—they all have the ability to spark a movie in my mind.
I’m often asked why I chose to write romantic suspense novels. I don’t really know that I chose my genre so much as it chose me: these are the stories swirling around my head. But I guess the genre makes sense; I love love, I love adventure, and I love to laugh. All three of these traits permeate my books.
My passion is and always will be writing fiction with strong female characters who are flawed, relatable and very human. The stories and settings are varied but always intertwine, reminding us of the important truth that our lives are all connected in some fashion. We are more alike than we realize.
When I write, I share a piece of who I am. There’s something of my pain and my victories in each page. (Have fun guessing what’s true and what’s not!) I hope to take readers on a journey with me. Nothing makes me happier than someone writing to say my characters felt like old friends – or that they laughed, cried, yelled or cheered with me along the way.
I also believe life is more than the act of taking up air. We all have something we’re good at, something we’re meant to be doing to make this world a better place. So I’m incredibly grateful to have a publisher like Booktrope who helps me use something I love to make a difference in a cause I care deeply about, fighting modern-day slavery. In addition to the work I do to raise awareness of trafficking, I donate a portion of my royalties to organizations that fight human trafficking in one way or another. Also, visit her at http://www.heatherhuffman.net/.
On her wedding day, Veronica Sinclair thinks she has it all: the loving family, the Vera Wang dress, the hunky husband. But then a mysterious and beautiful woman shows up at the reception, suggesting Veronica’s new hubby isn’t exactly who he says he is. As if that weren’t enough, Veronica and Richard must flee gunmen in the middle of their honeymoon, convincing Veronica she got more than she bargained for when she said, “I do.”
Thrown into a world of espionage, seduction, and human trafficking, Veronica must fight for the life and husband she thought she had – and she must discover whether they are the life and husband she truly wants.
Heroines With Heart is a massive blog tour that runs throughout 2013, that features books with strong female protagonists. We have authors from several different genres, including young adult, mystery/thriller/suspense, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, and Christian fiction. We are also giving away fun digital prizes and sharing new and noteworthy books throughout the year. Want updates?
- For readers: http://heroineswithheart.com/attendees/
- For bloggers: http://heroineswithheart.com/for-bloggers/
- For authors: http://authors.heroineswithheart.com/