Tuesday, October 16, 2012

THE AUTHOR INQUISITION w/ Heather Justesen


Once again it’s time for the Author Inquisition. Please welcome Heather Justesen. [hearty round of applause]

So, let’s get right to this thing, shall we?

Heather: Sounds good. [smiles politely] 

How many novels have you published?  

Heather: I have five published romance novels, plus a couple of novellas, and my newest book is a culinary mystery, Brownies & Betrayal—which has been a totally fun change of pace and includes yummy scrumptious recipes. My character, Tess is fun and a little irreverent giving the book a bit of a chick-lit-y feel.

Yum. Culinary mysteries are a hot genre. [Whispers: That means popular.] And, I love brownies.

A lot of authors like lots of advice. What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?

Heather: Keep writing. You can’t finish the book or have it published if you sit back and dream. Don’t be afraid to rewrite or write crap—it’s the best way to learn.
 

Nods, then looks off camera. [Whispers: Are we allowed to say crap online?] I’ve been dreaming of being published for several years now – so you’re saying that I need to get up and go to work?

Heather: Absolutely.

I’ll keep that in mind. Although you don’t advocate sitting back and dreaming, everyone needs a break occasionally, even authors. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Heather: Baking. I love to tweak recipes and try new things.

Mmm, I’m starting to feel hungry. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? That’s one of the four food groups, you know.

Heather: I love Brownies Over the Moon by Farr.

I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of that flavor. Is it by farr your favorite? haha. A little Farr joke there.

Heather: [frowns]

No. It’s funny. Really. Farr – far [lifts eyebrows]

Heather: If you say so. [smiles patiently, clasps hands together on table] 

Okay, so that didn’t go over very well. Do you like vegetables? And which one do you think is most vile?

Heather: What does this have to do with writing?

Your newest book – it’s a culinary mystery. That means there’s food in it. Right?

Heather: [sighs] I detest Jalape├▒os. I don’t like hot and spicy things.

Speaking of hot and spicy ... I understand that you knew a hunk-a, hunk-a college stud-muffin in college. [wiggles eyebrows] Did you get my culinary reference?

Heather: Oh, I got it all right. [Thrums table with fingers]

Well? Tell us more.

Hmmm, there was this guy I worked with in college. He was seriously hot, and an over-the-top flirt. I based a character in a book (okay, make that two books) off of him. [smiles slyly] I even used his name when I wrote the first draft. But he doesn’t read romance so when I finally finish fixing those books and put them out, he’ll never know it was him.

Very clever. They [the writing powers that be] say to write who you know – but to change their names to protect the innocent. Doesn’t sound like he was too innocent though. Eh? [pokes at the air with an elbow]

Heather: I guess not, now that you mention it.

Moving on, what is your writing process after your initial story idea?

Heather: It depends on the book. Some of them I play with characters and plot ideas and find a setting—.

I’ve heard that it’s not polite to play with your characters. [looks sternly] 

Heather: Some of them I start writing with minimal forethought and when I start to get past the first burst of inspiration, I go back and fill in the important details that will make the story sing. My mysteries start with characters, a dead body and motives galore.

There’s a couple of holes in your story—they don’t sing—hello, people sing.

Heather: Metaphorically, speaking.

Meta who? [shakes head and blinks] This is just too confusing. Let’s move to something a bit easier. Are you published as an Indie author, or traditionally? 

Heather: I have three novels out with a traditional publisher and have done the others either indie or with BigWorldNetwork.com, which puts the books out first in serial format and then later as a complete story—that’s sort of hybrid: not really mainstream, but not indie, either.  

Hm. [nods thoughtfully] That’s something new. I’ve never heard of hybrid publishing.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Heather: I used to be a total pantser. Now I figure out who my characters are and do a loose plot so I have some direction on where I’m headed and start writing.

Do you snack when you write? If so, what?

Heather: Sometimes. If I do, I eat whatever is handy. It’s hard to type with food in my hands, so if I’m feeling really snacky sometimes I just grab a piece of gum, because I don’t keep a lot of munchies in the house or at the office.

Smart girl. The keys get kinda sticky if you eat too much candy while typing.

Heather: Smirks

You’ve been a good sport today, Heather. Will you tell us about your newest book, Brownies & Betrayal, and give us the links so that we can learn more about you. 

Heather: Thanks for having me. Here is a short bit about my book:

Pastry chef Tess Crawford thought moving from Chicago to quiet Silver Springs, Arizona would simplify her life. That was before she found the body of a woman with whom she had traded heated words the previous night, left her fingerprints on the murder weapon, and came under attack for trying to clear her name. When her cheating ex-fiance shows up, intent on convincing her to come back to work for him, Tess—armed with an extra batch of ├ęclairs—decides to take control and solve the mystery herself, with the help of friends and frenemies alike.

But will that be enough to save her when she gets too close and the killer decides it’s safer to get her out of the way?

 

Here are my links:



Twitter: @HeatherJustesen

Thanks! Heather
No, Thank you, Heather. I think I'm off to find some Farr out ice cream.

 

4 comments:

Shaunna said...

Heather, don't you love Tina's inquisition?
Actually, I think I've tasted Brownies Over the Moon. It's good but needs some tiny marshmellows and maybe a sprinkling of nuts! (this from a Rocky Road fan.

Monique said...

What a delicious conversation. :)Mmmmm. Cream cheese brownies are the bomb, but I'm always willing to try new kinds. :) Thanks for sharing. :)

Heather Justesen said...

Tina, thanks for doing the interview!

Shaunna, Brownies Over the Moon has swirls of marshmallow cream in it (one of the best parts) and I'm not overly fond of nuts, so I don't miss them.

Monique, the sample chapters for this book on are on my blog and they include this brownie recipe--seriously rich and fabulous. You should give it a try.

Tina Scott, author, artist said...

Thanks for the comments. I'm glad you stopped by for a visit. I, myself am nuts about nuts, pecans and almonds and pistacios. YUM!