One thing I like about interviewing is picking an author’s brain with lots of questions. Today I’m interviewing the wonderful author Rebecca Heflin. Rebecca writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Big thanks to Rebecca for allowing me to inundate you with questions. So let’s dive right in.
What was it like when your first book released? Tell us about it.
It was kind of surreal, especially when I went on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and saw MY book up there! I think it even topped passing my bar exam!
Well, that’s something if it topped the bar exam! :)
What kind of books do you enjoy?
I’ve always enjoyed romance novels, both historical and contemporary, but I also read non-fiction, literary fiction, and I love the classics like Austen and Bronte.
What gave you the idea for the RESCUING LACEY? What sparked the muse?
Several years ago, my husband and I traveled to Costa Rica. While there, the Cessna we were flying in had to make an unplanned landing on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. For some reason, all these years later, I was thinking about that little adventure and thought it would make a great scene in a novel. Rescuing Lacey sprang from that one scene.
Can you share an excerpt?
Absolutely. This is from the first chapter.
Fucking frogs, she thought. I can’t believe I’ve been reduced to shooting frogs. “I hate frogs,” she muttered, drawing unwelcome attention from the man seated next to her.
The small passenger plane banked, tipping the wings so that the ground looked as if it were rising up to meet it. Lacey gazed out of the window at the lush green landscape of Costa Rica, her home for the next two months, or longer, if she couldn’t get the shots she needed.
The airport resembled something out of a B-movie. As the plane bumped onto the runway she expected to see a couple of aged Hummers emerge from the jungle filled with AK-47-toting drug runners. Meager though the airport was, boasting only a small terminal consisting of a row of benches covered by a tin-roofed overhang, it wasn’t the worst airport she’d seen.
Lacey stepped off the plane and into the heavy, humid air. If it was this hot in November, July must be a killer. Hitching her equipment bag up on her shoulder, she watched as a couple of men unloaded the rest of the luggage, tossing it carelessly onto the pockmarked tarmac, confirming her decision not to check her equipment bag. Spotting her army-green duffle, she walked over to pick it up.
“That’s me.” Lacey didn’t look toward the voice as she bent to pick up the bag and toss the bulk over her other shoulder. A hand slid beneath the strap and she turned to glare with disdain at the offending appendage. The hand was large, square, and calloused. Capable. Powerful.
“I’ll get that.”
She was rarely caught by surprise, but this was one of those times. She gazed directly into a pair of aqua-green eyes, as clear and deep as the waters off the Costa Rican coast, and suppressed an unexpected frisson of desire.
“Why?” was all she could think to say, her eyes narrowing behind her sunglasses.
“Well, because I have two free hands, and because it’s the polite thing to do.”
A half smile accentuated the dimple in his chin. His windblown honey-blond locks were highlighted by nature’s hand. Her sister would kill for those highlights.
“I’m Luke Hancock. I’ll be your pilot, your driver, your guide, and . . .”—he took the duffle from her as if it were packed with feathers and tossed it onto his shoulder—“your bellman during your stay in Costa Rica.”
He stood a good head taller than her five-foot-ten inches and had all the markings of a beach bum: tanned; sun-kissed hair; board shorts; faded Oakley T-shirt; flip-flops; diver’s watch; even the cliché ratty hemp friendship bracelet. Just another overgrown boy, like most of the men she’d encountered in her adult life, the kind of men who made a profession out of avoiding responsibility.
“I’m quite capable of carrying my own bag.” She planted her feet in a belligerent stance, one hand on the strap of her equipment bag, her other lifted to her forehead blocking the sun.
“I’ve no doubt you are . . . capable, I mean.” He didn’t know what he’d been expecting, but this was definitely not it. The name Lacey Sommers, and all it implied, didn’t fit the woman standing in front of him. There was certainly nothing frilly about her. Tall, tanned, and muscular, she couldn’t be accused of being girlie, but neither was she the care-worn, jaded photographer he’d envisioned. A knot of desire formed in his stomach.
Dressed in an army-green camisole, khaki cargo shorts, and a pair of worn hiking sandals, she looked quite capable . . . of many things. The color of her eyes, hidden behind a pair of dark sunglasses, piqued his curiosity.
Her only adornments were a heart-shaped garnet that hung from an antique-gold chain and an enormous Breitling watch strapped to her left wrist. He recognized the expensive brand as one he often saw on his ex-father-in-law’s wrist. No engagement or wedding ring, but there must be a rich boyfriend in the picture. A girl didn’t buy those things on a staff photographer’s salary.
“Let’s get one thing straight, Mr. Hancock, I’m no helpless female. I don’t need pampering.”
She lifted that Breitling-adorned hand to tuck a golden strand of hair behind her ear. The simple movement caused a firm bicep to ripple beneath the smooth bronze of her skin. That’s when he noticed the vicious white scar that ran across her neck; straight as a surgical incision and about three inches long, very near the carotid artery.
Her short wavy hair curled tantalizingly around her throat as if to caress the scar. He swallowed hard, wondering how such a lovely neck had been so brutally desecrated.
Dragging his gaze from the scar, he said, “That’s good,” before striding off toward his Jeep without waiting for her. “I’m not the pampering type.”
Great excerpt and great opening!
What was your first book?
My debut novel is The Promise of Change. A trip to Oxford, England three years ago provided the inspiration for it. Like Sarah, my heroine, I took a course at Christ Church College, Oxford University, on Jane Austen. The experience was so magical I decided to write about it.
Do you write in silence, or do you have a playlist of songs? If you listen to music what kind of music inspired you to write RESCUING LACEY?
I definitely write with music. I generally create a playlist for the novel I’m working on that includes songs my characters would listen to as well as songs that inspire the mood I’m striving to create. Lacey is a rough and tumble woman who likes classic rock. So Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, and even Van Morrison set the tone perfectly.
I love Bruce Springsteen!
What is your favourite type of hero, barring your own? ;-)
That’s a tough one. I admire the traits of the alpha hero, as well as the beta, but I’d have to say I’m drawn more to the beta. Funny though, my first two heroes are alphas.
Why do you like writing?
I love thinking about characters — who they are and what they do, or don’t do, based on their views of the world. Then I love watching the characters grow and the story develop as I write. I’m a panster for the most part, so I don’t always know where the story is going. I take the journey right along with the characters, and I get to sit and daydream and ask myself ‘what if.’
How do you relax? What hobbies do you take part in?
Well, in the rare circumstance that I get to relax, I enjoy spending time with my hubby, gardening, cooking, and, of course, reading.
What’s the most important advice you can give to a newbie author?
Don’t give up, especially after you get that dreaded first rejection. Persistence pays, and if it’s your dream to write, don’t get discouraged. Keep learning and practicing your craft.
Anything new in the works you want to share?
My WIP, Dreams of Perfection, is about Darcy Butler, a successful romance writer whose real-life boyfriends never live up to her own perfect heroes. She experiences a Pygmalion romance when her latest hero comes to life. But is perfection all it’s cracked up to be?
I see you had an exciting contest running. Can you tell us a bit about the results and the upcoming book the winner will be featured in?
Yes, last month I hosted the Best Worst First Date Contest. Fans were invited to tell their worst first date stories, whether it was a blind date, a set-up, an e-match, even that horrific first date that led to a lifelong relationship with her one true love.
The winning story will be included in Dreams of Perfection, as one of Darcy’s many first dates. The winner also receives a $100 American Express Gift Card (to make up for that really bad first date), copies of my books, and the opportunity to have her name in the acknowledgment section of Dreams of Perfection.
Do you have a day job and if so what do you do when you’re not writing?
I do have a day-job as a practicing attorney for a large research university. Also, my husband and I founded a non-profit organization that raises money for cancer-related programs. With the day-job, the foundation, and my writing, I stay pretty busy.
Wow! That’s fantastic. You are busy!
Where can we find out more about you?
Readers can visit my website and blog, or stop by my Facebook page. I’m also on Twitter @rebeccaheflin.
Now, for my standard fun questions. Muwahahahaha! *wrings hands together*
What is your favourite colour?
If I had to pick one, I guess it would be sunny yellow. It cheers me up.
What is your favourite drink?
Southern iced tea, the way my mother used to make it.
What is your favourite food?
Goes without saying — chocolate. ( :
Trapped on a desert island what three movies would you take with you? What three books and what three fantasy men?
I’d definitely have to have the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. The other two would be Gone with the Wind and Singing in the Rain. As for the books, Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, and Emma. Which corresponds quite nicely with the three fantasy men: Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rhett Butler, and George Knightley. Darcy and Rhett would constantly compete for the alpha spot, while Knightley played mediator. What fun.
It does sound like fun! Great choices.
If you want to find out more about Rebecca and her books, check out her website
Thanks for letting me pick your brain, Rebecca!