Before we jump into our next interview, just wanted to announce that the random winner of Christina Coryell’s novel Simply Mad is:
Stephanie Landsem! Congrats, Stephanie, and I will be in contact with you and Christina!
Now I want to introduce you readers to another author I recently discovered. I first noticed Heather Woodhaven because not only does she share my first name, but also her last name is the exact name I’d chosen for my publishing house name (Woodhaven, or in my case WoodHaven Press). Then I read reviews of her women’s fiction novel, The Secret Life of Book Club. Then I read a sample and I had to own the book that very night so I could read the rest!
This novel is one of those that not only explores the mysterious world of female friendships, but it also portrays married relationships and children’s antics in ways that are so utterly believable, it made me laugh out loud many times. Honestly, I felt like Heather had spied on my children when they were younger!
I was thrilled to ask Heather some nosy questions I had wondered about in our interview today, AND Heather is offering one copy (winner’s choice softcover or e-book) of The Secret Life of Book Club to one commenter (Click to Tweet)! Please enjoy our interview and comment below for a chance to win.
But now, a little more about Heather, who has one of the most interesting biographies EVER:
Heather Woodhaven earned her pilot’s license, flew a hot air balloon over the safari lands of Kenya, assisted an engineer with a medical laser in a Haitian mission, parasailed over Caribbean seas, lived through an accidental detour onto a black diamond ski trail in the Aspens and snorkeled among sting rays before becoming a mother of three and wife of one. Now Heather spends her days celebrating laughter, adding to her impressive list of embarrassing moments, and raising a family of aspiring comedians who perform nightly at her table. She channels her love for adventure into writing characters who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances—whether running for their lives or battling the insanities of life.
Interview with Author Heather Woodhaven
HG: What was the first book you wrote that was published? You write Love Inspired Suspense novels as well as your latest indie novel, The Secret Life of Book Club. Was it a huge leap going from suspense-writing to women’s fiction?
HW: I had the idea for SLBC back in 2011. My writing time back then was mostly non-fiction freelance work, so the manuscript came along very slowly. In 2013, Lisa Phillips challenged me to enter the Happily Editor After contest with Love Inspired Suspense. That challenge forced me to write quickly. Granted, I was flat out rejected the first time, but I finally realized if I wanted to get somewhere I needed to humble myself and gain some discipline. So, I studied the LIS line, completely rewrote the story and got offered my first contract…with some major rewrites. In other words, I put down SLBC for a good six to nine months and couldn’t wait to get back to it. So while Calculated Risk was my first published novel, Secret Life came out a mere month later. As far as making the leap, it was easier to write SLBC because I had the story in my head for years. Genre-wise, I’ve never thought about this before, but my women’s fiction has adventure, romance, and humor and so does my romantic suspense.
HG: One of the things I savored about The Secret Life of Book Club was the family relationships. I had so many laugh-out-loud moments with the children’s antics…not to mention some of the book club moms’ adventures! Do you draw a lot from real life?
HW: Hehe. I’m not sure I want to answer this question! Children’s antics: Yes. Much of that is from real life. I taught preschool in my past, and I’m raising three comedians. As far as the female characters go, I’ll say that I tend to get myself in embarrassing moments all the time. A friend of mine went so far as keeping a notebook primarily for documenting them all! I need to make sure I stay on her good side.
HG: On the topic of real-life research, your book club gals did so many fun activities as they worked their way through the alphabet. Have you tried any of those things, like painting, defensive driving, or any of the other ones?
HW: Yes. And I’d just like to say the new things are rarely my idea. For instance, a fellow mom twisted my arm and got me to take a belly-dancing class with her. I was terrified of stepping out of my comfort zone, but we laughed through the entire first class. As far as the defensive driving, I did get training on a closed course but not through the police…and it didn’t have a skid pad. Speaking of the police, I was very fortunate to have an officer walk me through exactly…. Well, I won’t spoil it, but when something big happens with my character, Paula, it seems over the top because that’s just how the police would handle it.
HG: Oh my word, that entire scenario with Paula just had me roaring as I read! I think I laughed so hard, I cried! I also loved the insights into husbands’ motivations/thoughts with Secret Life, because they rang true. It’s hard to find books with realistic male characters. Was this something you were striving for or did it just happen naturally? Did you run things by your husband (I do sometimes!)
HW: I’m so glad you thought so. I wanted to make sure this didn’t come across as a male-bashing book, but show both sides of the story…eventually. I did run every scenario by my husband. I also asked some of my writing group how they thought the men in their life would handle certain situations. I then took a personality test for each character and crosschecked where I was going with the character’s reactions to the descriptions of their Myers Briggs. But overall, it’s been my experience that men, in general, don’t share their struggles and feelings as easily, or in the same way, as women do. There is often a mysterious wall as they go into their “cave” to sort things out, or actions happen without communication. We’ve been married twenty years now, but in the first ten years here’s how it’d go down: I can tell something is wrong. I read into it, ask my friends to also read into it, decide I know what’s going on, and more often than not, I’m mistaken. Those assumptions in marriage are ripe for conflict (and humor).
HG: Yes, great insights there! Finally, do you have another women’s fiction novel coming out anytime soon? What is your next publication-in-process? Do tell!
HW: I’m working on the sequel to The Secret Life of Book Club. New things are happening in each of their lives. The book the group reads, and the arrival of Grayson’s sister, will prompt them to handle Christmas a little differently than usual. (No spoilers yet.) I’ve just started writing it so it all depends on how fast I can get this story on the page.
HG: It can’t release soon enough! Thanks so much for visiting and for offering a giveaway of this excellent novel!
HW: It was so much fun! Thanks for the invite!
***Readers, please comment below and tell us if you’ve ever been in a book club. If so, what was your favorite part of it/fave book, etc.? And leave your preference of e-book or softcover version of The Secret Life of Book Club. (Click to Tweet!) I will choose a winner next Monday!***