Today we welcome Lisa Heidke, author of women’s contemporary fiction, who is kindly giving away two copies of her latest release STELLA MAKES GOOD! To be in the running, be sure to leave a comment (Aus only).
1. Welcome to the Author Spotlight Lisa, tell us about your new book, STELLA MAKES GOOD…
Stella Makes Good is about the games we play, the secrets we keep and the unpredictable nature of life because no-one ever really knows what lies ahead.
Newly separated Stella is after the simple life and is definitely not looking for love. Carly’s oldest son has left for his gap year overseas and she’s feeling restless and bored. Jesse wants another baby but her husband isn’t keen. And then there’s Louisa, Jesse’s sister, who left Sydney six years ago under a cloud of mystery.
Told from four points of view, Stella Makes Good spans one tumultuous week of these women’s lives after Stella, Carly and Jesse meet for drinks, and unwittingly stumble upon a sex party. What they see that night will alter the course of their lives and shatter long held beliefs, forcing them to re-evaluate the things that are truly important to them.
You can view the book trailer for Stella Makes Good here.
2. What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started writing?
That everything would be okay! I would tell my inexperienced, younger self to relax, write from the heart and try not to get disillusioned. I would say keep going and stick at it. Writing is not always easy. Sometimes words don’t automatically flow. You have to be patient and persistent. And, even though I know all this now, I still have days of incredible doubt. When that happens, I do my best to shake it off and get on with writing a scene or character that will make me happy (and is easy to write).
3. We all know how important the first sentence of a book is to draw a reader in. Out of all your books, do you have a favourite first line?
Great question! I really like the first line from Lucy Springer Gets Even. “Last night my husband, Max, looked at me over his half-eaten Pad Thai and, in calm, measured tones, said ‘I’ve had enough’.”
I’m also partial to the first line from Stella Makes Good. “When I said ‘I do’ forever, I never thought I’d end up saying ‘I don’t anymore’.”
Honestly, quite a bit of my real life creeps into my books. I think all the female characters I’ve written have touches of my personality in them…it might only be one sentence of dialogue or a thought, but I’m always lurking close by my characters.
Incidents that have mortified me in the past generally make an appearance in my books eventually, so if I do something stupid, I’ll always think (once the mortification has subsided) ‘At least I can write about this later.’
For instance, in Claudia’s Big Break when Claudia sings Mustang Sally in front of a thousand people? True story. Claudia fainting in biology class? Also true. In Lucy Springer Gets Even, the Bali bombing scenes are fairly accurate because we were in Bali at the time.
With regard to Stella Makes Good, I would like to make it very clear that I have NEVER been to a sex party…I made it all up!
5. Complete this sentence: When I’m not writing, I’m…
On Twitter, Facebook, eating, procrastinating, annoying my children and then wondering where the day disappeared.
1. A compelling hook.
2. A relatable lead character.
3. Hope of redemption and a brighter future.
7. How can an author determine when their book is ready and polished enough to submit to editors or agents?
For me, it’s definitely when I can’t stand the sight of the manuscript anymore. It’s after I’ve been working on the story for possibly eighteen months and have done umpteen drafts. It’s when I read through the pages and feel the urge to throw my characters out the window…or shoot them.
Yep, that’s probably when I know I’ve had enough. I can’t be objective anymore and it’s time for someone else to read it.
8. What do you love most about being an author?
It’s a cliché but I really do like working from home, often in daggy pyjamas or track pants. I am very fortunate that I can work school hours and be around when the kids come home. I also really like creating fictional worlds where my characters can say and do things that I would never dream of in real life. And then of course when characters mess up or find themselves in embarrassing situations I can pull them through so their lives don’t end up becoming total train wrecks. In real life? Not so much…
Juliet, I am working on something new but it’s taking much longer to pull together than my other manuscripts. Must admit, have been a bit slack in 2011, but in 2012, the Muse will strike and I’ll power ahead. And if the Muse doesn’t strike? I’ll just have to get by on my own!
To be in the running to WIN one of two copies of STELLA MAKES GOOD, leave a comment below. Winners drawn on Monday 23rd January, and limited to Australian residents.