Author Spotlight & Book Giveaway! ~ Lisa Heidke

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…

Thanks Juliet!

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’.”

 

4.      Do you find that some of your own life experiences make their way into your stories, or do you make absolutely everything up?

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.

 

6.      Can you name three essential ingredients you believe every book in the contemporary women’s fiction genre should have?

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…

 

9.      What’s next for Lisa, are you working on something new?

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!

 

 

Lisa Heidke is published by Allen and Unwin. You can visit Lisa at her website here, follow her on twitter, and Facebook. And don’t forget to check out her book trailer video here!

 

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.

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21 Comments

  1. Maryde

     /  January 16, 2012

    Lovely, brief insight into your writing life Lisa.
    Some helpful tips there as well.
    Any story that finds me smiling during and after I have read the intro or blurb, is a must read in my books.
    These women sound very interesting Lisa.
    Thank you Juliet 🙂

    Reply
  2. Carol Warner

     /  January 16, 2012

    Loved your answers and inspiration to boot. I can’t wait to read ‘Stella Makes Good’

    Reply
  3. Another great interview. LOL on never being to a sex party! (Don’t enter me in the drawer because I’m already lucky to have a Kindle copy AND have won a print one 🙂 )

    Reply
  4. Bec

     /  January 16, 2012

    Looking forward to reading your new book – we are so luck to have some great aussie authors to choose from – would love to win a copy!

    Reply
  5. It’s great to hear I’m not the only one with self doubt when it comes to writing.. 🙂

    I’d love to win a copy. Now, being as you are a writer, could I bribe you with chocolate. lol..

    I enjoyed reading the snippet into your writing life.

    All the best,

    Suzanne 🙂

    Reply
  6. Kylie Griffin

     /  January 16, 2012

    Lisa, great interview! 🙂

    I’m short for time but I wanted to stop by and congratulate you on your ARRA nomination for CLAUDIA’S BIG BREAK! How thrilling – good luck with the awards!!! 😀

    Reply
  7. Lovely interview, Lisa, and congrats on your ARRA shortlisting!! Had to laugh out loud about you wanting to shoot your characters – very glad you haven’t given in to that yet!!

    I’m still waiting patiently for my copy of Stella to turn up in Cairns… sigh… carrier pigeons would be quicker some days…. I know I’m going to enjoy it when it does!!

    Reply
  8. You have THE best covers (and titles). I love them. The best part is that the read inside those covers are just as brill – always. I’m sure ‘Stella’ (which BTW I always want to scream out in my deepest and most desperate Marlon Brando cry LOL) will be a HUGE success. I’d love to read it for my http://www.australianwomenwriters.com/p/australian-women-writers-book-challenge_25.html challenge but I see it has already been reviewed (and I expect many more times too).

    Reply
  9. Hey Lisa,

    Love your covers!

    Especially taken by your item 3 in the three essential ingredients in the contemporary women’s fiction genre…

    3. Hope of redemption and a brighter future.

    Who doesn’t want to read a book with that in these days!!!!

    Congrats on your newest book-baby – Stella Makes Good!

    Bye 4 now
    Tina
    PS Hope your muse keeps you GREAT company in 2012.

    Reply
  10. Jennifer St George

     /  January 16, 2012

    Hi Lisa

    Really enjoyed your interview. I too fainted in Biology – all too icky!! Love the cover of STELLA MAKES GOOD. Congrats on ARRA shortlisting. Cheers Jen

    Reply
  11. I completely agree with Lisa’s answers to number 6. I really enjoyed What Kate Did Next – she was a strong character and the storylines were real and humourous. Look forward to reading Stella Makes Good. (Claudia’s Big Break is awaiting me on my ereader).

    Reply
  12. Pleasure to interview you, Lisa. I agree, your covers look great, and I’m intrigued by the blurb of Stella Makes Good – sounds good! Hope it’s a huge success! 🙂

    Reply
  13. Cath Evans

     /  January 17, 2012

    Thanks for the interview, Lisa and Juliet. So glad to hear that other writers struggle – even when publishing awesome stories.

    I hope the muse is with you in 2012, Lisa, and helps you sort out your current story.

    Congrats on your ARRA nomination!

    Cath

    Reply
  14. Imelda

     /  January 17, 2012

    Congratulations on the ARRA nomination Lisa. I’m with Jenn and Tina – you have the BEST covers! Good luck with the awards and the new book!

    Reply
  15. Hi Lisa love your cover and thank you for the lovely insight into you writing life. Wish you all the best

    Reply
  16. Lovely interview and I enjoyed reading your insights.

    Love the fab covers for all your books.

    Last night, Book Club was at my place and ‘Stella’ was chosen 🙂 I made sure to include lots of RWA writers in this month’s selection 😀

    Reply
  17. Angela

     /  January 18, 2012

    Enjoyed the interview and know I will love the new book. Best of luck with the awards.

    Reply
  18. Thanks for the interview, Juliet and Lisa, and RWA for doing so much to promote contemporary Australian women’s writing.

    Like Jenn McLeod, I’d like to review this one for the @auswomenwriters 2012 Reading & Reviewing Challenge. It doesn’t matter that it’s been reviewed before – everyone’s take on a novel is different and it’s interesting to read a diversity of opinions. I haven’t read anything of Lisa Heidke’s yet and look forward to the discovery. I’m also doing @Bookdout blog’s Eclectic Readers Challenge, so I’m interested in the categorisation of “contemporary women’s fiction” as a genre. It seems more respectful than “Chick Lit”, but spreads a very broad umbrella… Maybe there’s a crossover article for the RWA/AWW blogs somewhere there?

    By the way, for anyone who’s signed up the AWW challenge, we’re trying to start a #aww2012 discussion group on Twitter and AWW Wednesdays, when challenge participants are encouraged go round to other participants’ blogs, read the reviews, comment and post a link to the review on Twitter. I’m not sure how many reader have commented on the romance/chick lit/contemporary fiction reviews yet, but if you do, please ping @auswomenwriters. It would be good to get our fantastic RWA authors better known in the wider reading community.

    Reply
  19. Great interview! I’ll look forward to reading Stella.

    Reply
  20. I’ve loved all of Lisa’s books and I can’t wait to read Stella.

    Reply
  21. Thanks to all who commented, the two winners of Lisa’s book are:

    Elizabeth Lhuede
    and
    Aretha Zhen

    Congrats ladies, and thanks Lisa for being part of our author spotlight!! Oh, and for those who didn’t win, make sure you go and grab a copy of Stella Makes Good! 😉

    Reply

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