Monday, October 3, 2011

Interview with Author Heather Justesen

Heather Justesen didn’t grow up knowing she would be an author—in fact, she only took one creative writing class in college. Even though she was studying English, she wasn’t going to be a writer. The joke was on her, as she started writing less than a year after she finished her BA. She is now the author of three books with two more on the way. Heather is a lazy gardener, volunteers with her husband for local ambulance service, and is a happy chicken mama. Not only that, she raises geese, ducks, guineas, a tom turkey, two cats and two dogs.

Hi, Heather. Please tell us about your new book, Blank Slate.

You’d think waking from an eleven-day coma with multiple injuries would be enough for anyone to deal with, but Adrianna also ends up with amnesia, the loss of her ability to play the piano—a big deal because she earned her living as a concert pianist—and a fiancĂ© she doesn’t remember and has nothing in common with anymore. When you add to that family members who are anxious for her to remember her past, and her growing attraction to her brother’s business partner, she has a lot to figure out. Just as she does, however, another trip to the ER puts everything she’d built back in the blender again.

Your book sounds fascinating. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

Actually the nugget of inspiration came from a news report on TV, and I just twisted and played with it until I had something that interested me enough to build on. Also, some of the cooking catastrophes came from stories some neighbors told me. Oh, and when I was a realtor (about ten years ago), I had a client who had to prove he was still alive in order to get his home loan. (Because apparently banks don’t like to lend money to dead people. Go figure!)

That is awesome that you use so many real life experiences in your book. Since one of your characters ends up with amnesia, what kind of research did you have to do?

I did an internet search on amnesia, the causes and after effects, but probably spent more time researching her other injuries, the plastic surgery she went through to fix facial damage from the accident and other medical issues she faces. Though I have a medical background as an EMT, that really only helps me as far as the ER. Once my characters are actually admitted to the hospital, I’m out of my depth!

A Reviewer wrote, “A slow start from the beginning, but once the story starts to unfold it is one book that is beyond hard to put down.” I have read several books like this and found it hard to put down once I got into the story. Tell us your thoughts about this review.

The ‘slow start’ comment makes me shrug, not because I don’t care if my story starts too slow but because my first chapter actually won an award for being a great start to a story. It placed second behind the first chapter for my book Rebound—that was a fun contest for me! A review like this makes me think about how I could have written the first fifty pages differently; if there were things I should have tweaked or cut. And it helps me look at my current projects from a different perspective to try not to get that comment again. But really, how could I possibly not grin when I have someone say that the book is ‘beyond hard to put down’? That’s about the best comment anyone could get, so the review is A-1 awesome in my book because it’s constructive and positive!

I love your reaction to my question. You’re an awesome author. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

My dad is one of the handiest people I’ve ever met considering he doesn’t work construction, and he’d passed a lot of that along to me. I’ve installed windows, tiled almost my whole basement, built pantry shelving, and a couple of years ago I needed another coop for my chickens, so I built an 8x8 A-frame coop completely by myself in a day (with the help of a handy nail gun).

Thanks, Heather, for a great interview. I enjoyed this very much. Now I know the real you… I can just picture it… an EMT who can build chicken coops with a nail gun in one hand and an author’s pen in the other.


clenna said...

Normally I don't read romance books but this one sounds like I'd love it. I would love to win it.


clenna at aol dot com

Literary Chanteuse said...

Quite a story! Please count me in for this one! I would love to read it!


Kat said...

Wow, I would love to read this book! It looks great! Hey, Heather, you look familiar. Any chance you are a fellow Badger?

katsaddress AT gmail. DOT. com

Gayle said...

This sounds like a great book -- I love the cover especially! Thanks for the interview too!

DanielleThorne said...

Wow--you are a woman of many experiences and talents. Your new release sounds wonderful and the cover is beautiful!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

michelle130 said...

Sounds great would love to win the ebook.

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

This book has a really great storyline and I would love to read it.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Anna Maria Junus said...

Well, this book sounds fascinating. Would love to read it.

Ruth J. Hartman said...

This sounds great! Count me in!


Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Heather,

Congratulations on your new book! It sounds so good with so many twists and turns to straighten out.
It was great to learn a little more about you, especially your handygal expertise.

Miss Mae said...

Heather, this story sounds amazing! With amnesia so many twists and turns can develop. :) Great premise! Wishing you mega sales!

*since I don't enter contests, please do not submit my name*

Thank you! :)

apple blossom said...

the cover is interesting. sounds like a good book thanks for a chance to win a copy

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

brendajean said...

I love that Heather uses real life happenings in her books. I can't wait to read Blank Slate. Her other books are fantastic! Congrats Heather:)

bchild5 at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

Another Book that is tantalizing in it's entirety!

I would love to enjoy!
jdovefamily at gmail dot com

Anne Patrick said...

As usual I'm late to the party. Just wanna say congrats on your new book and wish you many sales and fab reviews.

Darlene said...

Sounds very good! Please enter me in the draw, and thanks for the giveaway!

darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Kat! You are the winner for this new and wonderful book. I know you'll enjoy it.