I am tickled pink today to be interviewing the lovely and illustrious Miss Rachel Heffington, a writer whose work I have admired for some time now. Her debut novel was released yesterday and is available on Amazon-- you can read more about it on Goodreads as well, and of course on her blog (just click on her name).
Rachel has been a good friend for nearly two years now... in fact, we started corresponding right around Valentine's Day in 2012. :D She's an amazing word-crafter, a well-read gal who understands about Milne and Wodehouse and all those fabulous Britishers, and a delightful friend that I'm very glad to have in my life. (Also, she calls me old chump, and that's kind of hilarious, and there are very few people who use expressions like that, so they-- the people-- deserve to be treasured when you stumble across them.) I'm incredibly excited about her new novel, and I think you ought to be too!
The summary from Goodreads is as follows, and will hopefully serve to whet your appetites...
1952 New York City Callie Harper is a woman set to make it big in the world of journalism. Liberated from all but her buried and troubled past, Callie craves glamour and the satisfaction she knows it will bring. When one of America's most celebrated journalists, Wade Barnett, calls on Callie to help him with a revolutionary project, Callie finds herself co-pilot to a Christian man whose life and ideas of true greatness run noisily counter to hers on every point. The new friendship sparks, the project soars, and a faint suspicion that she is fall for this uncommon man grows in Callie's heart. When the secrets of Callie's past are exhumed and hung over her head as a threat, she is forced to scrutinize Wade Barnett and betray his dirtiest secrets or see her own spilled. Here there is space for only one love, one answer: betray Wade Barnett to save her reputation, or sacrifice everything for the sake of the man she loved and the God she fled. The consequences of either decision will define the rest of her life.
1. To what sort of person would you recommend FAH? A Janeite, a Dickensian, a Scarlet Pimpernel fangirl, an aficionado of modern Christian fiction? To all of the above, mayhap? What elements in the book would attract those types of readers?
Oooooh. A Scarlet Pimpernelian who likes modern Christian fiction. Fly Away Home isn’t quite like most modern romances. Indeed, romance takes a complimentary rather that front-forward role in the book. Considering I am all of the above (Janeite, Dickensian, Scarlet Pimpernelian and sometimes-enjoyer of modern fiction) I should think most people would find something to like. It’s a story of friendship, love, loyalties, and the true definition of greatness.
2. Mr. Barnett is the hero of the piece, and the favorite character of many (myself included). What's your favorite thing about him? (Yes. Pick one.)
(darn your mushrooms.) erugmmmm.sshhhdhhdhs. ....ummm... his brown eyes? Oh. You meant character-wise. His tender spirit. He has taught me. His author. Oy.
3. What beverage did you consume the most as you wrote and edited FAH, and what stimulates your creativity the most?
Crumbs. What stimulates my creativity beverage-wise? I think we could say Chick-fil-A lemonade but I don’t think you meant that. I drank mostly...tea? Probably. Coffee came in the editing rounds and mocha in formatting. As for what stimulates my creativity (besides lovely pulpy lemonade): reading good books, people-watching, traveling, and reading deep blogs like The Rabbit Room
4. Callie's cat Nickleby is a most satisfactory and pleasing beast-- was he at all inspired by your own cat Cricket? Do you think cats use words when they think?
Yes, he is inspired by Cricket...or rather, he is a manifestation of companionable black cats of which le Cricket is one...which is much the same thing. And of course they use words...or sniffs. I rather think contemptuous sniffs make up much of their vocabulary.
5. In all sharp and blunt honesty (what an oxymoron!) what do you think Calida Harper would think of her authoress?
Haha. She wouldn’t really know what to do with one such as me. Eventually she would like me but I think she’d consider me from rather a stiff angle because of course she’d know how I love Wade Barnett.
6. Is there a particular character in FAH that makes you want to throw something (preferably somewhat heavyish) at him or her? What is it about this abrasive creature that rubs you (and presumably the readers) the wrong way?
Blackmailers are rather nasty, you know. ‘Tisn’t polite.
7. Can you tantalize us with three untagged dialogue snippets and give the blog readers a chance to guess (in the comments) who said what? (If you'd be so good, tell us the names of those who spoke, and let the readers match people to quotes.)
Okay! How fun! The people speaking are.... Jerry Atwood, Nalia Crosticinni, and Wade Barnett:
“Well I don’t think about your opinions. My own occupy my time sufficiently.”
“Miss Harper, let me ask you one thing: do you have any aspirations for marriage?”
“Going forth to charm the world, are we? Be yourself, Miss Harper. They’ll love you for it.”
8. What does a typical writing day look like for you?
I confine myself to my Lair for several hours every day. Usually one to two hours of that time are writing, but I also am required to spend a couple hours with publicity work, blogging, catching up on blogs, etc. I usually add 1500 words a day to my manuscript of choice. Having won the Five Glass Slippers contest, I will soon be busy with revisions and edits for that as well.
9. How long did it take you to put FAH together, from first scribbled draft to final polished edit?
Oh crumbs. Let me think: a year and a half? Two years? I did so many edits and took my time since I was none to sure how I wanted to publish it. It had several lulls in that interim of Not Being Worked On.
10. What drew you to the setting of 1950's New York City for FAH? (It's a brilliant one, I might add!)
Glamour and Glitz. Yeah, ironic, I know. I’m a sucker for vintage glam. :D
11. What songs inspired you as you wrote FAH? Any particular tunes for certain characters?
Bwahahahaha. “Somewhere Beyond the Sea” is pretty much my sole song for the book. I love it to bits and it is Mr. Barnett’s song for Callie. (PSSST. Matt Belsante’s version is best.)
12. If you could sum up some potent advice for newbie writers in one pithy quote, what would you say?
If you wait to write till you feel like writing, you’ll never write worth beans. (Now I feel like some old hag from Jack and the Beanstalk or something.)
Thanks for having me, Gussie old chump! <3