We're pleased to feature Heather Grace Stewart at CLC today. Her latest novel, The Ticket, was published last week and she has a copy (and some bookmarks) to share with a lucky reader in the US, Canada, or UK.
Heather Grace Stewart is a bestselling Amazon author, speaker, and poet. Her first poem was published in her school newsletter when she was five, and she's been hooked on writing ever since. She trained as a journalist and started her own freelance magazine writing & editing business. Her debut novel, Strangely, Incredibly Good, was released by Morning Rain Publishing on June 5, 2014. It has been reviewed as 'A Fun & Feisty Bridget Jones for the Digital Age,' Its sequel, Remarkably Great, was launched August 1, 2015. Born in Ottawa, Canada, she lives with her husband and daughter near Montreal. In her free time, she loves to take photos, scrapbook, cartoon, inline skate, dance like nobody's watching, and eat Swedish Berries -- usually not at the same time.
You can visit Heather at her official website, her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
Bachelor and newscaster Pete McCarney buys two plane tickets for a trip around the world with his girlfriend, but they split up shortly before the trip, and he can't get a refund. In a gutsy last minute move, Pete goes on social media asking for women with his girlfriend's exact name to apply to join him on the trip. Twenty-one women apply, and the ensuing interview process is both awkward and hilarious. When he finally chooses a feisty, headstrong, recently-divorced lawyer, he has no idea what to expect from their world wide adventures - and neither does Allie James. She has pretty much sworn off men since her divorce. Will either of them get the vacation they were so desperately hoping for? (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)
Which authors have inspired you?
The first author who made a big impression on me was Michael Ende. He wrote The Neverending Story. I was given a hardcover copy of that book at ten, and couldn't put it down. It was such an engaging, imaginative story. I loved that you never knew what was going to happen next. I decided that year that I wanted to be a writer. I've also been inspired by Henry David Thoreau, poet Sarah Teasdale, Nicholas Sparks, Helen Fielding, Sue Monk Kidd, and Elisa Lorello. She wrote Faking It, and several other great novels. I'm lucky enough to have met her and been inspired by her to write my own novel. I'm also greatly influenced by the screenwriters Richard Curtis, Nora Ephron, Nancy Myers, and Aaron Sorkin. I try to maintain my own style, but I love these screenwriters so much, shades of them are bound to seep in at some point in my work. I can only hope, actually!
Never. G-d, you'd be bored silly! Ha ha. I like to create characters you can relate to, but they're also larger than life. That keeps things interesting. I'm a bit like Cat Glamour in that I can be clumsy and like Allie in that I'm stubborn, and okay, I say 'f**kity" like Cat, and I was one of the last people to get a cell phone, like Pete, but the similarities end there. Of course you can't write a book and have some of who you are be breathed into your characters, and some of the situations are from my life - for instance, my husband and I were actually locked inside a castle in France -but I actually prefer coming up with characters who have something I don't have; characters I can learn from myself. I usually go through a process of getting to know and then falling for my characters (girl crushes on the female characters) when I'm writing; a process I always hope will be transferred to my readers!
What is your advice to aspiring authors?
Write something every day, and try to set a schedule so you keep a writing routine. If you work at nine every day, get up an hour earlier and write from six to seven. It can be hard on the body but your mind will get used to it and you may even find yourself waking up earlier every day. Don't over edit; save what you write for several weeks before doing any editing. The hard part will be doing all that work and then having it rejected by an agent or publisher. Don't give up. Save those rejection letters to reread when you're finally published! Self publishing is always an option (I've done both and there are pros and cons for both). Don't do it for the money, because only the top two percent of authors make a good living. Do it because it's your passion, and believe that you will be pleasantly surprised with success in the long run. Just believing in yourself goes a long way, as does persistence and thinking outside the box, in this industry.
If The Ticket were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
I've put some thought into this because I'm starting to write The Ticket screenplay and of course it's fun to imagine who would play Pete and Allie. Pete has to speak Gaelic, so I'd say my top choices would be Irish, Scottish or British actors. Gerard Butler, Colin O'Donoghue, Ewan McGregor, and Michael Fassbender come to mind. For Allie, she has to be a comic actress who can pull off drama, too, so that's really tough. I have always adored Drew Barrymore, Emma Stone, and Natalie Portman, and I think they'd all be able to play her marvelously. Trix has to be someone who can do comedy. Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, or Sandra Bullock would all be fabulous. I'd probably die of joy if Sally Field could play Allie's mother.
If you could win a free ticket to anything (vacation, show, lottery, etc.), what would you choose?
I'd love to see more of Europe, and I haven't seen any of Asia or Africa. My family really enjoys cruises, so we'd love tickets to cruise the Mediterranean and stop off in several major cities. We'd have to stop off in Cannes for the film festival, of course, and open The Ticket there! ;) A gal can dream...
Who was your childhood celebrity crush?
I started watching Family Ties at about 14, and then Back to the Future came out, and I was pretty much finished for the rest of high school. I had a whole wall plastered with Teen Beat photos of Michael J. Fox. I loved his comic timing and energy; still do. He's so funny, despite his struggles with Parkinson's, so clever, and such a great writer, too. I admire him even more today than I did then. My husband surprised me with tickets to Spin City a few months before Michael had to leave the show, and I still remember him winking at me in the audience (giggle). Of course he was only winking at me...
My husband got me this amazing 30th anniversary book about the movies -it's HUGE - coffee table book in colour with really neat mementos like the letter Marty writes Doc Brown that you can pull out of the book and look at. It's one of my prized possessions now.
Thanks to Heather for chatting with us and sharing her book with our readers.
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