Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Author Spotlight, Heather Gray
Hello everyone! Today I'm doing a spotlight on Heather Gray and her new book, Nowhere for Christmas. She is such a sweet author and knows how to enjoy life. Check out why she enjoys writing humor:
The Joy of Writing Funny
Nowhere for Christmas is a humorous novel that delves into topics such as family, faith, and taking a chance on love. It was such a fun novel to write! I enjoy reading a book whose characters make me laugh, and that's what I wanted to create for my readers.
I always say I'd rather laugh than yell, and I did that plenty while writing this novel! Even though I've now been over the manuscript dozens of times, there are still some scenes that make me laugh out loud. My hope is that the fun I had while creating the characters and story comes across to everyone who picks it up to read.
Of all the absurd situations that my characters find themselves in, only one was completely fictitious. The rest were all based on things that truly and honestly happened to me, or to people I know. Of course, I can't say that anybody's ever had this much bad luck on a single road trip. (That's where literary license comes into play!)
So tell me – what's the most absurd thing that's ever happened to you on a road trip or commute? (It didn't make it into this book, but I once passed a motorhome parked on the freeway. PARKED. With nobody in it that I could see. On a VERY busy freeway during rush hour. Traffic was backed up for miles. It took an hour to get through the ten miles leading up to where the motorhome was sitting. I've always wondered if it were the cause for the traffic delay or if the driver had been stuck in traffic like us and decided to take a pit stop right there because he just couldn't hold it anymore…)
Nowhere for Christmas
Back Cover Blurb:
Anything can happen on the road to Nowhere…
A journalist and single mother, Avery is used to being in control, though she tries to remind herself to let God take lead in her life. Eli, her teenage son, is happy as long as he has his music, plenty of food, and the occasional adult on which to practice his rapier wit. Gavin, a virtual stranger, is a photojournalist who mysteriously disappeared from the scene a few years ago.
The trio ends up together for a Christmas road trip to the small town of Nowhere. An eight hour drive in a rental car turns into two days of misadventure and calamity as bad luck stalks them. They get a flat tire, the bumper falls off, the car overheats – and that's only the beginning! Along the way they meet some interesting people – from a bait shop owner who moonlights as a mechanic to a chatty preacher's wife and a highway patrolman whose wife and mother can't agree on the best way to remove a skunk's stink.
Hungry, cold, and tired, the three finally arrive in Nowhere only to discover the town is nothing like they expected. Reaching their destination, it turns out, doesn't necessarily mean the journey has ended.
Some women are satisfied with one man in their life. There are even women who would say that's too many. Not me, though. Oh, no. Not me. I get to juggle two.
Avery Weston stormed into her editor's office and slammed the door behind her. Mitchell peered up from his catastrophe of a desk. The newsroom had been battling mice off and on for two years now, but Mitchell's office had remained rodent-free. Her theory? The little beasts are terrified of getting squashed under a falling stack of paper, or worse, getting lost in this mess and starving to death.
Mitchell, bushy black eyebrows raised, inspected her and asked, "Yes, Avery?"
She threw herself into the only chair not filled with file folders, books, and other paraphernalia. "I got your memo. You didn't have the guts to tell me in person?"
His eyes returned to the article he was reviewing, red pen in hand. Mitchell was old enough to be her… big brother… but he insisted on doing things old school. There was no way he'd ever get caught editing important articles on his computer. He wanted a printout in one hand and his red pen in the other. "I thought your temper might cool down during the walk from your desk to my office."
"You thought wrong."
"I see that." Mitchell laid his red pen down on top of the printout he'd been studying. "Has it occurred to you this might be fun?"
"Has it occurred to you I might look for a job elsewhere?" She'd worked for Mitchell more years than she could remember. He'd given her the start she'd desperately needed, and because of him, she was able to provide for the other man in her life. They both knew she wouldn't be looking for a job elsewhere, but that didn't stop her from voicing the empty threat now and then.
"Think of it as an adventure."
Yeah, right. "Have you spent much time with teenagers recently?"
Mitchell removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Is that the problem? You don't think Eli will want to go?"
Avery sighed and sank back into the chair she occupied. "He's fifteen, Mitchell. I told him we'd go north for Christmas so he could go skiing. Now I'm going to be hauling him across three states to a Podunk town in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere! Do you have any idea exactly how not happy he is going to be with me?"
Mitchell opened his mouth to say something.
Avery, ignoring him, continued her monologue. "He's not going to blame you, either. Eli won't think Mom has such a rotten boss. How dare he ruin my Christmas plans?" She let out a sigh and said, "This is all going to be my fault as far as he's concerned. I will have broken my word to him, and he will have one more reason to resent me for the rest of his life."
This time Mitchell lifted a hand to stop Avery so he could say something.
Again dismissing his action, she said, "Do you have any idea how hard it is to raise a teenage boy alone? Or to raise any child alone for that matter? He wasn't always a teenager, you know. Eli started out as a baby, and I thought how hard it was to be a single mom to this tiny little thing that cried and pooped all the time. I never slept. No matter how hard it got, I provided a home for him because he was my responsibility, my joy. Then he was in grade school, and I thought that was as hard as it could possibly get. I worked ten hours a day for a tyrant of a boss, then came home to fix dinner for my finicky son and spend three hours working on homework with him so he could pass to the next grade."
Mitchell cleared his throat.
Avery kept talking. "You know, when I was in school, we didn't start working on algebra until I was in junior high. Eli started working basic algebra equations in second grade. Who does that? Algebra in second grade! Sure, it was easy stuff, but whatever happened to being a child? But I did it. I wanted the best for my son. I looked at it as an exercise in building confidence as he put in the hard work and saw it pay off, so I sat there with him for hours and hours every night. Because I'm his mom. Has he ever noticed any of that? Of course not! He notices everything he doesn't get in this life. And now, thanks to you, he gets to add skiing trip to the list of things to hold against me. You're a peach, Mitchell! An absolute peach."
As her voice wound down, Avery eyed Mitchell and saw he had gone back to editing the article he'd been looking at when she'd come in.
"Are you listening to anything I say?" When Mitchell said nothing, she leaned forward and slapped her palm against the edge of his desktop. She didn't use much force, but the impact still vibrated up her arm and echoed among the stacks of files and papers around the room.
Her editor neither jumped nor reacted. Instead, the picture of calm, he put his pen down, took his glasses off, and set them next to the pen. Taking his time, he looked up and asked, "Are you done yet?"
Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing. Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell. Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.
Where to Find Me:
My Website – http://www.heathergraywriting.com
My Blog – http://www.heathergraywriting.com/blog
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/heathergraywriting
Twitter – http://twitter.com/LaughDreamWrite