19 Feb 2015

Meet the wonderful Heather Wardell

Hi Heather! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
"Bad Will Hunting", my sixteenth novel, is the sequel to "Seven Exes are Eight Too Many". In the first book, a fiercely private woman signs up for a reality dating show but instead ends up dumped... on an island with seven of her ex-boyfriends, competing against the worst possible ex and HIS exes for a million dollars. In the second, one of the female exes, Ashley, who felt particularly mis-treated by the show sets out to get revenge on it and everyone involved with it.

What inspired you to write it?
I've been wanting to do a sequel to "Seven Exes are Eight Too Many" for several years but it never seemed to be the right time. Then in rereading it I noticed how furious Ashley was every time we saw her and it made me wonder why. From there grew "Bad Will Hunting"!

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
Since "Seven Exes are Eight Too Many" features a beach scene on its cover, having "Bad Will Hunting" follow that theme made sense. My amazing cover designer Scarlett Rugers did all the work, and I love how both books look! 

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
I think women are so much stronger than they're given credit for, and I love writing stories about women who overcome their adversities and their own issues to make their lives better.

What made you want to become an author?
It was honestly a bit of a whim! My husband was away on a business trip and I was bored so decided to do my own version of NaNoWriMo. That novel-writing event takes place in November but I did mine in May, and by the end I had the first draft of what eventually became my free-to-download novel "Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo" (get your copy here) and I knew I had to keep writing because I loved it.

How do you come up with character names?
I have several books, but my favourite way is to figure out when the character was born and then pull up a "top 100 baby names of that year" list. Since I'm now working on my 19th book, I often have to go quite far down the list to find something I haven't used!

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
Maeve Binchy's "Tara Road". The way she set everything up and then pulled the rug out from under me was masterful. Also Marian Keyes' "Rachel's Holiday", for making drug addiction a riveting read. (I know, you said one. Sorry. :)

Who, or what, inspires you?

This will sound like a cliche but it's absolutely true: my readers. I have a screen saver of quotes from emails they've sent me, and whenever I feel a little bit lost or scared I look at those and remember that those people are still out there waiting for the next book. It really helps me keep going! I do a monthly email newsletter with a free story and prizes (you can sign up here) and every time I send one out I get great replies from readers. It's so kind of them to write to me and I hugely appreciate it!

Where is your favourite place to write?
Starbucks. If I could afford it (on both the cash and calorie levels!) I'd work there every day. I've never had a bad writing session at a Starbucks! I have a nice desk at home, and I do work well there too, but being out in public with the hum of conversation (and the option to snag a little bit of dialogue as inspiration for what I'm writing!) is the best.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Honestly, I always prefer the book to the movie. :)

Name two of your favourite authors.
J.K. Rowling for how well she plots her books and also how much she loves writing, and Stephen King for how he writes what seems right to him even if it's not necessarily what readers will expect (anyone who's read the Dark Tower series knows what I mean).

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
I want to know how much of the works attributed to him Shakespeare actually wrote, so he'd have to be there. Also Marian Keyes because she's adorable and hilarious (I met her once at a book signing) and Sharon Kay Penman because I love her historical works and would like to know how she does all that research.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I am a natural speed reader. Nobody else in my family is so we're not sure where I got it, but I can finish the average novel in less than an hour and read Harry Potter 5 in four hours.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I always have several books in various stages of development, and my next two releases will be "Fifteen Minutes of Summer" (a third book in the "Seven Exes are Eight Too Many" series) and an as-yet-untitled book back in my Toronto series. I'm currently writing the first draft of a book set in New York City which will begin a new series (my third series!) and I'm very excited about that but it's too early to say much about it.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.

I MUST go to Churchill, Manitoba, and take a tundra buggy ride out among the polar bears. It's an expensive trip so I'm working on saving up for it, but I absolutely have to go because I adore polar bears and being that close to them would be incredible.

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I originally intended to be an elementary school teacher. I did do that, although only after first working for five years as a business systems analyst with a major Canadian bank, and then I left teaching to write and am glad every day that I did!

Heather is a natural 1200 wpm speed reader and the author of sixteen self-published novels including the free ebook "Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo" which has had over 385,000 downloads. She came to writing after careers as a software developer and elementary school computer teacher and has no plans to leave it. In her spare time, she reads, runs, swims, crochets, takes care of her aquarium and her cat Trinity, and plays drums and clarinet. Generally not all at once.

"Seven Exes are Eight Too Many": Madeleine-Cora Spencer is the last person who should be on reality TV, but when she's shunned by a friend's new wife because "you can't trust desperate single women", her pain and humiliation drive her straight to the "Find Your Prince" dating show. But when she arrives to meet her potential loves, she gets dumped... on a remote island with seven ex-boyfriends. Seven exes! Could this be any worse?

"Bad Will Hunting": In the sequel to "Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many", "Angry Ashley" plots revenge on her reality-show producers. But when she gets double-crossed by sexy attorney Will, she instead takes on a "Bad Will Hunting" mission. Ashley turns up a ton of dead ends, but also some exciting life-changing possibilities. But with so much "bad will" in her way, can Ashley ever find true happiness?

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