Interview of Christy Heron
by Double Decker Books
February 25, 2015
@Doubled_Books on Twitter
Q. Where did you get the idea for One Girl, Thirteen Boyfriends, and Vodka?
A. I wanted to tell a story of someone who was emotionally challenged (and doesn’t know it, want to accept it, or care) a mistake maker (without many consequences) but outwardly beautiful and spoiled (but not too egotistical) ... and what she would do when finally someone told her “No.” When that old cliché clocked her in the neck. You know the cliché I’m talking about, right?
Q. Were you good at English while in school?
A. Hmm. I was in AP Eng. in HS and I still remember some of what amazing works we read, and in college I don't think I took one class. I was on another career trajectory... I love reading lit that is good, usually mid-century and older. There are some authors and poets who I like from the last 60 years too. When you look hard, there are so many writers in the world so I have to weed many out to enjoy reading. But I do think I excelled at English during my education, especially in k-12.
Q. What do you do when you get writer’s block?
A. What I get is overwhelmed. Writing takes it all out of me, and when I start a new project, I have pages of notes from everywhere (journals, on the computer, on slips of paper and post its). That is when I shut down. That is my block, when there is too much to process. And I don’t do outlines or “plans” – that is just more work taking away from the writing. I do more planning for edits, what to watch out for at the end.
Q. Use the first three words that come to mind when you think of your book?
A. Rad, underappreciated, and fresh.
Q. Are you working on a new writing project? If so, can you tell us a bit about it?
A. Yes always have stuff on backburners. Coming out in the next two years:
Twenty Something and Blonde
Q. What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
A. The re-edits. Sometimes I whimpered and cried at the thought of re-reading hundreds of pages again and again. And going back and forth with the editor. Then he would make mistakes and the whole thing would be fucked up. I was so determined to make it to a certain release date, then you have to just step back. That is more time going by. There was no way I was publishing something that had any noticeable typos. And if there are, no one tell me! You can edit something forever.
Q. How did your cover come about?
A. Same thing. A million times going back and forth about it with the firm who put it together for me. I designed it but they were crucial in making it beautiful and polished and ready to be submitted. I really wanted something chic and dramatic. I didn’t want a forlorn woman on the front. Next time I don’t think I will give in so easily. But I have very specific, aberrant taste. In everything! And if readers want a girl on the front, then so be it. I want others to enjoy Unrequited, not me.
Q. What is your favorite website to talk about your book on?
A. Christyheron.com, twitter and my blog.
Is that selfish? Google is an insane platform too, as is FB... but thank god for Kyrstin Pull, who is the Executive VP of SEO for Waverly Blonde Books, my publishing company. She knows what to do. I want coverage. So I will go anywhere she wants. I’m not on FB much. I’m a twitter girl.
Q. Do you have a go to writing snack and/or drink?
A. At 5am coffee (but placed far away from my computer!) and afternoon diet coke. But honestly I don’t eat or drink much when I write. I would probably let the coffee sit there for an hour before I touch it.
Q. If you could spend time in your book, Unrequited - One Girl, Thirteen Boyfriends, and Vodka, would you? If so why? If not why not?
A. Oh hell yes. Be drunk, be in my twenties, be at the beach. If I were a character I’d be Vanity Fair. She seemed to have her shit together. Or the owner of the bar (B6). But seriously, I would. For a day to watch January at her worst and learn from her mistakes.
Interview with Markie Madden
I’m interviewing author Christy Heron today about her book Unrequited. Christy was born in California, and when she’s not writing, dedicates a lot of her time volunteering as an advocate and companion for the elderly, especially those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. In coming years, she plans to focus on the current issues with mental health care and hopes to reform some of the shortcomings of mental health care in this country. She currently lives with her adopted cat, Frank Sinatra, and has found him to be an unexpected and interesting companion.
Unrequited is a contemporary romance fiction (or as Christy likes to call it “anti-romance”) novel torn from a specific experience in Christy’s life. She says she worked on and stopped working on the book for eight years, but knowing in her heart that it was a story that had to be told, she finally worked it to completion. Unrequited debuted in August of 2014 and can be found at Amazon in print or kindle version, and at CreateSpace as well.
Christy calls Unrequited the polar opposite of romance, “If all of the romance novels written/sold in the world lived on the North Pole, Unrequited landed on the South.” In the story, the thirteen boyfriends aren’t named, just called B1, B2, and so on. [This is an amusing and unusual approach!] Christy hopes to entertain her audience and invoke emotions about their own life, for readers to say, “Yes, I’ve been in this position before and I’m glad I’m not alone!”
Unrequited currently has a rating of 4.6* out of 5*, and reviewers are saying, “Unique and insightful. This book has an inventive, stylish writing style and stands in a class by itself.” Connie Lafortune calls it a “tongue-in-cheek roller coaster ride!” Kevin Cannon says it’s “honest, fallible, real, delightful, at times hard to read, but a must for anyone, who is or has been dating. Ever.”
Currently, Christy is working to expand her publishing company, and is working on a story she hopes to have out in a few months, maybe a novella or a prequel to a series, and a few short stories. She’s also working on Soulcrusher, an autobiographical novel depicting the life of a family dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Christy published through Waverly Blonde Books and Easiest/Hardest Publishing, her own publishing company. She used CreateSpace, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, and iTunes as printer/distributor. She spent over ten years “querying agents” with no response, and claims that nothing is more heartbreaking and demoralizing. [I happen to agree with her, having done something similar myself.] Self-publishing gives her the freedom and power of being her own publisher, but unfortunately comes with the lack of funding for marketing.
“Social media is paramount,” Christy says. She dedicates a tremendous amount of time and demanding work to marketing strategies. She has a wonderful team that helps her to post, tweet, and so on, and her head of SEO, Kyrstin Pull, is “a genius with SEO and marketing and promotion.” She advises authors to take time for writing and for promoting. Once in a while, she takes out a Twitter ad, but also promotes and supports other indie authors.
You can find Unrequited at GoodReads. You can also find Christy in a variety of places: @christyheron on Twitter, Amazon, email her at , find her on Facebook, Kindle Mojo, Google+ and Google+ posts, at Pinterest, and Instagram.
Kevin W. Cannon interviews author Christy Heron
Christy talks obsession, truth, and Grandma's Boy in a candid interview about her latest novel.
Who would play Jan, SFF, and Cress in a movie
I love movies so I love this question. And I’m a greedy whore so I’d say Jason Lewis for Cress, or Bradley Cooper or Josh Lucas. But he has more dark features. Dermot Mulroney. Yeah, him. For January, Leslie Bibb, or Kirstin Dunst, or that cute little girl from that new hilarious show I’m sure no one has ever heard of “Young and Hungry.” It’s on ABC Family or some channel like that. Her name is Emily Osment. That kid from the 6th Sense’s little sister.
SFF could be that guy from Revenge. The guy who owns the bar, Jack. Ha, jack. Well, now he’s a cop. I think he’s short in real life. But maybe he’s too good looking. It would be a cool character for him to play since he plays such a nice guy on Revenge. James Cahn’s son would be good. Scott Cahn.
What’s with your name choices?
In the case of Unrequited, I didn’t want to bog down the story and the individuality of the structure and flow with a bunch of actual names. And actual for me means totally off the fucking wall. If you read the same story and Childless Brad Pitt was Perr (Purr), Vanity Fair was Holland, B1 was Southerland, B2 was Blayne, B3 was Piers, B4 was Thacker, and so on - see what I mean - you’d fucking throw that shit across the room. It’s gross. All of the ‘names’ add an additional tediousness to a story you already found tedious. I love all of those powerfully gorgeous names. But not for this story. B1-B13: well, that’s just fucking genius.
January and Cress. Two unusual names are enough. I found Cress from another TV show. I guess I watch a lot of TV. He’s an actor who plays the mayor on the show Hart of Dixie. The tall, handsome, black dude. I would love to ask his mom why she named him that. I’m not sure if that show is on anymore. That seriously is one of my favorite names of all time. January too. Of course I got that one from the chick on Mad Men. I often find my names from credits in movies and TV from all eras. I love watching movie credits in general. I end up finding amazing first names from last names. Is that weird? It seems so normal to me.
How do you get in the mood to write? What is your trigger?
I probably should do something to get me in the mood! My mind doesn’t work that way. I do the opposite. When I feel like it, I sit down and write. When I don’t, I don’t. I’d be miserable if I forced it. But classical music helps. Opera. Seeing a great film with great writing. Going to a concert. Basically seeing any kind of art in person helps. This is so odd and random, but I was re-watching (bc I love it) Grandma’s Boy and thought, whoever wrote this, knew exactly what they were doing. It had every single element a story should have. It’s brilliant. And so funny. I’m inspired by other writers doing their job with skill. But really it’s about timing. I need a lot of time to write and rewrite and rewrite and do it as best as I can. You can’t half-ass that shit. It will be another story when I can write for a living. If that happens, I will write constantly. I get chills and so excited when I think about it.
How did you decide upon using diary style and scripts style or just standard pro style?
Someone else told me that too, about the script. That wasn’t intentional at all. I think there is a great balance of narrative, dialogue and action in Unrequited. I wanted to incorporate a girl’s emotions deep into this story. And no better way than to display her inner most demons and dreams then in a “diary” like, first person setting/telling. The italics were an important part also, so I didn’t have to rely so heavily on diary entries. I love that she says how she really feels in those italicized words. Those are truth. I wanted the reader to really see her truth. Even if she hadn’t realized it yet.
Does the setting (Pismo, LA, or someone’s bed) reflect or contract January’s state of mind?
Nice question! Most definitely! She is turning a new page (pardon the cliché) when she decides to leave Los Angeles. Two years earlier she wouldn’t have moved. No way. Los Feliz/Hollywood/Los Angeles (all the same thing btw) was her dazzling, thrilling bubble. Nothing compared to her life there. It was what she wanted 100 percent. Then she walked into that darn Shack bar in 2004. After that her state of mind became diminished completely. Entranced. Soon after, Los Angeles was a box to be checked off on a life ”To do” list. After October 2004, she wanted something she never would’ve expected: a small town romance.
So, from then on SFF’s bed reflects it all – or maybe it doesn’t. Hopefully the reader enjoys making their own conclusions. All of the “beds” say something about her state of mind.
Talk about January’s obsessions.
Purses? Ketel One? SFF? Which one? I wrote an entire book about her obsessions! Jan collects certain things she loves because of her mother. I think her mom really fucked her up/over big time. Trauma begets obsession (and a lot of other bullshit). She finds comfort in having tiny little pretty things all around the house, or hanging off her shoulder, holding her hand, or fucking her brains out. the beauty her mother showed her, presented to her, but gave her no catalyst in which to use it. It was superficial. That lifestyle. it’s a way to keep her mother close. And there are lessons to be learned from that.
Why does the ending seem to cliché prince charming? Contrary to January’s entire history?
It needed to contrast. It needed a resolution. Why shouldn’t she deserve a happy ending? Something beautiful generated from complete crap. She grew up. Her timing finally got it right. It wouldn’t have happened any other way. It couldn’t have. That is the best part of being a writer. I decided January’s fate. If I wanted it to end with grit, I could have done that. It was always an option.
Is there a sequel? Are you working on anything else?
Probably no sequel unless I think of something cool I could do with Cress and January that doesn’t involve a white dress. An idea might come one day. And I would totally love that. I love those two. I have a few projects I’m working on - two Alzheimer’s projects - one is the autobiographical novel Soulcrusher. And the second is something that is evolving. A profile of Alzheimer’s with photos I’m taking and vignettes about the wonderful and fascinating people I care for and spend time with everyday.
But sooner rather than later is my next novel, Twenty-Something and Blonde – A Los Angeles Life on The Verge will be out next summer! It’s Chick Lit, contemporary fiction. There’s romance in there too.