Today I have a special guest, “New Adult” romance writer Heather Novak. Heather is Nights of Passion’s newest blogger. Yea! You can find her posts right here on Thursdays.
I adore Heather—both professionally and personally (you can read why, below). Get to know Heather a little by reading here about her remarkable life, and I think you will love her, too!
Heather, tell us a little bit about you. What is your writing & non-writing background?
I’m 5’5”, purple hair, weigh – hehe! This is always the most awkward question since I actually hate talking about myself. So I shall try to condense my several decades of living into a few, not-boring paragraphs!
When I was six, I started writing ghost stories on the school bus after reading LJ Smith’s The Vampire Diaries for the first time. In my teens, I was a world competing theater organist – placed first in the United States and third in the world in 1999. I worked for almost a decade as a co-host for the international radio show Somewhere In time Radio (yes, affiliated with my favorite movie), and graduate from Wayne State University with a degree in screenwriting and film.
In 2003, on a break from school, I had several tumors removed that left me with no voice. I filled my time with romance novels, which had taken a back seat to school work and various jobs. Strong heroines gave me the hope and courage I needed to soldier on, learn to speak again, and finally listen to my calling: creating Happily Ever Afters.
I started by making movies and taking graduate courses in screenwriting. When my radio show folded, due to the passing of our amazing host Tom Wilson, I went back to school at Madonna University and spent several years in healthcare as an allergy and autism specialist. I was burnt out from the stress, hardly writing, and reading even less. I wrote a novella and did a limited release, but ultimately put it back on the self until I had a chance to rewrite it.
Then in February of 2013, I lost a dear friend violently and unexpectedly. When I emerged from the fog of grief, I promised that I would live my life in a way that made me happy, like she would want. It was a tough pill to swallow when I realized I had given up the two things I loved the most – books and music.
Within six months, I left healthcare, became a professional ghostwriter/assistant for a prominent business woman, joined a choir, took singing lessons, and filled my car and piano with music again. I jumped head first into drafting all the stories clawing to get out, and I don’t regret a single moment.
I’m very lucky to have the love of my life (I call him Prince Charming because he hates it). He makes sure that I’m showered for work and that I remember to eat dinner! Really, every writer needs one.
You are heavily involved with RWA (Romance Writers of America). Tell us about your involvement with them, and your local RWA chapter.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without Romance Writers of America, especially the Greater Detroit Chapter! That’s actually how Stacy and I met. I was a judge for a competition and she was one of the contestants. She liked my review so much, she reached out to me after and we’ve been friends ever since.
I’m honored to be the historian for GDRWA, a group with an incredible amount of talent. I’m blown away every month at how many people go from first draft to signing contracts. Everyone is so supportive, trying to help out where they can. With connections to agents, editors, publicists, indie-pub authors, traditional published authors, unpublished authors, bloggers, promoters, it’s a wealth of information at your fingertips. I was lucky enough to have the late Patricia Shenberger as my mentor when I joined, and she pushed me forward, even while giving me the hard lessons.
I had the unparalleled opportunity to meet Rita Clay Estrada, the co-founder of RWA, at the Mid-Michigan Retreat in April and she is…epic. Absolutely epic. It’s because of her passion for what we do, what we all strive to do, that we are here today. It was the original RWA that shook up the publishing industry, making it romance friendly. If you even have the chance to listen to her story, you must. And bring tissues.
(From left to right) Picture of Heather Novak, MK Schiller, Rita Clay Estrada (co founder of RWA), Sage Spelling, and Aliza Mann.
Tell us how your RWA involvement impacts you?
I honestly have no idea where I’d be without my local RWA chapter. Besides forming professional bonds with peers in different genres and career stages, I’ve formed amazing friendships! I’ve been able to watch my peers succeed, be their shoulder when they cry, and learn from their experiences. I’ve met editors, authors, agents, and other industry professionals I’d probably not have the opportunity to meet otherwise.
I recently released an anthology, Falling Hard, with four of my closest author friends, Shelly Bell, MK Schiller, Aliza Man, and Sage Spelling. We met at GDRWA and leaned on each other as we said goodbye our former president and friend Patti Shenberger who lost her battle with cancer. Our friendship grew stronger and we started having regular critique group meetings every few weeks.
One day, we were talking about indie-publishing and we threw out the idea about doing an anthology together. The idea took root (I still maintain Patti had a hand in bringing us together!) and after many ups and downs, the book came together. I learned so much about about (read: was overwhelmed with) cover design, formatting, editing, meeting deadlines, and promotion. Writing the book is the easy part. But I’m lucky to have these ladies by my side.
Tell us what project(s) are you working on now, including your new release.
Despite an indie-published book with a limited release back in 2010, my first international indie- debut happened on May 31! I’m super excited about being part of the New Adult anthology, Falling Hard. It takes place in Northern Michigan on the campus of Hayvenwood University. All five stories connect to each other and are a variety of genres — Erotic BDSM, contemporary, military, paranormal erotic, and paranormal sweet. My story Hunting Witch Hazel is the paranormal sweet.
Here’s the official anthology trailer: http://on.fb.me/1HoRkWA
And this is my trailer for Hunting Witch Hazel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO8x0Nrxe_A
I’m working on several other Young Adult and New Adult stories. Hunting Witch Hazel will have a sequel, When It Raines, expected release late summer/early fall of this year. I’m also working on a dystopian YA rewrite/resubmit for a traditional publisher. I have several other projects that deal with bold subjects, from abuse to cancer, and even a polyamorous, dark fairytale.
Anything else you want us to know about you?
I’m a strong supporter of sarcasm and an advocate for the Oxford Comma.
I have a huge family! I’m a twin, 3 minutes older than my brother. He’s also an author, very successful in his field (Death Penalty and African Law). My little brother is awesome and is headed to the Peace Corps. I also have four step sibilings, two of which are in the armed forces. And I’m the luckiest auntie with a bazillion (er, ten) nieces and nephews who I love with my whole heart!
This past Christmas, Prince Charming and I made children’s books for my nieces and nephews with two of our “hypoallergenic pets,” Mr. Moos and Monkey. It was called “Mr. Moos and Monkey’s Winter Adventure.” When they’re not posing for books, Mr. Moos and Monkey can be found around the house, making messes and generally causing trouble.
Mr. Moos & Monkey on a sledding trip.
I don’t think I’d have made it anywhere without the support of my dear friend and editor Erika Cooper. Erika works as a freelance editor for Soul Mate. When I told her, oh, eight or so years ago I wanted to write romance, she didn’t laugh at me. Just gave me book after book to read. She is my #1Fangirl.
I touched Josh Groban’s left elbow once. And The Swon Brothers wished me happy birthday at a show. So my life is pretty much the coolest.
Heather, your life is the coolest! I am proud to know you!
(Read below for Anthology blurbs, including an extended blurb from Heather!)
For a book review of the Falling Hard anthology on “Heroes & Heartbreaker” blog, click here: http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2015/05/first-look-falling-hard-anthology-may-31-2015
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS FOR HEATHER NOVAK
BOOK LINKS FOR HEATHER NOVAK
From sweet & heartfelt to steamy & spicy, FIVE brand new college campus novellas filled with alpha heroes and tenacious heroines for every romance reader.
This anthology is intended for mature readers, 18 years of age and older.
FORBIDDEN: FRESHMAN YEAR (An Erotic Suspense Novella) by Shelly Bell
A BDSM romance between a professor and his student turns deadly…
It was only supposed to have been one night of passion, but when Professor Tristan Kelley and freshman Isabella Larsen meet again in the classroom, they’ll jeopardize everything to be together…including their lives.
TIN MAN’S DANCE (A New Adult Novella) by MK Schiller
If he only had a heart…
Former marine James Hutchinson thought they might have amputated his heart right along with his right leg. That is, until he sees Lilly Franklin dance. In a crazy ploy to meet her, he steals her front row concert seat… but it’s only fair since she stole his heart first.
DARK HEARTS (A Paranormal New Adult Novella) by Aliza Mann
Dark secrets, hidden lives…
While struggling to contain the beast within, Mitchell Rowland imprints on the beautiful and mysterious Aurora Tanner. With Mitch’s dangerous lycan secret and Aurora’s demon father out to kill her, they must band together to fight against the very things that could ultimately keep them apart.
HIGH STAKES (A New Adult Novella) by Sage Spelling
Betting on Seduction . . .
When rich boy, college jock Blake Holland wagers to seduce the sexy librarian Catalina Vega, he never anticipated the gamble would cost not only his pride… but also his heart.
HUNTING WITCH HAZEL: BOOK ONE IN THE LYNCH BROTHERS SERIES (A Paranormal New Adult Novella) by Heather Novak
When the person you must destroy is your soul mate…
Witch hunter Grayson Lynch must make the devastating choice between condemning his brother to death or destroying the forbidden love of his life: a witch.
Hunting Witch Hazel, extended blurb:
Here’s the thing about being as goddamn good-looking as me – everyone expected me to be a giant prick…it’s all about knowing your strengths. My strengths? My good looks, my charm, and my ability to destroy witches.
I was happy with my West Coast life, 24-hour pizza delivery, and bikini-clad bodies as far as the eye could see. Now I’m in the small-ass town of Hayvenwood to extract the ransom to save my little brother’s life. And that ransom is locked inside of the sexiest witch I have ever met, Hazel Evanora. I need her powers, and I have less than a week to steal them.
Why do I ride a motorcycle?
Because brooms don’t really fly. It’s the only thing that makes me feel alive…beside Grayson Lynch.
But I cannot let a human get close to me. I can’t risk having any more blood on my hands, no matter how magical it feels when he’s near me. Did I just really use the word ‘magical’? Clearly, I’m selling off my brain along with my powers. But the suffocating bills from my mother’s addiction rest on my shoulders. And if I’m late again, they’ll come after everyone I care about.
LINKS FOR STACY HOFF
AMAZON BUY LINK FOR LAWFULLY YOURS: http://www.amazon.com/Lawfully-Yours-Stacy-Hoff-ebook/dp/B00U7U2WCC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1425508177&sr=8-2&keywords=book+-+lawfully+yours
AMAZON BUY LINK FOR DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES: http://www.amazon.com/Desire-Everglades-Stacy-Hoff-ebook/dp/B00NFSMCYG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410289138&sr=8-1&keywords=desire+in+the+everglades.