Laura Heffernan: REALITY WEDDING

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Fellow Pitch Wars mentor Laura Heffernan and I first met at the Romance Writers’ of America conference this past summer, when we sat next to each other at lunch and debated the relative merits of various desserts. We chatted a little bit about our books, and I remember being so curious about hers—a series inspired by a friend of hers who was on a reality TV show. There were so many questions I wanted to ask, but distractions abounded (not least, my mini-tiramisu) and before I knew it, the opportunity had passed me by. Today on the blog, with Laura’s brand-new novel, REALITY WEDDING on the shelves and no tiramisu in sight (more’s the pity), I finally have my chance.

The next book in your Reality Star series, REALITY WEDDING, hits bookshelves today. Tell us about the series—what inspired you to write it? And what twists and turns (no spoilers, of course!) can longtime fans expect from this latest installment?

The inspiration for the series came after my best friend co-starred in The Glass House, a reality show that aired on ABC the summer of 2012. All of her friends got really into the show, of course, and part of that was me blogging about each episode as they aired. So many people told me that they liked the blog, and my writing, that it made me think maybe I really could write a book people would enjoy. I knew a lot of stuff about reality TV after talking to my BFF and another friend who appeared on MasterChef, so I started thinking about what type of show I’d like to be on. The series sort of spiraled from there.

As far as the next installment goes, the twists and turns of reality TV are my favorite part of the series, so let’s just say that things aren’t always what they seem. 😀

Tell us about your Gamer Girls series—the first book comes out in 2019, right? Are you a gamer yourself? What’s your favorite game to play—and why?

The first Gamer Girls book, SHE’S GOT GAME, is currently scheduled for Nov. 2019 (I believe). The series came about after my editor asked me how I met my husband. This is by no means our story, but I got so animated talking about playing games and falling in love that she wanted me to put it into a story. If I’m not working or writing, there’s a good chance you’ll find me playing games. Tabletop is my preference, but I’ve also been known to play an RPG here or there, and I still love the video games I grew up on.

My favorite game…. Oh, that’s a loaded question. I could spend half an hour talking about it. At the moment, I’m a huge fan of Pandemic Legacy. I love that the board is always changing, that the game is full of surprises, and that it’s a game designed to be played over an extended period of time. You’ll learn more about legacy games in Gamer Girls, Book 2. 🙂

What draws you to write contemporary romance/rom com? Is it your favorite genre to read, as well? Give us a glimpse into your TBR pile!

I like happy, fun books. When I was in college, I devoured authors like Sophie Kinsella and Jane Green. I loved seeing the romance, but also the quirky heroines, the fun plots, and the fast pace of rom coms. I also read a lot of romance, both contemporary and historical, but I’m consistently drawn to rom com as my first choice.

Current TBR: An ARC of THE FAVORITE SISTER by Jessica Knoll (come on – it’s a thriller about a reality show? Of course I’m in!); SECOND CHANCE CHARMER by Brighton Walsh, NO ONE EVER HAS SEX ON CHRISTMAS DAY (the sequel to a couple of hilarious books) by Tracy Bloom, and THE BOYFRIEND SWAP by Meredith Schorr. And I’m desperately awaiting the last book in Kate O’Keefe’s COZY COTTAGE CAFÉ series.

In addition to writing, you’re a freelance editor and a Pitch Wars mentor, plus you host three pitching and querying contests. Aside from the obvious question (when do you sleep?), I’ve got another one: What are PitchSlam, Query Kombat, and Nightmare on Query Street all about—and what made you decide to host them?

PitchSlam was my first introduction to contests. Around the time my agent was getting AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR ready to go out on submission, I saw L.L. McKinney put out a call for agented authors to help give feedback on entries. I liked the idea of giving back, especially since I’d entered so many contests while querying, and it seemed like a good distraction, so I signed up. The other hosts liked the feedback I gave, so when it came time to add a new host, I was so excited that they asked me.

Similarly, I was friends with the hosts of Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query Street, and I offered to help read for them at one point (again – it’s a GREAT distraction when on submission). When they went looking for a new host, they already knew I’d be able to take over.

I love reading the slush, seeing all the potential out there. My favorite thing about PitchSlam is that we can give feedback and help a lot of people. PitchWars is an amazing contest, but I only ever really feel like I’m helping a small handful of authors. PitchSlam spreads the love. And with QK/NoQS, I like finding those hidden gems that can benefit from getting query critiques or mentor feedback and giving them a chance.

As a writer who’s dedicated a lot of time to giving back to the literary community, how do you refuel yourself? Where do you find your inspiration?

The best way for me to refuel is usually to take a long walk outside, when weather permits. The gym isn’t bad, but fresh air and sunlight works wonders for me. Reading also helps, or the occasional binge watch of something fun and mindless.

I see inspiration everywhere. My first books are largely based on TV, but there’s a lot of me in them, too – the cruise I took with my best friend when I graduated college, for example, or the escape room I did a couple of years back. Anyone who knows me will see those experiences in the books, and that’s part of what makes them uniquely me.

SAY ‘I DO’—OR ELSE

When Jen Reid escaped a reality TV cruise with her relationship intact—if not her hair—she swore she was done with the cameras for good. Sure, she and Justin met, had their first kiss, and got engaged with tape rolling, but manufactured drama and ruthless producers have shaken them up more times than she can count. With Jen’s reality-themed bakery just getting started and her brand-new lawyer fiancé in a pile of debt, they’re a long way from glitz and glamour, and that’s fine by Jen. Until the Network calls and tells her that unless she says “I do” to a wedding special, Justin will be out of a job.

Now Jen has two weeks to plan an all-expenses-paid “dream wedding”—and dodge the tricks and traps of a showrunner happy to mess up her future in the name of ratings. Luckily for Jen, she’s got plenty of experience with cake and popcorn. But when real-life drama and reality TV twists collide, the cliffhangers may just follow her right down the aisle . . .

Bio

Laura Heffernan is proof that watching too much TV actually can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys board games, travel, board games, baking, and board games. She lives in the northeast with her husband and two furry little beasts.

Laura loves connecting with readers. Find her on her website, www.lauraheffernan.com, Facebook, www.facebook.com/lauraheffernanbooks, or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LH_writes, where she spends far too much time tweeting about reality TV and Canadian chocolate. 

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/clbu0P

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2GCSrZR

BN: https://tinyurl.com/RealityWeddingBN

Apple: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/reality-wedding/id1247229704?mt=11&at=1010loVg

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/RealityWeddingKobo

Google Play: https://tinyurl.com/RealityWeddingGoogle

Fellow Pitch Wars mentor Laura Heffernan and I first met at the Romance Writers’ of America conference this past summer, when we sat next to each other at lunch and debated the relative merits of various desserts. We chatted a little bit about our books, and I remember being so curious about hers—a series inspired by a friend of hers who was on a reality TV show. There were so many questions I wanted to ask, but distractions abounded (not least, my mini-tiramisu) and before I knew it, the opportunity had passed me by. Today on the blog, with Laura’s brand-new novel, REALITY WEDDING on the shelves and no tiramisu in sight (more’s the pity), I finally have my chance.

The next book in your Reality Star series, REALITY WEDDING, hits bookshelves today. Tell us about the series—what inspired you to write it? And what twists and turns (no spoilers, of course!) can longtime fans expect from this latest installment?

The inspiration for the series came after my best friend co-starred in The Glass House, a reality show that aired on ABC the summer of 2012. All of her friends got really into the show, of course, and part of that was me blogging about each episode as they aired. So many people told me that they liked the blog, and my writing, that it made me think maybe I really could write a book people would enjoy. I knew a lot of stuff about reality TV after talking to my BFF and another friend who appeared on MasterChef, so I started thinking about what type of show I’d like to be on. The series sort of spiraled from there.

As far as the next installment goes, the twists and turns of reality TV are my favorite part of the series, so let’s just say that things aren’t always what they seem. 😀

Tell us about your Gamer Girls series—the first book comes out in 2019, right? Are you a gamer yourself? What’s your favorite game to play—and why?

The first Gamer Girls book, SHE’S GOT GAME, is currently scheduled for Nov. 2019 (I believe). The series came about after my editor asked me how I met my husband. This is by no means our story, but I got so animated talking about playing games and falling in love that she wanted me to put it into a story. If I’m not working or writing, there’s a good chance you’ll find me playing games. Tabletop is my preference, but I’ve also been known to play an RPG here or there, and I still love the video games I grew up on.

My favorite game…. Oh, that’s a loaded question. I could spend half an hour talking about it. At the moment, I’m a huge fan of Pandemic Legacy. I love that the board is always changing, that the game is full of surprises, and that it’s a game designed to be played over an extended period of time. You’ll learn more about legacy games in Gamer Girls, Book 2. 🙂

What draws you to write contemporary romance/rom com? Is it your favorite genre to read, as well? Give us a glimpse into your TBR pile!

I like happy, fun books. When I was in college, I devoured authors like Sophie Kinsella and Jane Green. I loved seeing the romance, but also the quirky heroines, the fun plots, and the fast pace of rom coms. I also read a lot of romance, both contemporary and historical, but I’m consistently drawn to rom com as my first choice.

Current TBR: An ARC of THE FAVORITE SISTER by Jessica Knoll (come on – it’s a thriller about a reality show? Of course I’m in!); SECOND CHANCE CHARMER by Brighton Walsh, NO ONE EVER HAS SEX ON CHRISTMAS DAY (the sequel to a couple of hilarious books) by Tracy Bloom, and THE BOYFRIEND SWAP by Meredith Schorr. And I’m desperately awaiting the last book in Kate O’Keefe’s COZY COTTAGE CAFÉ series.

In addition to writing, you’re a freelance editor and a Pitch Wars mentor, plus you host three pitching and querying contests. Aside from the obvious question (when do you sleep?), I’ve got another one: What are PitchSlam, Query Kombat, and Nightmare on Query Street all about—and what made you decide to host them?

PitchSlam was my first introduction to contests. Around the time my agent was getting AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR ready to go out on submission, I saw L.L. McKinney put out a call for agented authors to help give feedback on entries. I liked the idea of giving back, especially since I’d entered so many contests while querying, and it seemed like a good distraction, so I signed up. The other hosts liked the feedback I gave, so when it came time to add a new host, I was so excited that they asked me.

Similarly, I was friends with the hosts of Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query Street, and I offered to help read for them at one point (again – it’s a GREAT distraction when on submission). When they went looking for a new host, they already knew I’d be able to take over.

I love reading the slush, seeing all the potential out there. My favorite thing about PitchSlam is that we can give feedback and help a lot of people. PitchWars is an amazing contest, but I only ever really feel like I’m helping a small handful of authors. PitchSlam spreads the love. And with QK/NoQS, I like finding those hidden gems that can benefit from getting query critiques or mentor feedback and giving them a chance.

As a writer who’s dedicated a lot of time to giving back to the literary community, how do you refuel yourself? Where do you find your inspiration?

The best way for me to refuel is usually to take a long walk outside, when weather permits. The gym isn’t bad, but fresh air and sunlight works wonders for me. Reading also helps, or the occasional binge watch of something fun and mindless.

I see inspiration everywhere. My first books are largely based on TV, but there’s a lot of me in them, too – the cruise I took with my best friend when I graduated college, for example, or the escape room I did a couple of years back. Anyone who knows me will see those experiences in the books, and that’s part of what makes them uniquely me.

SAY ‘I DO’—OR ELSE

When Jen Reid escaped a reality TV cruise with her relationship intact—if not her hair—she swore she was done with the cameras for good. Sure, she and Justin met, had their first kiss, and got engaged with tape rolling, but manufactured drama and ruthless producers have shaken them up more times than she can count. With Jen’s reality-themed bakery just getting started and her brand-new lawyer fiancé in a pile of debt, they’re a long way from glitz and glamour, and that’s fine by Jen. Until the Network calls and tells her that unless she says “I do” to a wedding special, Justin will be out of a job.

Now Jen has two weeks to plan an all-expenses-paid “dream wedding”—and dodge the tricks and traps of a showrunner happy to mess up her future in the name of ratings. Luckily for Jen, she’s got plenty of experience with cake and popcorn. But when real-life drama and reality TV twists collide, the cliffhangers may just follow her right down the aisle . . .

Bio

Laura Heffernan is proof that watching too much TV actually can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys board games, travel, board games, baking, and board games. She lives in the northeast with her husband and two furry little beasts.

Laura loves connecting with readers. Find her on her website, www.lauraheffernan.com, Facebook, www.facebook.com/lauraheffernanbooks, or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LH_writes, where she spends far too much time tweeting about reality TV and Canadian chocolate. 

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/clbu0P

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2GCSrZR

BN: https://tinyurl.com/RealityWeddingBN

Apple: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/reality-wedding/id1247229704?mt=11&at=1010loVg

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/RealityWeddingKobo

Google Play: https://tinyurl.com/RealityWeddingGoogle

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