The author community is a very warm and friendly place for new authors like myself because of people like Heather Van Fleet. We connected during a Twitter pitch contest and I couldn’t be more thrilled to invite her here to the Romance Chicks blog to chat about her upcoming release and her writing method. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Reckless Hearts when it comes out in a few days (February 7).
Tell us about your upcoming release and yourself.
My name is Heather Van Fleet and I’m a contemporary romance author. I love angst, bad boys, alphas, and all things book boyfriends. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Chris, and together we have three daughters, and a crazy Goldendoodle son.
My upcoming release, Reckless Hearts, is the first in a series that is basically a Three Men and a Baby retelling. Jokingly, my publisher called it Three Alpha Men and a Baby, but that fun little tagline kind of stuck in the end.
This is the story of Collin, a single dad, who, along with his two buddies, help to raise his baby girl. When things get a little much for them as far as schedules go, Collin winds up hiring a nanny. And…bam! The romance is born.
Between boot camp and two TOD’s in Iraq, my buddies Max, Gavin and me have been through some serious hell. So the last thing I ever expected was to find the biggest challenge of my life back home.
My girlfriend died. I couldn’t even attend her funeral, let alone tell her goodbye or that I’m sorry I wasn’t there like I should’ve been.
But she left me a gift. The best and scariest one I could’ve ever asked for. One I didn’t think I could handle…until the day I saw her tiny blues looking up at me in that airport. Chloe.
Now here I am, raising my baby girl—with the help of my two best friends. Things couldn’t be better. Until she walked into my life.
All I wanted was a nanny. Someone to take care of my girl when I couldn’t. What I didn’t count on was Addison, the brown-eyed temptress with a body of sin, and everything I didn’t need, but suddenly wanted.
What was the first book you ever wrote about?
The first book I ever wrote was a YA novel called When it’s Least Expected. WILE was a labor of love for me that I’ll never regret. Eventually, I pulled it off the shelves because I stopped writing Young Adult books. I didn’t want people to be shocked by my, um, spicy reads after having read my closed-door YA. 🙂
What is the last book you read?
The last published book I read was Alaska Wild by Helena Newbury. I have a soft spot for bearded, brooding hunks and action packed romantic suspense, so this was the perfect me-time-read.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
This one depends on the day. When the words are flowing, writing is like breathing for me. Without it, I go a wee bit crazy. Buuuuut, at the same time, it’s not always that way. When I’m stressed with life and all the crud that goes along with it, I tend to not enjoy authoring as much. In a way, writing is a mood-based thing.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Writing. A. Synopsis. HOLY crud. This job is like pulling teeth. WORSE than pulling teeth as a matter of fact. Give me a root canal instead, and I’d be a happy camper. No joke. *shudders*
Also? Bad reviews. As much as I try to avoid them, they’re oftentimes inevitable. I know they say reviews are for readers, but…the bad one’s do have a tendency to sting, regardless.
Favorite writing snack?
Sour Patch kids, coffee, more coffee, more Sour Patch Kids, more coffee, and Poptarts.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
So, my first book was written without beta readers or critique partners. I’m not sure how I managed to get that baby done without them, but I did. They were never the best they could have been, unfortunately. Nowadays, I realize that writing a book takes a village—kind of like raising a kid. You can’t do it alone, no matter how awesome you might think you are.
What did you edit out of this book?
Hmm. Well, in the original draft of Reckless Hearts, (once called Embattled Hearts) Addison, my heroine, had a trouble maker of a younger brother who had just gotten out of jail. His name was Dylan and he was supposed to have his own book with Addie’s best friend. But, alas, he moved on to another book, leaving Addie an only child.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
This kind of goes back to question four. For me, I can finish a super rough draft of a book in six weeks, or less, if need be. That is if I’m on point. When I’m not powering through, it tends to take me 3 or 4 months to finish a book. I think I have to be motivated, or have a deadline, to really push the words. Otherwise I just float from book to book, writing when the mood strikes me.
What is something people don’t know about you?
I’m a serious introvert. Like, going out with friends (sometimes even family) makes me want to rock in a corner. The older I’ve gotten, the worse I’ve become. I think, sometimes, I spend so much time with fictional people that I forget I have to deal with reality too, lol.
What is something you didn’t know about the industry, before you started writing, that has surprised you?
The amount of time that it takes for things to happen. From finding an agent, to going on submission, to get a pub deal. It’s insane how long it takes. Years for most, months or weeks for a few. Either way, it’s not an easy industry to bust through and it takes an HUGE amount of patience to get from point A to point B.