Today, we’re featuring Laura Heffernan, author of the Reality Star series (America’s Next Reality Star, Sweet Reality, and Reality Wedding) from Lyrical Shine/Kensington Books. In addition, Laura’s Gamer Girl series debuts in 2019. You can find Laura on Twitter at @LauraHeffernan, Facebook, Goodreads, and at LauraHeffernan.com. Her specialty is romantic comedy—sweet, sassy, sexy stories that move quickly and always torment their main characters with unexpected twists and turns. Read on to learn more.
Author Interview with Laura Heffernan
Introducing Laura Heffernan
Laura Heffernan is the author of the Reality Star series (available now) and the upcoming Gamer Girls series (2019). When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, and new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her husband and two furry little beasts.
Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, board games and reality TV.
Laura is represented by Michelle Richter at Fuse Literary.
Hi, Laura, and welcome to All The Kissing. Let’s cut right to the chase: would you rather be stuck on a reality TV show, a reality cruise, or have a reality-themed wedding?
Absolutely, a cruise. No question. Cruise ships are enormous, so there are plenty of places to hide. The food is awesome, and you get to go to cool places. That sounds way better than being in a house with a bunch of strangers for several weeks or watching someone else turn my wedding into a ratings grab.
That would be my pick as well—especially after reading your books. When you first envisioned America’s Next Reality Star, did you have a series in mind?
Initially, I started a sequel within a couple of weeks of finishing America’s Next Reality Star. I had visions of creating several books for fans of the Shopaholic series, of being the next Sophie Kinsella. I ultimately put that sequel aside to focus on other works, but a series was always the goal.
How did your writing journey begin? How old were you when you wrote your first story?
I wrote my first short story when I was five years old. It lacked conflict. 😉 Over the years, I always wanted to write, but I never quite had the confidence to say, “I can do this! I can write a book!” For me, it took until I’d managed to get the other areas of my life together. When I became comfortable with my life as a whole and myself as a person, it was easier to focus on the words.
That’s something I think all writers could do with hearing. Do you have any advice for those of us currently contemplating a series? Is there a better or worse way to pitch a series to agents, editors, and/or publishers?
Generally, I’d say don’t worry about pitching a series to an agent. Agents will sign or reject an author based on the strength of the one manuscript. They’re not terribly interested in the rest of the series. And edits to the first book can cause ripple effects down the road, so it’s not always helpful to write multiple books before the first one sells.
You’ve got a unique writing method going for your new series. Can you explain the difference between the way you’re writing Gamer Girl and the way you worked on the Reality Star series?
With the Reality Star books, we submitted the first book to publishers, along with a one-page synopsis for each of the other two. I had ideas of what I planned to write, but the manuscripts themselves weren’t written. I wrote Sweet Reality, edited it, turned it in, and then wrote Reality Wedding. I hear that’s how it’s usually done.
For the Gamer Girl books, I made the arguably extremely unwise decision to write all three books back to back to back. It hasn’t worked out entirely the way I thought — She’s Got Game is nearly complete, the currently-untitled Book 2 is drafted but unedited, and Book 3 … Well, it was supposed to be my Camp NaNoWriMo project, but I’m already way behind.
But no pressure, right? I have to say, I’m an avid fan of your Reality Star series and am so excited for the Gamer Girl books. Can you tell us a little bit about the concept?
Thank you for reading! I’m a pretty big geek at heart, so I loved the idea of writing books in the world where I’m most comfortable. The series follows three friends and former roommates as they navigate the world and fall in love — with board games!
In She’s Got Game, Gwen is working to expand her travel blog, but she needs more capital to go to the truly exciting locations. The American Board Games Tournament offers a ten-thousand dollar grand prize, which would go a long way toward supporting Gwen’s fledgling business. She’s expecting to win, but she doesn’t expect to fall for her biggest competition.
Speaking of tournaments and contests … let’s talk about these for a moment, since your fictional characters are so good at them. Do you have favorite writing contests? Any that you think are a must-not-miss?
I am a huge fan of writing contests. Although I’m on hiatus this year, in the past I’ve hosted QueryKombat, Nightmare on Query Street, and Pitch Slam. I’ve mentored or judged in PitchWars, NestPitch, TeenPit, and Sun vs. Snow. Different contests offer different benefits. Before entering, decide whether you want feedback and check the agent list to see if there are agents in your genre who you haven’t already queried.
Are there any non-writing-related contests you’d love to enter?
Well, I’m much too introverted for reality TV, and I can’t decorate a cake to save my life, so most baking competitions are unfortunately out. If they did city-wide scavenger hunts in my area, I’d enter something like that. Or anything involving escape rooms.
Thank you for letting all of us get to know you better. Do you have any words of romance-writing wisdom to pass along to our readers?
Never give up. It can take more than one manuscript. It can take years. But the only way to fail is to stop. Keep going. The world needs your words.
Thanks again, Laura, for taking the time to chat with us. Let’s talk again after She’s Got Game is released.