Multi-published authors amaze me. Here to talk about how she keeps all of her books fresh and different, is Heather Huffman author of Fool’s Game.
Remember to leave a comment at the end of the blog because Heather is giving away an ebook (international) of ROSES IN ECUADOR, at each stop, along with a grand prize of an autographed paperback (US only) of RING OF FIRE to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Fool’s Game is my ninth novel, and I haven’t even begun to tell all of the stories I want to. While the ideas haven’t stopped swirling around my mind, when you’ve written nine books, it becomes increasingly more important to be sure each story is fresh and unique. There are times I find myself staring at my computer for half an hour wondering how to describe a particular emotion without being repetitive. To a certain extent, the stories stay fresh because I’m ever-evolving, and my characters grow with me. Beyond that, there are a few things I do to keep my novels fresh.
1) Get to know my characters. Once I’ve decided which novel I’m going to work on next, I spend several weeks (sometimes even months) thinking about the people who will populate its pages. I find out who they are, where they’ve been, and what’s underneath the surface, driving their decisions. The more I know about them, the more they come to life to tell their story.
2) Pick a soundtrack. I love music. It strikes a chord deep within and speaks to me when nothing else can. Choosing a soundtrack helps set the tone for the novel, it captures the essence, and helps drive the story forward when I get stuck.
3) Research like crazy. The more I delve into the individual components of the book, the more side stories and unique twists pop up. It’s those little developments I never saw coming that give the story life. When I was getting ready to write Throwaway, I was completely stuck until I stumbled across Honeybranch Cave. It was this one element of the setting and the side stories it brought with it that unclogged the dam. The words just started pouring out and, before I knew it, it all came together.
4) Stay true to the story. In the end, what it all comes down to is the idea that started it all, whether it came to me in a dream or through some other avenue. However that idea struck me, behind it is a story that wants to be told. I’ve learned over the years that if I try to take the driver’s seat, the end result is stale and contrived. If I let the words unfold as they will, I wind up surprising even myself with the end product.
5) Listen to my editor. As much as I deplore the editing process, I know it’s an invaluable piece of the puzzle. Thankfully, I have an amazingly kind editor who’s gentle as she takes the knife to my manuscript. She might be kind as she does it, but Erica is always quick to point out when I’ve become repetitive and I trust her completely.
There’s a point in the writing process of every novel when I begin to wonder how I’ll ever pull it off. I wonder if I’ve written myself into a corner and think this might be the book that does me in. Somehow, some way, I manage to plunge through that murky middle to find my stride again. By the time I write “the end,” I am both elated and exhausted. That’s about the point I tell myself I’m going to take a break before writing another one. It never takes long for another story to grab hold of me, and the process begins anew.
At the request of the U.S. Government, Caitlyn O’Rourke faked her death years ago, only to be reborn as the Cat—a deadly black-ops agent tasked with working for the shadowy organization Chameleon and doing the jobs that can’t be done in the light of day. Now, on the verge of taking down a notorious drug lord and rescuing a captured Chameleon agent, Cat is targeted for assassination…from within. But who’s making the call, and why?
As she attempts to uncover answers and stay alive, Cat finds herself working alongside Cody Kingsley, the mysterious senator who broke her heart and betrayed her long ago. Along with an inner circle of fellow agents, Cat and Cody must untangle the web of lies that surrounds them before it’s too late.
From the sultry streets of New Orleans to a secluded plantation in Ecuador to Washington, DC, Cat must elude an agent hell-bent on her destruction while figuring out how high up the ladder the conspiracy reaches. At the same time, she must work through her tumultuous and conflicting emotions where both Cody and fellow agent Galloway—who may or may not have her best interests at heart—are concerned.
A thrill ride of emotions, suspense, and action, Fool’s Game intertwines matters of the heart and survival …and the only thing certain is that Cat will never be the same.
“Caitlyn,” Cody started softly. “There was a reason I first approached you.”
“You were captured by my bewitching charms?” she teased.
“I’m serious. This is important.” He ran his hand through his hair in frustration. “Someone very important noticed you that day I first saw you. What I’m about to tell you is top secret; you can’t tell anyone what we discuss here.”
Caitlyn nodded and he continued. “I think you know the legislation we’re passing isn’t even putting a dent in the flow of drugs into our country. There is a special task force being assembled. The members of this team will have to sever all ties to their lives as they know them. They will forever be living undercover. No family, no significant other.”
“And you’re telling me this because…” Caitlyn prompted.
“I’ve been asked to recruit you. There is already one operative who’s been undercover for years now. You would be the second. You’ve impressed some pretty high-up people. They’re willing to give you carte blanche on choosing the other two members of your team.”
“When were you asked?” Caitlyn asked quietly.
“The day of the field maneuvers,” he answered barely above a whisper.
“So that was why you found me?” She willed the tears away.
“Yes.” His gaze dropped.
Caitlyn recoiled as if slapped. “I need to think about this.”
“I’ll need your answer soon,” he told her.
“Tomorrow. You’ll have my answer tomorrow.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Heather Huffman calls the beautiful Missouri Ozarks home. When not writing, this homesteading mother is cheering one of her three sons on at a sporting event, making dandelion fritters, or tending the family’s myriad of animals, which includes alpacas, goats, chickens and ducks. Heather’s optimistic and sometimes quirky view of life often finds its way into her novels.
Heather is the author of Throwaway, Ties that Bind, Jailbird, Suddenly a Spy, Ring of Fire, Tumbleweed, Devil in Disguise and Roses in Ecuador. You can find out more about her family’s adventures as they strive to live off the land on a small farm, as well as her writing and charitable work, on www.heatherhuffman.net.
Remember to stop by the other sites that Heather is visiting and leave a comment to increase your chances of winning. Click here for the tour sites.