HH: Happy to be here! These days, when it’s all about specialization in every field, I started writing without regard to genre. My books ended up being classified as romance, but really, a good story is a good story, right?
ER: A TAST OF CHARDONNAY is a series—The Napa Wine Heiresses. How many books are in the series, and can you give us a brief overview?
HH: The Napa Wine Heiresses is a sister series. Each is devoted to one of the strong daughters of Xavier St. Pierre, the most notorious vintner in the Napa Valley. Don’t we all secretly wish we’d been born with a crystal wineglass in our hand? Yet as we all know, even those lucky enough to have been born privileged have tough decisions to make. How to live their lives, whom to share them with.
ER: Was your road to publication long and winding, or a walk in the park? Can you tell us a little about it?
HH: Not exactly a walk in the park! Ever since I wrote A Taste of Chardonnay, people have been asking me if I always wanted to write. The answer is, no! I didn’t start writing until about five years ago, when a love story rolling around in my head wouldn’t leave me alone. I can do this, I thought in my naivette. Ha! I had no idea what I was doing. I made every mistake a writer could possibly make in that book. It was my teacher. I got a bunch of rejections—deservedly so—but I also got a lot of positive feedback. After that, I studied hard, including researching the market to see what people wanted to read. Last Christmas when I was up on a ladder hanging Christmas lights, Kensington Publishing called to offer for my second effort, the Napa Wine Heiresses series.
ER: What is your favorite part of writing?
HH: You know how it is when you’re starting any project…full of hope and optimism. I love beginnings. On the flip side, editing is also fun. Sometimes I’ll review a line and laugh, did I actually write that?
ER: What is your least favorite part of writing?
HH: Novelists come in two flavors, pantsers and plotters. Since I’m a plotter, I always know how a book will start and end. It’s the middle that I struggle with.
ER: Do you have any unique writing habits, and if so, what are they?
HH: If staring out the window several hours a day at the wildlife parading through my backyard counts as unique, then, yes! I have deer, foxes, and wild turkeys…and the weird thing is, I live in suburbia, not the woods!
ER: Last question, Heather. As a child, you moved from Texas to England. That must have been something of a culture shock. Can you tell us a little about the experience?
HH: It’s been fun talking with you! I must admit, moving every three years with my military family did affect the way I speak and write. My accent is a blend of so many places, and I did encounter some issues from time to time in school when I mixed up American and English rules and spellings. It was only after I left Texas that I realized there is no satisfactory replacement for the term, ‘ya’ll.’ Unless of course you’re in Pittsburgh, where you can say ‘younz’. The closest term I’ve found is ‘you guys.’
Interestingly, the perfect American accent is often considered to be the way Midwesterners speak, say those from Illinois to Iowa. A surprising number of broadcasters come from the Midwest.
I’ve been told there are lots of fans of romance from the South. I’d be interested to ask each one of your readers: which state are you from, and where else have you lived?
Want to connect with Heather? Here’s a little more about this fun, new voice in contemporary romance.
Born in the Northeast, Heather Heyford learned to walk and talk in Texas, and then moved to England. (“Ya’ll want some scones?”) While in Europe, Heather was forced by her cruel parents to spend Saturdays in the leopard vinyl back seat of their Peugeot, motoring from one medieval pile to the next for the lame purpose of ‘learning something.’ What she soon learned was how to allay the boredom by stashing a Cosmo under the seat. Now a recovering teacher, Heather writes love stories, feeds hardboiled eggs to suburban foxes, and makes art in the Mid-Atlantic. See more at HeatherHeyford.com.
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Join author Heather Heyford as she uncorks a sparkling new series following the St. Pierre sisters, heiresses to a Napa wine fortune who are toasting the good life and are thirsty for love…
Chardonnay St. Pierre’s father is as infamous for his scandals as he is for his wine, and it’s up to Char to restore the family name. The Challenge, an elite charity competition held in Napa, seems like the perfect opportunity for the socialite to cement her image as a philanthropist. But all eyes–including Char’s–are on the Hollywood heartthrob who’s also entered the race…
Long before his face was splashed across the gossip magazines, Ryder McBride grew up in a working-class family in Napa. He knows all about the St. Pierre sisters and their notorious father, and when he learns he’ll be up against Char in The Challenge, he assumes the grape doesn’t fall far from the vine. But the more they get to know one another, the more they begin to realize that nothing pairs better with a heated rivalry than a healthy pour of flirtation…
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The St. Pierre sisters tumbled into the Napa County jail, stopping short at the transparent barrier in front of the reception desk. Chardonnay vaguely recalled the floor plan from her last visit. From a holding cell in the rear, they could hear Papa bellowing in his unmistakable Franglais.
“I am American citizen! I have gun license! Wait until my daughter gets here. She is lawyer! I will sue your—”
Papa had always had a flair for the dramatic.
Following an interminable wait during which the incessant click of her older sister’s pacing echoed off the tile walls, they were let into a processing area and a young officer holding a clipboard came out to meet them.
“Which one of you is”—he raised the clipboard to eye level and squinted—“Sauvignon?” he said with the audible equivalent of an eye roll.
This guy must be new to the force. The St. Pierres weren’t accustomed to going many places in the valley without being recognized.
Savvy stepped forward. “I am.”
Thank heavens Savvy was an attorney. Well, almost. She’d recently graduated law school but had yet to take the bar.
“And these are my sisters, Chardonnay and Merlot.”
The cop stared.
Was it their fault Papa had named his daughters for grape varietals?
He started to smile, furrowed his brow, and then hitched up his pants with his free hand.
With a half chuckle, he said, “Cheese-oh-man. You can’t make this stuff up. Wait till I tell the folks back in Ohio.”
For those of you playing Romantic Pursuit, here’s your question:
What was Heather doing when she got the call about publishing her books? Please be sure to leave your answer at the top of the page.