Q&A With Heather Webb
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Q&A With Heather Webb
This morning I have
the pleasure of doing a Q&A with USA Today Bestselling author Heather Webb.
I recently did a Q&A with her friend Hazel Gaynor who she sometimes
co-writes with. Solo Heather wrote the novels, “Rodin’s Lover,” “The Phantoms Apprentice,”
“Becoming Josephine,” and her recent novel, “The Next Ship Home”. Next year
Heather’s book “Stragners In The Night,” about Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner
comes out in March of 2023.
Q: At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: I realized it when I was a high school teacher and had recently returned from a trip to France with my students. I kept having dreams about Josephine Bonaparte for a few weeks when I came home, and it was so weird! We didn’t even visit Malmaison or do anything specifically Josephine or Napoleon-related. But she wouldn’t leave me so I started researching her and I fell in love with writing. It turns out, I always was a writer. I wrote journals and short stories and won essay contests in high school. I just never thought of it as something I do beyond that…until much later.
Q: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to write, historical fiction?
A: Be careful of fact versus story. So many historical writers, in particular aspiring novelists, make the mistake of honoring a series of facts over the emotional threads of a story. Character trumps plot. Plot and character trump facts and figures all day long. Just ask the majority of your readers. This is not to say that careful research isn’t important. Sure it is, it’s just not king. Story is and when it’s given a back seat to “getting everything right” it shows. It becomes a forgettable book that few recommend to friends.
Q: What advice do you
give someone who struggles with writers block?
A: Work on some pre-writing. Work with craft books like The Art of Character by David Corbett; Story Genius by Lisa Cron, and The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass. Most writer’s block is either linked to deep-rooted self-doubt, stress and emotional turmoil related to life’s hardships, or simply being lost about where the story is going. Where the story is going is always, always about the emotional journey of the main characters.
Q: What’s it like writing with someone else? I bet it is fun writing with Hazel.
A: I adore it! I probably couldn’t say that about most people, but I certainly can about Hazel, my book wife. We joke around and call each other such. We’re both really flexible and communicative. We also have styles that really overlap well so it’s been a blast writing with Hazel.
Q: What were your favorite novels you read so far this year?
A: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, The Maid by Nita Prose, Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau are my favorite reads of the year. Loved them all. I’m currently reading Kris Waldherr’s Unnatural Creatures about Frankenstein’s women and it’s deliciously gothic, and also Molly Greely’s Marvelous, a historical fantasy of Beauty and the Beast that’s incredibly vivid and sumptuous. Loving both! (As you can see, I love being swept away in my fiction)
Q: What advice do you give to anyone who wants to co-write with someone else?
A: Be open-minded, leave your ego at the door, and have a great time! That’s what it’s all about.
Q: If you had to choose which book was your favorite to write solo? Which book was your favorite to co-write with Hazel?
A: My favorite book tends to be the one I’m working on because I love them all like I love my children: equally but differently. My favorite book with Hazel was definitely Last Christmas in Paris, but researching for Meet Me in Monaco was so unbelievably fun! And we’re ecstatic to share the one we’re currently working on at Christmas of 2024, Christmas with the Queen.
Q: Do you prefer writing solo or co-writing with Hazel more?
A: I love both! There’s something freeing and wonderful about writing your own story, and interacting with readers. But by the same token, a very special thing happens when Hazel and I come together. She’s my peanut butter to my chocolate and it’s utterly fabulous.
Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If so can you spoil a little bit about it?
I have a new book releasing in March! It’s called Strangers in the Night, and here’s more about it:
was the tumultuous romance that scandalized the world: Frank Sinatra and Ava
Gardner fought, loved, and lived life to the hilt. Now their unbridled story is
brought vividly to life by Heather Webb, the bestselling author of Meet
Me in Monaco and The Next Ship Home.
In the golden age of Hollywood, two of the brightest stars would define–and defy–an era…
She was the small-town southern beauty transformed into a Hollywood love goddess. He was the legendary crooner whose voice transfixed the world. They were Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra. Separately they were irresistible; together they were an explosive combination.
Ava’s star is rising just as Frank’s career–and public image as a family man–is taking a hit. Gone are the days of the screaming bobbysoxers and chart-topping hits. Ava, however, finds herself gracing the front page of every tabloid in America. Jealousy and cheating abound, and when the two succumb to their temperaments and their vices, their happiness is threatened at every turn.
As the pair rides the rollercoaster of success and failure, passion and anger, they both wonder if the next turn will be the end of their careers, and most devastating of all–the end of all they’ve shared.
A captivating novel with a star-studded cast spanning continents and decades, Strangers in the Night brings to life the most riveting love story of the twentieth century.