Author Speed Dating – Heather Novak

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Heather Novak



15 Questions

1. Picture yourself inside an airplane with the door open and a parachute on your back. Would you shout “whoo-hoo” and leap out or hold on for dear life and beg the pilot to land? Or is this question moot because you would be waving up at the plane from solid ground?

Someone explain to me WHY I would be jumping out of a perfectly good plane?! I need more information. Is the plane on fire? Will I get $12 billion dollars if I jump? Saying as how I broke my arm on a kitchen cabinet last Thanksgiving, I’m going to opt to stay firmly on SOLID GROUND. (If my insurance company is reading this, I expect a thank you letter in the mail.)

 2. Name a character from one of your novels that is most like you. Now name one least like you. Explain why?

I’m most like my character Charlie in the book I’m releasing later this year, called SORRY CHARLIE. It’s an #ownvoices Contemporary Romance about a passionate heroine who has big dreams in the music world, but the diagnosis of a rare disease changes her life. I’m least like Romi from HUNTING WITCH HAZEL. She’s calm, collected, and trusts herself. She’s also a ghost, so…

 3. What is your favorite writer’s “uniform,” and how much do you love that you get to pick it out?

When I’m at home, no bra, baggy dress or shirt. Leggings if it’s cold. Fun slippers are required. I will write in just about anything on just about everything if you turn me loose. I even have a waterproof pad in the shower for when I want to write while shaving my legs. I’m gifted like that.

 4. Would you consider yourself an exercise fanatic, a couch potato or somewhere in the middle? And when you do get out to exercise, what is your favorite way to sweat?

I have a physical limitation that prevents regular exercise, but I do love to dance. Mostly, I just take walks with my Prince Charming. You know, the PG stuff anyway 😉

5. How many books have you written and in which genres and sub-genres?

Around ten screenplays and fifteen books. Some of those will NEVER see the light of day, but I’m prepping five for release over the next several months. They range from New Adult Contemporary Romance to Adult Paranormal Romance.

6. In 10 words or less, give your best advice to aspiring authors.

Make many friends and listen to their stories.

7. Name a talent you have that your readers might not know about? (Keep it PG, of course.)

I used to be an international competing theatre organist! In 1999, I took first place nationally and third place worldwide.

8. What are the steps you take when you start writing a new book? Character sketches? Extensive research? Fly by the seat of your pants and figure it all out later?

My therapist says it’s not crazy to talk to my characters…so I interview them. Then I brainstorm the story’s high points with a buddy, fill a bulletin board with pictures, and make a cheat sheet (places/people/pets). Finally, I open the computer, buckle up, and let the characters drive.

9. From the over-30-action-hero-hotties list: Will Smith or Chris Evans?

Both. They can rotate weekends and holidays. Well, wait, who does dishes? I’ll take that one.

10. If you had it all to do over again, what would you do differently in your writing career?

I think the journey is important so I wouldn’t change much. I wish I got over the stigma of reading romance younger than I did.

 11. If you could have dinner with one living celebrity or world leader, who would it be, and what would be on the menu?

Why do you do this to me, Dana?! I thought we were friends. ONE PERSON?!

Um…probably Ellen DeGeneres, but Josh Groban would have to be in attendance. Ellen’s life amazes me, and she is such a strong woman and role model. And Josh because he’s my future husband (wait…is my actual husband reading this?). Tacos would be on the menu. Because tacos are the best food that humans have ever created.

12. Preference for a great evening with your significant other: dinner out and possibly dancing or takeout and your control of the remote for Netflix?

This question implies that we don’t usually have take out and then I pick a show on Netflix (giggles). I’m all for dinner out and dancing. But like a concert or ballroom dancing.

 13. Do you have a book that you been dreaming of writing for years, and what has kept you from writing it?

I’ve been trying to write a fairy tale for years now. One day, I will get there.

 14. Were there other authors who helped you along the way on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

Oh my goodness, this is a question that would need a page-long answer. Patti Shenberger, our late GDRWA president, took me under her wing when I joined. She introduced me to Shelly Bell, Aliza Mann, Sage Spelling, M.K Schiller, and Elizabeth Heiter, and for that, I will always be thankful. In addition to my wonderful GDRWA friends (you too, Dana!), I’d have to say Penny Reid, although it’d be too much to explain how in a short answer. So many, many others I just don’t have room to mention.

 15. If we imagine that a reader has lived on a desert island and missed the opportunity to read one of your books, which title do you recommend that she order as soon as she returns to civilization?

I always like to start at the beginning, so let’s say HUNTING WITCH HAZEL! However, as soon as SORRY CHARLIE hits the shelves, I’d highly recommend that one as well ;).




Hunting Witch Hazel

By Heather Novak


Only my twin would want a happiness enchantment placed on Hayvenwood University’s scariest bridge for her birthday. I set the vials down on the stone wall of the Pont d’Amour and turned toward my sister, Romi. “I can’t believe that this is what you want. You sure you’re okay with getting your present two months early?”

Between the possibility of destroying the bridge and overly nosy neighbors returning from summer vacation, it was just too risky to do the spell once school started. Luckily, classes didn’t begin until next week and this place was practically a ghost town. Romi swung her legs over the edge of the bridge and stared at the completely black sky.

Magic during a full moon was too dangerous, despite the stories. I preferred to use a new moon. Especially for spells I barely had enough power to cast.

“Definitely. Don’t you think it’s romantic to make the legend true? ‘Que les âmes perdues contemplant ce pont fassent leur vœu, à ce moment là seulement le chemin vers l’amour véritable s’ouvrira à eux.’ All of the feels!”

I raised my eyebrow at her. “Romi. Do I look like I speak French? I barely speak Spanish after taking it all four years of high school.”

She huffed on an exaggerated eye roll. “‘When lost souls look upon the bridge and make a wish, they will find their true path to love.’”

I made a gagging sound. “Barf. That’s so gross.”

“How do you not know the legend?”

“How do you think I’m a romantic person?”

“Live a little, Zee! I can’t do magic anymore. It’s fun to watch you! All I’ve got left is haunting French classes.” She waved her hand at me and sighed. She was remarkably solid tonight for being a ghost. “Vicarious living and all that.”

I set my battery powered lantern on the cobblestone wall and pulled a copper bowl from my bag. It took all my effort not to roll my eyes.

The chances of this spell working at all were the same as me winning a car on The Price is Right, but I was happy to go through the motions for my sister. After all, it was our twenty-first birthday this year; and tragically, she couldn’t drink. “Well, happy early birthday,” I smiled.

Her smile practically split her face in half as she kicked her feet. “Stop stalling, Zee!”

“You’re sure?” I triple checked as I opened my journal to the spell.

“Hazel Evanora. When have I ever been unsure about what I want? What else can you possibly give me? While I’d love jewelry…” she shrugged one shoulder, “can’t really wear it.”

My breath caught as I remembered what we both tried to forget. She was more solid than usual tonight, and I was comforted by that thought. We still weren’t sure what made her more solid some nights than others. I’m sure it was just something simple like weather or the moon cycle. But whenever she was too translucent, I panicked she’d just disappear and never come back.



HUNTING WITCH HAZEL, Book 1 in the Lynch Brothers Series and a May 2016 release through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, may be purchased from Amazon.



About Heather

Romance writer Heather Novak is in an open relationship…with the love of her life and the fictional characters in her head. After deciding her expensive film/screenwriting degree from Wayne State University should be used to make the world smile, she started writing Happily Ever Afters with a preternatural twist! (Don’t worry, she had to look up that word, too). Focusing on powerful imagery and emotional storytelling – you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh so hard you’ll cry.

Heather resides in Metro Detroit with the love of her life and several imaginary (and hypoallergenic) pets. She is Vice President of Communications for her Romance Writers of America Greater Detroit chapter, coordinator for the Booksellers’ Best Awards, and the Thursday blogger for Nights of Passion blog. She strongly supports the use of sarcasm and the Oxford Comma.

Connect with Heather through her website,; on social-media  – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook; and through her weekly romance blog, Nights of Passion. She is also a regular contributor to the Faces of Preexisting Conditions Authors Blog.



























Author Speed Dating – Shirley Jump

Author Speed Dating(1)

If there’s one thing I enjoy almost as much as writing books, it’s READING books. I love discovering new authors, too. So I thought my blog would be a perfect place to introduce my authors friends to potential new readers. Only to give it a twist, we’re doing this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Shirley Jump



Shirley Jump pic

New Adult Romance




15 Question

1. Ferrari or Ford F-150?

Ferrari all the way!

2. What is your biggest fear as you are writing a story?

That I won’t make the deadline.

3. Name a TV you have either binge-watched or own on DVD.

Breaking Bad.

4. What is the one thing you wish someone else had told you before you published your first book?

That the road afterwards is just as rocky and difficult as before you got published; the only difference is now they pay you.

5. Rolling Stones or Florida Georgia Line?

Hmmm…I guess Florida Georgia Line. I’m more a pop-type girl.

6. Name the most embarrassing concert you ever attended?

James Taylor.

7. What do you eat for dinner when you’re all alone in the house, and no one has to know about it?

A bag of popcorn.

8. Name your favorite gift you ever gave to someone else, and what made it special?

I made a book of my mom’s recipes and pictures from when we were kids for my brother and me for Christmas. We each have them on stands in our kitchens.

9. What is one of the biggest risks you’ve taken as a writer?

Pitching my first article to a newspaper when I was 11.

10. Kurt Vonnegut or J.K. Rowling?

Kurt Vonnegut because he makes me think when I read him.

11. What are your favorite activities outside writing?

I do triathlons, so running, biking and swimming.

12. How many books have you published, and how many had you written before you thought of yourself as a successful writer?

60+ published. And I don’t know if you ever truly think of yourself as successful. I’m always striving to be better, do more.

13. What would you choose as your super power, and what would you do with it?

Lightning speed so I could get everything done and have time with my loved ones.

14. In which genres and sub-genres are you published, and which was the hardest and easiest to write?

Romance, YA, and women’s fiction. Women’s fiction is the hardest because it’s more involved, but the other two are fun.

15. Kardashians. Yes or no?

Good God…NO. I’d rather watch paint dry ;-).



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Can’t Get Over You

By Shirley Jump


Secrets were the hardest thing to keep on an island, especially one the size of Fortune’s Island. Jillian Matheson had lived there pretty much all her life, growing up among the small population that stubbornly hung on through the brutal Cape Cod Bay winters. She’d gone to a school that was run out of a converted house, reading Big Red and learning the Pythagorean Theorem alongside the same couple dozen kids from kindergarten to graduation.

In the summer, the population of Fortune’s Island swelled, like a pregnant spider about to deliver thousands of beach-hungry babies. As soon as Labor Day drew to a close, the island emptied out, and life settled down again. After Jillian passed the craziness of her early twenties and grew up a little—okay, a lot—she found she craved the quiet, the…space. The miles of empty beach, the lazy shopping trips with shopkeepers more than happy to pass the time talking about the weather, the late mornings snuggled under the blankets while the wind blew angry breath.

It was also easier to find a quiet place to be alone, which was what had brought Jillian to the rocky outcropping at the southern end of the island today. The beach there tapered down to a smattering of sand, where sharp-edged rocks married each other in topsy-turvy angles. Jillian knew, if she picked her way a few feet further down, she could find one large flat rock, as big as a picnic table, and high enough that the incoming tide never did much more than lick the underside of the stone.

She had spread out a blanket, then settled her acoustic guitar across her waist. She’d bought the Ibanez secondhand in a shop ten years ago, with her first official paycheck from The Love Shack, the cozy seaside restaurant her parents owned. Jillian spent hours on this rock, teaching herself how to read music, how to pick out the notes, and then finally, strumming snippets of songs. It had taken almost a year of these stolen moments against the rocky wall before Jillian had taught herself to play “Hotel California.”

She’d moved through the entire Eagles catalog, then the Beatles, then a little Led, before she got the itch to write her own songs. The first few had been the typical unrequited love/misunderstood teen bullshit most high schoolers wrote about. Like Taylor Swift with a bad attitude. But now, her music had evolved, becoming something that filled her soul, exposed the nooks and crannies that she kept hidden from the world.

This summer, she’d finally gotten serious about her dreams and, in the space of a few days, turned her life upside down and inside out. She’d broken up with Zach, her fiancé, and fired off a college application. For the past month now, she’d been taking the ferry over to Boston three mornings a week to study contemporary music composition at the Boston Conservatory. Before work, she’d steal away to her space under the rock to practice her own songs and study for her classes in music history and theory.

Music was her secret, the one thing she had never shared with her best friend Darcy, or Zach, or her brother—not even with her parents. She sat on the rock and she sang, and she held the secret close to her chest. Doing that made it seem more precious, more…hers.

The Conservatory had allowed recorded audition tapes as part of the application process, and Jillian had done just that, sitting here on her rock, letting her iPhone be the only witness to her singing. Zach would have told her to let her voice be heard, but he’d always been the more outgoing of the two of them. The one who had no problem performing in public.

Zach. He was the last person she wanted to think about. It had been almost three months since she’d given back his ring. After eight years together, he’d let her go as easily as letting the wind catch a balloon. She told herself it didn’t hurt, but it did.

A lot.

So she wrote about it in songs and told herself she was okay. Totally okay.

Thunder rumbled in the sky, and dark clouds moved across the sun, casting the beach in gray shadow. Rain droplets began to sputter, falling onto the white lined paper before her. Jillian gathered up the guitar and her notepad, then climbed down the rocky path. She jogged up the sandy trail to her car, then stowed the guitar in the trunk, put the engine in gear and took a right, heading toward The Love Shack.

The skies opened up just as she turned onto the road. Her cantankerous Hyundai sputtered and coughed, but kept chugging. Jillian patted the dash. “Come on, Sylvia. Hold on for just a few more months, okay? We had a deal. You make it to February and I’ll use my tax refund to fix you up.”

The rain pounded too fast and too hard for her wipers to keep up. Puddles formed in the road, then spread a river across the rutted worn path. She should have stuck to the main road, but this way was shorter, usually faster. Sylvia shuddered, then the engine stammered. Jillian pressed on the gas, urging the car up a little hill, but the water was pouring down faster than the wheels wanted to go, and halfway up the hill, Sylvia died. Not a slow, quiet death, but a herky-jerky, coughing death spiral.

Jillian cursed and steered toward the side of the road, though the car had already stopped moving. Great. She was stuck here, on this remote road, a mile from work, in a Noah’s Ark-worthy storm. She flipped out her cell phone, and too late realized she’d forgotten to charge it.


She rooted under the front seats, hoping she’d remembered to stow her umbrella, but all she found was a few old French fries and an empty water bottle. Shit.

Guess that meant she was hoofing it. She cursed again, then got out of the car, hunching her shoulders against the downpour, though it did no good. The rain fell in sheets, soaking her hair, running like a waterfall off the end of her ponytail and down her bangs, then streaming down her face. Within seconds, her tank top and shorts were soaked, and her sneakers were sodden. She was cold and wet and pissed off. It was going to be one hell of a long mile.

She broke into a light jog, though for Jillian, about the only running she did was between the kitchen and the dining room at work. She heard the low rumble of an engine behind her, and spun around, thrusting out a thumb. On the mainland she wouldn’t hitchhike, but here on Fortune’s Island, she knew pretty much every single soul.

Almost as soon as she put out her thumb, she put it back down. The low, dark Mustang was one she knew well. As well as she knew its driver.




CAN’T GET OVER YOU, Book 2 in the Fortune’s Island series, may be purchased through these online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.



About Shirley

When she’s not writing books, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Shirley Jump competes in triathlons, mostly because all that training lets her justify mid-day naps and a second slice of chocolate cake. She’s published more than 60 books in 24 languages, although she’s too geographically challenged to find any of those countries on a map. Visit her website at for author news and a book list, and follow her on Facebook for giveaways and deep discussions about important things like chocolate and shoes.