Author Spotlight: Lisa Heidke
Describe yourself in one word: Passionate
What is your background with regard to writing?
I’ve always been a big reader and enjoyed writing – both fiction and non-fiction. Therefore, I thought the perfect fit for me would be journalism. So I studied that at Queensland University, but was terrified at the thought of interviewing people, especially those who were traumatised, bereaved or facing other difficult circumstances. I didn’t want to be that person sticking a microphone in someone’s face shouting ‘So how did you feel when the bomb killed your son?’
At the time, I didn’t realise there were other options such as magazine writing – e.g. Hugh Grant’s character in Notting Hill where he pretends he writes for ‘Horse and Hound’. But after a lengthy stint in publishing as an Acquisitions Editor, I moved to ACP where I was a feature writer on magazines such as Practical Parenting and Bride To Be. It was a bit surreal writing about mastitis and toddler taming in the mornings and Hen’s parties and sexy lingerie in the afternoons.
When did you first begin writing with a view of embarking on a career as a published author?
In 2000, I decided what I really wanted to do was write a novel. Seven long years later, I got a contract with Allen & Unwin. My fifth book, It Started With A Kiss will be released in January!
For those readers out there who want to write novels, it might interest you to know that I think I have been rejected by every mainstream publisher in Australia and several overseas ones too – mainly because I sent my first drafts out (I cringe at the memory) instead of letting them rest and then edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite…repeat!
Tell us a little more about It Started with a Kiss:
My protagonist, Friday Jones, is shattered when Liam, her husband of nearly twenty years and the father of their teenage daughters, tells her their marriage is over. She’s a naturopath but her health and mental wellbeing spirals as she thinks WTF! A couple of months later, Friday is overwhelmed when a funny, handsome man shows an interest in her. Unfortunately, he is married. But unable to control her desire, she embarks on an intense affair with him. Not good!
When Friday’s best friend, Rosie, discovers Friday is risking a hell of a lot of emotional pain, she convinces Friday to step away from the affair and forces her to join a dating website. In addition, Rosie gets Friday to help with her divorce party venture. Rosie’s business is booming and she wants Friday to join the fun. Not long after Friday dives into the murky world of online romance, she takes a few wrong turns and gets herself into trouble. A whole heap of trouble. Over- zealous suitors and stalkers are just the beginning.
It Started with a Kiss tackles some emotion-charged topics, most notably the central character Friday’s marriage breakdown and the path to finding a new life. What was the biggest challenge in writing Friday’s story?
Channelling Friday’s thought process, stepping into her frock and shoes and becoming that character. Really, it was about thinking ‘What would Friday do?’ instead of ‘What would Lisa do?’
Friday’s path to a new life also includes a somewhat dubious foray into internet dating… Dare I ask how you researched this?! 🙂
I have a few friends whose marriages and long term relationships have fallen apart and suddenly they find themselves the only single person at gatherings and restaurant parties, rather like Bridget Jones in the hideous dinner party scene. How do these new singletons meet people? Quite a few have gone on dating sites, RSVP, e-harmony, etc and I thought it would be a good premise for the story. After Friday’s husband walks out, how does she pick herself up? What can she do to meet people? I am fascinated with the idea of online dating and how it works, the successes and the horror stories. I interviewed people who have joined up with online dating sites, and, yes, poked around a couple of dating sites specifically for research! By the way Friday – or rather Rosie – signs Friday up to KissMeCupid.com. I really should trademark the name. I love it!
What one character trait will most endear Friday to your readers?
That Friday admits she’s flawed but is navigating her life the best she can.
If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Sitting in a bar drinking martinis…probably still writing for magazines or perhaps blogging but I’m not sure I’d have anything interesting to blog about.
What’s next for you?
I have a couple of projects in mind, but right now it’s all about making sure Friday reaches her audience. I think she has a great story to tell and I really hope it resonates with readers.
What book is currently on your nightstand?
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P written by Adelle Waldman. It’s all about contemporary dating, written from a man’s perspective and so far, very funny.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Stop giving a damn what anyone else thinks of you. Trust your intuition and go for it. Take chances. Be brave.
Best read of 2014:
Still Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’. I have read it several times but it truly is an inspirational read and I learn something new every time I delve back into it.
Biggest achievement in 2014?
Gosh! That’s a tough one but I’d definitely say making sure there was enough food in the house to feed my three teenagers. They never stop eating…and they are always standing in front of the open fridge staring at full shelves mumbling about there being ‘nothing to eat’.
Share with us your number one New Year’s Resolution for 2015:
Sell more books.
Which three people (living or dead) would you invite to a dinner party and why?
Jesus and Charles Darwin so that once and for all, we could solve the eternal argument – Who got it right? Thirdly, I’d invite Amy Poehler to lighten the mood with some humour when discussions got tense – that, and flash her boobs. I’m sure it would give both men a thrill.
Favourite travel experience?
I’ll choose one from this year – going to New York City with good friends and hanging out at Marie’s Crisis Bar singing show tunes. Hilarious. So much fun.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list:
Snuggle a meerkat or sun bear…or otter. Not all at the same time though.
Milk, dark or white chocolate? Milk
Red, white, bubbly? Bubbly, though white comes a very close second.
About the Author:
Once upon a time, Lisa Heidke made a New Year’s resolution to write a book. Like most people, Lisa woke up on January 1with a headache. Unlike most people who’d made resolutions the night before, she took two Nurofen and started writing. The result was Lucy Springer Gets Even (A & U, 2009), followed by What Kate did Next (A & U, 2010), Claudia’s Big Break (A & U, 2011), and Stella Makes Good (A & U, 2012). Her fifth novel, It Started With A Kiss, is out now. She also teaches Intro to Women’s Fiction workshops at the Sydney Writers’ Centre.
It Started With A Kiss
Friday Jones is distraught when Liam, her husband of nearly twenty years and the father of their teenage daughters, tells her their marriage is over.
Still heartbroken many months later, Friday is deeply flattered when a funny, handsome man takes an interest in her. From their very first kiss, Friday finds it difficult to control her attraction for him despite numerous warning signals.
When Friday’s best friend, Rosie, discovers Friday is risking further emotional pain she convinces her to end the relationship and join a dating website.
But not long after Friday dives into the world of online romance she takes a couple of wrong turns. Could one of her flings have become a little too obsessed with her? And has the time come to step back and take a good look at where she’s going in life?