An Interview with Heather Haven
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Sarasota, Florida, during the winter hiatus of the circus. I spent most of my life in bathing suits, as kids who are born in southern Florida usually do. In fact, I know what year is what when I see myself in a particular bathing suit in scrapbooks. I always wrote. I started out by putting lyrics to any musical numbers I heard on the radio. My first paying writing job was when I was seventeen. I wrote a gossip column for the Miami Beach Sun on the happenings of residents in a Miami Beach condo. I got paid $25 a week! For a kid back in the Punic Wars, that was a lot of money. After college, I headed for New York City. Among other things, I had several off-off-Broadway plays produced, wrote ad copy for No Soap Radio, and worked backstage on Broadway doing costumes. When my husband and I moved to California, I began writing novels. It’s been a fun ride. I am very blessed.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
- I like to say I was born on a trunk at Ringling Brothers’ Circus, instead of Judy Garland’s song, I Was Born In A Trunk At The Princess Theater. My parents met and married during the golden age of the circus. My mother was a performer and my father was an elephant trainer. I have pictures of me sitting atop the head of a baby elephant, Mom and Dad on each side.
- I like to sing harmony along with my singer/musician husband, but microphones scare me.
- I wish I could live on a farm and take in unwanted, abused animals.
What is the first book you remember reading?
Uncle Remus. It was a large book, mostly pictures, and I was probably four. At nine, I read my first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock. There was no turning back.
What are you reading now?
I’m in the middle of four books. One’s on Mae West, two mysteries, and a how-to on painting. Where there’s life, there’s hope! As for the mysteries, I am a member of Sisters in Crime, NorCal Chapter. We have a lot of talented authors in the group. I am making it my mission to read at least one published novel by each member. They are really wonderful reads. I probably could spend my life reading nothing but work from this group and never get tired of it.
What made you decide you want to write?
I didn’t have much to say about it. I’ve always been a writer. However, I took an early retirement from Stanford University, where I had a great job, to write full-time. I try to turn out one novel every twelve to fourteen months.
Do you have a special place you like to write?
My office. Small but mighty and right off the kitchen. It used to be the breakfast nook, but with two people, who needs a breakfast nook? Plus I needed, as Virginia Woolf advised, a room of one’s own!
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
I read the papers. Truth is stranger than fiction, for sure. Especially nowadays.
What books have most inspired you?
Too numerous to list. However, P. G. Wodehouse, Carolyn Hart, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, David Sedaris, John Le Carré, are but a few who inspire me to try to write my best. Shakespeare heads the list. He was beyond a genius. If he ever looks down and sees me, I want him to be able to say, “There’s that Heather Haven again, thinking she can write. Oh, well, she always does her best.”
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
All of it.
What do you think makes a good story?
Something that rings true. Fiction shines a light on the truth. Throw in a funny line every now and then, and you’ve got something.
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Most of them have a few of my traits here and there. That’s always a good starting place, but as the characters solidify in my mind, they become less and less like me.
Why did you pick your particular genre?
I don’t like stuff that’s too heavy. I want to think about something, not cry about it. If I want a good cry, I can always pick up the real estate section of the San Francisco Chronicle.
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
My books are written on many levels. Scratch the surface and you’ll discover a darker place than you thought would be there. But if you don’t want to scratch, sit back, have a good laugh, and an adventure that has a happy ending. Life is for living, but it can be tough. We need to be positive, upbeat and do our best. At night, when we lay our heads on the pillow, we need to know that no matter what the outcome, we did our best. That’s all we can ask of ourselves. Further, my work is dedicated to families of all types everywhere. When we are fortunate to share our lives with others, bound by love and hopes for a good future, we are, indeed, a family. And very blessed.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
The sky’s the limit, Toots, the sky’s the limit.
Thank you, Heather, for being my guest today!
Now let me tell you about her latest cozy mystery!
The Culinary Art of Murder (The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries)
6th in Series
The Wives of Bath Press (November 27, 2017)
Print Length: 281 pages
E-Book ASIN: B076HDD3JY
Lee’s Uncle ‘Tío’ is smitten with a visiting chef at a Silicon Valley culinary arts institute. When the lady is arrested for two murders, a fellow chef and the dishwasher, Lee Alvarez, lead investigator for Discretionary Inquiries, Inc., the family owned detective agency, agrees to help find the real killer. But undercover work at the institute proves to be more difficult than whipping up a chocolate soufflé. The killer tries to get Lee out of the way and permanently. But just who is it? The lady chef? One of her two sons? Or one of the other inmates from a cooking school with secrets as plentiful as sauces? Can Lee find the real killer before her own goose is cooked? And if it turns out to be the ambitious southern belle chef, will Tío ever forgive Lee for sending his new lady love to jail?
Praise for The Culinary Art of Murder (The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries)
by Heather Haven
I’ve been a long-time fan of the Alvarez Family (since finding her first book on Bookbub a few years ago) and enjoy Ms. Haven’s sense of humor as she spins her stories for us readers.
~Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder
I have been such a huge fan of this series I love how the Alvarez’s work together to get to the bottom of every situation they are handled.
More About the Author
After studying drama at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida, Heather went to Manhattan to pursue a career. There she wrote short stories, novels, comedy acts, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and two one-act plays, produced at several places, such as Playwrights Horizon. Once she even ghostwrote a book on how to run an employment agency. She was unemployed at the time.
One of her first paying jobs was writing a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week but promptly came down with the flu. Heather wrote “The Sands of Time” with a raging temperature, and delivered some pretty hot stuff because of it. Her stint at New York City’s No Soap Radio – where she wrote comedic ad copy – help develop her long-time love affair with comedy.
Her first novel of the humorous Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Murder is a Family Business, is a winner of the Single Titles Reviewers’ Choice Award 2011. The second, A Wedding to Die For, received finalist nods from both Global and EPIC’s for Best eBook Mystery of the Year, 2012. It also won the Editors and Predators silver, 2012. The third of the series, Death Runs in the Family, won the Global Gold 2013. The fourth installment, Dead…If Only, won Global Silver 2015. The CEO Came DOA, Book Five, won the Global Gold Medal 2017 and Dan Poynter Legacy Award 2017. The Culinary Art of Murder is the sixth book of the series.
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS Please visit all the stops.
December 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
December 1 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT – blogger unable to post
December 2 – Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW
December 3 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
December 4 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
December 5 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT
December 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
December 7 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 8 – T’s Stuff – INTERVIEW
December 9 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – INTERVIEW
December 13 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 14 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
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