Saturday, 23 June 2012

Book Feature & Interview: Jailbird by Heather Huffman

Original Title: Jailbird
Author: Heather Huffman
Publisher: Leave your Mark
Release Date: September 23rd, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Romance

A paradoxical blend of light and dark, Jailbird is a warm and humorous tale about the power of hope.

Neena Allen has led a tough life. Born on the reservation, raped and unjustly convicted of murdering her attacker, she survives prison - barely. When an opportunity presents itself, she doesn't hesitate to escape. Presumed dead, she stumbles into a sleepy Arkansas town where she finds refuge with a kind family and glimpses the chance for a real home, a place to belong. But leading a double life isn’t easy, especially when you fall in love with the town lawyer. To complicate matters further, a tenacious reporter gets too close to the truth and Neena finds herself on the run again. With a manhunt under way and her newfound happiness at risk, Neena must face the painful memories of her past or risk losing the future she dreams of.

Should she fight for her new life or give up those she loves to keep them safe?


  1. Tell us something about your book that is not part of the book description (blurb).

Jailbird opens in the middle of a jailbreak and the pace doesn’t let up much after that. Still, it’s warm and funny, and the love story between Neena Allen and Charlie Russell is one of my favorites. Neena’s older brother, Conrad, has always been one of my favorite characters, which is why I made him a main character in my latest release, Devil in Disguise.

  1. Who is your book cover designer and what do YOU think about the cover?

My book cover designer is Emily Stoltz. I met her when I still worked for corporate America. We became instant friends and from the moment the decision was made to publish, I knew I wanted her to design the covers. I love her work! She has an amazing ability to produce exactly what I’m hoping for, even though I’m rarely able to coherently express what my vision is!

My publisher, designer and I all recently agreed that my covers should have more consistent branding, so we revisited several of them. I absolutely love the new cover for this book. It could be my favorite.

For the original cover for Jailbird, I actually shot the picture myself in my backyard (those are my feet). At the time, Emily was busy so I did the cover just to keep the project moving. I think it turned out pretty well considering design isn’t my forte, but I still prefer the new one!

  1. What are your current literary works?  Any sneak peeks?

I just released my seventh novel, Devil in Disguise. The others are: Throwaway, Suddenly a Spy, Jailbird, Ties That Bind, Ring of Fire & Tumbleweed. Devil in Disguise revisits characters that were introduced in Throwaway, Suddenly a Spy and Jailbird, so it brings together many of my fans’ favorites!

I’m currently working on a collaboration with a favorite author of mine: Sylvain Reynard, author of Gabriel’s Inferno. It’s a romantic comedy novella, and we plan to donate 100% of our share of the royalties to organizations that fight human trafficking.

  1. What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?

I still haven’t had a chance to see the Hunger Games and I’d really like to. I meant to watch it when it first came out, but things have just been too busy! Now I guess I have to wait for DVD.

  1. If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?

1) Jon Stewart because I think he’s smart and hilarious.

2) Sylvain Reynard – I have so enjoyed collaborating on our book via email that I think it would be fun to one day actually meet him in person.

3) Natalie Portman strikes me as intelligent, kind and fun.

4) Ann Curry is intelligent, powerful, and seems to genuinely care about others. I’d love to have a conversation with her.

5) Heather Ludviksson – my book manager – because if I’m having dinner with the four people mentioned above and don’t invite her, I’d be in trouble. That, and she’s fun to have dinner with!

  1. What's the craziest writing idea you've had?

It’s hard to narrow down – I have lots of crazy writing ideas.

  1. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. 

Because you’ll fall in love with the characters, and they’ll take you on a journey with a few tears and a lot of laughter.

  1. Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

It’s hard to choose only one. Seeing my books on the same lists as authors like Nora Roberts, interacting with my amazing readers, and getting to work on projects with other authors I respect are all at the top of my list, though!

  1. What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Don’t be too prideful to listen to feedback, but learn to sift through the good and the bad – and don’t let the naysayers keep you from your dreams.

  1. If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Jailbird. I really do love the characters and the world Neena creates for herself.

  1. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?

She Tried

  1. What is your favorite scene in the book and why do you love it?

I love the early interactions between Charlie and Neena. She’s normally so quick and witty, it was kind of fun to see her so off balance. There are a couple of scenes later in the book that I really enjoyed writing – they even made me a little teary in a good way – but I don’t want to give away anything too close to the end.

  1. What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you'd be embarrassed to admit?

I promise I’m not ducking the question – I just really can’t think of any!

  1. What is one book everyone should read (apart from yours)?

The Bible is honestly the first thing that popped into my brain. It wasn’t until I read through it again as an adult that I began to truly appreciate the threads throughout and the beauty of the entire thing.

  1. What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day?

Curled up reading a good book or watching a romantic comedy.


   1. Favorite place?

Home, sitting in my backyard overlooking the hills while my kids play, the chickens forage, and the horses graze.

   2. Best Christmas present?

The stuffed beagle my parents got me when I was about six. I named him Lazy and he was my favorite toy.

   3. Favorite book?

I don’t have a favorite, or maybe my favorite just changes. One week I can’t get enough of the classics, the next I’m eagerly anticipating the next release of one of my contemporaries. Thanks to the new publishing landscape, there are a lot of fresh and interesting voices out there!

   4. Favorite author?

I don’t think I have a favorite – there are many I respect or enjoy, and my tastes are pretty varied.

   5. Favorite smell?
Citrus, or maybe fresh-cut grass.

   6. Favorite series?
TV? The BBC’s Merlin

   7. Nickname?

Not sure I should admit it… my old roommate used to call me Hussy. I was a bit of a flirt at the time, I guess. That’s the only nickname I’ve ever really had. Wait, I take that back. All of the kids in my family call me Aunt Kitty because I used to have really long hair and my oldest nephew would stroke my hair and say “kitty” when he was about two.           

   8. Favorite writing spot?

Anywhere quiet.

   9. Favorite movie?

The Avengers. I could watch it over and over – I was really surprised how much I enjoyed that movie.

  10. Favorite dish?
Pizza – as evidenced by my novel Jailbird.

  11. Favorite color?

            That changes – at the moment, I really like orange.

  12. Favorite quote?

Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred! Nathaniel Hawthorn, The Scarlet Letter

  13. A bunch of small gifts or one big expensive one?

            Small gifts

  14. Your best trait?
I genuinely care about others.

  15. Your worst trait?
I can be a perfectionist, and I’m usually sure my way is right.

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