Friday, December 18, 2009

Heather Justesen Interview - author of The Ball's in Her Court

Though I've never met Heather Justesen, I wanted to interview her on my blog because she has a new book out titled, The Ball's in Her Court.


Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I haven’t, though my siblings have informed me I’m the only one in the family who didn’t know I would write someday. I’ve always been an avid reader who spent a lot of time imagining different scenarios and story lines, so I guess you could say I’ve been in training all of my life—I just didn’t realize it until I was an adult. I actually started writing about ten years ago.

Tell us a little bit about your new book.
My book, The Ball’s in Her Court is about a woman, Denise, who was abused and neglected as a child, was put into foster care, and adopted about age 12. She managed to work through her past enough to create a good life for herself, and is now a settled adult with a good career. Still she’s unable to completely let go of her past, so she decides it’s time to go searching for answers—which includes searching for her birth father and tracking down other family members—none of whom she remembered meeting. Along the course of the story she falls in love with her roommate’s cousin. In the evenings she likes to go to the gym and blow off steam by playing basketball—and she beats most of the guys in one-on-one.

Tell us about your other books in progress.
I actually have another book coming out in the spring, “Rebound,” which is a spin-off from this book involving Denise’s roommate, Lily whose marriage isn’t anything like she had expected it to be. When her husband is arrested for fraud in the opening scene of the book, her world is totally shattered. Their assets are frozen, she has a toddler and another on the way, and she faces prejudice because of her husband’s actions as she tries to find a job. She has to start over again and learn to trust herself—and of course, she falls in love again with a much nicer guy. I have several other projects underway, some of which are related to the first two, and some that are completely unrelated. I’m actually going to be submitting a third, unrelated book, before the end of the year.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
A really great plot or a character I totally love. Honestly it’s all about the story—if I want to see what’s going to happen next badly enough then it’s really easy to stay motivated. If I’m a bit lost or I’ve gotten too distracted by life to stay focused on the story as much as I’d like, then having something to bring with me to my critique group each week is also a great motivator.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
I’d have to say my first writing mentor was Josi Kilpack. She edited a couple of manuscripts for me and her notes and suggestions made a huge difference in my writing. I also love that she picks topics of serious relevance to us today and writes around them, though I love her newer culinary mysteries as well.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be? I grew up in Fillmore, Utah, where I live now. It’s a rural area with lots of farms, but we lived in town and my parents own a store. We never had much in the way of pets—though I’ve made up for that since. I’ve been happy everywhere I’ve lived but my husband and I love living in a small town where we can really be part of the community and get involved. I do miss having access to regular theater and musical productions though.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
Usually on the couch with my laptop. I also like sitting on the bed to write, but I do actually have an office that I sometimes use when my mind doesn’t want to focus and I have to convince it that it really is time to get down to work. Most of the time I don’t listen to anything when I write, but if it gets too quiet sometimes I’ll turn the music on really low, or put on instrumental music so it won’t distract me from my work with lyrics. I do a lot of writing in the car when we travel, and even in the back of the ambulance when we’re returning from patient transfers to larger hospitals up north. As an EMT for my local ambulance service there are weeks when I get a lot of writing done this way.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I don’t watch very much TV, but I do really like “Psyche” and “Chuck.” My husband and I occasionally rent a movie or go to the theater, but that’s really rare—maybe four or five times a year. I would like to write a character as quirky as Shawn Spencer, though!

How has being published changed your life?
It’s made me busier! All of the sudden those deadlines in my head have purpose, and there are so many things that need to be done from blogging and signings and school visits and everything else that I’m doing for publicity. It’s fun to have people come over to me and ask about writing, especially people who have just started writing who are full of questions and excitement.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
I just finished my blog tour, but I have a few more signings and events coming up. You can check the Events page of my website and the top of my blog sidebar for specifics.

Thanks Kathi!

You're welcome. Here's the book trailer for Heather's book.


  1. Nice interview. Thanks for posting it. Heather's book is really good and it was fun learning more about her.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview! Thanks for stopping by.



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