Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Ball's in Her Court by Heather Justesen

I just finished reading The Ball’s in Her Court by author, Heather Justesen.
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.; 1st edition (October 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599552345
ISBN-13: 978-1599552347
I have to tell you, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the hero and the storyline but there were times I just wanted to slap the heroine! (So, I guess that means I liked the book!) But then again, I love heroes who fight for the girl no matter what gets in their way!

This book is about Denise DeWalt, who was in foster care growing up and ultimately was adopted by a wonderful LDS family. Haunted by memories, she delves into her past in search of answers about her biological family. Unable to believe that she is worthy of love, she is constantly pushing away her roommate’s cousin, and her boss, Rich. Still, the attraction is undeniable and Rich is the only one who seems to be able to look beyond her past. Denise must learn to trust and allow people to love her so that she can heal her heart and have a chance at a normal life.

I also had the chance to interview Heather.

Thanks for joining us today, Heather.
Thanks for having, me Rachel.

Tell us a little about yourself? What makes you tick?
I tend to be eclectic in my interests. I work part time in my parents' store, run as an EMT-I with the local volunteer ambulance, I love to decorate cakes and cookies. I have lots of animals from cats and dogs and fish in the house to chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys and guineas out back. I enjoy gardening and have dabbled in quilt making, scrapbooking, and other crafts. I really, really love to read, which I don't get nearly as much time to do as I'd like with my current writing goals and deadlines, but I still sneak some in here and there. Okay, I don't get nearly as much time as I'd like with any of my hobbies now that I'm writing more, but it's well worth it as I love creating stories.

What drives you crazy?

All of the hundred little interruptions that keep me from my writing and other projects. Also, chocolate cupcakes. Why did I make them when I knew they would sit there on the counter taunting me? I really should have taken them to a neighbor yesterday to get the extras out of the house, but did I? No.

You mentioned your foster kids in the dedication of The Ball’s in Her Court. How did you decide you wanted to be a foster parent?

Bill and I discussed adoption before we were every married, so when we had trouble conceiving, we decided to try foster-adopt. We had 15 kids placed with us over a two-year period and nearly all of them ended up back at home again. With subsequent moves and job issues we've never gotten back to fostering again, but it was a great experience despite the challenges.

Tell us a little of being a foster parent.

We actually covered a wide range of situations. We had two toddler brothers placed with us, and later we had five siblings aged 11-17 live with us. We had other groups, singles and age ranges in between, with a variety of situations so I was always on the go. Though it was a struggle, it was also a joy most of the time to work with the kids. I've loved getting back in touch with several of them after I found them on Facebook.

Obviously as a foster parent you are drawn to your foster kids’ stories, backgrounds, and their successes. Was there a certain foster child who inspired The Ball’s in Her Court?

Actually, I started the story before we began fostering. I spent hundreds of hours learning about adoption and reunion on the internet while we were taking the foster classes and through the time that we had children living with us. Though their situations influenced the end results of the book, I can't say any of their situations were really in any way like Denise's in the book.

Why did you decide to write this book?

I was fascinated with the idea of an adoptee finding her family again and how the relationship dynamics work. For me relationships between people of any combination (siblings, parent/child, coworker, romantic relationships) are what make a book enjoyable, even if there's a lot of action and other great things going on in the story. And Denise called to me. I couldn't let her down. =)

What strange quirks do you have? Any fetishes?

You mean besides the dozens of birds running around the pasture out back? Or the obsession with cake decorating (I'm just starting, but having a blast with it). There's the fact that I'm addicted to hatching chicks. I only stopped for a couple of months last winter before I fired up the incubator again. I still have it running, actually. Though when this last group come out next week I'll probably stop again until the first of the year.

What’s your favorite writing food?

Water. I'm not saying I never eat anything while I'm writing, but it's hard to keep both hands on the keyboard and focused on the story if there's something to snack on nearby. Like the chocolate covered pretzel balls sitting next to me right now. They're evil.

Can you tell us a little about what you’re working on right now?

Which one? =) I have an unrelated title I'm getting ready to submit soon, and I recently finished a solid draft for a fourth book--totally unrelated to anything else--that I'll be sending out for critiques from a few friends. And this month I've been doing a major tear apart and rewrite on a third book related to the one that was just released. Apparently I can't be happy working on just one thing at a time. That would promote sanity, after all.

I saw on your website that you have a new book under contract, Rebound. Can you tell us a little about it? When can we anticipate its release?

Rebound is slated for release next summer. It's a spinoff of The Ball's in Her Court as it follows the story of Denise's roommate, Lily (who was supposed to be the main character in The Ball's in Her Court, but Denise refused to allow it). In the opening scene Lily's husband is arrested or fraud and every asset with his name on it is frozen by the government. She has a toddler and another one on the way and has to start over. It's a fun romance with plenty of pitfalls along the journey.

Thanks for letting us get to know the author behind the story just a little bit better!

Thanks for the interview, Rachel!

And you can learn more about Heather on her website and her blog. You can also purchase The Ball’s in Her Court at Cedar Fort, Inc. and Amazon.com.


Valerie Ipson said...

Great review and interview, Rachel! (and Heather)

Anonymous said...

Rachel and Heather - great interview. I love hearing about my partners in the crime of stealing words from the head and inserting them into something readable.

Keep up the good work.

Barbara B

Danielle Thorne said...

Wonderful review and interesting interview about the always interesting Heather J. I look forward to reading the book.

Miss Mae said...

Know what's that like about the chocolates just daring you to leave them "unmolested" LOL...Gotta get my hands on chocolate...ALWAYS!!

Really nice interview, gals, and great subject to write about. :)

Rachel Rager said...

Thanks, ladies, for your comments! This was a fun book to read and Heather is just delightful!