Lisa Heidke lives in Sydney, Australia, and was a feature writer on several national magazines including Practical Parenting and Bride To Be, before leaving to pursue novel writing full-time. Lucy Springer Gets Even (Allen & Unwin, 2009) is her first book and was quickly followed by What Kate Did Next (2010). Her third novel, tentatively titled Claudia Changes Course, will be published early 2011.
Follow Lisa on Twitter @lisaheidke and visit her website and blog at www.lisaheidke.com Lisa’s books can be purchased at www.allenandunwin.com and www.amazon.com
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Lisa. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Lucy Springer Gets Even?
A: I started writing professionally in the mid-1990s when I worked for a national parenting magazine in Australia. In 2000, after the birth of my third child, I decided it was now or never, and began writing manuscripts.
With Lucy Springer Gets Even, I wanted to write a light hearted story in diary form about a woman whose husband leaves her on day one. I thought it would be interesting to look at a woman in her mid-thirties with a couple of kids who thinks her life is moving along happily, and rip it to shreds – to plot her journey from the depths of despair and bewilderment on day one, to her getting her life together by day sixty-five.
After charting the story, I realised I was missing a few crucial elements. Lucy needed a career and I’m fascinated by the reality TV phenomenon so I decided to make her an actress; I was going through a renovation at the time so thought that would add realistic mayhem; and as for Lucy’s epiphany, I happened to be in Bali during the 2005 terrorist attacks, and incorporated that into Lucy’s life.
Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?
A: Thank-you! It’s a snappy title and I think it indicates that Lucy’s not going put up with any nonsense. Initially, she’s devastated when her comfortable life falls apart, but with the help of friends, family and a lot of determination, she finds her inner strength and sets out to live the best life she can.
Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?
A: Because it’s humorous, edgy and relevant. In particular, I thought the Bali terrorist attacks added a great deal of realism. Having said that, Lucy Springer Gets Even is a light read, albeit with dark edges.
Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, Allen & Unwin, Australia, have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?
A: Hmm, there is a story to this. As Lucy Springer Gets Even was my first book, I didn’t have control over the book cover. I must admit that when A & U showed me the final cover proof, I was shocked. However, when the book was published and on shelf in bookshops, there was definitely no mistaking Lucy’s bright pink cover. It stands out very well!
However, I much prefer the cover of What Kate did Next, which was released in Australia in January, 2010. Interestingly, Allen & Unwin are re-releasing Lucy Springer Gets Even in Australia this coming December with a jacket cover similar to Kate’s.
Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?
A: Apart from the initial promotion by Allen & Unwin when the book first came out, I have been promoting Lucy Springer Gets Even as best I can. Lucy has been reviewed in the national press in Australia and New Zealand. The book has also featured in Australasian magazines. It has appeared in a lot of online zines and book websites and I have spoken at several Australian writers’ festivals. I am also on Facebook and Twitter and use those social networking sites to promote my books where appropriate.
Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?
A: It’s similar to other contemporary women’s fiction books in that it’s written in first person and told with a light, humorous voice. I think Lucy Springer Gets Even is a book that women of any age will relate to especially when they read about the mayhem created by Lucy’s builders, her children, her mother, and soon to be ex-husband. I could compare it to Marian Keyes and Sophie Kinsella’s books in style but every book has its’ unique core.
Lucy Springer Gets Even is special because it’s a snapshot of suburban life with a twist. One point of differentiation is that I’ve never read anything about the Bali terrorist attacks in a fiction book before, so I think that makes Lucy Springer Gets Even unique.
Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?
A: It is a scene where Lucy receives a postcard from her husband Max, addressed to their children. On the card, he tells the kids he’s surfing in Bali and misses them. Lucy is furious and fumes that if Max is missing them so much, then why isn’t he at home with them, taking them to soccer practice and helping out with homework. Then Lucy’s bravado cracks and she gets very upset and starts asking herself questions such as why did he leave and when will he be back?
Q: Do you plan subsequent books?
A: My second book, What Kate did Next, has just been released in Australia. It’s about Kate Cavendish, a married mother of two, who rediscovers her passion for life amidst dealing with a distant husband, a rebellious thirteen-year-old daughter, a heavily pregnant and neurotic sister, and parents who reunite after twenty years apart. Kate has a lot to deal with and her life quickly spirals out of control.
I wanted to create a snap shot of typical suburban life where the mother’s career has been sidelined in favour of keeping house and raising a family. Then ask the question: What happens when she wakes up one morning to discover that the dreams she had for herself at twenty, aren’t any closer to becoming a reality at the age of thirty-six?
Right now, I’m working on a novel about three girlfriends all at a crossroads in their lives, who take off to Santorini for a two week holiday. Those fourteen days are going to dramatically change their lives. I’m having a lot of fun writing this story, tentatively titled Claudia Changes Course.
Q: Thank you for your interview, Lisa. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
A: You can follow me on Twitter @lisaheidke and visit my website and blog at www.lisaheidke.com
My books can be purchased at www.allenandunwin.com and www.amazon.com