Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Interview with debut romance author Heidi Loeb Hegerich

Today’s special guest is debut romance author Heidi Loeb Hegerich to chat with me about Love Target.

During her virtual book tour, Heidi will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Heidi Loeb Hegerich, a native of Munich, Germany, has lived in places as varied as Las Vegas, Miami Beach, New York, Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe and Reno. She has worked variously as a showgirl, business executive, entrepreneur, interior designer and real estate developer. She has traveled to six of the seven continents, and vacationed in spots as different as the French Riviera, the Andes and Afghanistan. She counts among her hobbies weight training, shooting assault rifles, and racing sand rails; she found skydiving entertaining but not as much of a rush as other pursuits.

A philanthropist for the arts, among other causes, Hegerich is now embarking on her own artistic quest as an author. The novel Love Target is her first book.

Welcome, Heidi. Please tell us about your debut release.
Love Target
is a memoir novel, partially based on my experiences as an underage showgirl in the early 1960s in Las Vegas, and subsequent adventures and misadventures in life and love in New York and Los Angeles during the swinging 1960s and into the ‘70s. The protagonist, Ingrid Liebschreiber, has run away from home and must grow up quickly on her own — pursued as a “love target” by endless men (from Elvis Presley to other rich or famous or powerful suitors, including mobsters and politicians) and learning to stand on her own two feet. She has her own “love target” — finding a partner with whom to live happily ever after. Love Target is partly a historical novel (Ingrid’s life intersecting with key figures and events in that era), and largely a romance novel, or “chick lit.”

What inspired you to write this book?
From the time I was in mid-20s, people told me: “You need to write a book about your life!” I finally succumbed.

Excerpt from Love Target:
[From Chapter 4. The setting is Las Vegas in 1961]

Elvis sat up. He was excited.

“Y’know, Rascal, I want to do a serious movie, something classic. Something they’re gonna remember me by. Now, the movies I make are all the same. They’re travelogues. Y’know, I’m in Hawaii, I sing to girls and I fight guys. And then I go somewhere else, and I sing to girls and I fight guys. If they put me in a movie on Mars, I’ll be singing to Martian girls who got those antennas, and I’ll be fighting Martian guys with two heads. Y’know, I’d like to do some serious drama roles. I’m tired of the musicals. But my next one is gonna have me as a boxer, and they got some old boxer named Mushy who’s gonna learn me how to box.”

“Muschi? That’s my best friend’s name!”

“Well, this Mushy has a nose like this.” Elvis flattened his nose with a finger. “Does your friend look like that?”

I laughed. “Of course she does not! My friend, she is very pretty. But the movies you are in, they cannot be too bad a thing for you to do. They make you all this money, yes?”

Money, Rascal. That’s all I got is money! I buy whatever I want, and then there’s always something else to buy. The money keeps coming and coming. It’s crazy! It don’t make no sense. I can buy anything I want. But it’s a lot more fun giving what you buy to people, see their eyes light up like Christmas. That’s really all that money means anymore.”

I laughed. I had too much money to spend, too. It just kept coming to me here in Vegas. Men were practically throwing it at me. Elvis and I shared the same secret: Money was a joke. It was horrible to be without it, but once it started coming and coming, in crazy amounts, it became absurd.

All around us, people were slaving for money, gambling for money, growing old for money. And here we were: Elvis the singer and Ingrid the skater, like kids in a candy store with our pockets stuffed with money — more than we could count, more than we bothered to count. Men pursued me and lavished me with jewelry, and bought me whatever I wanted. And when I’d been Major Riddle’s gambling companion when I was a showgirl at the Dunes, I’d made out like a bandit.

We were a couple of spoiled brats, Elvis and I. And because our good luck mystified us, we mocked it.

We lay back on the bed and sighed.

“The hell with money,” Elvis sneered.

“The hell with money!” I scoffed.

We burst out giggling like children.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on the sequel to Love Target. It’s an even crazier story.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After the manuscript for Love Target finally was finished – after endless revisions – I decided I technically qualify as a “writer.” It struck me that what separates a “writer” from someone who merely writes something now and then, and aspires to write something permanent such as a book, is the commitment to a) embark on the writing project; b) rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite some more . . . until the project finally is polished and finished. The gulf between “writer” and “aspiring writer” is wider than an ocean.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am not a full-time writer. That is, when I’m not writing a book! But even then, I take periods of a week or a month off for traveling or to attend to my various business endeavors.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have a mind for minute details – delving deeply into my memory banks to dredge up recollections from decades ago, so I can recompose scenes and dialogue and characters. However, this is taxing work! I am always mentally drained after conjuring up people, places and events from the past.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a missionary in China! I’d read books by Albert Schweitzer. I also was raised very strictly and conservatively, and expected to become a devoted wife and mother.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
The two reactions I’ve gotten over and over from readers of my book are a statement and a question: 1) The book was a fast, fun read; 2) Is it all true? My responses: 1) Thank you! I’m glad the book kept you engaged and gave you enjoyment; 2) It’s mostly true. I did employ poetic license to construct scenes, and I did change some details and names to protect the innocent (and the guilty!). I also chopped out a number of chapters to maintain the narrative pace — and also (again) to protect the innocent (and the guilty!).



Nikolina said...

Enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mai T. said...

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed the interview!

MomJane said...

I really enjoyed your comments and I loved the excerpt.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Lisa, for featuring Heidi Loeb Hegerich and her novel, "LOVE TARGET," on your blog! Great author's interview, too!

Unknown said...

Oh, in response to Mai T., Heidi (a friend of mine; I helped her edit her book) composes on a computer.

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the interview and excerpt.

Berkeley Hapa said...

Enjoyed the interview and excerpt, sounds like the author had a fascinating life!