|Welcome to My Fiction Nook, Heather Huffman! |
Heather Huffman writes romantic suspense with strong female leads who refuse to lose hope. Though her stories never shy from looking into the world’s darker corners, they don't dwell there. Heather shares with her resilient heroines a passion to make a real difference and so donates a portion of her book royalties to organizations that fight against human trafficking.Heather was born and spent her childhood in Florida but now calls the beautiful state of Missouri home. Her greatest joy, when not writing, is to hit the road with her three boys for adventures unknown. - Source: Goodreads Profile
I've been fangirling for quite some time over Heather's books, ever since I read her first book, Throwaway. When I initially picked it up at Barnes & Noble last year, I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the writing within. After finishing it (see my review), I immediately went and 'purchased' the remaining three books available (Jailbird, Suddenly A Spy, Ties That Bind), devouring them as well. Heather writes from the heart, and it shows. Her romances are well-researched, with snarky, believable dialogue, excellent plots and heroines that, despite having been beaten down, stand tall in the face of danger and adversity.
Each story stands on its own, but they all have one theme in common - the horrors of human trafficking. The United Nations recently listed an estimate: 2.4 Millions people world-wide are victims of human trafficking at any given time, with approx. 80% of them being exploited as sexual slaves. (Source: HumanTrafficking.org)
These are staggering numbers. If you think it doesn't happen here in the U.S., you'd be wrong. It is estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 people, primarily women and children, are trafficked to the U.S. annually. (Source: HumanTrafficking.org) And that's not counting the men, women and children who disappear each year from cities and towns all over the U.S.
Heather Huffman uses her writing to bring greater awareness to these horrific crimes, and I have nothing but admiration for her and a desire to help her with her cause. For more information on Human Trafficking and to join the fight, please visit the websites below or www.humantrafficking.org.
Without further ado, please help me welcome Heather Huffman.
MyFictionNook: What inspired you to write Jailbird?
Heather Huffman: It’s funny, how real a book can feel when you’re writing it and how hard it can be to remember what inspired it three years later. Most of my books start with a dream, and Jailbird was no different. I can vividly remember the dream I had – the one where I was breaking out of prison. I can still feel the beads of sweat that formed as I ran through the woods in my mind. I can easily recall the small town I found myself in – the cars on the street, the stores I passed. The moment I first saw Charlie Russell and spoke the first words of the entire dream are still fresh in my mind.
But how the rest of the story developed from that one dream, I really can’t say. I spent a lot of time thinking about Neena and why she was escaping from prison. I researched prisons and towns and everything else I could think of, but the individual pieces just sort of fell into place.
However they came to be, whenever I think of Jailbird’s characters, I still smile. Neena Allen’s world is one I enjoy; I’m always happy to revisit it. Even as I wrote the book, I knew the story wouldn’t be complete when I typed “the end.” Conrad was such an amazing guy, he deserved his own book. He finally got it with Devil in Disguise, which is due to be released this summer.
I was happy as a clam writing that novel because it meant I got to submerge myself in Neena’s world again, albeit this time from Rachel Cooper’s point of view (Which was an interesting shift in and of itself.)
One distinct difference between Jailbird and Devil in Disguise: With the latter, I know exactly how the pieces fell into place. After I began using my books as a way to raise awareness for human trafficking, I began hearing from readers who wanted to put me in touch with various organizations involved in the fight. One such organization was Project Liberty, and from my first meeting with them I knew I wanted to do anything I could to aid them in their cause: recovering our children from human traffickers.
As my bond with Project Liberty grew stronger, they began to share with me stories of various recoveries they’d worked on, in hopes of adding a sense of realism to the fiction stories I write. Many of the stories and situations in Devil in Disguise come from real cases that Project Liberty has worked on, though names and specific details have been changed to protect the real people behind the stories.
Another group I’ve only recently been introduced to is The Covering House. They are committed to helping fill in a very large gap in the fight against human trafficking – the appalling lack of shelters in which to house victims of trafficking after they’ve been rescued. As of the time I write this, there are only a handful of beds to house rescued victims, with tens of thousands of victims in the United States alone. While my relationship with The Covering House is a newer one, my conversations with them definitely had an impact on Devil in Disguise.
I’m grateful to organizations like Project Liberty and The Covering House; their willingness to talk to me, to help me understand this ever-evolving issue, has breathed life into my books that they never could have had from Internet research alone. That life will, hopefully, continue to raise awareness of human trafficking and how we can all join the fight in one way or another.
I am also grateful to these organizations for what they do. Their work is more than tiring. The fight they’ve taken on is a dirty one, and they know they won’t come out unscathed, yet they picked up the mantle anyway. I admire the people behind these groups, and I’m forever thankful to know them.
MyFictionNook: Heather, thank you so much for stopping by the blog today, and for raising awareness about Human Trafficking. I look forward to reading your new book as soon as it's available!
Project Liberty: http://www.project-
Covering House: http://
Please consider making a donation to the charities above.
And now for the give-away!!!
Have you read Heather's book(s)? Are you planning to? Are you involved with any of these charities, or do you know anyone affected by human trafficking?
Leave a signed comment on this blogpost and be automatically entered in the give-away. The contest will run until Sunday, May 28, 2012.
All entries will be fed into the Random machine and three lucky winners will be chosen to receive a copy of Jailbird (Kindle or Ebook).
Please do not leave your email address in the comment. As long as you're signed in when you comment, I should be able to contact you.
Thank you for stopping by!
My thanks to Heather Huffman and her agent, Adam Bodendieck, for supplying the information and materials for the giveaway.