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Monday, June 11, 2012

Interview with Heather Lin, author of Westridge!

Heather Lin is author of Westridge.

Holly: Hello Heather and thank you for visiting Full Moon Bites today! :) Do you remember when and how you started writing?

Heather Lin: Vaguely. I was really young, somewhere around 5 or 6, I think, and I wrote and illustrated a book called My New Bike, which was about—You guessed it!—my new bike. :) My mother always read to me before bed and was really supportive of my creativity, so I always had stories in my head. I just finally decided to write one of my own, and after that there was no stopping me.

Holly: What do your family/friends think of your writing?

Heather Lin: My friends and family are amazing. Sometimes they have more confidence in my abilities than I do! My husband always gives me a confidence boost when I’m struggling, and my mom is great to bounce ideas off of. I will never submit a story unless she’s read through it first. My father and brother are really supportive, but I think they just pretend I write nothing to do with sex. ;) And I can count on most of my friends and extended relatives to nab a copy of my book whenever I have something published.

Holly: Can you tell us a little about your novel, Westridge?

Heather Lin: Sure! Westridge is a sweet (and at many times, bittersweet) story about two childhood sweethearts who are reunited after five years of separation. Gabby and Jason grew up together in a small town, their families were close, and they were an item until the day of their high school graduation, when Gabby left Westridge for the city without giving Jason much of an explanation. A funeral forces them together again, and their attraction to one another is still undeniable.

But things have changed. Jason has an ex-wife and a daughter, Gabby has her life in the city, and she’s still never told him the real reason she left. Westridge tells the story of their reconciliation, but will it last long once her secret is revealed?

Holly: What was the idea or inspiration behind this novel?

Heather Lin: I thought of Westridge while I was listening to Taylor Swift’s Mary’s Song, which tells the story of a girl and boy who grow up together, fall in love, marry, and grow old together. It was so sweet it brought me to tears, partially because I was in college at the time and terribly homesick. I took that idea, plenty of inspiration from my own family dynamics, and a little bit of invented drama, and Westridge was born. The novella is dedicated to my late Aunt Helen, who fully inspired the spitfire diner owner Mrs. Grayson.

Holly: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 
Heather Lin: I absolutely cannot write when I’m in a bad mood, whether I’m writing a happy scene or sad one. And I can’t write in public. I’ve tried once or twice, but I’m always looking over my shoulder, worried that someone might read a sentence before it’s fully edited. It’s usually not worth the paranoia.

Holly: How long did it take you to write Westridge, start to finish?

Heather Lin: I think it only took me 5 or 6 months to write. Usually, for anything over 10,000 words, I get distracted and come back to it and leave it again several times before I finally finish it. But I really stayed focused with this one.

Holly: Has any new author(s) sparked your interest if so, who?  

Heather Lin: I’m so behind the times! This author is only new to me, I’m sure, but I’ve recently discovered Suzanne Collins. I’m about to start the second book in The Hunger Games series, and I haven’t found someone with such great character, world, and story development since JK Rowling.

Holly: Are you working on anything at the moment, maybe something to be published this year?

Heather Lin: Absolutely! I’m so excited that The System, a futuristic romance I’ve been working on for something like five years, is going to be released by Silver Publishing in August. Here’s a short blurb:

Brody is a hardened mercenary, and Capri is a prostitute that gets too close too quickly. Despite their turbulent feelings towards one another, Fate will throw them together and reveal a secret no one in the System could have expected.

Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

Heather Lin: A big thank you! Thank you for reading this interview, and thank you for reading Westridge. Without readers there could be no writers!

Holly: Do you have an overall 2012 writing goal?

Heather Lin: It’s been the same for the past three years: to hook a big-name agent! :)

Title: Westridge
Author: Heather Lin
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Length: 178 pages
Genres: Contemporary Romance


Gabby Jones and Jason Dawson were born only months apart in the small, country town of Westridge. For the next eighteen years, they were inseparable, but after their high school graduation, Gabby got on a bus to the city, leaving Jason with a weak explanation and a broken heart. After five years of making it a point to avoid her old flame, Gabby comes home for a funeral and, thanks to meddling parents and circumstance, she and Jason are thrown together again.

But now Jason is an auto mechanic with an ex-wife and a daughter, and Gabby owns a successful flower shop in the city. Even if Gabby is able to admit she still loves Jason, and even if Jason is able to convince her to tell him the real reason she left, will they be able to get past the changes and broken pieces in time to start over?


"What do you mean you can't pick me up?" Gabby Jones asked in disbelief, trying to balanceher purse, suitcase, ticket, and cell phone as she boarded the bus.

"I'll send someone to get you. I'm busy helping with the funeral arrangements," her mother replied.

"What about Dad?"

"He's busy, too. We'll send someone."

"Mom," she said unhappily. "I know who you're gonna send. You can't."

"Oh, you're gonna have to see him at the funeral, anyway. And just because you disowned all of your friends when you moved away doesn't mean I have to."

Gabby had left the small town of Westridge five years ago. In Westridge, the nearest mall was forty-five minutes away, and "got stuck behind a plow" was the most common excuse for tardiness. The kids hung out at Walmart or the diner during their downtime and talked about how they couldn't wait to get away from the stupid small town where everyone knew everyone else's business. They didn't want to be stuck in the same routine, seeing the same people their whole lives, and Gabby had felt the same way -- trapped, bored, insignificant. At least, that's what she'd told Jason two days before getting on a bus to the city and not looking back.

Ever since, she'd made a point of avoiding her old friends whenever she returned to visit her parents. Of course, her mother always updated her on Jason whether Gabby wanted to hear it or not. Mrs Jones had complained about the girl Jason dated after Gabby, discounted their quick marriage, gushed over their new baby, and gloated when they got divorced just a year after her birth. It had hurt Gabby to hear the news, but there was no way she'd ever admit it to her mother. Gabby tolerated her mother's gossip and was grateful she'd managed to avoid her high school sweetheart in person, if not in conversation. But this visit would be different.

Her parents and Jason's had been best friends since high school, and none of them made a secret of wishing Gabby and Jason would get back together. Sending him to pick her up today was a perfect setup. For them. Gabby rolled her hazel eyes in annoyance, even though her mother couldn't see.

"I didn't disown anyone," she said. “I just went on to bigger and better things. People drift apart. It happens."

She found her seat and threw her bags onto the rack above it. Her neighbors didn't look particularly happy about the twenty-three year old talking away on her cell phone, but she ignored them.

"Bullshit," Mrs Jones admonished. Only her mother could make cussing sound like a gentle, motherly act. "You loved it here. You were perfectly happy until--"

"Mom!" Gabby interrupted, not wanting to hear what her mother would say next.

She'd become a master of denial over the years and couldn't handle anyone breaking through the fog of her self-induced memory loss. Her mother sighed. It was a heavy sound, and Gabby didn't like it. It made her seem old.

"You're right. It's fine," Gabby's voice softened. "I'll have to see him soon, anyway."

"It'll be okay, baby. I love you. I have to go now."

"Love you, too, Mom."

She snapped the phone shut and leaned her head back against the seat, closing her eyes to fend off a tension headache. But all she could see was an eighteen year old Jason: blue eyes full of disbelief, face pale, fists balled.

* * * *

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Jason demanded, slamming the door to his truck shut.

"I'm leaving."

Gabby had to work hard to keep her chin raised and her lips from trembling.

"Just like that? And all I get is a note in my locker on the last day of school?"

He threw a crumpled piece of paper at her feet. Her parents had dropped her off at the bus stop, but they were long gone. If that goodbye had been painful, this one would be excruciating -- which was exactly why she'd tried to avoid it.

"I told you in the note--"

"And now you can tell me to my face."

He was making a scene. Gabby was embarrassed, and the tears she'd tried desperately to keep at bay burned in her eyes.

"There isn't anything to do in this town. I just need to see what else is out there."

"This is bullshit, Gabby. A few months ago, we were talking about getting married."

Her voice rose as she lied desperately through her teeth, trying to keep control.

"Well, I changed my mind."

The bus pulled up, and Jason's anger turned to pleading.

"Don't, Gabby. If you need some time away from this place, I'll go with you."

"You belong here, Jason."

"I belong with you."

"Not anymore."

Then she turned and boarded the bus, ignoring the stares. She managed to hold the tears back until he was out of sight.

* * * *

The pain of the memory was scorching, surprising Gabby with its intensity. She opened her eyes. She had to get a hold of herself. She looked past the old man reading a magazine, her gaze falling on the houses outside. They were reaching the suburbs, but her destination lay far beyond that. Gabby groaned and firmly pushed the last image she had of her high school sweetheart out of her mind. The next few days were going to be hell.

Available at:

Heather lives in Delaware with her loving husband and loyal cat. She began writing erotic and slightly less-erotic romance in 2008 and hasn't been able to keep her mind out of the gutter since. Her next novel, a futuristic romance called The System, is due out in August from Silver Publishing. Until then, feel free to check out her short stories, which can be found at, in the Coming Together anthologies, and through New Concepts Publishing. Visit Heather at

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