Friday, July 9, 2010

Interview + Contest: Heidi Ayarbe

Heidi Ayarbe has been generous enough to stop by for both an interview and provide a giveaway for her first novel, Freeze Frame, and her most recent, gut wrenching but compelling read, Compromised. You can check out my review of Compromised here but I highly recommend this book. Check out contest details below the interview, centering around Compromised.

If faced with Maya's situation, do you think you'd take the route she did or try to stick it out in the system, hoping for the best?

I like security, knowing where things are going to be and how they're going to be done (like Maya). But so much so I think I'd have stuck it out in the system. I would've searched for Aunt Sarah from Foster Homes, making sure I had a cushion to fall back on.

What kind of research did you do to understand life on the streets and everything Maya and Nicole faced?

I have friends who work for CASA (The Court Appointed Special Advocate Association) and another who worked in a home much like Kids Place. They gave me lots of the logistical framework. Then I spent a lot of time on forums in which homeless kids and parents looking for their kids chat. I was not an active participant, as I think the forums are personal and deal with an incredibly private part of peoples' lives. And, unfortunately, in Colombia, we are surrounded by homelessness. A friend of mine works as a psychologist at a foundation for high risk children and adolescents and brings home horrifying stories. All of these resources helped me come up with a better understanding of homelessness and all that homelessness entails: exploitation, abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, hunger ... the list goes on and on.

Did you know the final outcome before you started writing or did it change as the story progressed?

I changed the ending about seven times which was way different from my first novel. I always knew how FREEZE FRAME could end. But with this story, I couldn't figure out how things would turn out, and I didn't want it to be contrived or forced. Many people ask me what happens to Cappy, and I say I know what I want to happen to her, but I'm not sure what I hope is what's realistic. That's why I made the ending the way I did -- so each reader could decide. That's what makes this kind of story hard to end, and write. Because to be true to the situation and characters, I had to do a very non-Nicholas Sparks deal.

Of the three main characters, which one was the most challenging to write?

Maya, actually. Her character is a lot more subtle than Nicole and Klon, and she could come off as pretentious and pretty icy at times, which I didn't want. I wanted her to be vulnerable and accessible, too, while creating a character who was determined not to compromise her set of rules. It was hard to keep her the most consistent.

What is the most private thing you're willing to share here?

Anything anybody will ever need to know about me are in the pages of my books. Writers leave soul imprints in their work, so if you've read my novel, I'm blushing! :-) You already know too much.

If you could step into someone else's shoes for a day, who's life would you like to experience?

Wow ... Anybody who doesn't wear high heels. OK. Let's get real here. I'm drawing a blank. I don't think I'd want anybody else's life ... not even for a day. But the great thing about being a writer is, in a way, we get to do that through characters we want to explore. So in a way, that's my job -- stepping into many others' shoes for as many pages I need to get the job done.

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

I'd LOVE to say double chocolate fudge with macadamia nut but, let's get real, that's what I'd love to eat. That's a DIVA cookie. I think I'm more of a peanut butter cookie -- reliable, yummy, a taste of home and nothing too exotic.

Thank you again for the interview, Heidi. To enter for your chance to win a signed copy of either Freeze Frame or Compromised, fill out this form.

There will be two winners- one for each book. US/Canada only. Contest ends August 1 at 6 CST.


  1. Wow! This is pretty cool. I'm your 1000th follower. :) Congratulations!

    Thanks for the interview- it was very informative, and foremost has piqued my interest towards Heidi Ayarbe and her books. They sound amazing.

    Also, thanks for the fabulous giveaway!


  2. Thanks for the interview. Compromised sounds like one of those books that it going to be tough to read in an emotional sense. These books are important, though, for teachers like me because they allow us to see what teens could be dealing with. Thanks for writing a realistic read that tackles such an important subject matter!

  3. Great interview. Loved your questions especially the one where you asked about most private moment and her response about writers leaving soul imprints in their works. Very cool. Going to check out your review since these are both new titles for me. Thanks

  4. Wonderful interview! The cookie part makes me hungry! Would love to read those books.


  5. Thanks for the interview. I've had Compromised on my TBR list for a while now. I haven't heard of Freeze Frame, but I will have to check it out.

  6. I filled out the form, Compromised sounds really goodl.

  7. Compromised sounds so, so good!
    And I love that you say 'writers leave soul imprints in their work''s vehemently denied at times, but it's also very true.

    I wish this was international. I'd really like to read this.

  8. Great interview. I've never heard of either of her books but Compromised sounds really good and something I think I'd enjoy. I agree as a writer we're always able to step into a new life so to say :)

  9. I always love your cookie question because every author gives a humerous and honest answer-Heidi's reply is perfect :)

    As always, love the interview and MUCHAS GRACIAS for the contest.

  10. Good interview. Today I am going to spend time thinking about what kind of cookie and candy I am :)