Thursday, January 20, 2011

Author Interview: Gwendolyn Heasley

Here today is Gwendolyn Heasley, author of a cute romance that's set in Texas: Where I Belong. This is a great countrified take on a riches to rags kind of story, with a pretty darn cute cowboy to boot.

What would be the hardest part for you if you were to find yourself moved from the city life to the Texas country

Actually, I have already done my own city to country experience. I attended graduate school in a small, remote town in Missouri. The nearest airport was two hours away. I experienced a bit of culture shock and definitely felt like a fish out of water since I didn't know anyone. I also attended college in the South after growing up in the Midwest! I actually enjoy new experiences and places even if they feel awkward at first.

To answer your question more precisely, the hardest part of moving to Texas for me would be the summer heat and remembering how to drive! (I live in NYC and I haven’t driven in over six months!)

What was your favorite aspect of writing the Texas setting?

I loved Texan language and phrases! I also loved Texan culture. I love its devotion to football and its emphasis on state history. Most of all, I like the pride that Texans have. My Texan friends truly love Texas, and it's infectious. I think everyone (no matter where they live) should try to find pride in where they come from.

If you could pair Corrinne, Rider and Bubby with any character from any book, what would be your pick for each?

I would pair Corrinne with Liz Hall, the main character from Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. I am going to teach Elsewhere this Winter, so I have spent a lot of time thinking about it recently. Even though Elsewhere is a very different novel, I think both Liz and Corrinne learn to change and adapt to lives they didn't expect to lead. (In Liz’s case, however, she learns to adapt to the afterlife!)

I would pair Rider with Edward Cullen from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight! Rider thinks he should be evasive and arrogant because he's a singer and that's the rock star stereotype whereas Edward takes the vampire stereotype and subverts it. He's not scary, and he's not cruel. I think Rider could learn something about breaking molds from Edward.

I would pair Bubby with Jake Barnes from The Sun Also Rises. I think the two of them could relate what it's like to be in like (or love) with a girl who is popular, difficult and slightly unattainable.

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

I don't know how to cook. At all. I only bake, toast, and microwave. Resolution 2011: learn to cook. And I am tone deaf.

What kind of cake/confection would you describe yourself as?

Reese's peanut butter cups. They are both sweet and a tiny bit salty. Plus they are just delicious.

Thank you, Gwen, and as someone who's lived in Texas almost my whole life, I do have to say, it's pretty much the best state. I can't even imagine an emphasis that isn't on football... high school would have been so different. Make sure you guys watch out for this book, coming February 1!

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