In this podcast episode, Melissa reviews a bestselling contemporary romance novel from hybrid author, Heidi McLaughlin.
First, Lisa and I chatted about our week. Lisa has been dealing with some smoke issues in the Pacific Northwest due to the fires in California. I started teaching my new publishing course and couldn't be more excited about the students. They are AMAZING!
Next, I reviewed Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin. First I talked about Heidi, who I met at a conference last year. She’s a hybrid author and she’s straight hustle. Lisa asked what I meant by hustle. WELL, why not just give the Merriam-Webster definition! Here it is: to sell or promote energetically and aggressively, and that captures Heidi perfectly!
Here's Heidi's author bio from her website:
Heidi is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of The Beaumont Series, The Boys of Summer, and The Archers.Originally, from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband, two daughters, and their three dogs. In 2012, Heidi turned her passion for reading into a full-fledged literary career, writing over twenty novels, including the acclaimed Forever My Girl. When writing isn’t occupying her time, you can find her sitting courtside at either of her daughters’ basketball games.Heidi’s first novel, Forever My Girl, has been adapted into a motion picture with LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions, starring Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe, and opened in theaters on January 19, 2018.
Here's the description of Forever My Girl from the book description on Amazon:
I was never supposed to be a rock star. I had my life all planned out for me. Play football in college. Go to the NFL. Marry my high school sweetheart and live happily ever after.
I broke both our hearts that day when I told her I was leaving. I was young. I made the right decision for me, but the wrong decision for us. I’ve poured my soul into my music, but I’ve never forgotten her. Her smell, her smile.
And now I’m going back.
After ten years.
I hope I can explain that after all this time.
I still want her to be my forever girl.
Drum roll, please. Here's my review of Forever My Girl:
Forever My Girl is one of those novels that sticks with you long after you’ve finished it. The story is told from two perspectives, a favorite of mine. Liam is a rock star. Yep, a rock star. He’s made it his mission to live the bachelor lifestyle. All that changes when he’s drawn back to his hometown for a funeral and comes face to face with the girl whose heart he broke ten years earlier. Meanwhile, Josie’s made peace with her past. The boy she loved moved on and so has she. But, Liam’s back in town and he’s drawn to Josie once again.
There are plenty of twists in the story to keep you engaged including Josie’s ten-year-old son, who loves football just as much as Liam did. Hmm…yep. The relationship that Liam forms with Josie’s son is awesome. Liam and Josie’s relationship is also well done--there’s more of a mature slow-burn, which rings true.
With careful plotting and characters that come alive on the page, Forever My Girl is one of my favorite contemporary romances.
As far as a self-publishing perspective, I read the e-book version. The book is written in the first person, present tense from alternating viewpoints of Liam and Josie. Editing was good, formatting great. Heidi actually suggested Vellum software for interior formatting. Cover is the movie cover now. Here is a comparison of the original cover and the new cover:
I also had the opportunity to ask Heidi a couple of self-publishing questions. Here’s what she said:
What is your favorite part about self-publishing?
The control. You get to choose your own covers. You get to keep the content you want. You pick your own release dates.
Biggest headache about self-publishing?
Marketing. Getting the word out. Getting your books into stores. People taking your work seriously.
Do you have a small tip about self-publishing you’d like to share with our listeners?
Trust your gut. I didn’t this year and regret some decisions that were made on my behalf. Only you know what’s best for you, no one else.
You can find out more about Heidi here: heidimclaughlin.com
Time for Question from our listeners and the Tip of the Week!
Elizabeth R. wants to know: How do you, as a writer, embrace self-publishing and not cringe every time someone asks which agent/publisher picked you up?
That segways into Lisa's TIP OF THE WEEK: Confidence, Confidence, Confidence.
Lisa and I talked about our experiences with exploring the traditional route for our first books. I queried a few and Lisa didn't query at all! In the end, we both felt that indie was the way for us. Lisa and I talked about how to be a confident indie author. We also talked about rejection and how that is simply a part of being an author, whether it be a rejection from an agent/publisher or a negative review.
We ended the final episode with a preview of season 2 and some uplifting words for our listeners. We also reminded everyone that we’re an indie author community, be kind and review your fellow indie authors’ books!
Indie Chicks out.