This very special feature is my small way of bringing some of my favorite authors closer to you, my dear readers, and my way of giving them a virtual high-five for all of their amazing talent and swagger! Each installment will feature a short interview of five questions so we can learn even more about them and fangirl just a little bit more! Today’s special guest author is one of my all-time favorites…
It’s been a LONG time since I’ve brought you a new installment of my High Five feature! In fact, it’s been over a year and I’m so sad I let it fall to the wayside, because it’s one of my very favorite features. There’s nothing I love more than getting to know my favorite authors better and this feature is a great way to do that. Today, I’m welcoming Heather Demetrios back to the blog for her second High Five appearance (check out her first) and this time she’s talking all about her latest book, Bad Romance. This book is heart-breaking AND inspiring novel that is an absolute must read! that is getting 4+ star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Here’s a short snippet from my very own review…
What Heather Demetrios has done with this novel, is shed a light on a very real and a very dangerous experience for so many people, including teens. Abuse, whether it be physical, sexual, mental or verbal, has touched so many lives and this is the kind of book that so many readers need in their life.
ORDER HERE: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / IndieBound
An INterview with Heather Demetrios
Sarah: Bad Romance is, in part, inspired by your own experiences being in an abusive relationship as a teen. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like for you to write such a personal story? Did you find the book easier or more difficult to write because of how intimately you were tied to the subject.
HEATHER: I had a lot of concerns going into this book. I wasn’t worried about telling a personal story – I’m pretty big on owning your story – but the telling of it involved having to relive what was, hands down, the worst part of my life. Not just because of my bad romance, but because of my home life. Though a lot of what actually happened – specific details, etc. – have been altered for the novel, the inspiration came from that time and the feeling of Grace dealing with all of this was how I felt too. So it was really hard. I had to re-read all my journals from that time and that was kind of a mindfuck. I think it was easier in some ways to tell the story because I already knew my proto inside and out. I’ve never written someone who is pretty much me (except Grace is cooler and prettier and gutsier). And I had so much of the plot or at least the emotional arc of the book before I even wrote it. But it was actually pretty tough to let it become Grace’s story instead of mine. Sometimes I realized I was holding onto stuff that wasn’t working because I couldn’t imagine it playing out a different way.
What do you want readers to take away from this book? Are there resources that you suggest someone turn to for support if they find themselves in a dangerous situation?I have a TON of resources, and you can find them all on the Bad Romance site. There are quizzes you can take to see if you’re in a healthy relationship, lots of inspiration (including a kickass breakup playlist), places to get help…There’s also a discussion and study guide for book clubs and teacher-types. Also, please, please don’t hesitate to email me. It might take me a while to get back to you, but if you need help and have no one to talk to, don’t be shy.I wrote this book because I want to help girls and women who are in bad romances. And boys too! I know boys deal with abuse and it’s sometimes even harder for them because it’s not “manly” or whatever. I want readers to know that they have to choose themselves. Not the boy (or girl). Not their parents. Not even their friends. Choose you. The rest will fall into place. I want readers who are or who have been in bad romances to know they’re not alone. And I want friends to have a better understanding of why their girl in a bad romance won’t leave. I think a lot of people believe that girls in abusive relationships should just get out, but I’m hoping I showed all the things that make it seem so impossible to leave.
The way you balance the dark and the light moments in Bad Romance is so emotional and effective. Was that intentional on your part as the author?
Oh, yes. I mean, I’m not gonna lie: this is a hard read. It was a hard write. But I also really did laugh a lot and do crazy fun stuff with my friends and be the biggest drama nerd you can imagine during that awful time. My friends and the drama program – and my dreams – got me through. So it was important to show that. But, also, I’m not in the business of making people miserable. I mean, who wants to pick up a book that is all one big bummer? Not me.
What are some habits of your writing process? Do you have any fun or crazy writing quirks you’d like to share with my readers?
Well, I’ll share a new crazy thing. Super new. So, I went to this class in the beginning of the summer about reading tarot for creativity and, though I’d bought cards the year before, I never used them because I was too intimidated. Now I’m obsessed! The tarot is such an amazing space to figure your shit out. I’m not even talking magic or whatever, I’m just saying as a tool to let you process things, it’s awesome because it uses these Jungian archetypes that are so great for psychology / writing purposes. And so my teacher gave us these spreads to help us with our work and it’s amazing how pulling cards for my book gets me realizing things about it that I don’t know I would have figured out so quickly. It’s all very new, but it’s been fun. Before that, though, I mostly was just a work horse. I do make sure to have playlists and mood boards (both in my physical office and on Pinterest). And now I have crystals on my desk because why the hell not? I’ll take help from anywhere.
I love to ask authors to share fun, little known facts about themselves. What are some tidbits of information that you think your readers would love to know about you?
Hmmmm….I meditate every day and am actually getting certified to be a teacher, so yay! I like to help my clients with meditation advice (‘m a writing coach when I’m not writing). And…I got struck by lightning in the womb (!) and a few years ago I decided I had to get a lightning bolt tattoo because, you know, LIGHTNING, but also Harry Potter and Patti Smith (she has one too and I adore her). It was…ill-advised. It’s the only tattoo where I’ve thought maybe I should get it covered up somehow. Sadness! I do have a tattoo obsession. I got one last summer of an ouroboros and have plans for more soon…And I’m a pretty big traveler. I went to Prague and Iceland recently and both were marvelous. I have all kinds of future travel plans, but I’m kind of waiting to see what makes the most sense next. Greece, Scotland, South Africa….*runs to buy lottery tickets*
Heather, Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in writing BAD ROMANCE. Your compassion, Honesty and Bravery are inspiring and I’m so thankful you brought this book to life.
Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.
Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.
Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.