1. Tell us about your newest release.
Intoxicating was loosely inspired by the TV show Uncorked in which wine stewards struggle to jump through the many hoops required to become certified sommeliers. It's hard! For a while, studying and practicing wine service becomes your life, just as I imagine studying for the real "bar" would. Your loved ones either support you or fall away. And that's Poppy and Heath's dilemma. Since Poppy's dyslexic, the only way Poppy can pass is if Heath tutors her, as he's done all through school. In return, social butterfly Poppy has smoothed the way socially for introverted Heath. Yet if he succeeds Poppy will accept a job far away from their hometown.
2. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
Traditionally, wine stewards were men. Women sommeliers are currently the It girls. I tried to capture this fleeting moment in which having a woman sommelier gives an eating/drinking establishment a bit of prestige.
3. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
I think I knew how to read when I left the womb, because I don't ever remember learning to read, I just started reading. My dad was a military officer. We moved every three years. Whenever I was lonely, there were always books. Right now I'm rereading National Velvet by Enid Bagnold, and it's such a pleasure. I first read it around age eleven when I lived in England and was horse-mad, just like the heroine.
4. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I started my career as a visual artist. I've been contracted for two books a year since 2013, so I haven't had the luxury of being able to devote lots of time to painting. I also studied costume design extensively. In an ideal world, I'd love to design and make all my clothes and write!
5. Can you tell us about what’s coming up in the next year for you writing wise?
I came onboard Kensington with the start of Lyrical Press, their digital line. Five books later, Lyrical is starting a mass market imprint, and thanks to my following I've been invited to write for that. So it's full speed ahead.
6. How can readers connect with you online?
Things are moving fast, so the best thing to do is sign up for my newsletter at tinyletter.com/HeatherHeyford. Look for my website, HeatherHeyford.com to have a bright shiny new appearance starting this summer. The social media platforms I feel most at home on are Facebook, followed by Pinterest and Instagram because they're so visual.
BLURB for Intoxicating:
Their senior class voted Poppy The Girl Most Likely to Never Graduate from her Waitress Job at her hometown café, and nerdy, science prodigy Heath The Most Likely to Blow Something Up.
Fast-forward ten years. Grown-up Heath has parlayed his genius for chemistry into a wildly successful microbrewery. And—just when their childhood friendship is finally maturing into something beyond sharing platefuls of French fries—Poppy has been offered a position as a lady sommelier at a high-end restaurant in the city.
But there's a catch. Poppy has a secret that could keep her from landing her dream job. A secret the still-shy Heath promises to help her overcome, even at the risk of losing her forever . . .
“We’ll stay in touch,” said Heath, though deep down he knew they would drift apart. It was inevitable.
“Of course we will," said Poppy. "I’ll call you—”
There was a pause while they both thought the same thing: Like you promised to call me today and didn't?
Heath cast aside his last shred of pride. “Think of me."
“I have to do this,” she choked.
This time, it was really the end. Alone in his dark, cavernous house, Heath scrubbed a hand through his hair. Poppy needed him to believe in her, not add to her self-doubt. What was that old saying? 'If you love someone, let her go.'
“I’ll come see you once in a while.”
“Sure you will,” she sniffed. “And I’ll come back and see you, too. A lot. Or at least, as often as I can.”
Heath fisted the phone so hard it was a wonder it didn’t break in two, the way his heart was breaking. “And spend the night?”
"If you think I should."
Born in the Northeast, Heather Heyford learned to walk and talk in Texas, and then moved to England. (“Ya’ll want some scones?”) While in Europe, Heather was forced by her cruel parents to spend Saturdays in the leopard vinyl back seat of their Peugeot, motoring from one medieval pile to the next for the lame purpose of ‘learning something.’ What she soon learned was how to allay the boredom by stashing a Cosmo under the seat. Now Heather writes contemporary romance novels set in the wine country. See more at HeatherHeyford.com