Author Q&A – Laura heffernan

Reality Wedding centers on a wedding-based reality show. Would you ever have considered getting married on television?

You know, at the time I got married, I would have said, “Absolutely not!” I’m pretty introverted, and having cameras follow me around to get all the details of my wedding preparation for something like Bridezillas would have been my worst nightmare. But I watched dozens of wedding reality shows while writing this book, and there are a couple, like Four Weddings that might have been fun.

Hold on a second. Are you saying you were a bridezilla? Is Jen?

I’m sure every woman says this, but I feel like I was a pretty low-key bride. My husband and I got married on a cruise ship (which is largely what inspired Sweet Reality’s setting), and the way that works is, the cruise line handles pretty much everything. You get a wedding planner to call with any questions, but any sort of event planning is so far outside my realm, I just let them handle basically everything. They emailed a stack of checklists where we marked things like what kind of cake we wanted. We just filled them out and sent them back. The only thing I had to do was pick the dress.

Jen does her best to understand that the Network is the one running the show her, but at the same time, they want drama. So there’s some balance between trying to put on a good show and not wanting to come across as completely unreasonable.

Come on. No bridezilla moments?

Heh. I was completely in the zone on the day of. As I was walking toward the doors where we were about to enter, I saw my husband go racing down the hall in the other direction. I looked at my mom, shrugged, and said, “Don’t worry, he’ll be back.” (It’s all good – he forgot the rings and returned with them a few minutes later.)

You said you watched a lot of wedding shows while writing this book. Which ones?

LOTS of Say Yes to the Dress, which is an old favorite. The dress is so important, and I needed to find something exactly right for Jen. I also spent some time watching Four Weddings. And I got some great ideas for over-the-top ridiculous stuff from Rich Bride, Poor Bride. I love that watching fun TV counts as research these days.

 We’ve followed Jen and Justin from the beginning, so we know their entire love story. What about you? When did you know your husband was the one?

It was our first Valentine’s Day, about six months after we started dating. He spent so much time planning this wonderful date–and absolutely everything went wrong. We picked a theater near the restaurant, and it turned out to be in this mall that was basically falling down. There was so much candy and stuff on the floor, I was afraid to set my purse down. We were the only people there, and it felt like something out of a horror movie. The building should have been condemned. (And it was torn down a couple of months later.) We went to what was supposed to be a really nice steakhouse, and the food was terrible. The service was terrible. The salad bar was empty. I think the best part of the meal was the broccoli, which is pretty sad. But even though the date sucked from start to finish, we still had an amazing time together. I knew this was the guy I wanted to be with, even on awful dates.

Now, for some more fun questions:

Tea or coffee and how do you take it? 

Coffee. To quote Rupert Giles, “Tea is soothing, I wish to be tense.” When I’m writing, I make coffee with cinnamon (in the grounds, not the liquid), then add chocolate milk and sugar. When I’m not, I usually stick with black coffee. Yes, I know that’s weird.

How would you describe your personal style?

I’ve often said how glad I am that Stacy and Clinton never did a “What Not to Wear: Home Office Edition.” Usually, you can find me in jammie pants, fuzzy socks, and a giant black sweater. It’s gotten worse now that I’m very pregnant, and I only have about three t-shirts left that fit.

But when I go out in public, I do put on real clothes. Usually jeans with a t-shirt or sweater/hoodie. Boots in the winter because I’m quite short. Flip-flops in the summer, because I’m ultimately a California girl at heart (and I have a rather expansive definition of “summer”).

What does your writing space look like? And what one thing about that space might surprise people?

Since I work remotely full-time, I really needed a dedicated workspace. It’s not just for writing – and a lot of my writing happens on the back deck when weather permits. I’ve got a big desk, an overflowing bookcase in one corner, and a window seat also overflowing with books. I used to have a TV and blu-ray player set up, but I never used them, so I took it out.

The most surprising thing in my office is the fitness pole set up in the middle of the room. Pole has been my favorite workout for a long time now, and it’s amazing how much a few minutes of spinning and swinging can always improve my mood and help with writer’s block.

What’s your favorite ice cream? Cone or cup?

Chocolate chip cookie dough is my all-time favorite, preferably with chocolate sauce. I always go for the cup, because chocolate sauce on a cone is just going to wind up all over my pants. Recently, though, I’ve discovered salted caramel ice cream, and that’s pretty amazing.

Say ‘I Do’—Or Else

When Jen Reid escaped a reality TV cruise with her relationship intact—if not her hair—she swore she was done with the cameras for good. Sure, she and Justin met, had their first kiss, and got engaged with tape rolling, but manufactured drama and ruthless producers have shaken them up more times than she can count. With Jen’s reality-themed bakery just getting started and her brand-new lawyer fiancé in a pile of debt, they’re a long way from glitz and glamour, and that’s fine by Jen. Until the Network calls and tells her that unless she says “I do” to a wedding special, Justin will be out of a job.

Now Jen has two weeks to plan an all-expenses-paid “dream wedding”—and dodge the tricks and traps of a showrunner happy to mess up her future in the name of ratings. Luckily for Jen, she’s got plenty of experience with cake and popcorn. But when real-life drama and reality TV twists collide, the cliffhangers may just follow her right down the aisle . . .

Praise for America’s Next Reality Star

“Smart, witty, and really freaking good, America’s Next Reality Star is a fun read that has you cheering from the first paragraph through the last page. Laura Heffernan spins an entertaining tale, expertly mixing the main character’s real life events with the reality show’s challenges. With enough drama to not only satisfy fans of reality TV shows, but readers who thrive on a good story with humor and romance, this book is a perfect read.” —Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author

“Reality TV fans, this is your book! Laura Heffernan captures all the drama and over-the-top craziness in this fun and flirty romance.” —Amy E. Reichert, author of Love, Luck, and Lemon Pie

America’s Next Reality Star is one sweet, sexy brain-candy read! You won’t be sorry you indulged.” —Leah Marie Brown