Saturday, June 21, 2014

Author Spotlight & Interview With Elizabeth Hein

Elizabeth Hein
Kitty Haskell has everything - a perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, a handsome husband, charming children, and a nasty case of gonorrhea. Rather than dealing with her cheating husband, Kitty worries the exclusive clique of Overlook moms will find out. Unfortunately, The Lookers seem to already know everything, about everyone.

Set against the backdrop of the bicentennial, this snarky novel peeks behind the custom curtains and pristine lawns to expose the grubby underbelly of suburbia to ask - How far will a woman go to protect what she loves?
If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what would you read?
     Wow, one book? That is a toughie. I guess I would have to say The Bible because it would fulfill my need for guidance in what I would have to assume would be a difficult time, as well as being a volume full of inspiring stories that bring something new with each reading.

If you could rewrite one part of your book, what would you change?
If I were to rewrite Overlook, I would add more interactions between Kitty and her children. I came to like Becky and Bobby and imagined plot lines involving them.

Have you ever thought about doing a spinoff series?
Absolutely. Overlook ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, so I think it needs a sequel. I have a preliminary draft of Escape Plan (working title) in the works about the months after Overlook ends. I also have some ideas for some new characters that move into the neighborhood and shake things up a bit.

What was your favorite book as a child?
I read Anne of Green Gables at least ten times when I was younger. I was a bit a smarty pants as a girl, so Anne was definitely a kindred spirit. I could see myself getting into trouble the way she did and trying to make things better.

What was the first book you remember reading as a child?
I learned to read when my family was living overseas. We knew we could be moving at any time, so we didn’t accumulate much “stuff.” We more than made up for that when we returned to the States and collected piles of books and toys. One of the few books we had in Spain was The Aristocats. It came with the album of the Disney movie (do any of you when kids listened to recordings of movie instead of DVDs?). Interestingly, I still enjoy listening to books. I am an avid audio book fan.

Where do you get some of your ideas?
I write about ordinary people at extraordinary times in their lives. My stories are inspired by the people I see every day – a woman at the bank, the women in the PTA, a person I meet in a hospital waiting room. I tend to see someone and make up elaborate stories about their lives.

If your book could be made into a movie, who would play what role?
I picture Julianne Moore playing Kitty. She could portray the uptight mom with a dark side without being over the top. Kristin Chenoweth would play Stacia, the other main character. Not only is she teeny tiny, she could pull off the role of a controlling Southern belle with humor. And, as long as I’m dreaming, I would cast Helen Hunt as Kitty’s wine swilling sister and Simon Baker as Kitty’s charmingly despicable husband.

Can your books be read as a stand alone?
You could definitely read Overlook as a stand-alone. The ending leaves an opening for a second book, but it is also a distinct end point to the story. The main character of Kitty completes an arc from weak, proper wife to bold woman of action. You may not agree with her actions, but she definitely is a woman of action.

If you could step into a book world, what book would it be?
That is a tricky question. There are so many book worlds I would like to visit. If I were to choose just one, I would have to say Tolkien’s Middle Earth because it truly is a whole different world.

If you could hang out with another author that you have never met, who would it be?
There are so many authors I would like to hang out with. The first that comes to mind though is Mary Doria Russell. Each of her books is different from the others, yet wonderful. Also, I follow her on Facebook and she seems like she would be a fun gal to know.

About Elizabeth Hein

Elizabeth Hein is a mother, author, and cancer survivor. She grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Durham, North Carolina. She writes about the people who go unnoticed in life –the woman standing in line at the bank, the mousy gal in the last cubicle, the PTA mom. She wants you to care about these women and think twice before ignoring the people you meet each day. When not writing, she is trying to raise two young women and a husband. Her next novel, How To Climb The Eiffel Tower, will be released in October 2014.

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